With the presence of social media and inexpensive / free job boards, it is becoming increasingly common to find companies opting to source their own candidates for vacancies and looking to steer away from using a recruitment agency. Whilst the strategy seems sensible in terms of attempting to reduce recruitment expenses, we are keen to take a look at the true cost of free recruitment. At the same time, we are also keen to highlight some of the major benefits of using a trusted recruitment agency partner when looking to secure the very best talent for your business.

The first step in finding your ideal person is placing ads in the relevant places. If you use your website, it is important to think about the amount of traffic visiting your site and how you plan to increase this. If placing the role on your social media platforms, have you looked at how many ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ you have because if this is a low number your ad may not be exposed to that many potential job seekers. In order for these routes to be effective for you, you need to ensure that it has maximum exposure to your potential target audience.

If you are paying for advertising you need to think carefully about where. If you have a technical role to fill perhaps a local newspaper is not relevant; do you think your ideal candidate will be looking in the local press for their next big career move? Some publications charge the earth for ads and very few applicants are generated. Equally, you need to ensure any job board you use attracts the candidates relevant to your role. Is the platform popular with job surned down. The saving you make putting up your notice could cost you a valuable client!

It is important to write an engaging and appropriate job ad, ensuring that you appeal to people you want but complying with the regulations. Remembering that with unemployment at an all time low, there are more jobs available than high calibre candidates, your role needs to stand out over and above any other. It is important that your ad is engaging and attractive yet complies with current laws so you don’t end up in hot water. Your job title needs to avoid in house jargon and being too creative so as to attract the people with the right skills but not so generic that you are flooded with unsuitable candidates.

I recently placed an ad for a part-time receptionist on a very popular ‘free’ / low cost job board and from this ad alone I received 306 applicants! I had to individually sift through every single one and ensure that they were all responded to. A client of mine placed a similar role and received 100 applicants and narrowed this down to 7 interviewees. I roughly calculated that to read, consider and respond to every person, sit through 7 interviews, maybe second interview and deal with each outcome effectively, it would take the average manager around 2 working weeks. If the average manager earnt £22k, purely in time alone, this costs the business around £850! What’s more, if they have spent two weeks recruiting one person, what duties that they normally carry out have been put to the bottom of the pile?

Once the decision has been made and the candidate is chosen, what happens if they change their mind either before or once they’ve started! Believe me this is common. The process has to start again.

So, don’t get me wrong, I believe that a business should aim to try to find their own talent but I do believe that a trusted recruitment agency partner should still remain very much part of the strategy. Not least, it costs the business nothing to use the sourcing service and ensure that they have found the very best candidate available.

The other benefits of using an agency are;

  • The agency will have several recruiting platforms available ensuring the net is cast as wide as possible
  • They will sift through the unsuitable candidates so you don’t have to
  • They should respond to everyone either way, maintaining your reputation and employer brand
  • They should only send extremely relevant candidates for interview saving precious time
  • This is their day job – they can offer hints, advice, market knowledge and allow you to continue with your day job
  • They offer a rebate so if it does go wrong, all is not lost

Considering that the success and growth of your business depends on the quality of your people, can you afford not to ensure you have the very best person for the job.

To conclude, the trend of businesses recruiting themselves will no doubt continue but I believe, for all the reasons above, it should be part of a wider strategy where agencies still play a key role. As they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch and perhaps there is no such thing as free recruitment.