Comparing different recruitment strategies

Posted on 31 Aug 2021 by The Manufacturer

Looking for a new employee can be many things – time consuming, challenging, frustrating and expensive but one thing it usually isn’t is easy. So, what’s the best way to look for a new employee? Dan Kirkpatrick, Head of Customer Success at Trust Hunter lays out the different ways to approach recruitment.

Before going into the pros and cons of some of the different ways of finding a new employee externally, I thought it was worth mentioning a couple of things that, if implemented well, could mean you don’t need to hire as much externally.

Keep your talent

You’ll already have lots of great people in your business. Think about what you can do to keep them and action this. Do you, as a business, know what drives/motivates each of your employees? Drivers are different for everybody – you can’t afford to have a one size fits all policy. For example – Employee A cares about money and Employee B cares about training – if you pay really well but don’t give any learning opportunities, Employee B may leave, and vice versa, if you give lots of learning opportunities but pay poorly compared to the market, Employee A may leave. It’s a difficult balancing act and impossible to get right every time, but by knowing what motivates your employees you stand a better chance of keeping them.

Business meeting/shaking hands: Stock Image Supplied by Trust Hunter



Training is key! The ‘war for talent’ means that in many skillsets there just isn’t enough talent to go around. Can you create your own talent? Can you upskill your people? Can you reskill your people? Yes, training people takes time and money but so does recruitment. Many people would argue that spending time and money developing your current employees is some of the best money that a business can spend – it will promote loyalty amongst your staff, it will give you the exact skills you need within your business, and if you become well known for creating your own talent it will also act as a draw to potential new employees. So now to a summary of some of the different ways of hiring new employees.

Dan Kirkpatrick - Head of Customer Success at Trust Hunter
Dan Kirkpatrick is Head of Customer Success at Hunter, The Manufacturer’s Official Talent Partner.

There are further pros and cons for each of the methods (and other ways of hiring). If you’d like to discuss directly with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch [email protected]

Referral Schemes


  • Your people already understand what it takes to work for you so get them to recommend people to you.
  • Very cost-effective method of recruiting, even if you pay cash referral incentives – and you don’t have to. Non-cash rewards, special recognition, and prize draws can all encourage staff to make referrals.


  • Probably needs to be used alongside one of the other options below
  • Many companies have an internal referral scheme but mention it once and then forget about it – make sure you’re not one of these companies! As to cash referrals I’d say the average a company offers is £500… why not make it significantly higher (£1,000 to £3,000) – even this level would probably still be significantly cheaper than a recruitment fee and is likely to encourage more referrals.

Recruitment Agency


Angel - stock image supplied by Trust Hunter

  • ‘No Placement, No Fee’
  • There are specialist agencies across every skillset
  • If you make the time investment at the start of the relationship then you’ll get significant added value back from a recruitment agency including salary and skills availability information.



Devil - stock image supplied by Trust Hunter

  • Can be expensive, but if they help find you the right people they’re worth the cost
  • Can be challenging to find good, reliable and consistent agencies
  • You don’t necessarily get guaranteed resource working on your role – if another company comes in and pays a higher percentage or is looking for an “easier to fill” role the agency you’re working with may move to this new role – a way of avoiding this is to offer a recruitment agency a period of exclusivity. Don’t tell them I said this but if you offer this, you’ll probably get a reduction on the fee percentage!

Fixed Fee Recruiter


  • A cost-effective solution – around £500 per job (compared to £5,000 to £20,000 per placement of a traditional recruitment agency)
  • You can hire as many people as you want from each job credit
  • The solution is often company branded so your business is shown to job seekers to be a hiring one so you may get additional direct applications


  • Requires some additional internal resource when compared to traditional recruitment companies
  • For really niche roles it may not be the best solution
  • Payment is up front and not dependent on success

Job interview - stock image supplied by Trust Hunter

Executive search (Retained)


  • Guaranteed resource on your role – the retained nature of executive search means specific resource will be allocated to your assignment
  • A Consultant / Researcher who specialises in the skill you’re recruiting for will be looking at your role – they’ll have access to many of the best people with the relevant skillset.


  • Expensive compared to other solutions
  • The fee is usually paid over three segments (start of assignment, shortlist submittal and candidate acceptance) – if the executive search firm doesn’t succeed you don’t get your money back
  • As you pay upfront it’s very likely they’ll be looking at the role exclusively, so all your eggs are in one basket

Internal Recruiter


  • You’ll always have recruitment resource available
  • Your company and its values will be promoted well and in a consistent way
  • They’ll understand your business and the role requirements better than an external agency could


  • Can be difficult to find a good Internal Recruiter, especially if you’re looking for them to have specific industry experience
  • Can be very expensive as further investment such as LinkedIn Recruiter and Advertising will still be needed
  •  If a recruitment freeze is implemented then you’ll have an additional, unnecessary, overhead in the business

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All images – Stock images