Why would I use a recruitment agency when I can just do it myself??

Haven’t I heard that a few times! It’s true, you can recruit yourself – in the same way that I can do my own tax return, or sell my own house, or cut my own hair – you get the picture. We can all do these things without the help of a professional but will we really get the best result possible? [certainly not with the haircut!].

I’ve been thinking about this lately as I was recently spending my weekends going to open inspections. House after house, meeting agent after agent. Then I stumbled upon a house a couple of streets away which had a [DIY] ‘open’ sign out the front as the owners had decided to sell the house themselves. An interesting decision and one obviously motivated by the perceived financial savings. The house really wasn’t to my taste but when the owners asked me for feedback how could I tell them I didn’t like the decor or layout and felt that it was priced well above the market rate? I couldn’t!

So long story short, after seeing the house advertised week after week I noticed that they finally engaged a Real Estate professional and within a couple of weeks the house was under contract. So was this just good timing, or did it perhaps have something to do with the marketing of the house, the Agent’s local market knowledge, network of purchasers or their sales and negotiating expertise?

So back to recruitment land. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with ‘having a go’ at it yourself. Managers are generally more skilled in recruitment than they were previously, and a number of businesses now have dedicated Talent/Recruitment Manager’s. So with all this plus Seek [which 12-15 years ago was tipped to be the end of the Recruitment Consultant], how is it we still have a thriving recruitment industry in South Australia?

Here are my thoughts on why you might like to consider engaging a professional when you’re next recruiting;

1                      Our Networks

Seek is great. Seek is really great when the exact person you require for a role just happens to be looking on Seek at the same time you place your ad. Now in the last 12-18 months this has probably happened more frequently due to high unemployment and fewer permanent roles etc but now we’re seeing more and more clients coming to us because Seek isn’t delivering what they’re looking for.

Recruitment Consultants on the other hand are always searching for, and interviewing talented people, and us good ones [if I do say so myself] have kept in touch with people over the years and have built quite an impressive ‘bank’ of candidates. Plus when I think back to the last 10 or so placements our business has made, the vast majority are with people from our own networks and search methods.

2                     Expertise

Anyone who’s managed a recruitment process will know there’s a lot more involved than you often first think. Things like managing salary expectations vs salary being offered, ascertaining true level of skills vs a resume, effective reference checking, screening and interviewing [ever brought someone in for an interview and immediately knew it was a waste of time?] Getting each of these processes right every time is challenging and time consuming, but it’s also critical to a successful placement. However, when you’re doing this day in, day out you become quite attuned to the ‘red flags’ which could result in an offer being turned down or hiring someone who you quickly realise don’t have the required skills to fulfill the role.

There’s also the market knowledge we have from recruiting locally day in, day out across various role types. This just isn’t possible when you might recruit a role once every 6-12 months, and that’s not taking in to consideration the fact it might only be every 2-3 years for a finance, specialist or senior level role.

3                     Time Saving & Responsiveness

Recruitment is what we do. When you outsource a role to us, everything we do for that day/week/fortnight revolves around getting that job filled. Unlike you, who has to worry about what your staff are doing, what report your Manager wants, possibly manage end of month – all whilst trying to manage a recruitment process effectively.

4                     Brand Management

Part of our responsiveness also ties in with your employer brand and how your brand is perceived in the market. The candidate experience is more important now than ever. Everyone wants to work for an ‘Employer of Choice’ and people talk. The number of times I’ve had a candidate tell me about a negative experience they’ve had with x company – it’s often related to poor interviewing, lack of communication, insufficient information on a position and the list goes on.

But recruitment is SO expensive!! Yes, it was. I remember in 2005/2006 my employer put our permanent fees up to 18% [aah, the good old days], and that was just for standard office support placements. Executive level fees are a whole other story..

The good news is times have changed and some consultants, like Jo and I appreciate the value in placing reasonable fees on the work we do because our aim is to build long term relationships and gain repeat business and referrals.

But only big corporates with recruitment budgets use agencies and I work in a small business/Not for Profit. Not true! 80-90% of our clients are SME’s.

Still think you want to go it alone? I did too with our branding/marketing material in the early days [I’m all for saving a few $], but it didn’t take long for me to recognise that this just isn’t my space and I was spending way too much time on it rather than on my core focus and what I’m good at. So we bit the bullet and have now engaged marketing professionals to support us and they’ve been worth every cent!

So have a go at it yourself if you must but ask yourself this, do you really have the time to dedicate yourself to the process? are you confident in your ad writing, interviewing and negotiating skills? do you have strong networks in the space your recruiting in and a good understanding of the role? If so, great! but if you don’t get the result you’re after and would like some additional support talk to Jo and I and we would love to take that pesky job off your hands!


Written by Melanie Mansfield