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Hiring a Recruiter vs. Combined's Recruiting Services

Contributor: Judy Liang, aPHR

May 8th, 2023 | 6 min. read

By Tony Calavitta

Hiring a Recruiter vs. Combined's Recruiting Services

Are you struggling to recruit and hire?

If so, you are among a large majority of employers – In 2023, over 72% of employers have already experienced difficulty recruiting and hiring skilled job candidates internally.

With external recruiting options, you can sign on top talent without the struggle to keep up with a relentless roster of recruiting responsibilities.

Here at Combined, we understand how challenging the recruiting process can be and want to steer you toward a stress-free recruiting experience. And, our HR team has helped many employers, just like you, figure out which available recruiting option best meets their business needs.

In this article, we will compare two effective external recruiting options – Hiring a third-party recruiter and investing in our comprehensive recruiting services.

By reading it, you will learn:

  • How hiring a recruiter works
  • How our recruiting services work
  • How these two recruiting methods differ with regard to the overall cost, hiring timeline, candidate quality, position specialization, hiring process, and retention rate

This comparison can help you better understand these two recruiting options so you can decide whether either is the right method for you.

How does hiring a third-party recruiter work?

Third-party recruiters build an extensive network of job candidates with specific skill sets that are open to employment opportunities.

When you hire a recruiter or headhunter, you not only contract them to perform your recruiting and hiring responsibilities but you gain access to this exclusive candidate pool.

Generally, a recruiter will require you to provide information on the position to be filled, use that information to identify and screen qualified candidates from within and outside their established network, and provide hiring recommendations to you based on this search. A third-party recruiter may also play a role in the offer, negotiation, and initial onboarding processes

How do our recruiting services work?

At Combined, we developed our recruiting services as an alternative to hiring a third-party recruiter.

Our services do not pull candidates from an existing talent network. Instead, our experienced HR team uses advanced applicant tracking technology to create a talent pool personalized to meet your company’s must-have hiring checklist to a T.

In order to achieve this result, our HR team will perform each of the following recruiting tasks:

  • Gather salary benchmarking data
  • Create and update job descriptions
  • Post and promote job listings
  • Screen and review resumes
  • Conduct initial interviews
  • Administer cognitive and skills tests
  • Coordinate final interviews

Our goal is to help you find candidates who are qualified, capable, and compatible with your company so that, rather than spending unending hours on recruiting and administration, all you have to handle is hiring your next high performer.

Hiring a recruiter vs. our recruiting services

Whether you choose to hire a recruiter or use our recruiting services, your objective stays the same – To hire a new employee.

While each recruiting option promises to help you with that objective, there are many differences between hiring a recruiter and our recruiting services.

Here is an in-depth comparison between each of these options.


Let’s take a look at how the cost of recruiting varies for each option.

When you hire a recruiter, compensation is commission-based. In other words, the amount you pay a recruiter will be a percentage of the first-year salary for the position you need to fill.

The standard recruiting fee is typically between 15% and 25% of the position’s first-year salary but can vary significantly depending on position specialization, job market conditions, and even industries. So, the cost of contracting a recruiter to fill a general position with the national average annual salary of $53,490, would range from $8,023 to $13,373.

With our recruiting services, compensation is time-based.  In other words, you will be charged an hourly rate for the number of hours our HR team spends actively working to fill any given position.

This rate is $150 per hour. Because we’ve found that it usually takes a total of 10 hours to effectively recruit, the base cost of our recruiting services is $1,500. So, the cost of using our services to fill a general position with the national average salary of $53,490, would be $1,500.

Hiring timeline

When you’re trying to hire, time is of the essence. With this in mind, you may be wondering how efficient external recruiting options are.

Because the recruiting process involves many steps, it typically takes both a recruiter and our recruiting services between 4 and 6 weeks to find the right candidates for your company. The length of this timeline, of course, depends on factors like the position, the job requirements, the job location, etc.

In comparison to the national hiring average of 42 days to fill a position, both recruiting options prove to be not only effective but also efficient.

Candidate quality

If you are paying an external provider to do your recruiting, you expect top-tier talent delivered to your desk. Believe it or not, the candidate quality you get can vary depending on the recruiting option you choose.

