In-House Recruitment vs Agency Recruitment

Both in-house and agency recruiters have their significance. Companies must consider their business plans and goals for future expansion, and choose the recruitment service that they need.

Any recruitment drive is incomplete without the discussion on in-house recruitment vs agency. Both have their positives and their limitations. It depends on the scale and scope of the company that wishes for the respective services.

Growing companies usually need expert assistance to manage their recruitment efforts, especially when they have to fill multiple roles and lack the in-house expertise or resources to accomplish such a task. Such companies can seek the services of an agency recruiter.

On the other hand, some companies have reached their set milestone and are now looking to establish a distinct company culture and work on their long-term hiring objectives. Such companies can plan to hire full-time and permanent in-house recruiters.

In this blog, we will discuss the primary differences between in-house recruiters and agency recruiters to help you win the constant debate of in-house recruitment vs agency.

People-focused vs sales focused

In-house recruitment delves more into the skillsets of people, and they don’t have to worry about generating business for their agency by doing more hires. The main objective of in-house recruiters is to source and find top talents that are the perfect fit for the job and the company. They must also be the perfect culture fit for the company. They stay focused on the long-term hiring plans of the company, stick to their core objective and strive to bring new hires for multiple job positions. At the same time, they need to make sure that the employee turnover or attrition rate stays at its minimum.

Further, in-house recruiters also like to be more direct about their requirements and expectations with hiring managers as well as candidates, by matching the backgrounds of people with the needs of the company.

The first feature you will notice while working with agency recruiters is their ability for sales. Their main objective is to bring in new business for their agency. And therefore, they actively work on marketing their assistance and services to companies as well as candidates. However, their core objective is to provide the best service to the hiring companies who seek their assistance at hiring quality candidates. They treat the organisation like a client and promise them that they will help them source and recruit the best candidates for the job. They also instil the same confidence in active job seeking candidates by assuring them that the job offer presented by the client is a great opportunity to elevate their careers.

Precision vs speed

In-house recruitment is about being meticulous in your search. Most in-house recruiters strive for precision and accuracy in the recruitment process. They meet the hiring manager more often to precisely gauge the requirements and functions of the job role before writing and posting the job description. They will not just depend on a single-sourcing system but will refer to multiple sources to scout and source ideal candidates for the job. Then, they will screen each candidate as per the job description to segregate the most suitable ones from the rest. Only after this will they schedule an interview. Also, they seek regular feedback from the hiring managers. If the hiring managers are not impressed by the competencies of the first round of candidates, they will find and solve the loopholes, modify their search criteria and job description to generate more favourable candidates this time.

The agency recruiters, on the other hand, are swift and fast in their operations. Their policy is to help their clients fill the job positions sooner so that they can focus on their next client. To ensure this policy works, they will usually keep a database filled with job-seeking candidates ready at your disposal. This process helps them steer clear of the sourcing phase of recruitment, which usually requires the most activity and is most time-consuming, and get straight to the interview stage. They are likely to bring to you some of the ideal candidates for the job from their database, as soon as you sign the agreement, and would pursue you to recruit some from this group.

The method of operations is one of the major differences between in-house recruitment vs agency.

Organisational understanding vs technical understanding

In-house recruiters are generalists when it comes to job recruitment. They have limited technical knowledge or understanding required to fill specific job positions. Their primary job involves recruiting for multiple job roles across different departments within the company. Therefore, they have a fundamental understanding of the requirements of different job roles, and lack the specific technical understanding that some jobs require. They, however, possess deep knowledge about the core values of the company and ensure that each employee instils those values at work. This policy helps with the long-term expansion plans of the company.

To select suitable candidates, technical experts from the respective departments can be roped in to share the necessary technical requirements for the specific job roles. The organisational expertise of in-house recruiters can help you plan and implement a comprehensive recruitment roadmap for the future, which ensures that the right job roles get filled at the right time.

Most staffing firms or agency recruiters specialise in recruiting for a specific type of jobs. They have an in-depth technical understanding of the job role and know exactly what kind of skills and expertise are required for a particular job role. Therefore, they understand how to source and identify the right candidates from qualified backgrounds for the job role. This technical expertise lets them move swiftly through the sourcing process, as they already know the gaps and don’t have to spend time learning the technical requirements from the hiring manager. This ensures a seamless recruitment process, especially when you are partnering with the appropriate hiring agency that has prior expertise in hiring for such technical roles. Such agencies can be especially helpful if you have multiple technical positions to fill at various levels, and the market lacks qualified candidates in the given job roles.


In-house recruitment is handled by your employees, wherein your dedicated staff from the HR team act as in-house recruiters. They are your full-time permanent employees, and you are responsible for providing them with the agreed salary and other employee benefits. They work full-time for your company, whether you have a recruitment need or not. As they work for the company full-time, if you want, you could ask your HR team to also double up as your recruiting team, as and when required. You can use your resources to train them and provide them with the required skills. This may save you some money on outsourcing your recruitment services whenever you need new hires.

Compensation is all about what the organisation can afford at this point. If they have the resources, they can very well hire full-time employees and train them for HR roles. However, if they have limited resources, then they can opt for the services of a recruitment agency, as they are less costly and provide comprehensive recruitment services. Unlike your full-time HR employees — whom you have to pay the salary regardless of whether you have any existing hiring activity or not — recruitment agencies charge only for the duration of the service they provide and the number of candidates they help you hire successfully. Their pricing usually involves a percentage of the annual salary of the new hire. However, every agency has different pricing options. Plus, staffing agencies don’t come with any liabilities or obligations, and both parties are free of the contractual agreement as soon as the project gets over, and the payment is made.

Both types of recruiters have their significance. A company can opt for an agency recruiter if they don’t have sufficient in-house recruiting staff, nor the resources or funds for sourcing and want to fill up their job positions quickly. In this case, the agency recruiter can help them with sourcing, screening and interviewing multiple candidates at a given time.

However, if the company is clear about its company culture and long-term recruitment plans, as well as the resources to execute its plans, then they can opt to hire employees who would work as in-house recruiters with their HR team. It will help the company maintain its standards of recruitment and help hire culture fit candidates.

So, consider your business plans and goals for future expansion, and accordingly choose the recruitment service you need.

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