Internal or external recruiter – what is the best way to recruit staff?

Posted over 3 years ago by Charlie Robinson


In a recent blog we discussed outsourcing, saying it can make good sense to outsource. Alternatively, bringing in external contractors and consultants can also help as they bring in new perspectives on a problem, new solutions are proposed thanks to these external people, who have recent market experience outside the host company. They may introduce new leading edge answers, techniques and technologies. In another of our blogs Diana Leng said “I think a message coming from outside can be easier to hear that one coming from the inside…”

So what advice applies if you ask this resource question on the subject of recruitment? Will you find benefits from using an external recruitment agent - an agency recruiter, or should you keep the activity inside the company and use or appoint an internal recruiter?

There are global reports suggesting businesses waste money on poor recruitment methods. Reviewing global averages, the recruitment cost of filling a vacancy, using internal or external recruitment methods, is estimated to be around US$6000. There is substantial cost at risk, more so if the wrong hire is made leading to further costs and of course the restart of the recruitment process. Naturally, for the candidate it is also a loss, so the best process is sought by all. Which is best?

Recruitment is a highly organised and often thriving industry. Internal recruitment has seen some recent growth but there are reports of their “thirst” for in-house recruiter forums, seeking to group and somehow network together to learn from each other, supposedly to get more external market knowledge. Knowledge that of course the external recruiter, an agency recruiter, is likely to enjoy by default due to having many company clients and their own company or group knowledge based on large numbers of candidates.



For the candidate there are also benefits with an agency broker as they can give broader advice on the type of company they are applying to join, in effect receiving advice from a third party.

This is a role an internal recruiter can never complete as they are too close to their own company. An internal recruiter may also lack information on competitive opportunities, trends in the market and recent news on other company salaries.

Equally important, perhaps more so personally for the candidate, is the agency recruiter advice on the “personality fit”. They can recognise and report on the characteristics that an employer tends to search for in culture, background, etc. When well matched, this leads to the best chances for the contract to be happy and long term for both candidate and employer. Their work with many companies provides this added filter and guidance to steer the candidate towards the most suitable company. 

The agency recruiter or traditional agency still seems to be the best way forward for all concerned. The agencies work to match their often huge pool of candidates to their clients' open positions. Suitable candidates are short-listed and put forward for an interview. This gives the employer safety in having a wider recruitment net. For the candidates the benefit of the third party view, a pan market view, offering alternatives that may be more suitable.

There may be staff in an agency broker with niche skills, for example covering insurance, allowing the agency to search for a very narrow specialty. This also produces superior results due to their ability to channel all of their resources into networking for a very specific skill set. This may also find a candidate whose CV has transferable skills that may have been be missed by an internal recruiter, who only advertised for a specific job role. There could be a gem out there.

An agency recruiter provides an external FOCUS, for the candidate, offering market wide knowledge and awareness of the CORE needs of the employer - all of which leads to the best chances for a successful long contract.

An agency recruiter adds an external FOCUS, for the employer, with up to date information from across the market, casting the broadest net to find candidates for the company, finding the best and most suitable for the required role.

It is not perhaps by accident that we are called FocusCore.