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How HR Departments Can Work with Recruitment Agencies

Tom McLoughlin from Growth Recruits

At first glance, an HR department and a recruitment agency can seem to be two sides of the same coin. If your company already makes the most of one, you may not see the point of working with the other.

However, one of the best ways to optimise your recruitment process and ensure that every new employee brings talent and positive development to your company, is to have the HR department work with a recruitment agency. Both can learn valuable lessons from the other, and the combined insight from this collaborative work will bring benefits across the board.

Utilize the Recruiter’s Industry Insight

A lot of HR departments may contain recruitment specialists, but they are unlikely to be specialists in the industry they are hiring in as well. Working with a recruitment agency that knows your industry inside out can provide a ton of valuable insight, as well as making your company’s recruitment and onboarding process more successful.

For example, if you’re a company that deals in designing and supplying electronic devices or machinery, you might have good general knowledge of the industry, but lack insight into specific elements of the manufacturing process. Working with a recruitment agency that specialises in electronics engineering jobs would provide you with unique knowledge of attracting and hiring incredibly valuable engineering candidates. You’ll also have contact with industry experts who have brilliant knowledge of trends and emerging innovations that can keep your company ahead of the curve.

Combine Candidate Analytics

Recruitment agencies and HR departments both possess a wealth of useful data about employees, the industry, successful internal systems and areas of business growth. If you’re looking to analyse your recruitment processes in particular, working with a recruitment agency is an excellent way to gain more access to valuable information and a new perspective on existing data.

A recruitment agency is likely to collect more specific candidate data than an HR department, as well interacting more with clients and candidates to gain feedback on what people are looking for from potential employers. For example, a recruiter of vets is going to have lots of data on the candidates local to the veterinary practices needing to fill vet job vacancies regardless of where they are in the UK. A specialist niche recruiter is likely to also collect specific data on candidates regarding their situation and experience and may be able to persuade a vet that might not ordinarily have thought about switching jobs. This can be very beneficial if your HR department is looking to improve their candidate sourcing, interview process and the image of the company overall to attract more talent.

Improve HR Candidate Engagement

A key part of being a successful recruiter is building up relationships with clients and candidates and keeping their interest in your company, so that they continue to work with you. This ability to target what your target audience cares about or wants to improve engagement, is a really valuable skill for an HR department to gain and working with a recruitment agency will help you do just that.

The majority of recruitment agencies market their services to a variety of different demographics, which gives them specialist insight into what certain groups of candidates and clients are looking for from the hiring process. This is important for HR departments looking to improve on diversity of recruitment. A HR department can learn a lot from the recruitment agency they work with, in terms of how to tailor their sourcing and hiring process to attract the kind of candidates they’re specifically looking for and engage with potential job candidates early on in the process.

A recruitment agency is also very likely to already have a bank of talented candidates, that they have built up a relationship with and who might be interested in working for your company when a role opens up, which will save time on a lot of the sourcing and screening process.

Work together on Recruitment Strategy

Finally, the best way that an HR department and recruitment agency can work together is to collaborate on recruitment strategy. Both groups will have their own knowledge and areas of expertise and combining these to develop a thorough approach to recruiting will bring positive results.

Collaborative working should begin with creating a long-term plan for company recruitment, which includes the sourcing, screening, hiring and onboarding process. Tasks and responsibilities should be delegated to each team to maximise efficiency and all the data collected should be shared and regularly reviewed to help streamline the processes even further but also in accordance with GDPR regulations.


There’s nothing better than offering a seamless, engaging and rewarding candidate experience as part of your company’s recruitment process. Not only will it lead to longer employee retention and more effective onboarding, but it will also improve your company’s reputation amongst potential candidates and help to attract more talent when you’re filling a new role.

There’s a lot that an HR department can learn from a recruiter or a recruitment agency about sourcing and hiring new employees, but the most effective way this knowledge can be shared is when the two work together. Even if the partnership is just on a consulting level, it’s a brilliant way to gain new insight into your industry and access new data, software and techniques to improve your company’s recruitment process.

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