Should we get help for recruiting or do it ourselves? At some point, every growing company faces the question of whether or not internal recruitment is the right decision.
There’s no “one size fits all” answer. In fact, asking the question often can lead to even more questions! Thinking through these will lead you from a “filling a job” focus to hiring with a strategic mindset. A thoughtful recruitment strategy can drive your future business success, no matter which option you choose today.
This quick guide to the advantages and disadvantages of internal recruitment can help you:
- Assess the pros and cons of recruiting with internal or external resources
- Think through some fundamental questions to explore beforehand
What’s included in this guide:
- Preparation Questions and Decision Support
- Internal Recruiting Resources
- External Recruitment Services
- Situation-Specific Pros or Cons
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Preparation Questions and Decision Support
We recommend starting this evaluation with a hiring plan. This includes projected hiring needs aligned with your company’s business strategy and growth plans. Using this quick guide as a starting point, evaluate each type of external solution and specific firms in consideration against your options internally.
Questions to ask yourself and your team as you consider internal recruitment:
- Is there recruiting expertise in-house for this specific role?
- Do we have bandwidth to recruit and screen candidates to hone in on the best shortlist we can — and quickly?
- Do we have the candidate network or is our data tapped from prior hires?
- Are we looking for one hire, a technical hire, or scaling hiring across an entire team?
- Do we have a hiring plan with projections and what does the recruitment plan inform?
- What are the full costs of internal staff time and any supporting recruitment technology needed to do this well in-house? (See cost considerations in this guide.)
- How are we planning to attract candidates to support our DE&I hiring goals?
- What is our budget for recruiting?
- What sort of external recruiting resources might fit our stage of growth?
- Do we have the tools and recruitment technology to do this well?
Internal Recruiting Resources
- Costs — While it can be less expensive in some situations to use internal recruitment resources, it depends upon various factors regarding your hiring needs and volume as well as alternatives being considered. Keep reading for more thoughts on costs!
- Control — You maintain complete control over recruiting and who advances in the early stages of the candidate funnel through the shortlist for hiring managers. You also control messaging to candidates and communications of your company brand.
- No conflicts of interest with candidates — Internal team members serve your hiring needs alone so they will not present candidates to other companies. You have the ability to set guidelines for presenting the same candidate to multiple hiring managers and when that does or does not serve the company well.
- Limited bandwidth — Internal recruiters are limited by the hours in a day, and many have other priorities.
- Limited networks, reach, and talent pool — At some point, you’ll tap out your staff network and need to go beyond referrals to find the best people for your positions and keep pace with growth. Internal resources rarely have the expansive networks and existing talent connections that external partners have in place.
- Limited expertise — Depending upon the company, recruiters may lack ongoing development in their field as well as the expertise for recruiting for specialized roles.
External Recruiting Resources
- Network and reach — If you choose an external resource carefully, particularly a company with a proven expertise, they are able to access a broader pool of candidates from their warm networks as well as their extensive use of recruiting best practices to target candidates based upon your requirements.
- Specialized expertise — External recruitment resources can be selected based upon their expertise in recruiting for specialized or technical roles. In addition, partnering with Comeet, for example, means you get current recruiting expertise and innovative talent acquisition technology to fuel your growth.
- Recruiting expertise and resources — External talent acquisition companies who provide recruitment services and/or technology often ensure their team has been chosen for expertise in the industry. However, the depth of their expertise and use of best practices varies widely from firm to firm.
- Bandwidth — The company you partner with will agree to deliverables and can add bandwidth as needed to meet your goals according to your agreement. They aren’t confined in the same way that internal resources are unless your contract sets terms tied to staffing headcount, as in the case of some outsourcing models.
- Costs — Traditional solutions like fee-based search are often expensive. However, costs are dependent upon a variety of factors. (More information about costs in the next section)
- Control — With any external solution, you’ll give up some control but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With the right partner, you can maintain control over the parts of the process that you value and specify how you want the work to be performed.
- Potential conflicts of interest with candidates — Traditional external recruiters who source candidates for a fee vary in how they approach business. Some may have conflicts if they have an outstanding candidate, for example, where they have agreements for higher fee structures or greater hiring volumes with other clients. Not every company operates this way but it is a potential con with much of the industry.
Situation-Specific Pros or Cons
Some decision categories may be pros or cons for either internal recruitment or external recruiting resources, depending upon a number of factors. Here’s a list of typical “it depends” categories:
- Costs — Costs may be higher with internal resources or lower. When you calculate costs, make sure you’re doing the fully loaded figure for internal staff, including costs for benefits, as well as any other expenses (e.g. recruiting your recruiters, training, tools for recruiting).
- The cost factor for internal recruiting depends upon your stage of growth (i.e. staff utilization and whether they are at capacity), who you hire at what salary, or what type of solution you choose externally.
- Search firms and other traditional external solutions often require expensive fees per hire. Contingency firms charge only when you make the hire; yet fees for a single hire could exceed the costs of a part-time or full-time recruiter on your team.
- Comeet Elastic Recruiting uniquely provides hiring capacity when you need it, so you don’t carry unnecessary overhead and can hire at reduced costs compared to most options. We provide a cost-effective solution, designed for the growing company, which combines expert recruiting services with our innovative technology that saves your team time and money by powering tasks like hiring manager communications — and speeding up time to hire.
- Long-term financial commitments — The level of long-term financial commitment you make depends upon a number of factors, so whether it is a pro or a con depends.
- Using an external resource can range from transactional work per job, which often amounts to higher fees and magnification of the cons. Yet, using an external resource such as a traditional recruitment process outsourcing firm can involve long-term contracts and expectations for hiring volumes.
- Comeet Elastic Recruiting provides a different model for our clients, with lower cost per hire and an on-demand solution combining recruiting services and technology. Learn more about Comeet.
- Hiring internal resources (“at-will” employees) can be a great strategy at the right time. If you hire too soon before your job volume is more predictable, you may need to lay off staff or have unnecessary costs for unused capacity when hiring needs are low.
- Scalability — The right external resource can help you scale while others will not, as they may give you capacity but charge high fees for that capacity. Comeet Elastic Recruiting was designed to help growing startups scale by adding on-demand recruitment capacity — the combination of strategic recruiting services and end-to-end technology — so you get better results at the right cost.
- Alignment with strategy and goals — The potential to align recruiting activity with company strategy and goals exists with either model.
- It is often said that it is easier to align with internal resources. However, in practice, some internal recruiters are not aware of the overall company business strategy or able to link their activities to results.
- While some external resources may be transactional only, presenting a shortlist of candidates to you for your review, others may be more integrated with your business. It is up to you to set the stage for alignment with your company. Check out our blog “Top 4 steps for alignment with recruiting partners”.
- Our Comeet team aims to work seamlessly with you so that we function like part of your recruitment team, focused on supporting your business and aligned with your hiring goals.
- Technology, tools and best practices — Typically, an external partner that’s focused on providing recruiting services will have tools focused on improving recruitment and will use best practices in the industry. However, this varies depending upon the provider. Book a time with the Comeet team to learn about what we bring to our client engagements!