Recruiters are too expensive! Or are they?

If you think it 's expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur

There have been two articles these past few weeks which prompted this post;  one came into our email from Imriel Morgan at Talent Puzzle, referring to the fact that “Recruitment agencies can actually save you money!”(yes, you did read that correctly). Imriel, went on to say that “Having GOOD agencies in your arsenal can decrease the time it takes to hire by up to 2 weeks, a figure taken from writer, Jason Collings article ‘The True Cost of Recruitment’For anyone contemplating their recruitment budget and plan to hire strategies, we would definitely recommend a read.

The second came via a post from Lisa Jones at Barclay Jones ‘ I don’t need a recruiter (plus they cost too much)’

Lisa asked why it is that at a children’s Saturday football match, it was Lisa that was explaining why recruiters exist and that many of us (recruitment consultants), do not explain what we do well enough to help our potential customers, advocates and blockers, to give them more reasons as to why they need to use us:

So taking Lisa’s advice, here are some reasons why we think you should consider using a recruitment specialist to help you in your next hire and why we feel that recruiters are not only worth their fee but maybe a bit more too:

There is no doubt that recruitment is changing and recruitment consultants need to change too. As technology, organisations and the recruitment industry continue to evolve at a rapid pace of knots, the role of the generalist recruiter; who recruits all things for you, working in the same way that the industry has worked for the last 10, or 20 years, is unlikely to survive. We also accept that every company can hire some, if not a lot of their own staff, especially if they have a well thought out, planned recruitment strategy and fall-back position, but we do not believe that every company can hire every role, without the help of a Recruitment Specialist.

Recruitment Specialists: You may have seen a previous post from ourselves; When is a recruitment specialist not a specialist. Specialist recruiters are just that, they specialise in a particular market place, or industry and should have the knowledge, skill and expertise required to advise and deliver recruitment services and solutions in that space.

Our current team have over 80 years recruitment experience between them, with over 20 years specifically recruiting for the Customer Contact industry (our specialist market).  Some of our staff have even worked in the Customer Contact industry as Managers and Agents themselves.  At any given time, our team are hiring an average of 30 live roles (it can often be more), all within the Customer Contact industry and at a Managerial, or Executive level.  This means our network and community are both far-reaching and substantial.

If we try to visualise recruitment talent pools you would find the specialist recruiters positioned around this pool with a number of channels and streams linking to it.  The Recruiters Douglas Jackson Recruitment Talent Poolsshould be casting their net; creating connections and making contacts, within this pool, many times a day, every day, every week and every year.  The average Hiring Manager, or Internal Recruiter may also come to this pool but they may only cast their net in this particular area a few times a year.

Even if your business is hiring continuously, you will probably be working across many other recruitment pools, across various disciplines; Finance, HR, Sales, IT, Marketing, Engineering, Risk, Legal, Insurance, Procurement, Administration etc.  As everyone knows, the more research and work you do in an area, the deeper your understanding is and the more knowledgeable you become, this is what happens with specialists and subject matter experts. As we recruit more in this area than many organisations will, we can delve much deeper and uncover much more, where a good number of recruitment campaigns might only just scratch, or catch, what is at the surface.  Yes, everyone will see and find talent and information which looks suitable for the position but how do you know that the individual is the best available on the market, how will you have benchmarked them against the competition?

Traditional Candidate Attraction – The Short-List and Benchmarking:

For traditional searches and recruitment campaigns, each role we search, or, are asked to partner with an organisation on, we should immediately know a number of potential individuals who spring to mind and of course we will contact them but it is never as simple as this.  The role may not suit them, they may be priced out of the search, may not be interested, or, they may just not be the best available for this role!.  To complete a thorough search, recruiters should have a number of tools and channels at their disposal and be using each and every one of these to take a long-list of potentials, to a short-list of credible, skilled, interested parties:

  • A database: We know that the recruiters database is no longer the holy grail but databases still remain an invaluable source of data, insight and analytics, not forgetting a must have tool to retain contact with your industry network and connections. A database is only ever as good as the information and insight gathered and it is a full-time job trying to stay in contact and gather updates and contact with the potential talent within. Good specialist recruiters know that at some point almost everyone within their database will be open to considering a new role. By tracking the careers of the individuals their clients may want to hire, recruiters have historical, as well as recent information, allowing them better information and knowledge to identify and also verify a larger number of individuals and their skills. Would this insight and previous knowledge of your applicants be useful to you?
  • Relationships: One of the major differentiators between an in-house ATS, LinkedIn, or, similar and a good recruiter with their database/ network, are relationships.  Relationships will be built with individuals and trusted relationships are forged over time.  These on-going relationships and history of good contact, which recruiters should have with their communities, might just be the difference your business needs to engage with that one individual for your next critical hire. With your competitors possibly chasing the same talented individuals, an ever-increasing number of roles advertised and more internal recruiters reaching out to individuals directly, how will your business be sure to be represented, or find this talent? and what if individuals start removing their details from boards like LinkedIn, due to the volume of contacts they may soon be getting?.
  • Their Community; Proactive marketing, industry contact recommendation, referrals and social communities can produce anything from a few (to the most specialist, or, emerging roles) to over 200 additional applications (our highest response for a £150,000 + Director level appointment promoted earlier this year). Do you know how you will handle a similar response, deliver a good candidate experience, whilst not losing the best individuals in this search in the meantime?

