When recruiting as an SME, should you utilise your internal team or engage with an agency?

This is an age-old question with no definitive, or even correct, answer. Choosing the right option can be an arduous and often thankless task, so knowing the advantages that each has to offer can be very helpful. Some companies have a blanket approach for all roles, whereas others will take each role on a case by case basis.

Whatever your approach, you should consider the following points and decide what is best for you and your business:



External – Recruitment Agency 

Full control – you will have oversight and control over all communication in and out of the organisation, thus protecting your brand

Time to hire is generally quicker 
 Unless you have an A* internal talent team, specialist agencies will be more likely to have immediate access to candidates

Lower cost compared to agency fee’s 
No large fees based on a percentage of salary. Although if your processes are inefficient you may end up spending a lot of time, which we all know costs money!

Better equipped to fill niche roles  Most agencies/ consultants now specialise in a ‘niche’, meaning they have a better network and understanding of how to fill those difficult roles

You know the business! – You know the company better than any external party ever can, meaning you are best placed to identify talent and sell the company

Saves you time – Line managers/ senior management can focus on their ‘day job’, without having to run recruitment campaigns

You don’t have anything at stake! 
You have nothing to gain (financially or otherwise) with individual candidates, just the desire to hire the best person for the job

Highly motivated to fill your role 
Financial gain means higher motivation; however, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee a quality placement… Never forget that the recruiter has a lot at stake when they recommend who you should hire…

Talent Pools – You are free to create talent pools to hire from in the future, with no extra associated costs

‘Free’ Screening – Part of the agency process is to screen/ ‘qualify’ potential candidates, which is very time consuming

Candidate Experience – If you have your ducks in line, candidate experience will be far more positive without the influence of an external party


Full Candidate Access – You will see every candidate who applies, therefore reducing the possibility of good candidates being dismissed too soon in the process


You therefore have 3 options to choose from using the above information:

  1. Internal only
  2. External (Agency) only
  3. Run Internal and External simultaneously

Or do you?

There has been a recent rise in new hybrid players joining the vast recruitment playing field. There are now companies who offer ‘fixed fee recruitment’, ‘online recruitment’ and ‘outsourced recruitment’ options.

These have their own advantages and will sit somewhere on a spectrum between the two options mentioned in the table above, depending on what they offer.

At HR Revolution for example, we offer an outsourced Talent and HR service, where we act as your own internal team.  We run recruitment campaigns from start to finish, including JD creation, advert creation and management, direct sourcing, onboarding, contracts, etc.
We charge hourly/ daily for our time only and provide a fully transparent, consultative and impartial service.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch, contact us at talent@hrrevolution.co.uk or call 0203 538 5311