Colin’s Corner

Low Cost Recruitment

“You Get What You Pay For!” and “Value For Money”

By Colin Toll

“You get what you pay for” is an old truism.  It is worth considering in relation to all the decisions we make every day. “Value for money” is another truism and is a concept that we should always strive for in our commercial and private lives.

It is perfectly proper for businesses and organizations to see the maximum value for money when they engage in a recruitment process.  This article takes a brief look at the concept of low cost, or cheap, recruitment and its benefits compared to the cost of engaging a professional and well resources recruitment agency.

This piece is Part 1 of two parts on this subject.  Part 1 deals with a comparison of professional recruitment agencies and the cheap low-cost recruiters operating in the market.  Part 2 will discuss the pros and cons of in-house recruitment compared to engaging a professional agency.

The cost of Recruitment

Recruiting staff is a difficult and expensive process for all businesses and organizations.  Given that the actual recruitment outlay on hiring a new employee is only one part of a wider cost including induction, training, loss of output during the process and the impact on your business, other employees and potentially your clients, it’s important to consider whether this is really the place to scrimp and save.

No one works for free, so there is an element of getting what you pay for. While some recruitment processes have become highly streamlined and efficient to ensure the lowest possible cost to the employer, there is little in costs that can be cut before it becomes uneconomical.

Low-cost recruiters are forced to cut corners and processes that are essential in providing a new employee who is well suited to the job and who will stay.

Characteristics of Low-cost recruiters

From our observations over many decades in the recruitment industry we can fairly say that low-cost recruitment businesses tend to be characterised as follows:

  • One person operations and they have either never worked in a professional recruitment agency, or alternatively, they have gone out on their own from an agency believing they can do it cheaper and better than an agency.
  • Poorly resourced in terms of systems and equipment.
  • Lacking significant data bases of potential candidates and clients.
  • Slow in their reactions and task completion.
  • Have limited knowledge and reach in the market.
  • Failure to fully qualify candidates for suitability and hence they experience a high rate of placement failures requiring a time consuming replacement process.

The cost benefits and advantages of using low-cost recruiters is firstly, the amount you pay for the service.  If the placement fails in anyway, you have not lost a large amount of money.  However, you have lost time and productivity and the disruption to your business will continue.

Characteristics of Professional Agencies

Working within your recruitment budget is essential, however, there are ways to do this that ensure you get what you pay for and value for your money.  Typically, professional recruitment agencies have the following characteristics:

  • Staffing levels that include experienced and qualified recruiters supported by assistant staff and quality IT and business systems.
  • Extensive database of potential candidates. Precruitment has over 40,000 registered candidates in its database.
  • Faster Hiring Times. Recruitment agencies already have a vast talent network.
  • Expert knowledge of your market. A professional and specialist recruiter will have a detailed knowledge od the market and potential candidates, both active and passive. They have a detailed knowledge of the market and a fine-tuned understanding of salaries and career expectations.
  • Extended Reach. Knowing where to look. A talented recruiter will be capable of finding and accessing both passive and selective candidates.
  • Getting people to stay. This is an incredibly important point.  A professional agency with qualify a candidate in detail to ensure they are the correct fit for your business, and they are applying for the right reasons.  Getting the right people to stay in your businesses not only improves productivity but also reduces the businesses recruitment costs.


If low cost is the only thing a recruitment agency has in order to bring in customers and not high-quality candidates and a deeply ingrained knowledge of niche recruitment, then is this a company you really want to work with?

Be wary of Low Cost / Cheap Recruitment, it may cost you more in the long run.

Next month we will look at In-house recruitment.