Business growth means employment, and recruitment agencies promise to make this difficult (especially in IT) process painless. In most cases - it is actually possible. In order to bring you closer to the realities of working with agencies, we present the most important pros, cons and question marks that you should take into account before starting such cooperation.

Recruitment is a difficult process - it requires careful balancing of often conflicting interests. If conducted without adequate knowledge and tools, and with the wrong approach, it can suck energy and time (read: money) from organizations of any scale. Extremely difficult positions to fill, clients unaware of the realities of the market, problematic candidates - the stories of our consultants and recruiters are full of obstacles that would effectively make life difficult for most HR departments. The market is unforgiving - once a company's reputation as an employer is weakened, it may not be rebuilt for years.

All these factors take on additional importance in the IT environment, where the competition for talent can be extreme, and the best specialists often do not want to change jobs. At Bee Talents, we do not work with everyone - our services are not an ideal solution for every company. As an IT recruitment agency, we try to be radically honest with clients. Especially when their ideas about the market and their expectations differ from what results from our expertise.

We also have to deal with quite legitimate objections to working with recruitment agencies. Fortunately, our success is a testament to the fact that we deliver value to our clients where it is extremely difficult using only internal resources. That's why I'm going to explain briefly when working with a recruitment agency makes sense and when - not so much!

Hey, I already have an HR department!

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether the recruitment agency will not be redundant because of my internal HR department. Does the external company have specific expertise, tools and skills that are difficult to access internally? Trying to solve a business problem using the resources you already have is a very good instinct. Unfortunately, we often encounter excessive expectations towards internal HR on the part of managers. After all, HR is not just about recruiting.

The skill set that characterizes a good company HR specialist is not the same set that you need from a specialized recruiter. Most of HR's daily tasks are not related to designing the recruitment process, conducting sourcing and finally screening of candidates. The reasons why narrow specialization is so valued by employers are obvious. This is the advantage of a professional recruiter, i.e. a position/profession that we usually find only in really large organizations. Recruitment isn't magic - it's a very specific set of skills. Recruiters work for years for a good image and respect of candidates, they have their own networks and developed personal relationships.

If you think that this can be replaced by a quick search on LinkedIn - you are sorely mistaken! To this should be added a layer of tools, because every Bee Talents recruiter works on software, investing in which would be completely pointless for companies employing even several dozen people a year. That's why we don't take knives to a shootout - but decent rifles. All recruiters work from their own LinkedIn RPS (corporate recruitment solution) accounts. These solutions can cost as much as the quarterly salary of a good HR professional. Similarly with ATS (Applicant Tracking System), such as our favorite Lever. Such improvements lurk at every step of the recruitment process, and the solutions we use definitely exceed the market standard.

It is always worth asking the agency about the details of its work, because it is still not difficult to find a company that, despite the watchful eye of the GDPR gods, still keeps a list of candidates in Excel.

I have no time

Using IT recruitment agencies has a few more potential advantages. Paradoxically, it is the price. I understand perfectly well why internal calculations can show recruitment conducted by the company itself through rose-colored glasses. It's hard to be surprised - such calculations can avoid key costs.

Theoretically, the only price you have to pay may be, for example, the purchase of advertisements. But this is where the possible problems begin. First of all, an HR specialist, even an experienced one, does not even have to be a good recruiter. Armed with the best tools, years of experience and knowledge of the specific field in which the recruitment is conducted, agency recruiters are simply more effective. Each step in the process is either slower or less precise. This leads to three risks.

Firstly, it is more difficult to accurately measure the effectiveness of the entire recruitment process. The process takes longer, so employees spend less time on their duties closer to business. Finally, we are an agency recruiting mainly IT specialists. We speak their language, we know the technologies, we know how to talk about them. It's hard to ask the same from a general HR specialist. Our recruiters are not programmers - in the sense that they don't sit in the console all day and complain about prolonged daily - but they regularly receive expert education. Thanks to this, they know how to talk to specialists about their field and how to measure their efficiency. Programming language workshops or studying tech stacks are useful when you need to connect a specific candidate with a given position.

If you are not willing to invest to have this knowledge inside the organization, do not be under the illusion that the team will somehow acquire it there. He won't even have time for that.

The devil is in the details

There is also another layer of knowledge that is usually inaccessible to the classic in-house HR. Recruiters know perfectly well how best to advertise a given position, and where to do it to achieve the best results. After all, after years of recruiting, for example, Java developers, they know the profile of candidates, they know how these candidates move online and how to provide them with information about this job in an accessible way. Our recruiters are also helped by the marketing team, giving our activities a wider range.

To sum up, in order to compete with us, an internal HR specialist would have to have at least: knowledge about recruitment, knowledge about sourcing, good knowledge of the IT industry and the basics of online marketing. All this, of course, must be done in parallel with the standard workload. This is an unrealistic expectation. Its final phase is the disappointment that the company has few applications - and even less valuable ones.

What to do if candidates simply do not come across advertisements that are not very precise, placed in places they do not frequent? In this difficult reality, recruitment often falls on the shoulders of CEOs or CTOs, whose time should be treated as gold. And unfortunately, time is essential for a good recruitment process. Time is the currency to pay for valuable, deep candidate interactions with your brand. These interactions, in turn, build the strength of our brand, respect and trust, which pay off.

Best recruiting practices pay off

When overworked (or not applying modern practices) HR does not write back to the candidate within the promised period, does not call the candidate back, or does not provide valuable feedback - your company loses. By taking care of all the most important aspects of communication with the candidate, recruitment agencies allow organizations to take care of PR without huge time investments.

At Bee Talents, for example, we do not participate in secret recruitments - we always suggest publishing the exact salary ranges that candidates simply expect. Keeping the cards face down in the hope that the knowledge disparity between the parties will cause the candidate to accept a lower pay is not a great business practice . Concerns that a public promise of a certain wage will cause dissatisfaction with existing employees who are paid differently, for example, is a result of previously adopted management strategies and a lack of transparency in the company. 

This is just one way in which external agencies can be the spur that management needs to get rid of outdated practices that are a burden for both recruitment and business.

Cultural mishaps

If I were to name the biggest disadvantage of working with an IT recruitment agency (and others), it would be the culture . Each company is a unique environment, and a candidate who is perfect on paper does not necessarily have to be a perfect co-worker in reality. Cultural fit must be taken seriously, so no agency should ever operate with the impression that they understand the frequency on which the team is broadcasting as much as an insider. However, she should ask a lot of questions from the very beginning of cooperation! It is worth paying attention to whether these first steps are carried out carefully and thoroughly, and whether the agency is responsive to feedback regarding the first group of submitted candidates.

Unethical players exist in every market, which is why some agencies push clients with poorly matched candidates only for short-term success. As a security, Bee Talents offers a guarantee for its services if the candidate fails! To make sure that the agency is professional, ask for direct contact with its clients in a similar industry.

IT recruitment agency - summary

There are dozens of companies that would not be successful without recruitment agencies. Others, on the other hand, spent too much money on them, too quickly. Our results (customer satisfaction and continuous growth) suggest that there is a need for empathetic, transparent and expert recruitment services. One thing is for sure - using external recruitment agencies is an important decision for a growing company, so think it over carefully. After all, recruitment decisions are to be or not to be for your company.