Hiring engineers · Recruiting

When hiring, do you have an HR department or work with Recruiters?


January 13th, 2015

When you need to add or replace staff, where do you go? Do you have an internal HR or use Recruiters or both?

I'm trying to get a feel for what people are doing. If I work with a recruiter they want $20k-$40K per person. If I hire an HR person they will cost me up to $10K per month but I would expect them to get more then 1 person per month.

I'm looking at staffing a project that may have 20 people over the next couple of months.

I'm not looking for an HR person or a recruiter, I have access to them once I decide.

I'm just interested in peoples opinions and experience between the two.

I fear that a cheap HR person will not have connections, same with a low cost recruiter. I'm expecting an HR person to already know people who might fill the position, I understand that a recruiter would be looking for people and be doing a search, am I wrong on this?

Reece Hart collaborative, hands-on bioinformatics leader

January 13th, 2015

For technical recruiting, I was very impressed with the candidates that came from StackOverflow Careers and from Meetups (in SF). These were far better sources than recruiters (in-house or external). -Reece

Gregory (CPSP) Technical Sourcer at Facebook

January 16th, 2015

I've been a technical recruiter at a startup I helped grow from 30-120. I'm also been a tech recruiter at Twitter for 2 years, and I'm about to transition to Facebook. 

You need both. You need HR for proper on-boarding, dealing with visa issues, etc. Recruiters don't have this skill set. You also need recruiting because posting your jobs isn't going to cut it. The first handful of hires you make at your company are crucial, and will define your culture. These people are going to be "passive talent"; meaning they are well taken care of and happy in their current roles. It requires extensive research and carefully crafted outreach to engage these folks (especially when you're new and have no brand). You need recruiters, who are highly-skilled sourcers, to accomplish that goal.

Wolfgang Strigel Partner at Vancouver Expert Coaches

January 14th, 2015

Recruiting is the most important and the most difficult thing I experienced. Unless you have a large organization HR is not the way to go. Skilled recruiters are a rare breed. A recent article in the Economist (http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21637393-rise-demand-economy-poses-difficult-questions-workers-companies-and) points to to newer trend which is worth considering. Spending $40K on a hire (see above), given the mobility of today's workforce is a waste of money. There are emerging companies that try to match your needs with suitable contractors which is where the industry tends to go. One of them, a startup with an interesting concept is http://hq.teamfit.co/, but it it still in Beta.

Mamie Stewart Founder & CEO at Meeteor, Speaker, Change-maker

January 13th, 2015

In my experience, an internal HR person and a recruiter are doing two different jobs, so it really depends on what you need. 

A recruiter will source and do a preliminary screen. But then you (or someone inside your company) still needs to review the candidate's resume, have a phone call and do the interviewing/assessment, put together the offer, communicate the offer to the candidate, and put together the onboarding plan. 

An internal HR person will likely not have the network that a recruiter does, but will manage the postings on online job sites, and then do a lot of the the other internal work I mentioned above, in partnership with the hiring manager.

So its really a question of what you need - better sourcing? more of your time freed up? both?

Steven Forth Co-Founder at TeamFit

January 14th, 2015

TeamFit is solving a somewhat different problem. How do you know if a group of people will be able to work together well and if they meet the requirements for success? In some cases this is a recruiting problem. I have an open position on my team and I need to find the person to fill it. External solutions, whether cloud-based software or recruiting companies, focus on individuals. TeamFit measures (i) how well that individual matches the role requirements given the existing team and (ii) how well the team as a whole fits the requirements. The company is still in development mode, but you can sign up on the website to get in line for the beta. It is free to consultants, freelancers and other people joining teams while people doing the team building pay for a subscription.


January 13th, 2015

I find that CraigsList and Dice are overwhelming for myself so I have decided to not continue this myself, I think once you have over 10 people It makes sense to keep my focus on running the company and delegate the staffing responsibility (I still want the final say).

Rob G

January 13th, 2015

Thomas, as usual the answer is 'it depends'.  I am a partner in a small project-based IT/dev firm and much of what we do is project staffing.  Are these programmers? and if so are the skills/experience required in high demand? Do they need to be on site or remote? I would not expect a dedicated HR person to have the connections to fill more than a few positions if these are programmer/technical positions with reasonably in-demand skills required.  People move around too quickly and their availability changes quickly.  Personally i would come up with a plan that works for you cash-flow wise and then approach several small to medium sized independent recruiters and see if they can live with your proposal.  As you've discovered running the project/company plus staffing up a 20 person project via Dice and CL just isn't feasible. Again, not knowing what skills you need it's hard to estimate the work effort, but from the hip assuming these are technical positions i would say to fill 20 positions over 2 months would take 2-3 full time "typical" recruiters or 4-5 good recruiters who do all the screening and level 1 interviewing for you.  A "typical" recruiter is simply going to throw resumes at you and you will spend a great deal of time screening.  You are correct, a recruiter is going to go out and look for people to fill your positions (same with an HR person, but the recruiter should be higher volume).  A large firm will have people on their "bench" and try to sell you those people first.  They should have access to Monster, Dice and premium LinkedIn as well as other job boards. 

Alan Matthews Entrepreneur

January 15th, 2015

The only thing your company is made of is people and they create the culture that you end up with. Hiring well is the most important thing to focus on at all times imho. 

Even when my sales desk is full I'm still hiring because they know I'll replace them if there's a better candidate available and it creates urgency and purpose. Of course that's a unique situation... you don't put most people under that kind of pressure.

Maybe the question is when do you hire a person responsible for people acquisition.. we don't like the term HR because it's matronly sounding term for something overly bureaucratic. Chief People Officer is about the best we've come up with.... Minister of Culture would almost be better.

Getting the right people on board is so important that at Rapid7 our CPO, Christina Luconi, reports directly to our CEO and runs a department engaged in outbound marketing, metrics and reporting, with performance based on the success, quality, and tenure of the employees hired. Just like every other department we regard it as a process with feedback and adjustment.

A different company I'm an investor in, Ascendify, sells a SaaS product for hiring. The Talent Acquisition Platform creates a pool of pre-employees in a social media setting which allows prospective employees to engage with actual employees to become familiar with the culture before applying for a job. This creates a more cooperative and less stressed hiring process and provides data analytics.

Under all successful circumstances though you will eventually need someone on staff and you will also pay fees as it's more about the right people than the cost. Think forward one year to the good that the right person can do vs. the bad that the wrong person can do. While cash is king it's all wasted on the wrong hire.

Ultimately you'll have many people on staff to handle recruiting. It's up to you to prioritize when that happens... I recommend up front. When I start a company I hire the Minister of Culture first!


Phil Strazzulla

January 13th, 2015

In the early days I'd suggest using job boards and dealing with this yourself unless you have a lot of resources or a very strong aversion to interviewing/recruiting, or if you have needs to hire a lot in the short term.


January 14th, 2015


Thanks for the link of your company.

I think this is a great service that you are providing for free, this saves me time and money not having to deal with recruiters or hiring an HR resource.

I will need a few technical people, general iOS and Android developers as well as QA people.

I also need a few less technical for sales and marketing.

Can you start sending me names and resumes that I can interview?