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How to choose the best recruitment solution for your business

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A company is only as good as its people – and finding those good people can be harder than expected.

It’s never been more important for companies to get it right when hiring. You’ll not only save time and money, but you’ll also equip your team with the resources and skills needed to deliver great results and grow your business. 

Who do you turn to for help securing top talent? And do you know which recruitment solution will work best for your company?

Read on to distinguish your RPO from your recruiters, your contingency from your retained, and the industry’s best from the don’t-even-think-about-its. 

Oh, and let’s not forget the all-important question: What does recruitment actually cost? 

Scroll through for all the juicy details.

The basics of recruitment outsourcing

Often discussed, but rarely fully understood, RPO (or recruitment process outsourcing, if you’re feeling fancy) is a model whereby you transfer the responsibility for recruiting to a dedicated service provider. You can either outsource parts of the process or the whole thing, depending on your needs.

So, what’s the difference between RPO and a recruitment agency? And how do you know if it’s right for you?

First off, you need to consider the timeframe of your project. Do you need a fast turnaround for a one-off hire? Then you’re probably better served going with a traditional recruitment agency model. Recruitment outsourcing is popular for longer-term projects, where it's necessary to have loads of historical and contextual information.

The second thing to take into account is your budget. Realistically speaking, RPO might not be the best option for a small team with limited resources. You’re effectively paying for a team’s dedicated time in your business. Weigh up the potential value that will add to your company when making your decision.

Next, consider the phase of your business. How does an RPO model work for you? A more flexible recruitment solution may be more suited if you’re in the startup, scaling stage of building your company. (Psst! We’ve developed a tailored recruitment model just for you!

It’s called Intuch and it makes great talent more accessible for growing teams. Learn more here.) For larger, more established businesses, RPO might be more streamlined.

Finally, it’s crucial to look at the type of support you need. RPO becomes an embedded part of your business (which can be good for those long-term needs) but takes time to get started (which can be a challenge if you need results yesterday).

A recruitment agency can stay more objective and flexible since they’re not fully plugged into your team. That can give you valuable insights and the ability to scale quickly.

Time to go exclusive?

Exclusivity in recruitment refers to the mandate of an agency to fill a role. Many recruiters push for exclusivity clauses and promise a dedicated service in return.

In an ideal world, you’d agree to a recruitment agency exclusivity agreement (meaning, they’re the only ones working to fill a role for you) and they’d deliver the ideal candidate faster and more efficiently than if they were competing with other recruiters. It’s a great concept that works well when done right.

Unfortunately in many cases, clients are on the losing end of that bargain. You end up stuck waiting for the right talent, while the recruiter tries to find close-enough candidates.

When we started Digital Waffle, we were set on changing this dynamic between agency and client. We want you to find the right people for your business – and we know we can deliver that. But we don’t want to trap you in a tricky agreement that limits your options. That’s why we don’t have any exclusivity clauses.

Yes, you read that right: No exclusivity clauses.

We’re so confident that we can find you the best people, that we know you’ll only want to work with us anyway! Get a taste of our process and tailored solutions here.

The Average Cost of Recruitment

Trying to determine how much recruitment costs can be tricky. According to Glassdoor, the average cost-per-hire comes to £7000 and companies typically spend 27.5 days hiring a new worker.

But there’s a lot that goes into the cost of recruitment. Here are a few headline figures to keep in mind when budgeting.

Retained search:

25% - 35% of the total annual compensation of the candidate (a portion is paid upfront and the remainder once the placement has been made)

Contingency recruitment:

15% - 30% of the total annual compensation of the candidate (paid when the placement is made)


Varies depending on the pricing model you agree to. This can include a monthly management fee, cost-per-hire (around the 5-15% of compensation mark), cost-per-slate (payment for every set number of hires), or cost-per-transaction (payment for specific elements of the recruitment process.)

Factors that affect the cost of recruitment

Things like the scarcity of candidates for the role you’re recruiting, where you’re based, how many placements you’re looking to make, and how connected and established your recruiter is can all impact the price you pay for your solution.

Retained Search vs Contingency Recruitment

Let’s unpack two of the biggest buzzwords in recruitment: Retained vs Contingency.

Retained search is an exclusive and dedicated service. You pay a portion of the fees upfront and the recruiter goes away and does the work. It can be expensive to kick off, but in many cases can deliver strong results.

Contingency recruitment cuts out the upfront fee, and you only pay if a successful placement has been made. It’s also typically not on an exclusive basis, meaning multiple recruiters can work to fill the same role for you.

Both of these recruitment models have their pros and cons, and a large part of the decision will depend on your business needs. Contingency is a smart choice for companies scaling and looking for fast and flexible results. Retained can be better if you’re hiring for a prominent role or need dedicated resources on the job.

So, that brings us to the last (and our favourite) question…

Where do we fit in?

We’ve spent years unpacking the best and worst parts of recruitment and came to one striking conclusion: Things needed to change. Clients and candidates deserved better! So, we started Digital Waffle – an agile and flexible recruitment solution that caters to the actual needs of your business.

Here are a few of the things that make us uniquely Us.

We’re experienced:

Our team knows their s##t. We’re well-connected and passionate about making successful matches across industries like tech, marketing and design, infrastructure, data, and transformation. Get to know us here.

We move fast:

You can’t afford to sit around waiting for great talent! Our theory for why we’re so efficient? We spend less time spitting jargon and more time working for you. See how we work here.

We make sense:

Digital Waffle isn’t another traditional recruitment company. We’ve developed a fine-print-free zone of excellent talent and simple processes.

We’re Intuch:

Our recruitment on subscription solution gives you true flexibility. Pay for your recruitment in 12 equal instalments over the first year after we make a placement. If things don’t work out (for whatever reason), you stop paying. No fuss, no questions asked.

Do we sound like your kind of team? We’d love to chat about your hiring needs.