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Executive Search outsourced recruiting

6 Crucial Questions To Ask Before Outsourcing Recruitment

April 21, 2022

By: IQTalent

The following article discussing outsourcing recruitment was originally published in September 2019. All copy and relevant statistics have been updated as of April 2022.

Searching for new talent can be a double-edged sword. While the prospect of a new member of your team is very exciting, the anxieties that come along with a virtual stranger joining your organization can be intimidating.

Making these hiring decisions is never easy by definition, but if you’re thinking of outsourcing recruitment for added expertise and assistance, keep reading to find out the must-ask questions to consider before making your decision.

1. What Are My In-House Recruiting Resources And Options?

Nearly every company has some version of an internal recruiting function, but does yours have the bandwidth necessary for your needs?  When considering an outsourced search firm, you need to weigh the opportunity cost against the actual financial cost of the decision. 

An in-house search might feel like the most comfortable option, especially if your internal team manages your other recruiting efforts. By keeping the search in-house, you see all moving parts and have complete control of the process from start to finish. You don’t have to worry about small details (or red flags) that could get past you.

But, at what point do you consider outsourcing recruitment? When you find your team so overburdened with your day-to-day duties that you can’t give time to the daunting task of choosing a new employee, it’s time to look to an outside expert.

If you feel strongly about keeping the search in-house, another option is to hire a full-time recruiter. A seasoned recruiter will likely bring a solid network of potential candidates at all stages of their careers. 

Bonus Material: Leverage our recruiting resource calculator to see if your current team has the capacity to make your hiring goals happen — Recruiting Resources You Need to Hit Your Hiring Goals [Calculator]


Being fully immersed in your company’s culture will also give an in-house recruiter a genuine idea of who would make a good fit to join the company and make a hiring decision that reinforces your company's mission and values. Consider the costs and long-term challenges and solutions having another full-time employee can provide before deciding to build your team.

In-house #Recruiting or #Outsourced recruiting? Learn the difference between the two options for recruiting which one will best serve your current recruiting intent via @IQTalent:Click to Tweet

2. What About Confidentiality?

If you’re seeking confidentiality in recruiting, it’s a sign you should hire an outsourced recruitment firm. If you’re using a company like Caldwell Partners to fill an executive role, it goes without saying that you need someone with a proven history of leadership and success. Most likely, they are content in the current situation, making them passive candidates. 

When connecting with these individuals, discretion is essential to not disrupt their current work environment. With a third-party search team, specific company information is left out of the equation until the vetting process has progressed. You can trust that the search will be private and remain out of the public eye (and out of the corporate gossip chain).

When executive search is the top priority, using an organization like Caldwell Partners eases the strain of finding new leadership, but when you are simply looking for new talent - outsourced firms are the route to take.

3. What Is Your Budget?

Hiring an outsourced recruitment service to conduct the search will come with a price tag. Before hiring a firm, assess your budget, and evaluate the fee structure of various firms. Most often, the price of the search is based on the salary of the position. The higher the salary, the more expensive the search.

Ways to help determine your projected budget include:

  • What role(s) are you recruiting for?
  • What level of experience is this candidate expected to have? 
  • What is the desired salary range for this position?

If you are looking to source an executive role, it’s important to note the executive search model is changing with the advent of technology that allows more people access to a larger candidate pool. The traditional model of hiring an executive search firm and paying a large fee is no longer the only option.

If you’re thinking of hiring an #Outsourced #SearchFirm for added expertise in your #Recruiting process, see the must-ask questions to consider before making your decision via @IQTalent:Click to Tweet

4. Do You Need to Keep Hiring for the Same Roles?

Some individual roles can be difficult to hire for, whether it be because of expertise needed by the candidate, the location of the role, market demand, or a host of many other factors. When you catch your recruiting team hiring repeatedly for the same role, it’s a clear indication that this role is specialized and warrants a close eye. 

Outsourced recruiting agencies famously have access to curated talent pipelines and provide specialized teams dedicated to your business. This allows you to leverage their resources and insights while simultaneously accessing a reliable pipeline if you suddenly need a time-sensitive new hire. 

Additionally, having an external team familiar with the intricacies of a role and the needed characteristics for a good fit can provide you with even more tailor-made candidates ready to embark on the journey of joining your organization. 

5. Is Your Company in A Stage of Rapid Growth?

If you’re in a season of accelerated growth, internal recruiting can easily fall by the wayside. By outsourcing recruiting, you can provide yourself and your team with the valuable time and energy needed to continue growing and let the outsourced professionals take care of finding your next valuable hires. 

Secure the time and resources needed for your organization to keep up with the latest advancements by allowing an outsourced firm to do the heavy lifting for you.

6. What Are The Different Types Of Search Firms?

No two search firms are the same, but there are two major categories: retained and contingent.


Retained search often starts with an up-front fee with continual invoices throughout the search. The client signs a contract for a specific amount of time, which will be paid in full, typically monthly, until the end of the contract period. In this case, a recruiter will source many qualified candidates from their network to present to an organization. 

The candidates are then vetted within the search firm, and the top clients from the original pool are presented to the client. Because the client has signed a retained contract, the recruiters are not incentivized to find candidates promptly. The client will continue paying the retainer fee, regardless of the results.


Contingency search firms are exactly what they sound like. The recruiter or firm is paid once they have delivered a qualified candidate that is hired for the role. The contingent search firm will source a large candidate pool from their network as quickly as possible because the focus is on the actual hire rather than the process to find the best person. 

Additionally, in a quick process, you should ensure that the recruiter is thoroughly vetting candidates despite speed. Contingency firms tend to be very transactional, working from one transaction to the next to earn the (large) commission.

There Is Another Way!

At IQTalent Partners, we do things a little differently.

Rather than contingent or retained search, we work through an hourly model, so you have the recruiting support when you need it. We work like any other professional service that supports your internal team, such as accountants and attorneys. The process is authentic and completely transparent. It is also efficient. The on-demand hourly model puts the client in charge. You can decide how many hours you need each week, turn up the service, turn down the service, or completely turn off the service at the drop of a hat.

Finding the right talent is crucial to the success of your company. We believe in-house recruiting is the best system for finding the next big talent for your organization. IQTalent Partners supports the internal recruiting model by providing on-demand recruiting and sourcing to maximize your team’s talent acquisition capabilities. Get an expert outlook on the top talent available for your company when you reach out to start your search today.

The recruiting you need. When you need it. Contact IQTalent Partners today