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Boutique Staffing Services vs In-House Recruiting


The recruiting industry is one of constant activity as recruiters and hiring managers alike compete for an ever-shrinking pool of professional job seekers. In this environment, when you want to fill a position it’s important to know exactly what kind of professional you’re looking for and have a plan to find them. You can’t simply open a listing on a few job sites and count on the perfect person sending in their resume. While this is totally possible, a lot of perfect hires come from connections that take time to cultivate. This leaves companies with the constant question of whether or not to rely on in-house recruiting or to contract the expertise of a boutique staffing firm. There are benefits and challenges to each option, and every company must decide for themselves whether to outsource their recruiting efforts or keep the process internal.

1) Motivation to Recruit

A hiring manager has two major options when looking for a position they need filling. To bring in professional recruiters or to hire a staffing firm. Both options will result in lists of candidates who will need to be interviewed, assessed for skills, and eventually chosen from. However motivated staff recruiters are, they are also in a salaried position meaning that they get paid whether or not they find good candidates. A staffing firm, on the other hand, doesn’t get their full pay unless they successfully bring you excellent candidates that the hiring manager approves of.

2) Expense

The time it takes to hire someone into an empty role is often reflected by a certain amount of cost in the company known as ‘turnover cost. This expense can be anywhere from a few thousand to as much as 150% of the position’s annual salary. That is, of course, as long as you’re paying for the entire recruitment process from beginning to end. This cost is then stacked on top of how much you might be paying in-house recruiters in order to keep them on-staff and working. A staffing firm, on the other hand, keeps their own office, pays their staff, and usually completely covers the cost of their own search tactics. They also generally get paid on commission, meaning their time is only worth something to you if they succeed in finding candidates you love.

3) Number of Options

In-house recruiters have access to exactly two lists of contacts when it comes to bringing in new talent: their own personal collection of contacts and the company’s Rolodex which often include more business partners and clients than potential hires. These resources are incredibly useful for marketing, sales, and support teams but not as much for recruitment. A staffing firm, on the other hand, tends to have a large number of companies, job seekers, and secret little online venues where potentially hirable candidates gather. This means that staffing firms can bring in a much larger quantity of candidates to the table in a shorter period of time because they simply have access to a larger pool of potential recruits.

4) Time to Hire

How long are your open positions remaining open before you can find the right candidate to fill them? Sure, gathering potential recruits and talking to them each one-by-one is incredibly time-consuming, but how long is it actually taking to bring in the initial list? One of the primary differences between staffing firm and in-house recruitment is that outsourced services have to hustle to get their money and in-house recruiters, who are on salary, can take their time finding candidates and building you a short list. Both methods result in a short list of well-qualified candidates but one of them have you interviewing a lot faster and as we all know, the sooner the interviews start the sooner you can make your final decision on a new hire and fill that empty position.

5) Freedom of Necessity

While most companies have a hiring manager, not everyone has their own in-house recruiters. It’s not that hiring is any less important to these companies so much as the fact that their irregular hiring practices make holding onto salaried recruiters an obvious impracticality. A boutique staffing firm is there when you need them but they don’t rely on any one specific client to keep them afloat. This means that they can turn their energetic and well-connected recruiting energy toward helping your company for exactly as long as you need help, then leave you with a tidy pile of top-notch candidates when the business relationship is finished without requiring payroll between hires.

In summary, in-house recruiters may have a stronger initial understanding of your company culture but they are only cost-effective to keep on staff if you are hiring for many positions all year long. A staffing firm, on the other hand, can get to know your company culture by working with your hiring manager and they are ready to recruit for you exactly when you need them, with a large collection of quality candidates on-call because they are deeply invested in recruiting all day, every day. For more information about boutique recruiting services, please contact us today!