Several weeks back, fellow ER Daily author Kevin Wheeler wrote an article entitled, Value and Frugality: The Do-It-Yourself Decade. In it, he argued that it made sense for firms looking to cut costs and improve productivity to stop relying on recruitment ad agencies and staffing firms and start performing some of these functions themselves. While reading Mr. Wheeler’s article, I was struck by a number of things, and in the spirit of debate, I felt the need to provide a different perspective*. The Case for Outsourcing Recruitment Advertising
“If you’re not great at it ó whatever it is ó stop doing it, or else outsource it to a vendor that is truly great. The financial reason is diversification of risk and cost. But there is a much more important reason: diversification of excellence.”
ó Bruce Tulgan, Winning the Talent Wars
Outsourcing in this sense simply means delegating areas in which your firm is not excellent. In other words, it is fiscally responsible to seek expert assistance. In doing so, you often save time and money by avoiding costly mistakes. Recruiters are asked to wear many hats, including public relations, sales, contract negotiation, mediator, sourcing specialist, consultant, and customer service. It is inconceivable that any one person can be qualified as an expert in every one of these areas. That’s why gaining the insight of experts can be invaluable, particularly in such lean times. Ad agencies, for example, can not only assist in negotiating the best rates with job boards (a service that costs your company nothing) they can also provide creativity, research, and experience to maximize the dollars that you spend to attract candidates from all media. In my experience in leading a staffing team, this alone was well worth the minimal cost, ultimately saving my company money. Recruiting Websites “If you build it they will come” does not necessarily apply to all company employment sites. While large, well-known organizations may have quite a bit of traffic to their website from which to draw, thousands of smaller organizations don’t share this luxury. If only a small percentage of individuals visiting a company’s websites click through to the employment section, are you really getting the quality and quantity that you seek? I’m not suggesting that the corporate website is not a viable candidate source, but I do think that attracting candidates needs to be a diversified effort. It takes targeted and well-executed initiatives to drive people to that site. Again, experts can help you optimize your efforts. Mr. Wheeler makes a valid point about the importance of understanding web design to developing an effective site, as this will help facilitate communication with experts. But just because you can draw the floor plans for a home, that doesn’t mean you can design, much less build, the most effective home. By seeking assistance from those with extensive experience in career website design, you will again optimize your time, efforts, and resources. Outside Staffing Firms While using contract recruiters may be a more cost-effective alternative to staffing firms at times, in my experience there are other alternatives that can are even more effective because they take advantage of a vendor’s economies of scale. Rather than bringing in an additional person to handle the full staffing lifecycle, why not evaluate your weaknesses and outsource that piece of the staffing cycle, a la Bruce Tulgan’s point? This could mean seeking assistance in response management, technology selection, metrics implementation and analysis, sourcing, or even events planning and coordination. In terms of an applicant tracking system, I have to agree that many organizations spent money unnecessarily on systems that were well beyond their needs. The right system can pay for itself. The trick is in choosing the best, most cost-effective system for your needs in belt-tightening times. While a Mercedes may look great and have impressive extras, if a Honda fits your needs and your budget, won’t it serve just as well? In today’s changing world, many industry vendors have evolved and continue to evolve to meet today’s needs. Many now provide much more well-rounded services, including process effectiveness consulting, response management, and specific experience and expertise in jobseeker habits. It may seem less expensive to do everything in-house, but inexperience can be quite costly. Of course, putting experts exclusively on your payroll is also very costly, indeed. But the fact is, true expertise, which can save a great deal more money than it costs, is available from third party vendors and consultants at a fraction of what it would cost you to go without or develop a process on your own. *As many of you may know, I work for Bernard Hodes Group. My intention in this article is not to promote or advertise its services, but rather to illustrate another point of view on the topic Mr. Wheeler discussed based on my own experiences as a staffing professional.