I work for a consulting company that has gone from 30 employees to 90, and 1 location to 3 in the last 2.5 years (been in business for 13). Despite this rapid rate of growth, we've frequently had positions that go unfilled because we are unable to find the right people fast enough. Our positions are difficult to fill- we're looking for the very best .Net Software Engineers, which are in high demand right now.
It takes a very personalized, long term relationship building approach to hire the right people. Since it is mostly passive candidates we're pursuing (because there is a shortage of qualified active candidates), the recruitment cycle can go as long as several years for them to get to the right point to change jobs.
I'm currently evaluating options to help fill 20 positions by EOY across the 3 markets, but also need a long term plan on how to scale the department.
What experiences have you had with scaling a recruiting department to a quickly growing company's needs? When do you hire vs. use RPO, contingent recruiters, retained search, etc?
LinkedIn is a good tool to use as would be existing relationships with candidates. Usually, companies specialize in a technology (or grouping) and maintain their relationships accordingly. Like in our case, resources are spread equally between Microsoft technologies (SQL, C#, .Net, Sharepoint etc) and Oracle's offerings (Oracle, Peoplesoft, OBIEE etc).
Let me know if you need any help on the how / where to look.
A contract recruiter or contingent may be able to help you right now. That way, when the recruiting slows down, you have no commitment. If you go the contract/contingent route, make sure you use a firm/contractor that specializes in .net engineers. I'd also look at the cost of using a contractor vs contingency fees and see which one would be more economical for you.
For the long term, you may want to go the cotractor route. This will provide you with the help you need while you evaluate your long term needs. If your company is consistently growing and you arefilling positions that are replacements and add to staffs, that may be a good indication that you may need to bring on another perm recruiter. I'd be careful though....you are in ramp up mode now, but once all of your positions are filled, it may slow down again.
Tiffany's advice is great. If you do consider hiring someone on a permanent basis, try and look at the future hiring needs anticipated AND what other skills the person might bring. For example, during the peak hiring times it might be someone who is good at sourcing the .NET people and handing them off to whoever does the majority of the candidate process. In the times when the hiring isn't as high, what else can they do to add value to the company? Looking at the big picture long term helps to see whether or not a direct hire or a contract person is most suited to your needs.
Working on a split fee basis with independent recruiters is also an excellent way to get help when volume is high.