All of the above present different resource challenges but for a recruiter whilst we are consulting on each position, we are continually benchmarking our industry, your competitors and the skills available in the market so that we know what good looks like’.  To deliver all of the above and more, it does take time.

The Time to Hire:                           

Even for the very best Recruiters or Resourcers who have the knowledge of where to find the skills, as well as the ability to engage with these talented What is your Time to Hire and the cost of Time in Recruitmentprofessionals, the time to effectively source and select the best, experienced professionals can be the biggest challenge.  In our experience, this is where many organisations struggle the most.

It is easy to lose a day or more, on LinkedIn when searching out talent for a new role. Advert responses can take days to sort through and following up, or, trying to make contact with talented individuals takes many days more.  When there are limited skills or individuals suitable for your next hire, automated alerts and systems just don’t cut it! Do you have the resources and more importantly the time to really do a great recruitment campaign?

Even if you have the time, time costs money too. Referring back to Jason Collings article; Jason estimates that assuming an average (hiring) managers salary is £65,000 the cost of management time at, 10 days per hire and including productivity loss, then this would equate to a time to hire cost of £10,400 and that is if you get it right first time.

How many times have you had to revisit the recruitment campaign due to a failed initial search, or unsuccessful advertisement? Have you ever had an offer rejected, or has your new employee been counter offered when handing in their notice?  Has your new recruit been offered a better job elsewhere, worst still, did you manage to hire, only for the person to leave within the first 6 months or so? 

Unlike other professions; lawyers and accountants for instance, even retained recruitment assignments are not charged at an hourly rate. Recruiter fees are a flat % of the remuneration offered.  Regardless of the time to hire your recruiter’s fee remains the same.

No matter how much time we spend working with you to secure your successful hire and for some campaigns, this has been known to take 6-9 months of ongoing commitment to finding the ‘right person’, the recruiters fee will not change.  This is why we still work with many UK and globally leading organisations, who call on us to support them for key hires, despite them having large teams of internal recruiters and resourcers as well.  A good recruiter can save you time and money, as well as adding value to your recruitment process.

The Future of Recruitment:

As mentioned earlier, we believe and have started to see, that for good recruiters, fees will increase and recruiters will actually be paid more. In the future, the ability of recruiters toThe Future of Recruitment Douglas Jackson Cost Effective Recruitment attract and bring to the hiring table specialist skills and talented, experienced individuals, that you cannot find yourself, will be what sets Recruitment Consultants apart.  We believe that this is where you will pay more to work with those recruiters and incentivise those recruiters to work for you. Here at Douglas Jackson we have already seen some examples of this with some recent recruitment assignments.

A growing economy, higher demand, increased expectations, continued business advancements and emerging roles have all contributed to the fact that global talent shortages are being projected across industries.  The challenge for organisations to attract the very best of talent goes on; those  recruiters who can evolve and build engaged, trusted relationships with their talent communities so they can continue to deliver the required skills and experience required, will earn and be worth their fee and maybe a bit more too…

What do you think, do you believe recruiters are too expensive, or has a recruiter added value to your business and operation? Do let us know by commenting here.

If you would like to talk to Douglas Jackson and find out what we could do for you, please contact us on email; Tel: 0845 620 9720, or visit us at

About Douglas Jackson Diverse Impactful Leadership

A high-end retained executive search firm exclusively focused on consumer centric business, delivering high performance, diverse, impactful leadership. Top CEO/C-Suite, Board Executive Search – Inclusion/Diversity for Digitally Native Brands E-Commerce, Insuretech, Fintech, Fast Growth and Transformation. Operations, Revenue, Product, Digital, Data, Customer, Strategy, Planning. What challenges, or goals do you have right now? Talent is everything. The talent you surround yourself with is everything. The talent that leads your business and your people is everything. High performance talent is what makes you and your business exceptional/extraordinary… When Exceptional Leadership Matters...A brand you can trust. A truly consultative approach. Dedicated to working in partnership to achieve the right outcome.
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3 Responses to Recruiters are too expensive! Or are they?

  1. Good article.

    All of the activities you refer to are of course what a full delivery recruitment service should contain – but they don’t apply to the vast majority of recruitment agencies, who rarely, if ever, utilise all of those channels or any vacancy. That’s because most agencies work on contingency and to run real recruitment campaigns on contingency is simple commercial suicide.

    I’m assuming most of what you do isn’t contingency, right?


    • Hello Mitch, glad you like the article and thank you for your comments/question.

      We do retained work but it is not all that we do and we certainly do our fair share of contingency.

      We don’t work the volume contingency model, our consultants probably have between 1-2 new jobs a week each on average, so we do have the time to look at the delivery across all channels and because of this our conversions are higher than the industry average. Where we don’t get retained, we get a high level of exclusive business which does work very well for us. Of course, we still get the customers who work with more than one agency and give very little commitment, as you know and point out, these can be hard to deliver a great full service too but we do let them know what to expect and try to educate them for next time, even occasionally these can become recruitment gold, if the competition loses interest and the roles remain unfilled.
      Thanks again for your comments and I hope that answers your question?


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