Skip to content

Recruiting in Uncertain Times

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Trying to decide whether to engage a recruitment agency or to go it alone can be a real dilemma for businesses. There are undoubtedly pros and cons to both, but clients have told me repeatedly over the years that the DIY approach has rarely, if ever, delivered the quick, pain-free, cost-effective solution they were hoping for. While I obviously have a vested interest in making a strong case for using recruitment professionals, it is still interesting to explore the issues – particularly in today’s market where there are more candidates than jobs and employers may be more tempted than usual to handle their own recruitment.

In the midst of some of the most challenging trading conditions any of us can remember, we are seeing a steady rise in unemployment and with that, a huge spike in the number of people looking for jobs.

From a business perspective, there are winners as well as losers in this pandemic, and some industry sectors have been worse affected than others. Understandably, some businesses are not recruiting at the moment – but many are. Some of our clients continue to make permanent appointments while others are turning to temporary workers to provide additional support on a more flexible basis.

If you are hiring, you may be tempted to take on the recruitment process yourself. While a DIY approach may work for some businesses, it is fraught with potential pitfalls and is not necessarily the quickest and most cost-effective solution that some might envisage.

These are my thoughts on why going it alone may not be the best option:

Employer turned recruiter

With large volumes of people applying for jobs, it’s more time consuming than ever for business owners, HRs and team managers to take on the recruitment process themselves – unless of course they have the luxury of a dedicated in-house recruiter. For most businesses, recruitment is a labour-intensive process. Not only do they have to deal with the advertising, sift through large volumes of CVs and deal with in-bound enquiries to try to identify the best candidates, but they also have to prepare, co-ordinate and run interviews, maintain communications at every stage and deal with the many other aspects of the recruitment process. With so many candidates on the market, the task is likely to be more challenging and time consuming than it was previously.


Many of the employers we speak to readily admit to feeling out of their depth when it comes to recruitment. Once they’ve been through the process, they often remark on how much more there was to it than they had realised. To the inexperienced or unqualified recruiter, the process can be extremely daunting and for some, the pressure of attracting and securing a candidate who is going to be a great match for the role, the team and the wider business, is immense.  Many different skills are required, including understanding the jobs market, writing the right sort of job ads, knowing which advertising channels to target, the ability to analyse and shortlist candidates, excellent communications with all stakeholders, great negotiating skills – to name a few. Recruiters also need a solid understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, the selection process, first and second stage interviews, remuneration, employment law and so on.


Recruitment takes a lot of time and energy. If you factor in the time it takes to launch, run and complete the recruitment process, it adds up to a significant number of hours. Apart from the financial cost, it is a massive distraction and impacts the person’s ability to do their day job effectively. It costs nothing to appoint a recruitment agency as fees are only paid on completion of a successful hire.


Experienced, professional recruitment agencies will add considerable value to the HR teams and businesses they work with. In our case, we have 22 years’ experience recruiting great quality candidates for roles at all levels within PA and Administration, Marketing, HR and Finance – so we really are specialists and have a great deal to offer.

Our team will take on the entire recruitment process for you. We have a database of pre-interviewed, quality permanent and temporary candidates at all levels, many of whom are available immediately. This enables us to identify the most suitable candidates for your vacancy quickly and cost-effectively.

We will also advertise your vacancy widely, as needed, using all appropriate channels. Given current market conditions and our extensive local network, we are confident that we will be able to fulfil your brief and provide you with a truly exceptional service.

Our service is bespoke to you. Please get in touch with me personally to discuss how we can help you to find the best candidates to suit your needs quickly and cost-effectively.

Kate Allen is Managing Director of Allen Associates.

Having worked as a recruitment consultant for many years, Kate was determined to do things differently when she established Allen Associates in 1998. She wanted to create a recruitment business which delivered a bespoke service centred on the needs of Clients and Candidates.

Her eye for talent and potential, together with her passion for service excellence, has enabled her to build a team which shares her values and consistently delivers outstanding results. Kate remains a strategic driving force of the business and has management responsibility for Allen Associates’ offering in Oxfordshire and London.