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Looking to add new talent to your staff? When it’s time to hire, some firms opt for the pre-screening services of a recruitment agency, while others prefer to stick with traditional in-house screening (or self-screening) of job applicants. But which is the one for you?

This head-to-head comparison of both hiring methods should help you to decide.


It’s generally felt that an in-house team is more cost effective than using a recruitment agency. That’s because whereas you have to budget for agency fees, the internal recruiters are already on the payroll and the task of hiring new employees is already a part of their job description.

The flip side of this, however, is that using a recruitment agency allows you to slim down your in-house team. That translates to less expenditure on salary and benefits, since payments to the agency are on a per use basis.


To fill a post using self-screening, your in-house team will first have to sift through all the applicants, then go through several rounds of interviews to whittle the field down to a final choice. While it gives the internal recruiters the chance to fully explore each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, it does require time and energy which they could devote to other roles.

Going with a pre-screening agency can be more convenient, since they use the job description and criteria you provide to pinpoint which candidates best suit your needs. These top candidates are the only ones your internal recruiters will have to set aside time to deal with.

Industry Knowledge

Keeping abreast of industry shifts and innovations is crucial to an agency’s competitiveness. Sound industry knowledge allows it to match the skills of candidates in its talent pool to the new developments and trends in the industry.

Companies within the industry come to trust the agency’s methods and rely on it to fill their recruitment needs. The large number of tech employers who hire pre-screened developers from CodeFights is a good example of this.

Conversely, while your in-house team might know the inner workings of your company very well, they may not be as up-to-date as external recruiters are with what’s going on in the wider industry.

Cultural Fit

Some companies place cultural fit at a higher level of importance than a candidate's past achievements or skill set. The rationale being that while skills can be developed with training, cultural fit is most often either there or it isn’t.

Internal recruiters are intimate with the ethos of your company, so they tend to have the edge over pre-screening agencies when it comes to judging the cultural fit of candidates. That said, many agencies use a variety of questionnaires and tests as a way of assessing the qualities in a candidate’s character which relate to cultural fit.

In reality, many firms have found that the recruitment “sweet spot” is not going with one or the other, but rather a combination of the two – an agency working alongside their own in-house team. By taking a close look at the points we’ve presented, you should be able to find the recruitment solution that’s right for you.