“We don’t need recruitment agencies”…blah blah blah….

ImageYep, that old chestnut again! I thought this debate had been put to bed some time ago. But, like my tip in last weekends big race, it is still running.

People…it’s not The Beatles v The Rolling Stones, Holden v Ford,  or Brittney v Whitney ….nor is it Cowboys and Indians and you are not ten years old anymore !

I think the large majority of people in the industry now understand the importance of both. That was certainly the message from some heads of internal recruitment at a LinkedIn event I attended a few weeks ago. They were keen to point out that, whilst they had built internal recruitment teams, their need to use agency recruiters was as great as ever, and that they spend as much on agencies as they ever have done. In their own words, internal recruiters simply don’t have the network that agency recruiters have. Considering this included Scott McDaid, Head of Resourcing for BP, (not exactly small fry in the corporate world) I think their sentiments should be valid to anyone.

But some people seem intent on continuing to argue that agencies are the Darth Vader to their Luke Skywalker, and they simply don’t need them. An article in Shortlist yesterday reported how Hilti has saved ‘around $1m in recruitment company fees over the past three years after bringing its hiring function in house’.  That might even be true, but the comments in the article by their head of HR Kellie Warta,  that  “Hilti avoids agency recruiters where possible” demonstrates a lack of understanding of the value of partnering with an agency…or, probably more accurately, that they have been using the wrong agencies.

For me, the premise that it has to be either “internal” or “agency” and that one is better than the other is the most misguided and uneducated view point anyone can take.  Similar to those that think all internal recruiters are just the ones who couldn’t make it in the agency world.

Anyone who really gets recruitment, regardless of whether they work internally or with an agency, understands that both models are necessary, and the best results are often achieved when you can combine both and make then work well together. Look at the growing RPO sector.

So anyone who is still peddling around the “us” and “them” argument and talking about “the other side” with the intense dislike normally found between die-hard supporters of rival footy clubs…all you are doing is showing how little you really know about recruitment.

 Like the person who produced this meme for example ….an ex agency recruiter who is now working internally and in doing so has apparently become the all powerful master (name has been blanked out)



Luke Collard


2 thoughts on ““We don’t need recruitment agencies”…blah blah blah….

  1. Jacob Sten Madsen on Reply

    Any good internal recruitment manager, talent acquisition leader or the like will know that great if possible to do away with external agents, but reality being that it is never the case. Even Microsoft having over 30 years perfected their hiring structures, systems and processes, known in corporate talent acquisition world to be darn good at what they do, and in many countries around the globe being a ‘talent magnet’ have at most managed to get their own direct hiring to around 85 to 90% leaving around 10-15% to external agents.
    So irrespective of what song anyone sings to be 100% self reliant may be the case, but very often and unofficially there is always at least 10% of roles lurking around for the taking of any good (and mind my word good, as there has to be very strong relevance and foundation in being considered) agent.

  2. Mitch Sullivan (@mitchsullivan) on Reply

    There’s nearly a 100% of roles available if agency recruiters quit chasing after the big boys and start selling a real recruitment service to SMEs, which is where the need is far greater.

    And ironically, where the work is far more interesting too.

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