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When and Why to Hire a Recruiting Firm

By Tom Verzuh

When and why should I hire a recruiting firm?

Before you even think about hiring a recruiting firm, you should start by looking within the company to fill the position. First, you want to make sure that you don't offend a current employee who might have wanted the job. Second, your existing employees may know someone who might be interested.

Then go outside your own company to your colleagues in the industry to see if they know of anyone. Both of these steps shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, many companies look internally and use a recruiting firm at the same time. Why compete with the recruiter? That just wastes everyone's time including your own and duplicates work.

However, once you've taken these two steps, hiring a recruiting firm will be in your company's best interests.

Top Quality Candidates
With a recruiting firm you're going to get top quality candidates, the vast majority of which you would never find on your own. I had coined the phrase, hidden candidate market, which means that there are many good candidates who are currently working, but not actively seeking another job. These people are diligent, dedicated, hard working and the cream of the crop of each company. Sometimes they just need a little nudge from the recruiting firm telling them of this great opportunity.

Recruiters will bring those candidates to you. Companies that post jobs on the Internet will only get people who are actively seeking employment. Your company will be inundated with resumes. Certainly some are not bad people or unqualified for the job. However, that hidden market is waiting to be discovered.

Another benefit is that you might get some of the top people from a competitor. There's a double advantage there.

A Helping Hand
Recruiters also help move the process along, saving your company time and money. In addition to not losing top candidates, many companies are not familiar enough with the hiring processes. For instance, many don't know how to write professional offer letters or know how to negotiate properly with candidates. They'll negotiate on paper, which is exactly what a company shouldn't do. Always negotiate verbally and then confirm it on paper.

Recruiting firms also help with negotiations so no one gets offended. All too often when a company is working directly with the candidate, both sides neglect to ask for clarification or bring up sensitive subjects because they don't want to "rock the boat." Unfortunately, after the candidate is hired, both sides soon realize there is a problem that wasn't resolved.

Companies and candidates sometimes need an objective third party to deal with issues such as salary, relocation and job title. For example, a recruiter can tell both sides what is a competitive salary and what is not. If a company believes that a candidate is asking too much money, it's much easier to ask the recruiter if the amount is fair and competitive. Also, the company won't come off as the "bad guy" when a recruiter, rather than the company, tells the candidate that they are asking too much.

Save Time
One huge advantage in using a recruiting firm is that the hiring manager can continue to work instead of spending hours pouring through resumes, making calls and interviewing people that aren't qualified. A good recruiting firm will do all of that as well as providing you with just a handful of qualified candidates. It's safe to say a recruiter can find a person for your company in one tenth of the time it would take you.

Many recruiting firms will also guarantee the candidate for a set period of time. If you do make a bad hiring decision and realize it early on, then the recruiting firm will start the whole process again and replace that candidate for you.

An Industry Expert
A good recruiting firm can also serve as an industry expert as well as a valuable information source. They are already talking to your competitors and other companies within the industry so they understand the market as a whole. If you establish a good relationship with the recruiting firm, they're going to be a valuable asset even when you don't need to hire people.

Of course, you need to select and interview recruiting firms just like you'd interview a potential employee. You really do want your recruiting firm to be your partner.

As in every industry, there are good and bad recruiting firms. Not all will provide your company with all of these benefits. And, keep in mind, while they may be a great firm, if they specialize in the healthcare industry, what good will it do if you're in the security industry?

Tom Verzuh is president of SCW Consulting, Inc. An industry veteran for over 15 years, he has worked for some of the major CCTV and Access Control manufacturing companies in the Physical Security Industry. SCW Consulting, Inc. recruits and places candidates for mid to senior level positions within companies, both nationally and internationally.

Tom may be reached at 720-542-0500 ext. 12 or by e-mail at