International Recruitment: DIY or Outsource

As an international employment agency, one of your business model’s critical elements is finding the right candidates.

Smaller organizations often find it hard to get the right people on board. This can be a challenge for larger companies too. They sometimes cannot devote their resources to finding several candidates in the middle of the season.

Ideally, you want to achieve a situation where no recruitment is needed: the right candidates are merely coming to you. Although this is not impossible to make happen, it requires much energy.

Recruitment process outsourcing vs. DIY

To discover the best option for your employment agency, we will summarize the recruitment process outsourcing benefits and downsides vs. doing them yourself as an agency.

We will also showcase the option of joining Hire Abroad and outsourcing your hiring process to reliable recruitment agencies through our platform.

Let’s check out some of the major differences:

In control vs. Not in control

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Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

It’s good to be in control when you are passionate about recruiting people and finding ways to improve the quality and efficiency of the recruitment process. You have your vision of organizing recruitment and shaping it yourself to your liking.

If you are passionate about international recruitment, it is hard to put this control in the hands of another recruitment firm, even if you outsource jobs to other agencies.

For recruitment agencies that have their process well organized, outsourcing will never be the same as it would be with in-house recruiting. When you have control, you can decide for yourself:

  • Where you want the attention to go in recruitment;
  • What information should be provided, and at what time;
  • How you train the recruiters;
  • How candidates should be attracted;
  • What to do abroad and what in the Netherlands.

Low-risk vs. higher-risk payroll WAB

The WAB (only for the Netherlands) defines when a company can use a recruiting firm and when they must use direct payrolling. If both criteria are met, it means that you should apply payrolling:

You have an exclusive agreement with your customers, meaning you need acceptance from your client to move staff to another client.
You don’t perform the recruitment yourself. Without the external agent, the match wouldn’t have taken place.

If you have an exclusive agreement with your customers and don’t want your customer to work on a payroll model, you simply cannot legally work with external agencies.

In that case, the decision is easy. If you don’t have an exclusive agreement with your customers, you are free to have the recruitment done by an outside firm.

Time-consuming vs. Time-efficient

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Photo Credit: Jeffrey Paa Kwesi Opare

The most valuable asset in business is time. It’s best to put this time in places with the most significant added value for your organization. If the recruitment is the core of your business and you differentiate yourself in your recruiting process from other agencies, then that’s where you should invest your limited asset of time.

With employment, the way you organize everything around international work in the Netherlands, Belgium, or Germany, is your core business and your differentiator, so put your energy there.

So, of course, outsourced recruitment is less time-consuming, in most cases, than acting as an in-house recruiter. It’s more a matter of which part of the business process you prefer to outsource and what you want to do yourself.

And this is exactly the reason why Hire Abroad was created. We wanted to make the international recruitment process time-efficient for employment agencies. They can find reliable recruiters on Hire Abroad who will find the right person for the job and care for your hiring needs. Outsourcing your recruiting process through Hire Abroad is not only time-efficient, but it also saves you money. You can find the best recruitment agencies here.

Added Value vs. Decreased Value

Probably the most crucial reason you would do recruiting in-house is to add value to your business. As a business owner, you are interested in the value of the company. One thing that defines your business’s value is a dependency on specific people and external organizations.

Companies dependent on their business owners or external parties have a lower company value than those not, so having everything in their control shows less dependency.

On the other hand, the business’s value depends on its future perspective and scalability. If you show that you have a lean and scalable business model that works as a robust business engine, there is a higher added value for big investors looking for high-risk and high-return investments.

Limits Scalability vs. Scalable

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Photo Credit: Burak The Weekender

A problem with not hiring external recruiters is scalability. If your business is seasonal and needs to quickly upscale or downscale, it’s a no-brainer to work with recruiting experts.

It’s costly to create a recruiting department that can handle the number of requests needed in the high season but that will be overcapacity the rest of the year. Overcapacity is not suitable for your costs and is not useful for potential candidates applying to jobs during the low season.

If you are not able to provide work for them on short notice, this will damage your brand’s reputation, and soon, fewer people will start applying for jobs through your agency—which will impact your busier periods.

When you outsource the recruitment process, this becomes a problem for talent acquisition teams. It’s their task to have the right capacity needed at the right moment and to make sure that there are no sudden jumps throughout the year. These sudden jumps are eliminated by attracting clients that have different seasons throughout the year.

Hard-to-add nations vs. Easy-to-add nations

Working with different nations presents challenges. Although data within our agency have shown that the actual duration of stay between different countries is quite similar to each other, adding a new nationality to your total pool of employees can still add challenges, which are found in communication on the work floor, for example, and in accommodation.

If the cultures are too different, sharing a room for one Portuguese person, for instance, with a group of Polish people, can stress both the Portuguese and the Polish.

