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A fish's guide to tech talent acquisition: recruiter expertise vs. DIY hiring strategies

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I'm not gonna lie, I'm pro-recruitment. There, I said it. Unsurprisingly, I represent a software developer matching agency, so my opinion might be somewhat biased. So, for this article to be as honest as possible, I (being the law-abiding fish I am) will swim against the flow and defend exclusively the DIY approach. This will be an open-ended article where you read it, weigh all the pros and cons, give a long, thoughtful stare at the mighty Lake Oahe and make the correct decision all by yourself.

Finding good developers is not easy. Hell, finding good [insert literally any profession here] is not easy. It's in human nature to take the path of least resistance, so why would anyone prefer to do a complex task themselves, when there's a perfectly healthy alternative to delegate it to someone who does it for a living? Okay, let's break it down. There are 4 possible reasons you might want to go the DIY way:

1. Not enough resources

Reasonable? Absolutely. We all start somewhere, and sometimes we just don't have the necessary resources to hire someone just to find someone else... Or do we? I mean, developer fees are much, much higher than the ones of a recruitment agency. So, if you're planning on hiring and paying for a developer (or even a dev team), saving on a relatively low recruiter fee sounds kind of... unwise. Especially, considering all the possible benefits of hiring with the help of a recruiter. IDK, something just isn't adding up. What I'm trying to say is that if you're in an economical crisis, hiring a developer might be a rather risky decision.

2. Knowing exactly what you want

That's a possibility! You might be an ex-developer yourself, this might not be your first tech startup, or you might simply have a lot of developer friends... There might be reasons why you just know exactly what you need, and better than anyone else. In that case – you're good, green light! Just do your thing, the DIY approach was created for you, and a recruiter might do more harm than good.

3. Being used to doing everything yourself

Hey, this is dangerous. There's a fine line between an entrepreneur who isn't afraid to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work, and a nosy, micro-managing pain in the ass, bottleneck-ing every business process imaginable. There's a a certain beauty in delegating tasks that seem very important to you – and that beauty is called "trust". And it's not only about trusting your employees/contractors – it's about trusting yourself. You hire a cook. Do you trust your decision? I guess so. Then why teach the cook how to cook? So, if what makes you uncomfortable is the very idea of delegating, I'd recommend taking a step back and working on your personal business philosophy.

4. Having an in-house recruiter

Yeah, that's a solid excuse. But if that's the case, why are you reading this article anyway? I'm gonna take an educated guess and assume that you don't, in fact, have an in-house recruiter.

Good. These were all about "why I wanna do it myself". Now let's talk about "why I don't want these particular guys to do it". Having typed what I've typed with my fins, I can only name one (1) reason why you might not want to hire a recruitment agency to find you a developer or scale your dev team:

Bad past experience

That's an all-time classic. Fear of new relationships? Bad past experience. No desire to socialize? Bad past experience. Never partying again? Guessed it – bad past experience. And that's completely normal. We all know Albert Einstein's famous line: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". You wouldn't disagree with Albert Einstein himself, would you? But you know what? Have you ever noticed how many letters there are in "Albert"? Six letters. And how was he at… some point in his life? Bingo – 66 years old. 66+6 = 666. That's right, the number of the beast. Think about it.

Okay, I'm kidding. But what I'm trying to say is – who's making you do the same thing anyway? Being wise is not bouncing off of any hard surface like a pinball – it's analysing your past experiences and mistakes, drawing conclusions and doing better next time.

So, have you ever had a bad past experience with a recruiter? If so, congratulations, you're in a better position to hire a recruiter than anyone else. Why? Because you know what to look out for.

Take your knowledge, enthusiasm, experience and put it all into a well-written brief for your next recruiter. Make calls, check in on the progress, make your current employees speak to the potential candidates... Because, when done right, a software development recruitment agency can really bring your company to the next level. And at Match.dev we do it right. In fact, some of the measures I've outlined above are part of our process and if you forget about them, we'll remind you ourselves.

Also, don't forget about extensive candidate screening, flexible developer rates, a pay-as-you-go model – that's all included. Oh, snap, am I slipping into promoting the product I represent? It sure seems so! Well, I'm a fish, slipping is part of my nature.

So, time to open-end this article: hiring a recruiter or doing everything in-house? Fearing past mistakes or learning from them? Diving into every process head-first or delegating? You decide.

What do I know? I'm just a fish after all. Glub-glub.

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