Pros and cons of working with an external recruiter

The tight labour market is a hot topic these days, the changes in the market bring challenges for both employers and recruiters. Research done by the Intelligence Group shows that a third of corporates are expanding their recruitment budget to deal with these challenges. Remarkably enough the research also shows that corporates are planning to invest less in external recruitment agencies and spend more on labour market communication and recruitment systems. Will external recruiters become less needed in the future? In this article, I will discuss the pros and cons of using an external recruiter.

Save Time, Save Money

One of the reasons why corporates are hesitant to use an external bureau is the costs. External recruiters ask a fee.  A thing that hiring managers underestimate is the time-consuming task of searching a matching candidate. The recruitment process takes time for everyone involved. The longer a search takes, the more expensive it gets.. Interesting to read in the described research is that those external recruitment agencies are (on average) 20 days quicker than the corporates themselves in finding the right candidate.. As mentioned, a quicker search period means less cost of time and money for everyone that’s involved. This is an important reason to decide for hiring an external recruiter.

Difference between general and specialized recruiters

A reason external agencies finish the search quicker is that they have a large database of candidates. However, there is a difference between general and specialized external recruiters. General recruiters need to know candidates in all areas, this often leads to the less personal contact with candidates. Specialized bureaus can focus on a smaller pool of candidates and can therefore have close contact with them. On top of these warm networks niche recruiters also have more specialized market knowledge and a visible track record.

What challenges do external recruiters have?

A challenge that external recruiters have is that they don’t know the company culture as well as the internal recruiter or HR manager. The latter has a better view of what personality will fit best into the company and more specifically the department the candidate will be working in. For most job openings, the personality profile of the candidate is an important topic to discuss.

The Pros and Cons

There is no one answer to the choice between keeping the recruitment process internally or hiring an external agency. There are pros and cons for both and I have not been comprehensive in my reasoning. I believe the decision should strongly depend on the kind of function you are recruiting for. When a marketing bureau is looking for a candidate in their own field of expertise, the choice of an external recruitment agency seems less attractive. In this case, the company should know candidates within the target group they are looking for. When a company is recruiting for a vacancy that lies outside its expertise, it might be more interesting to hire a specialized recruiter that knows the market

When in doubt, call me,


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