IT staff augmentation vs headhunting – which is better?

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Are you wondering whether to choose IT staff augmentation vs headhunting to recruit new software developers? We can help you by providing a definition of each along with the pros and cons. Finally, we provide you with the associated costs of each hiring model. This way you can make a knowledgeable decision about what option is best for you.

Woman leading meeting indoors about whether to choose IT staff augmentation vs headhunting

Two common approaches to sourcing IT professionals are IT staff augmentation vs. headhunting. Both methods have their advantages and drawbacks, making the choice between them a crucial decision for businesses looking to bolster their IT teams.

Let’s delve into the intricacies of IT staff augmentation and headhunting, exploring the key differences and helping you determine which approach might be the better fit for your unique requirements. Whether you’re seeking to expand your IT department or looking for specialized expertise, understanding the nuances of these two strategies will empower you. This way you can make informed decisions that can drive your organization’s success in the digital age.

What is IT staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation is a business strategy or outsourcing model where a company augments or supplements its in-house workforce with external personnel, typically on a temporary basis. The goal of staff augmentation is to fill skill gaps, meet project demands, or handle increased workloads. All without the long-term commitment and overhead costs associated with hiring full-time employees.

Employers are able to fill in skill gaps with temporary coders. These coders join their dedicated team remotely and collaborate on a project. Staff augmentation services can help you find top-notch experts to fill a role and attract a lucrative project. Moreover, if your current team cannot handle the current workload, additional augmented staff can help with balancing workloads. They can take on some of the tasks, making everything more even keel.

What is headhunting?

Headhunting refers to the practice of recruiting highly qualified and often specialized individuals for specific positions within organizations. This process typically involves identifying and approaching candidates who are not actively seeking new employment opportunities. Headhunters, also known as executive recruiters or search consultants, are professionals or firms that specialize in headhunting.

Headhunting is commonly used for filling high-level executive positions, specialized technical roles, and other positions where finding the right candidate can be challenging. It can save organizations time and effort in identifying and recruiting top talent. This is especially true when there is a shortage of qualified candidates in the job market.

Two businesswomen meeting in a cafe to come to an agreement about hiring an external team to gain skills and expertise

Pros & Cons IT staff augmentation vs headhunting

To help you choose the best hiring process let’s explore the pros and cons of staff augmentation vs headhunting.

Pros of IT staff augmentation

Join us as we tackle the pros of staff augmentation services.

Global talent pool

Access to a global talent pool is a significant benefit of IT staff augmentation, as it enables organizations to tap into a diverse and highly skilled workforce from around the world. By leveraging this global talent pool, companies can quickly find and onboard specialized IT professionals with the expertise required for specific projects or tasks.

This approach offers flexibility in scaling IT teams up or down as needed, optimizing resource allocation, and reducing the time and costs associated with traditional hiring processes. Additionally, it promotes cross-cultural collaboration and innovation. Therefore, allowing organizations to harness a broader range of perspectives and ideas to drive technological advancements and business growth.

Faster recruitment process

IT staff augmentation enables faster recruitment of software developers because it offers a flexible and agile approach to hiring. Instead of undergoing the lengthy process of traditional recruitment, which involves posting job listings, conducting interviews, and negotiating employment terms, companies can quickly tap into a pool of highly skilled developers through augmentation providers.

These providers have a readily available talent pool of pre-screened professionals with diverse skill sets and experience levels. This streamlines the recruitment process, allowing companies to swiftly identify and onboard the right talent for their projects.

Moreover, IT staff augmentation provides the flexibility to scale up or down as project requirements change. Thus ensuring that development teams can be expanded or contracted rapidly to meet project deadlines and goals. Overall, this approach empowers businesses to stay competitive in the fast-paced world of software development by accelerating the recruitment and integration of valuable developer talent.

More flexibility and scalability

IT staff augmentation offers greater flexibility and scalability for businesses by allowing them to quickly adapt to changing needs and demands. Unlike traditional hiring, which can be time-consuming and rigid, staff augmentation enables companies to swiftly onboard skilled professionals for short-term projects or to fill specific skill gaps, without the long-term commitment and overhead of permanent employees.

This flexibility ensures that an organization can scale its IT resources up or down as required, whether it’s to meet sudden project demands, respond to market fluctuations, or explore new initiatives. This approach also reduces the risks associated with overstaffing or understaffing, providing a cost-effective solution that aligns IT resources more closely with business objectives and timelines.

Side view women shaking hands. Company decided to to work with a headhunter to help with team building efforts

Pros of headhunting

Let’s explore some of the advantages of using headhunting to recruit new members to your IT team.