Use this to your benefit

However, there are several reasons why working with different nations can have a positive effect on employers:

  • For integration into the Dutch multicultural society, mixing the nations is great. People work in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany to get to know new cultures and people from different countries. I experienced this myself when going to live in Lithuania, for example. This is one of the most exciting parts of moving to another country.
  • Another reason to add different nations to the pool of employees at your employment agency is to spread the risk. Spreading the recruitment out to more different nations will offer a continuous flow of newly recruited people for a more extended period, independent of one specific nation’s political and economic situation. And there will be more candidates to choose from.
  • National holidays are another reason to hire people from different countries. In societies where people are very religious, it’s hard to motivate people to work during religious holidays. Some recruitment agencies simply don’t work during national holidays. It can become tough to recruit new people when there are several national holiday days.
  • The last advantage of working with different nations is the flexibility towards your (potential) clients. Organizations have their favorite nationality of people, either because of past experiences or the current staff working at the company. So, by working with different nations, you widen the number of potential clients.

If you do all the recruitment activities yourself, expanding your services to another country is tough.

You have to figure out:

  • What the local laws are regarding recruiting people; Most European countries have licenses for hiring people requiring a representative office and experienced recruitment staff. Another obligation could be sending reports of your new hire to the national ministries.
  • What the best location is to recruit people; Where do you want to establish your office? Where could the most motivated people be found in this specific country?
  • How to start a company. Each state has its own rules for starting a new business. You will need to work with local lawyers and accountants to move on with this.
  • How to find local recruiters and teach them everything about working abroad through your agency; It takes up to two years to find hiring managers and people familiar with recruiting processes and teach them about your values and about working abroad so that new people are well-informed and get what they expect in a foreign country.
  • How to maintain the motivation of staff and your working processes; Having everybody motivated within the team can be hard, but having part of the team working in another country is much harder. We realized that running different offices at the same time requires many resources across the whole organization to have it running smoothly.

Using a partner to add more nations to your talent pool is much easier. Ideally, one already experienced with the recruiting process your company has established. The recruitment partners have to figure out how to deal with the challenges mentioned above with regard to starting and managing a recruiting channel in another nation.

Move part of a process to cost-efficient labor vs. Keeping the process in-house

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With good management, people will be motivated to work from different offices in different countries. This can be of significant added value in cost saving and adding skilled people to your team.

Many administrative or development tasks, for example, could be carried out by colleagues working in another country, one where it is easier to find the right talent to do the specific job (think about IT specialists, for example) and where hourly wages are more competitive than in your own country.

Less price sensitive vs. More price-sensitive

Most international recruitment agencies work on a price model where they are paid for a limited period, for example, a maximum of 1040 hours per year that each recruited person works at the client.

The danger of this model is that usually, an external recruiter is short-term orientated compared to their employers and aims for quick profits. The competition becomes very price sensitive, and you or your competitors can take advantage of that.

How to take advantage?

Let me give an example:

In busy periods, typically in the summer, agree to a higher price with the agent. Once the fee runs out, exactly half a year later in the low season, ask to reduce costs.

They will have to lower their prices because they have too many good candidates available and no vacancies to fill. Another way to get more people from the international recruitment agency in the short term is to give bonuses in busy periods to attract more people to your agency instead of competitors.

Most external agents are price-sensitive. If you outsource recruitment, try to build long-term relationships with the agencies in which a sustained partnership with the agent is the target.

If you play the internal recruiter role, you’re not dependent on the market’s price sensitivity. Of course, you have to figure out a way to recruit the people yourself more cost-effectively, on average over the year, than the external recruitment firms.

Otherwise, you don’t have a competitive advantage of doing the recruitment yourself over outsourcing it to foreign agents.

Satisfy egos vs. Doesn’t satisfy the egos

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Most entrepreneurs and business owners love talking big – how many people are working through them, and how many offices they have in which countries.

It’s good for your ego to know you have offices spread all over Europe. Maybe it sounds funny, but many agencies have their own recruitment offices in other countries just because of this.

Outsourcing recruiting to external parties to have a clean and agile business doesn’t sound as good as having many companies abroad that work under your business’s name. This is one of the reasons some business owners look down on recruitment outsourcing, even though this could bring many benefits to their company.

Waste of resources vs. Using resources

All registrations that drop in are costs that you incur. Only using part of these registrations means wasting your resources—unplaced motivated candidates and processes that are in place but not used.

Most job seekers that apply for a job and are motivated are useful for other organizations. Either work with other agencies and make sure you use your resources to achieve your full potential, or you will have too much waste in your operations: a waste of service capacity you won’t incur when you outsource your recruitment to external parties.

It becomes the responsibility of the agent abroad to take care of using their resources efficiently.

Fill in your vacancies through Hire Abroad

Image: It would be good to use HA banner or something similar.

There are definitely benefits to both approaches, but the best way to do international recruitment is through Hire Abroad.

Our platform connects employment and recruitment agencies. They can each focus on their line of work. The recruiters on Hire Abroad follow top-industry practices, and as an employer, you can rest assured that they will find you the right candidate through our platform.

We ensure that the process goes smoothly and that you get the candidate for your vacancy without having to participate in recruitment, reducing your recruiting costs significantly.

Hire Abroad can do much more for your employment agency, so check it out and get the best talent in a timely manner and without effort.


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