[PODCAST] Is Working with a 3rd Party Recruiter Worth It?

From the C-Suite to the front line, finding workers is more challenging than ever. HR departments are stretched thin and many recruiters have never experienced a labor market like this. In the past, companies contracted with executive recruiters, or “headhunters”,and staffing firms for associate roles when in-house recruiters couldn’t keep up. Today, everyone from HR consultants to HR technology are promising to fill open positions faster.  Third-party recruiting has become a burgeoning industry. But is working with a 3rd party recruiter worth it?


If the answer is yes, when is the right time to hire a recruiter and what are reasonable expectations? As more and more companies turn to search firms, staffing and independent consultants, we took the opportunity in this week’s episode of Geeks Geezers and Googlization to ask those questions (and many more) to veteran recruiter Hugh Gallagher from The Gallagher Group. Listen while we go behind the scenes with Hugh, exploring what employers should expect and how they can be better prepared.

The biggest change that Hugh has seen since he started working as a recruiter? “The Internet,” Hugh answers without hesitation. In the beginning, “we used fax or physical mail.” He recalls learning the ins and outs of the business from people that would physically carry a resume across town to a candidate simply to beat their competitors to the punch. 

This pace of change and evolution of technology is just one of the reasons why 3rd party recruiters are in such high demand. While most organizations have some internal recruiting process, they typically only hire when a job opens up. For example, let’s say the IT tech you hired 5 years ago resigns. It’s likely your internal recruiter is then out of touch with the supply and demand of IT techs in the current market. A third party recruiter specializing in technology, however, constantly has his (or her) pulse on the market. He’s building his network, keeping up with compensation demands, and staying current with trends.

But outsourced recruiters don’t only help find someone who can do the job for what you’re willing to pay them. They often must persuade and negotiate with the candidate leave their current employer. That’s a huge challenge and one that many HR employees aren’t skilled at doing or comfortable with. Whether on your payroll or contracted independently, recruiters need to be able to source, woo, attract, and engage passive candidates …and they need to do each function well.

So how does Hugh, like so many other recruiters, help employers? He starts by asking them to describe why someone that’s currently employed at a competitor might want to quit his job and work for them. This lead Hugh to plan a custom marketing strategy and incentive plan to get candidates to pick up the phone or return his text and email.

The employer-driven labor is over. We’ve started a new chapter in recruitment. Skilled workers are now in charge of where, when, and how they work. This shift evolved much faster and more extreme than most companies acknowledged or responded. The labor gap blew open the door for third party recruiters to enter. But recruiters don’t have secret “people tree farms” from which they can harvest top talent either. It takes a special skill so it’s critical that employers vet and select recruiters judiciously. Not all recruiters are created equal. “Do your due diligence,” Hugh warns, “for the best return on your investment.”

One final word of advice from Hugh: “When a recruiter introduces a candidate to you, act quickly! Top talent doesn’t stick around long. And even delays between interview and the job offer could mean the difference between hiring a top performer or going back to the drawing board.”

You can learn more about Hugh Gallagher on his website or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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