Agency Recruiters will always beat Internal Recruiters. Always.

Agency Recruiters will always beat Internal Recruiters. Always.

Even great internal recruiters can never do as good a job for candidates as great agency recruiters do.

Never. Ever.

And that’s simply because internal recruiters are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to supporting candidates in their job search.

Let’s examine the ways;

  • Internal recruiters, by definition, cannot operate as a ‘third-party broker’. It’s their job to entice the best talent to their employer. How can they possibly provide a candidate with balanced and unbiased advice? They can’t. Anything they say about the role under consideration is driven by self-interest.
  • Internal recruiters have a one-dimensional, or at best, severely restricted view of the overall market. Sure, they know their company better than most, but what insight do they have of market trends, comparable opportunities, salaries and benefits, and other vital market intelligence, that only recruiters dealing with multiple employers will know?
  • Internal recruiters, quite rightly, act in the interest of their employer, while a great agency recruiter will act in the interest of the candidate.
  • Not only that, there is a role that agency recruiters play for candidates that seldom gets acknowledged. They act as an advocate for a great candidate who may never even get to interview stage, based solely on their resume. That’s right. A great agency recruiter will use the trust and credibility they have with clients to convince them to see a good candidate who does not shine on paper. That is a service and an advantage that internal recruiters can never offer.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with the way most internal recruiters act. They are doing their job, and for the most part they do it well, and with extreme integrity. This is not about beating up on Internal Recruiters. I am stating the obvious really. Internal recruiters are hamstrung in terms of the role they can play in advising, coaching, and mentoring candidates in the job search.

Many agency recruiters do none of those things of course, we know that. There are hoards of agency people, driven totally by self-interest or without the skills to provide real value to the candidate. But the good ones, of which there are many more than the critics acknowledge, will bring their hard-earned market knowledge, and broad employer insights to bear, in order to assist a candidate make the right decision at a vulnerable time.

And that, as some advertising guy said elsewhere… is priceless!


Views: 3878

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 12, 2013 at 4:30pm

I'm a contract recruiter. and I have grewatrespect for the recruiters who do what otherwise can't be done, are highly professional relationships  with candidates in a weel-established network that's taken many years of work to build. For that kind of work, they're entitled to a 30% fee, and it's well worth it. IMHO, 3PRs are like fine wines- used only on very special occasions. However, most of the work that 3PRs do isn't like this, and is often performed by poorly trained newbies who dial for dollars, find candidates off boards and RPOs, and try to get 20% fees from clients too ignorant or desperate to know there are *much less expensive and quite effective alternatives available and as long as there are clients who are looking for excellence on the cheap, these second- or third-raters will stay in business.



*Contract Recruiters, Sourcers, name/contact lists, RPOs, etc.

Comment by Sunil Kumar on November 13, 2013 at 9:50am

Could not agree with most of the points.

Comment by Lars Schmidt on November 13, 2013 at 10:10am

Ah, the age old internal vs. agency recruiter debate. Greg raises some fair points (good agency recruiters do have more options to off candidates, are free from some of the internal dynamics so may be a but more subjective), but to frame them as absolutes undercuts any comments of merit in the post.

There are great agency recruiter who provide value to their clients based on tight relationships with passive candidates that in-house teams may have a harder time finding (typically due to bandwidth). There are shitty agency recruiters that don't give a damn about the candidates, don't take time to understand their clients, and sit around all day thinking of new ways to write psuedo-attention grabbing email subjects like "YOUR next code NINJA!!!"

There are great in-house recruiters that will tell a candidate when their role is not the best fit for them (despite the posts claim to the contrary). Why? Because they know if they push for a bad hire it won't last; potentially damaging the career of the candidates, denting their relationship with hiring managers, and wasting the companies money (not to mention they'll be starting over again in less than a year). Yes, there are also lazy in-house recruiters with an order takers mentality who just want to fill the req and move on. Those recruiters suck. 

Charney is right. There is a place for agency recruiters who provide value. Most great in-house recruiters also started their careers in agency, so they get it - but shitting on your clients is generally not the best business approach.

Comment by Amber on November 13, 2013 at 10:56am

I wanted to comment on some of Greg's points, though I assume he wrote this to stir a bit of controversy! 

Then I read some of the comments. I know and like several of the people that wrote them, and don't care if they're internal or external - they are good at what they do and professionals. Period. 

So, Greg - as an external recruiter I have to let candidates know a few things:

1. I am going to focus on finding the best person for my clients. 

2. I can sometimes attempt to offer some assistance to a candidate who does not fit any of the roles I'm currently working on, but that will be limited because I have to be sure my clients positions are filled.

3. If I don't think the candidate and the position aren't a good match, I won't send them to the client. Now, I will certainly send a candidate to a client that might not look like the "perfect" fit, but it will be along with good explanation and detail of why I think the client would want to consider them.

