The conversation surrounding recruitment strategies tends to predominantly pertain to large businesses. This is because, when your business is small, you’re less likely to outsource these tasks.  In a business’ teething phase, you’re more inclined to handle everything in-house as you work at establishing a steady foundation. 

However, the success of a company ultimately hinges on its employees’ talent—or lack thereof. You need a group of skilled and inspired individuals to make up a competent and cohesive team. For this, you need to deploy effective recruitment strategies that are tailored to the needs of your specific business.

Recruitment is a skill like any other. This means that not every individual is capable of being successful in small business hiring processes and procedures. 

A successful recruiter requires very specific training, as well as extensive experience in the field. Furthermore, an integral aspect of being a recruiter is successfully establishing a strong network of healthy and mutually respectful relationships. 

Once you have established your small business and are on the hunt for new talent, you may find yourself at somewhat of a crossroads. Do you opt for in-house recruitment, or is an agency your better bet?

Hot Tip: Learn how employees build a perfect resume to make sure you can filter the best for your company.

The Difference Between In-House and Agency Recruitment

An in-house recruitment team is, in short, a group of professional recruiters who are full-time employees of your business. These recruiters will exclusively hire for the company for which they work—thus limiting them to a single industry. These individuals need to have excellent judgment as they are tasked with determining the cultural fit and professional merit of possible candidates. In a small business, an internal recruitment team will most likely consist of one full-time recruiter, or perhaps it will be the part-time work of the head of human resources. 

Agency recruitment is vastly different. Agencies are external firms that take on the responsibility of recruiting employees for whichever business they are contracted to at the time. Large corporations generally opt for this type of recruitment process outsourcing as they have a wide range of job vacancies to fill. In this case, in-house recruitment would be a time-consuming and tedious endeavor. That being said, small businesses can certainly also benefit from utilizing a recruitment agency. 

The Pros of In-House Recruitment

When it comes to in-house recruitment, the primary benefit is that these recruiters really have their finger on the pulse. They are acquainted with the intricacies and specific needs of your business. They will know, better than any external agency, what your small business’ hiring needs are. Furthermore, they will have an accurate and insightful perspective on your company’s culture and ethos. 

It is important to acknowledge that the hiring and training process is both risky and costly. In-house recruitment is a more cost-effective process while the likelihood of recruiting a candidate that suits the company culture may be slightly greater. That being said, this is not always the case. 

The Cons of In-House Recruitment

The con that is most commonly experienced with in-house recruitment is the intensive labor and time-demanding nature of the role. You should not undermine the value of your employees’ time by forcing them to sweat over small business hiring – a job they may not be adequately trained for. 

Secondly, your in-house recruiters are unlikely to have the wealth of knowledge and experience of those that work at recruitment agencies. Thus, you miss out on expert insights.

The Pros of Hiring a Recruitment Agency

Employing a recruitment agency to search for fitting candidates comes with its own array of benefits. Firstly, it allows you to save valuable time. This is a particularly useful benefit if your current recruiter double-functions as a member of human resources. Sorting through applications and CVs is tedious, to say the least—this way you can pass on the grunt work to somebody else. 

A further benefit is that although in-house recruitment may have a better understanding of your specific small business, agencies tend to have a much deeper understanding of people assessment. This minimizes the error aspect of ‘trial and error’, thus helping you to find the perfect fit fast. An agency is also able to assist you in the further establishment and growth of your brand. Essentially, they can function as a sort of ambassador for your small business. 

The Cons of Hiring a Recruitment Agency

The primary con of recruitment process outsourcing is that it is a substantially more expensive process, adding to the costs of hiring an employee. In fact, it is estimated that recruitment costs amount to around 20-30% of the employee’s annual salary. You will have to pay a fixed amount every time you employ an agency. Furthermore, prices are subject to drastic increases if the role is particularly challenging to fill. 

The second risk of using a recruitment agency is that there is no guarantee that they will adequately assess the alignment of your business’s culture with that of an applicant. While they are experts in matching an individual’s unique qualifications with a potential professional role, they may fall short in judging the cultural fit. In addition, the interview process would give your team the opportunity to assess whether someone is a cultural fit for your organization.

What is Ultimately Better for a Small Business?

There really is no one-size-fits-all solution to this loaded question. There are merits and downfalls to both in-house and recruitment process outsourcing.  However, at the end of the day, we are discussing what would be the best fit for a small business. Depending on how established and secure your venture is, we encourage using a recruitment agency for small business hiring. 

In-house recruitment requires the setting up of a dedicated recruitment team within your small business. It means allocating the responsibility of recruitment to one or two of your human resource workers or hiring managers. Something they probably don’t have time for.

A recruitment agency is focused on one thing — finding the best employee for the job. Recruitment agencies have access to the best candidates. They filter out candidates who don’t have the right skills for the job, ensuring that you have your pick of the best talent for hire. Using a recruitment agency also means your small business will receive the support it needs to maximize your business’s potential.

At the end of the day, hiring a recruitment agency saves you time and money. And as a small business, those are two things you cannot afford to lose.