How to smartly manage external recruitment costs

updated on 10 October 2023

Let’s talk about something we all love to hate: costs.

Yep, when it comes to choosing a recruitment partner, it’s not just about who sends the best holiday cards. It’s about the moolah, the fees, the ROI. You get the drift.

We spoke to lots and lots of HR managers about this topic and we found out that the best deals are based on a few simple steps.

This is what we found out.

The golden rules of cost management

1. Do the math

First off, whip out that calculator (or Excel, we’re not judging). Make a clear cost-benefit analysis.

What are you paying, and what are you getting in return? If you’re spending a lot of time and money but getting candidates who don’t know basic skills, that’s a problem. Also don’t forget to calculate your own time and energy as well.

Say you’re paying for a recruitment agency, but they’re sending you candidates who can’t even code a simple “Hello, World!” program. That’s a red flag. This is going to cost you so much time and energy. Maybe you’re better of working with another agency that knows how to actually help you out.

2. Compare quality instead of fees

Don’t just settle for the first agency that slides into your DMs. Compare quality and services from different providers, based on real experience. Use a rating system to find out who’s killing it and who isn’t. In the end, fees are important (don’t spend it all), but results are the end goal.

For example: Agency A charges €8,000 and provides candidates who are a 9/10 match for your needs. Agency B charges €6,000 but only provides 6/10 matches. Agency A offers better value, even if they are more expensive.

3. Think long-term: Cheap can be expensive

You know what they say, “Buy cheap, buy twice.” Consider the long-term investment. An agency might offer lower fees or a candidate might ask for a lower salary, but if they’re not up to speed fast, you’re just throwing money down the drain.

Hiring a candidate who turns out to be a poor fit could cost you up to 1.5x their salary in onboarding, training, and eventual severance pay.
Sometimes, paying a bit more upfront for a quality candidate can save you money in the long run.

4. Estimate the cost of “not hiring”.

Don’t just look at the hiring cost, but look at the cost to the business of not hiring someone (yet).

The longer it takes to find a suitable candidate, the more pressure there may be on the current organization.

Sometimes those costs outweigh the costs you have to incur to find the right talent quickly.

The HirePort advantage: Control and clarity

Now, let’s talk about some upcoming features that are going to help you out.

Preferred Supplier List in a click

Ever wish you had a cheat sheet for recruitment agencies?

We get that not every partner is a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why we’re adding a special feature: the ability to select your preferred supplier per job.

With this upcoming ‘Preferred Supplier List,’ you’ll get a clear overview of costs and terms for each supplier. It’s like having a personal shopper, but for recruitment.

Need a tech guru for one job and a marketing whiz for another? No problem. Just pick your go-to agencies for each role, and you’re golden.


And then there’s the upcoming ‘Fee-Slider‘.

This bad boy lets you set your own fees and instantly see which (and how many) suppliers can meet them. It’s not just about cutting costs; it’s about optimizing your ROI per job.

Wrapping it up

So there you have it. From cost-benefit analyses to job-specific supplier selections and even rating your recruiters, we’re all about giving you the tools to make smarter, more cost-effective recruitment decisions. And let’s be real, who doesn’t want that?

If all this talk of optimized recruitment has you itching to find out more, we’ve got just the thing for you. Schedule a demo with us.

See you soon.