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How Talent Teams Build Back & When to Leverage Outside Recruiting Support

Michael Adair

The Evolving Recruiting Market  

We’ve all noticed it. It feels as though every company who grew like wildfire over the last 5-10 years has reduced their talent function in recent months. This downsizing has left recruiting teams struggling to keep up - from systemic issues impacting their ATS and recruiting workflows to their capacity to source on top of handling all of the new headcount and backfills. Even the recruiting teams at companies who are lucky enough to be going through hyper growth are feeling stretched thin and seeking additional, flexible support. 

Simultaneously, a new generation of startups are transitioning out of their infancy, and are understandably reluctant to invest in the robust in-house recruiting functions of their predecessors. The pressure on today’s founders to run lean operations and maintain a healthy balance sheet is prompting them to explore alternative approaches to hiring that are more flexible.

This dynamic has created a challenging hiring decision for startups: when to hire a first-in full time recruiter vs. enlist short-term contractors vs. partner with an outside firm? Each choice comes with a set of tradeoffs and everyone is navigating their own unique set of bottlenecks and hurdles when it comes to hiring.

Weighing the Options for Recruiting Support

Hiring a full time recruiter can be a wise choice if you anticipate sustained hiring needs over a 12+ month timeframe. Consider a startup that just raised their Series B and wants to use some of that new capital to hire 15 engineers by the end of this year. If the average salary of an engineer is $175k, partnering with a traditional recruiting agency will likely cost that startup over half a million dollars in placement fees - certainly more than it would cost to hire a first-in technical recruiter in today’s market.

Short-term recruiting contractors can be a good stop-gap hiring solution, particularly for recruiting teams who just need some extra support during hiring sprints or temporary resourcing gaps. However, it can be difficult for part-time contractors to ramp up quickly if there’s not a lot of process in place, and there’s a risk that they may leave for a full time opportunity or reach the end of their contract before they’ve had enough time to make a meaningful dent in your hiring goals. 

Although partnering with a recruiting firm may not always be the most cost-efficient solution, they can prove to be quite valuable when teams have exhausted their collective networks and need to gain access to domain experts or executive level talent. Search firms can also be great options for teams who anticipate a low enough volume of hiring on the horizon. Perhaps they aren’t quite ready to invest in buildinging out their in-house talent function, but don’t have the capacity (or desire) to run the search themselves. Depending on who you choose to partner with, search firms bring a broad set of experiences and access to networks of various domain experts and industry leaders. 

Our clients find that one of the highlights of partnering with the GBD search team is that they get to work with a team of experienced sourcers, recruiters, and recruiting leaders who bring the lens and best practices of an in-house recruiting partner with the flexibility of outside support. We’re able to provide clients with one-off recruiting solutions in the form of market mapping and generating top of funnel for niche roles, as well as fully embedded recruiting pod support. We work with clients to establish repeatable recruiting processes and we’re able to complement the core search work by incorporating our other GBD services, which span from standing up recruiting operations & ATS implementations to helping with capacity planning to facilitating hiring manager / founder trainings.

Since our team draws upon a broad range of experiences and networks, we’re able to effectively partner with different types of organizations at various stages of growth. Lately, our augmented search team has worked on a bit of everything, from making key leadership hires at organizations dedicated to funding research that will help us tackle climate change, to sourcing machine learning experts for AI startups. If your team needs augmented search support, please let us know!

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