Recruiting is probably the most challenging stage of the hiring process for small businesses. Whenever you post an opening online, you never know how many responses you’re going to get or whether you’re going to attract a good group of candidates. When you visit colleges, you have no idea who’s going to show up at your recruiting sessions. And even more troubling, no roadmaps are available to guide your way.
You must stitch together your own campaign, ensuring that whatever decisions you make take into account those factors that are unique to your company and to the specific position you seek to fill.
That’s why many small businesses often turn to professional recruiters. If you know how to maximize their services, recruiters can more than pay for themselves. Not only do outside recruiters generally have access to a larger pool of applicants (after all, it’s their job to continually locate skilled candidates) but they also handle the cumbersome administrative details of recruiting, such as placing ads, evaluating candidates’ skills and conducting preliminary interviews.
If you’re still unsure what differentiates a headhunter from a recruiter or an employment agency from a search firm, you’re not alone. This information may help:
- Employment agencies, staffing firms and contingency search firms are companies you engage to find full-time or temporary job candidates for specific positions. What they all have in common is that you pay them a fee – but only after they find you someone you hire. In most cases, employment agencies are generalists and focus on entry- and mid-level jobs in a range of industries, whereas staffing or contingency search firms focus on mid- to upper-level positions usually in a particular field or profession, like finance or marketing.
- Executive search firms, or headhunters, focus on higher-level executives, up to and including CEOs. Unlike employment agencies, most search firms charge a retainer whether or not they produce results. You also can expect to pay a commission of anywhere from 25 to 33 percent of the executive’s annual salary if the firm is successful in its search.