How to Hire a Recruiter

October 25, 2016

how to hire a recruiter

So, you can’t find anyone who can work your open job.

Don’t worry, this isn’t something to be ashamed of or even something that is uncommon.

According to a recent study from Glassdoor, the two biggest obstacles facing companies trying to increase headcount are: 1) Candidate Supply and 2) Lengthy Hiring Practices. These problems go hand in hand, as the “best” candidates are hired within their first 10 days on the job market. This is all the more disheartening, because it takes an average of 52 days to fill an open job in this country.

Here are a few more stats from the study that every employer should see:

  • The average amount U.S. companies spend to fill an open position is $4000.
  • 47% of small business owners are reporting that there are there are few or no qualified applicants for the positions they are trying to fill.
  • 51% of employees are considering a new job.
  • 52% of hiring decision makers say passive candidate sourcing has been less effective for their company.
  • 90% of recruiters say the market is candidate-driven in 2015, up from 54% in the second half of 2011.

If your open job is related to managing important clients, meeting important objectives or maintaining output/productivity levels, then a multi-month vacancy can be devastating. Just because nobody can do the work doesn’t mean you’re getting a pass from your customers and/or clients. If the timing is bad enough, you may have a series of customer losses as well as more vacancies opening related to the job that you can’t fill.

When you’re waiting for the right person for an important job, to appear, it can be tempting to settle for quality in the interest of making a hire now and getting this hire to work. Unfortunately, it usually takes about 6 months for any hire to reach their prime productivity, and, in this time frame, the problems that they were supposed to solve can go from bad, to worse.

Before you make an investment into a candidate who might be up to your crucial job, consider making an investment into finding the right person for this job. There are a whole lot of hiring solutions out there, but this article is about different recruiting options as well as their advantages and drawbacks.

Finding the Recruiter Who is Right For You

When you are unable to identify or attract the sort of talent required for your open position, having an experienced recruiting expert on your side can bring new life to your hiring. But, just like any other job, there are a few things that you want to look for when hiring

Knowledgeable- You want a recruiter who is knowledgeable about your industry and who has a record of making hires for your company’s most critical positions. Different industries come with different candidate attitudes and requirements. You need a recruiter who will be able to engage with candidates in your industry on a technical level

Curious- You want a recruiter who ask as many questions as it takes to get a full understanding of your hiring needs and the requirements of the position. A good recruiter never assumes and will find deeper areas of fit to look for in candidates.

Resourceful- You want a recruiter who is resourceful and who uses a comprehensive strategy to find you the best talent possible. There is no silver bullet in hiring, and a good recruiter will have a variety of vetted candidate sources to call upon.

Honest- Honesty is a highly important trait to have in your recruiter. If your recruiter is honest, they will tell you that, while there are some promising candidates, none exactly fit the bill of what you’re looking for. If they aren’t fully honest, they will tell you that there are several promising candidates for you to choose from.

Representative- You want a recruiter who will act as a representative and promoter of your company. Employer branding is becoming more important for attracting top hires, so you need your recruiter to be a brand ambassador while conducting the candidate search.

No matter which recruiting solution you decide on, these are the qualities that you should be looking for in any recruiter who you entrust with your company’s hiring. Now that you know what to look for in your recruiter, let’s go over the main recruiting options available to you.

Hiring an Internal Recruiter

An internal recruiter is a full time employee who sources candidates and presents them to hiring managers within the company. These employees can be hourly or salaried, and, depending on the scope of your company’s hiring needs, can specialize in hiring for a specific department, trade or seniority level.

One of the best things about having an internal recruiter for your company, is that they know your company from the inside out. They know your culture and will have much more familiarity with your employees than an external recruiter. This will give them a clear idea of what kind of candidate will fit in at your company, as well as a clear idea of your company’s hiring needs.

There are many advantages to hiring an internal recruiter, but this hiring solution comes with a high fixed cost, even when there are no hires to be made. Additionally, internal recruiters won’t have access to all of the same resources as an agency recruiter.

Advantages: Knows your company from the inside and knows your hiring needs.

Disadvantages: Fixed cost when you don’t need to hire and potentially less resources than a contract recruiter.

Hiring Outsourced/Contract Recruiters

Contract recruiters work with companies on a contract basis, and these agreements can be for any number of positions. Contract recruiters work for an hourly rate or fixed bid during contracted period.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing companies, on the other hand, allow companies to outsource some or all of their hiring function to these service providers. RPO companies employ many recruiters who act on behalf of their clients and their services can be priced at a monthly fixed rate for a set number of jobs, on a per-job basis or on a per-candidate basis.

Unlike an internal recruiter, contract recruiter and RPO solutions will only cost you while you use them, and these agency recruiters may have access to greater resources than you could provide to an internal recruiter. However, external recruiters will not have the same sort of familiarity with your company as an internal recruiter. Additionally, they won’t be as good of a brand ambassador as an internal recruiter because of this outsider perspective.

Advantages: No fixed cost, access to their agency’s recruiting resources.

Disadvantages: Doesn’t know your company or the team they’re hiring for.


Whichever recruiting solution is right for your company and your budget, always choose recruiters who are:

Knowledgeable about your industry.

Curious about your open job.

Resourceful enough to find top talent.

Honest enough to tell you that none of the candidates are up to the job.

Representative of your brand and your company.

VP of Marketing at Digital Astronauts

Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder’s of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500’s. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He’s a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.


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