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When to DIY Recruiting and When to Hire a Recruiter

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The first step to staying sane and on top of your hiring goals is knowing when you can manage the recruiting process yourself and when you should seek help.

In an ideal world, you and your team would have all the tools, time and training to run flawless hiring processes on every search. In this world, whether for a lack of time, knowledge or reach, a majority of companies (52% as of 2011) say they aren't equipped to attract and hire the caliber of people they want. The alternative is to hire a recruiter but they don't come cheap and may not be a wise investment for a fast-moving organization with strapped resources.

Related: Hiring Your First Employee

Here are four common scenarios when you can feel secure running the process yourself:

1. Routine. Non-critical or low-level searches that won't derail your strategic priorities if they stretch on for 6 months or more, or when you're okay with not getting the best person you could.

2. Known quantities. You're confident you have candidates that meet your standards within easy reach.

3. Done that. Searches for roles that you routinely fill without problems.

4. Know it when you see it. Searches for which you aren't sure what an ideal candidate looks like and need to talk with different kinds of people before deciding what you need.

Here are four other scenarios when you should seek help from recruiters:.

Related: When--and How--to Hire Additional Employees

1. It's critical. When it all depends on one or a few key hires, is not the time to practice hiring through trial and error. You need a full bench of viable finalists selected with professional support that scoped the role, screened out bad fits out and selected the best fit. There's simply too much on the line to leave things to chance.

Related: 2. Running a business. You know consistency, judgment and timing, especially with candidate communications, is important for a successful hiring process. You also know the bandwidth of your team. Recognize if your people are so focused on executing their work they can't give the attention that a search requires. Get recruiters who efficiently bring in top performers who are available.

3. Over your head. For highly specialized, technical or senior searches, you may simply not know where to find candidates, how to speak to them, compel them, evaluate them or all of the above. Bring in someone who does know how to do those things. Let them do what they do best while you focus where you are most productive.

4. We tried. You win some, you lose some. You had some good people, but they all opted out. Or you had a great finalist who took another job. You and your team did your best but you simply don't have someone you're happy with. Sometimes, even with straightforward searches, your efforts just come up short.

Repeating the same process is unlikely to yield better results. Your audience has seen the opportunity numerous times, and you've hit network fatigue with your connections. While it does make the job harder for the recruiters after a failed attempt, your best bet to clean up the mess is to bring in a pro.

Regardless of the situation, the most important thing is to focus your time and attention on what you're best at. If recruiting starts to derail your work-streams and puts a strain on your team's productivity, then it's time to bring in outside help.

Related: The Case for Updating the Hiring Process

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