And lastly to Jackie - I think you know there are plenty of recruiters form BOTH sides that are only trying to fill positions rather then putting the best people in the right positions. I work with many internal recruiters, but if we don't see it as a team effort  - then that's the client I don't continue to work with. 


Comment by Robert Dromgoole on November 13, 2013 at 11:48am

I've had the pleasure of working in both the retained and corporate world.   I've found great recruiters in both.   I've found absolutely awful recruiters in both (AWFUL).   On the whole, agency recruiters have better sales skills (if they don't, they die quick).   But the rest of this piece is just spewing forth utter crap.  

- Great recruiters coach their candidates.   I have a scheduled 'interview prep' with of my top candidates today.   I did a prep call yesterday.

- Great recruiters never deliver an offer unless they know it will be accepted.  We pre-close.  Pre-close.  Then close.  We never manipulate.  Manipulation always backfires in the end.   When it's a win for the candidate, it's a win for our clients---period.   (And I mean it when I say period unlike other leaders)  

- When I sell my organization, I give them the good, the bad and the ugly.   For me, authenticity in branding works.  Transparency and truth works wonders.   Here's what I'm offering, is that of interest?  Great!   I'm generally not working with active candidates, but when I am, I'm clear on who we are, what we do, what their impact can be. 

- I have advised candidates to accept other offers.   I had a Director of Cyber Security, Lt. Col, coming out of service, graduate degrees from right areas the works.  I offered him, Microsoft offered him.   Microsoft offered him a target salary with incentives of up to $1-million including sock.   I said if he took my offer I might personally bludgeon him for stupidity.   Vest in your stock, make your money, and in 4-5 years we'll be calling.   We're still friends.   He sends me service people who leave and want what we offer and who aren't a fit for him.

- I act in the interest of the candidate AND client.  If it isn't a win win, I failed.  

- Most offers I make are for huge cuts in pay to join my company.   I'm not in a salary war.  Many agency recruiters want to pump higher pay for larger fees (I get it).   If it's about the money only, the next headhunter who calls them will write a check and they'll be gone anyway.   

So nice incite piece, but it's pure crap.   Maybe there are internal recruiters like you type.  But like I said, I've worked with crappy recruiters on both sides of the fence.  


Comment by Jackie Hydock on November 13, 2013 at 1:18pm

@Amber, that's the sad part of recruiting today.  Recruiting is an important function and no one (external or internal recruiters) should be putting butts in seats. I know I don't want my name associated with a bad hire. I have to walk around and see that employee and hiring manger every day. You know, I shouldn't slam agency recruiters as in some cases I have found extraordinary agency recruiters who can hit the nail on the head with my requirements and actually uniquely source and identify strong candidates for my open positions.  

In my opinion this article was composed to either make company decision makers/readers lean towards using agencies (bad forum, your target audience is most likely not subscribed to this blog!) or stir us all up (well done! - recruiter vs recruiter) lol!  An organization with people first in mind will find value in the need to create a strong internal recruitment team. Internal recruiters are the gatekeepers to their companies success and that's that. We can all be referred to as "crappy" but companies depend on all of us to just freakin manage the talent acquisition process no matter how we can get that done - just watch your CPH! :)

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 13, 2013 at 2:30pm

@ Jackie: With respect, my job as a contract recruiter is PRECISELY  "to put quality butts in seats, on time and within budget." Also, I don't "acquire talent" I "fill my hiring managers' positions".

"An organization with people first in mind"- many say they are, but very few walk their talk, unless by "people" they mean "the people at the very top".

@ Greg: kudos for getting people to think and to feel strongly about recruiting- that's what important recruiting writing does.



Comment by Jackie Hydock on November 13, 2013 at 3:11pm

Alright Keith... you want to pick a fight. Cute. "Quality butts" in seats it is!  I actually like that and use that one.  Thanks for quoting me.  I'm a contractor too, just onsite so I've picked up a passion for the company I work for and would call it anything but... Butts in seats. Anyway... sorry you don't agree with the term "talent acquisition" - it's just a popular term that 100's and 1,000's of recruiters use as a fancy job title. Geez!  Lighten up! :) I agree with you Keith that many organizations don't walk their talk. That's sad, and maybe so because it is truly for the benefit for the people at the top.  So, I'm going to go back to screening candidates now... It's was fun commenting back and forth with you guys.... good luck internal and agency recruiters!  Bottom line is we are all trying to make a living here and recruiting is our commonality so really slamming one vs the other and fighting back and forth is dumb. Peace!

Comment by Derdiver on November 13, 2013 at 3:14pm

@Jackie I just fired my old are now my new hero!! TY

Comment by Noel Cocca on November 13, 2013 at 4:24pm

+1 Jackie!


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2023   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service