When working with a third-party recruiter, you have to keep these 2 factors in mind:

  1. Recruiters operate on commission-based compensation
  2. Recruiters have an established network of familiar candidates

Commission-based compensation places an element of pressure on recruiters to fill positions – Often a recruiter’s performance is evaluated by the number of positions they fill in a given amount of time. This pressure, coupled with a ready and available candidate pool, may lead some recruiters to recommend and even coach substandard candidates so they can fill a position faster. While many recruiters do go to great lengths to provide high-caliber candidates, this should be considered when choosing to hire a recruiter.

With our recruiting services, the two factors above are completely removed from the equation. Instead of worrying about commission, our HR team focuses on learning about your company, conducting a wide candidate search without the limits of a talent network, filtering our candidate search results to fit the specific needs of your company, and providing you with hand-selected candidates for your evaluation. By eliminating candidate quality risk factors, we make sure to only provide you with the candidates that best fit your business.

Position specialization

You also have to consider the type of position you need filled when outsourcing your recruitment – After all, the recruiting process looks a little different when hiring an executive versus hiring an executive assistant.

Within their talent network, a recruiter has access to suitable candidates for higher-level or more specialized positions. Let’s say you need to quickly hire a C-suite executive – working with a recruiter may be the right option for you since they likely have direct and immediate contact with experienced senior rank candidates (Keep in mind though, hiring for high-salaried roles on a commissioned rate can easily become a huge expense).

Our recruiting services, on the other hand, may not be the best fit for you if you are looking for highly specialized candidates. Our recruiting services comprehensively explore job boards and identify qualified candidates from organic applications. In this regard, our recruiting services are designed to help you fill more general positions like a sales associate or an administrative assistant with high-performing (and potentially future senior-level) candidates.

Hiring process

When choosing an external recruiting option, you need to know how involved your service provider will be in the actual hiring process.

When you contract a recruiter, you can expect them to participate in selection and hiring by:

  • Preparing the candidates that they recommend for interviews
  • Creating and sending initial offer letters
  • Negotiating final offer terms
  • Handling hiring paperwork

This assistance through the hiring process can be helpful for employers who want a hands-off recruiting and hiring experience. However, It is important to note that while a recruiter works for you, they also work on behalf of the candidates they recommend – So, this additional hiring assistance, especially concerning initial interview coaching and offer negotiation, may affect the amount of training and development an employee requires as well as the accepted salary you pay them.

Our recruiting services give you complete autonomy over the hiring process. Instead of providing a hands-off hiring experience, we coordinate final interviews with a curated group of choice candidates and hand over hiring to you. This allows you to familiarize your new employee with your company without outside influence. However, if you want assistance, our HR team can lend consulting services to help you with your hiring processes.

Retention rate

Your last, and arguably most important, consideration when recruiting should be retention – You don’t want to spend valuable time and resources recruiting for the same position on repeat.

So, you may be curious, how do these two recruiting options square up on retention rate?

According to the American Staffing Association, the national average rate of retention for employees placed by recruiters is 75% for the first year – Statistically, then, you are likely to retain 3 out of every 4 employees hired with a recruiter for at least one year.

Internal data shows that our recruiting services have been 100% successful in transitioning talent from the acquire to hire stages with an 85% retention rate. In other words, with our services you will find your ideal employee and, more often than not, they will remain a long-term asset to your company.

Assemble the best team for your business – Take the next steps toward external recruiting

If you are here, you know how much goes into recruiting employees.

Not only do you have to create quality job descriptions, determine appropriate pay scales, and post and monitor job listings on multiple job boards, but you also have to then read and review all those resumes, and schedule and conduct interviews. Your never-ending list of recruiting responsibilities seems to go on and on as you proceed to consider cognitive ability, personality, skills, and even compatibility with your company culture.

We are here because we know that completing all of these tasks on your own can very easily become overwhelming.

Here at Combined, we want to help you find an external recruiting solution so you can hire your ideal team member without the struggle to keep up with endless recruiting responsibilities. And we have the field experience to help you choose the right recruiting option for your business.


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This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.