Home Management Internal Recruiter, Search Firm, or Both – Who should I hire?
Internal Recruiter, Search Firm, or Both – Who should I hire?

Internal Recruiter, Search Firm, or Both – Who should I hire?


By Vincent Scaramuzzo, President, Ed-Exec, Inc.

Recently I have fielded calls from potential clients that have a lot of lower-level positions to fill.

These are typically $40-$60K entry-level roles, such as Admissions Advisors, that need to happen in bulk (10-20 hires).

These hiring managers are struggling to decide if they need to hire us, an Internal Recruiter for their team or both.

It is a great question and it depends on the situation – not one answer fits all. Typically, most organizations won’t need to reach out to an education search firm like Ed-Exec, Inc. to fill positions at this level. But there have been some unique circumstances that have caused our phones to ring with desperate hiring managers during the 4th quarter of 2019. What is going on?

  • The economy is the largest driver. According to the Labor Department, unemployment hit a fresh 50-year low in September – as the economy nears full employment. The jobless rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.5%, matching a level it last saw in December 1969. Workers in this salary range have numerous job choices across multiple industries to choose from.
  • Growth. The same great economy is causing businesses to boom – they are scaling at a rapid pace. Many of our clients are reporting increases over last year, especially in high demand programs such as nursing. Hiring one or two people per quarter is manageable, hiring 10-20 is a real challenge. They need more people in a shorter amount of time.

What is the best way to fill these vacancies? Should organizations expand their internal recruiting team or hire education recruiters to help?

Expanding your internal recruiting team:

  • This is a great option if you expect your hiring demand to continue long term. However, if you don’t expect this to continue for a few years the return on investment is not likely there. Some other things to consider:
    • There is a ramp up time for hiring new Internal Talent Acquisition Professionals. As a result, it’s unlikely to yield results for 4-8 weeks so if you need these positions filled yesterday – this won’t help.
    • There are hidden costs. Not only will you have to invest the salary for this new FTE, but start-up costs such as insurance, equipment, and training are all significant.
    • I think the most important thing to remember is Internal Talent Acquisition Professionals are not Education Recruiters. They can be fantastic for processing postings, and screening of resumes. Some of them can even do some “soft recruiting” if time permits via LinkedIn and other social media – BUT – they are not Education Headhunters. If they were, they would be working for a firm making six figures a year, working from wherever, whenever, and in their pajamas, if they wanted to. This economy has created a “Golden Era” for the search industry not seen since the late 90’s. Someone of that caliber is probably not taking a $50K talent acquisition job.

Using a search firm:

  • This option is usually not viable long term – or for every position – unless your organization’s growth is just unprecedented. At some point it can become cost prohibitive.
  • Using a firm is very valuable for getting organizations over a “growth hurdle” and of course for targeting specific higher education roles for your organization.
  • The fees associated with a firm handling a quick burst of hiring may seem excessive at first, but you must consider:
    • The immediate return on investment from making these hires in weeks not months.
    • No fixed cost of a new FTE and all their associated costs.
    • Ability to access candidates who are not responding to job postings or social media requests.

Using both:

  • Often hiring both is the best option. A great search firm partner can get you over the immediate hiring hurdle while adding another Internal Recruiter can help cover the long-term need.

Which option works best for you? Only you can tell. One call I had this week resulted in us handling the hiring for the rapid expansion of a team. They need people producing now and don’t have months to spare or they will have to turn down new business.

A second organization had more time to spare – the hires were not impeding new business today, so I recommended they expand their internal talent acquisition team and we are helping to find that person.

Either way this economy is causing organizations to decide if they should hire an internal recruiter, search firm, or both. Need some help deciding – give me a call – let’s discuss.

Vincent Scaramuzzo

VINCENT SCARAMUZZO is the President of Ed-Exec, Inc. A leading Education Executive Search Firm. He is also a contributing author to various education publications. As a specialist in the education field for over a decade, Scaramuzzo works nationally. He can be contacted at vincent@ed-exec.com or at 860-781-7641.

Contact Information: Vincent Scaramuzzo // President // Ed-Exec, Inc. // 860-781-7641 // vincent@ed-exec.com // http://www.ed-exec.com/



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