Recruitment agencies; super agency or a select group of specialists?

  20th October 2010      
 Company News

The new government foresees recruitment gearing up in the private sector to pick up the slack in the public sector; the question is how to keep recruiting costs low when budgets are on the brain?  Is hiring a group of select specialists with intimate knowledge of specific markets the most effective method or should you hand over the recruitment to one super agency, able to cross-sell an array of skills and resources?

With HR budgets under pressure, more organisations are starting to rely on a single consultancy to fulfil all their recruitment needs and provide the best return on investment.  The market has experienced significant growth over the past two years as big employers outsource recruitment in order to cut costs and boost efficiency.  Consolidating spend into fewer suppliers achieves savings in time and cost however selecting the right recruiting partners is essential.

Arguments used by super agencies are that they are well placed to understand a client’s total needs, including its strategic objectives, branding and culture.  Claiming the advantage of dealing with a large agency is its competitive rates; the agency will know the organisation well due to a considerable amount of time spent on one client, building up strong relationships and knowledge, making it capable to match the organisations requirements to the candidates.  Small, specialist agencies carry these benefits of a super agency however specialising in specific recruitment areas allows them to have the advantage to be individually aligned with a particular department.

Alan Cairns, HR director of states that “one of the strengths of a specialist boutique is in its niche branding, which may be stronger than the clients in attracting the right applicants”.   Cairn adds “Let’s say I need expert in SAS technology, a specialist field where most people are found in banks and financial services.  There are few agencies who know where to find these people and, as importantly, have the brand power to attract them.  The candidate we’re looking for is more likely to take a call from a top three specialist than a top three generalist.”

Using a cross-selling agency does not necessarily mean you will be recruiting the best, if your an agency managing all departments requiring recruitment then there will be a lack of specialisation in each department.  Small consultancies are as much about the individual as the brand with the connections and network to find the best person for the job.  They find the exact individuals for roles by a better understanding of niche markets, and in consistency of contact by having less staff turnover.

Specialist agencies spend time going out to local chamber of commerce meetings, reading the weekly paper and watching developments around them; the sort of knowledge which is priceless.  For example small agencies have the ability to understand that someone who might fit into the culture of a business consultancy in London wouldn’t be the right person for one in Cornwall.

Here at Bond Williams we are proud to fall in the specialist recruitment agency category.  We only recruit in the following areas; HR, Sales & Marketing, Support Services, Financial Services, REC-2-REC, so are able to build strong relationships with clients and candidates alike.

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