Would you extract your own teeth with a garden tool? Would you legally represent yourself at a trial? Would you operate on your dog because you learned how to dissect a frog in biology 15 years ago and, hey, Fido will probably be just fine?
If you answered yes to any of these questions and are not a qualified dentist, lawyer, or vet, then you, my friend, have delusions of grandeur and I am calling the SPCA immediately.
If, like most people, you tend to hire professionals for these tasks, then you likely understand dentistry, law, and veterinary medicine are, in fact, professions. People have dedicated their lives to studying and practicing these fields; they have years of experience and earn their living doing these jobs every day. Of course you should call one of them instead of trying to do it yourself.
The same idea should apply to working with recruiters — and yet, people frequently ask me why anyone would bother hiring a recruiter when they could find and hire candidates themselves.
Here’s a relevant anecdote: I understand what “credit” and “debit” mean, but I could not adequately reconcile my bank statements or submit relevant documents correctly in time for an audit. That’s why I pay an accountant to manage my books.
After working with me for several years, my accountant recently approached me for help finding an accountant for his growing firm. To be honest, I was surprised he hadn’t approached me sooner. When I asked him why he hadn’t, he said he had spent countless hours looking on his own and hadn’t been very successful. After paying for advertising, sifting through countless resumes, interviewing candidates, and even making an offer to a candidate who didn’t accept, he decided to call on me.
One week later, an accountant was sourced, interviewed, and submitted. I am pleased to report she is still happily employed and now handles my books.
My advice to my accountant was to stick to accounting and let me handle recruitment. After all, there is room enough in this world for both of us to do what we do best.
Still not convinced? Here are five reasons to let a professional recruiter handle your hiring:
1. Their Network Is Better Than Yours
Recruiters have the tools, know-how, and networks to surface candidate you couldn’t. Through the years, a recruiter will amass a database of talented candidates, so they’ll have an abundance of relevant profiles at their fingertips for your open role. Recruiters are always working to build and maintain these pipelines, whether by connecting with candidates on social media or attending job fairs to meet new job seekers in person.
If you think LinkedIn will answer your recruitment prayers, it won’t. LinkedIn makes candidates more accessible to everyone, but few people really know how to use LinkedIn properly to source new talent. Unless you know how to use LinkedIn effectively, it can quickly become an endless maze of profiles, leading your search nowhere. It takes time to build a rapport with candidates on LinkedIn; can you really afford to spend countless hours reaching out to candidates and waiting for responses? Leave it to a recruiter who knows how to get results on the platform.
2. They Know How to Attract Talent
Recruiters understand candidates’ motivations and what makes them move. They know how to analyze a job seeker’s profile and read between the lines. By looking at timelines, job histories, and current market trends, a recruiter can predict whether a candidate is really motivated to move. This allows a recruiter to target their efforts toward job seekers who are likely to be interested, rather than wasting time with candidates who don’t want the job.
3. They Save You Time, and Time Is Money
Searching for candidates takes time, and time is money. Is it wise to distract your company’s managers and leaders with this function? Do you really want senior managers scouring Facebook and LinkedIn for candidates instead of focusing on their core responsibilities?
Your managers should be leading the strategy of your company and managing processes and people, not spending endless hours reaching out to potential employees. Your financial manager might know how to make a really good cup of coffee, but would you insist they make coffee at a meeting with international clients? Is that how you would want them to allocate their time?
Perhaps you have an in-house HR manager and feel they should handle recruiting. However, chances are your HR manager must also juggle budgets, strategy, performance appraisals, and coaching. Recruiting is not the only function of HR, and it therefore cannot always be a priority. Recruiters focus only on recruitment and have the ability and time to dig deep and find those hard-to-reach candidates.
4. They Have Market Knowledge
Recruiters speak to employers and employees all day, every day. This is how they earn their keep. As a result, they have unparalleled knowledge of the market. They can help you define your vacancy; fine-tune your search; and even advise you on salary, benefits, and what your competitors are offering.
5. They (Kind of) Work for Free
Accountants and lawyers bill for every hour of their time, but recruiters only charge for success.
Recruiters guarantee their work, even though they have little control over what you do to ensure the success of their placement. They dedicate man-hours to your searches and pay money to advertise your roles — even if you end up deciding to fill the role internally or close the position at the last minute.
A recruiter has no control over what happens once a candidate is hired, and yet, if the candidate leaves or is fired, a recruiter will often give the employer money back or find a replacement candidate for free. When was the last time you bought a car, drove it for two months, and then got a free replacement?
If you are confident you can attract the best candidates using your limited LinkedIn skills or have an HR manager who can dedicate every hour of their day to sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates, then good for you! Maybe you should open a recruitment agency.
If not, save yourself the time and money. Focus on growing your business while the recruiter focuses on growing your team.
Maria Titan is the cofounder of WorkForce Cyprus.