Let's not start World War 3 here - but I kind of want to debate this a little and draw out things I'm not necessarily aware of. I've done my time in agency, RPO and corporate recruitment, and can confidently say I have the same skills and experience as the average agency recruiter today.

So why use a recruitment agency?  I can think of a few scenarios that fall into three main categories:

  • Specialised networks - those agencies that have a network of niche professionals so well hidden, I can't find them through thorough Boolean search of social media profiles. (say what.. people without a trace of online career history??) These might be built from talent events etc
  • Time / The luxury of time I don't have.  In corporate recruiting I've had anywhere from 2 to 25 jobs at a given time.  (In agency, I could pick and choose the roles I wanted to work on and could dedicate days or even weeks to sourcing a particular role) Whereas now I need to provide great service to all roles all the time.
  • Agencies may be able to advocate in the case of a poor employer brand.

That's it - three categories - what am I missing?  I'm not unusual to my corporate recruiting colleagues, they too have time pressures, the same employer brand (which happens to be pretty strong) and most of them are skilled in sourcing and approaching passive or hidden talent. 

Most of the agencies I've dealt with since moving to RPO and then in-house, have been pretty difficult to deal with - they bypass me to get to the manager, over-inflate the service they provide to the business and have poor relationship management skills.  There are a handful that are of course nothing like this and they do a brilliant job, but mainly it's more of a struggle to partner with an agency, than spend a few extra after hours sourcing candidates myself.

Thoughts?

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I think it depends on why you are using them at all.  You obviously have a program in place to deal with them (contract houses/temp companies), so why are those in place?

Next question would be, are they fulfilling those goals for you?  Get rid of the difficult ones, and focus on the ones you said do a brilliant job.  If they make your job easier (in the long run, I don't mean so you get to take a long lunch), then keep using them. If they complicate things for you (like it sounds like some do), don't use them.

We work primarily with companies who don't have internal recruiting staff.  This allows our clients to benefit from our expertise in recruiting and not just take whoever applies from a posting.  I don't know if that answers your question or not, but just my initial two cents. 

Why are there more reasons needed? Any or all of these are exactly why clients turn to us - those with and without internal recruiters.I think it's more about the last part of your post:

Most of the agencies I've dealt with since moving to RPO and then in-house, have been pretty difficult to deal with - they bypass me to get to the manager, over-inflate the service they provide to the business and have poor relationship management skills.  There are a handful that are of course nothing like this and they do a brilliant job, but mainly it's more of a struggle to partner with an agency, than spend a few extra after hours sourcing candidates myself.


Work with recruiters who help you meet your goals, and not the rest. But as you're obviously well aware, to really be effective a recruiter needs to have a detailed grasp about the positions. I would never think of going around anyone that was providing that. If it's not provided to me from the person a client wants me to work through, the client gets the option of coming up with another process or finding a different recruiter. None of us win if it's just a contest of "I'm a better recruiter than you." 

Sounds like you have some great partners to work with, just stick with them and cut the others loose!

I will leverage recruiting agencies on occasion when I don't have the bandwidth. We are a team that runs lean, and at times, just don't have the bandwidth to attack dozens of positions at once and give each one the love and care that they need. In those times I'll utilize a few agencies to take one or two off of our hands so we can allocate our time on others.  This probably falls somewhere in your "luxury of time" category.

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