Attract passive candidates

Headhunters often target individuals who are already employed and may not be actively looking for a new job. These candidates are sometimes referred to as “passive candidates.” If they manage to recruit a passive candidate, you may be gaining a top-notch expert. Passive candidates often bring a wealth of experience, skills, and industry knowledge that can be hard to find among active job seekers.

By leveraging their networks and expertise, headhunters can persuade passive candidates to explore new opportunities, expanding the pool of potential hires and increasing the likelihood of finding the best-suited candidate for a particular role.

Can keep it confidential

In many cases, headhunters work discreetly to maintain the confidentiality of both the hiring organization and the candidates they approach. This is especially important when recruiting candidates from competitors. They maintain confidentiality by using discreet communication channels, such as encrypted emails and secure phone lines, to protect sensitive information. Additionally, they employ a rigorous screening process to ensure that only qualified candidates are informed about the opportunity, limiting the risk of leaks.

Headhunters also refrain from disclosing the client’s identity until a candidate has expressed genuine interest and signed a non-disclosure agreement, which minimizes the chance of word spreading in the industry. Furthermore, they may employ code names or generic job descriptions to protect the client’s identity while still conveying the essence of the position. Overall, these measures help headhunters preserve the privacy and confidentiality of both their clients and candidates throughout the recruitment process.

Can help narrow your search

Headhunters can help you narrow your search when looking for a specific candidate. They can guide you to find the right candidate for you. It involves proactively identifying and approaching highly qualified individuals who may not be actively seeking new job opportunities. By leveraging market insights, industry knowledge, and extensive networks, headhunters can pinpoint top talent. They can find talent that aligns closely with specific job requirements, company culture, and long-term goals.

This targeted approach not only saves time and resources but also reduces the need for extensive job postings and sifting through numerous applications. It also increases the likelihood of securing the best candidates who might not be accessible through traditional recruitment channels. Headhunting allows organizations to focus on quality over quantity, ensuring a more efficient and effective hiring process.

Cons of IT staff augmentation

Let’s explore the cons of staff augmentation services.

Project manager maintains control over the project but has a larger workload due to extra members on development team

Larger manager workload

When you use staff augmentation services to add developers to your in-house team, you add extra work for your management team. Your managers will have more bodies to take care of and manage. Of course, this is also true when you successfully carry out in-house recruitment processes.

They will have to incorporate another person into the team. Your project manager will need to provide onboarding, bring them up to speed, and assign tasks. Once these tasks are underway they will need to monitor the activity on these tasks and provide feedback.

Moreover, the project manager will want to make sure to integrate the augmented staff with the in-house staff. Even if this arrangement is only temporary, you want the team members to get along and work well together.

Lack of long-term institutional knowledge

Sometimes only current staff members have sufficient historical experience. Training or knowledge of the project will be required. Newcomers need a little time and a good understanding of the basics. Your in-house development team will have created processes, procedures, etc. over the years on how to best create software. It may take a little while for augmented developers to learn them, but they can add to them as time goes on.

When hiring from team augmentation services make sure you onboard new team members and give them a little time to adjust. Swyply developers will invest time to ensure that the gap is minimal and that they are ready to hit the ground running on your project. It’s also important to remember that when hiring developers through a headhunter or an in-house hiring model they also won’t have long-term institutional knowledge.

Cons of headhunting

Let’s go over some of the cons of in-house headhunting.

In house hiring via a headhunter. Software developers to join dedicated development team

Poaching candidates can look bad

In some cases poaching candidates for competitors can negatively impact your company’s reputation. The way you recruit new in-house employees can either positively or negatively impact your employer branding. Being seen as an employee poacher can make you look bad and make any other forms of recruitment more difficult.

When you deal with an interconnected industry, headhunting can give competitors, suppliers, and customers a bad taste. They may not want to associate with your brand. Moreover, if you find yourself poaching software developers from the same competitor, time and time again, you may find yourself in a legal situation.

Something you need to remember when a headhunter poaches a passive candidate is they may be only motivated by a higher paycheck. They may not be motivated by the project itself. This can make working with them a struggle in some circumstances.

They may not have your best interest at heart

A key difference between staff augmentation vs headhunting is headhunters may not have your best interest at heart. A headhunter may not always have the best interests of the company they work for at heart when their motivations are primarily driven by personal gain or short-term success.

In some cases, headhunters might prioritize their own financial incentives, such as commissions or bonuses for filling positions quickly, which can lead to rushed or less-than-ideal hires. Headhunters will often suggest to you, experts who earn a higher salary than perhaps the expert you actually need. In order to gain a higher payout for themselves, if they work on a commission basis. Both these factors could result in a mismatch between the candidate and the company’s long-term needs or culture, potentially causing problems down the road.

Furthermore, headhunters may not invest the necessary time to thoroughly understand the company’s unique requirements, leading to suboptimal hiring decisions. For the best outcomes, it’s essential for companies to work with headhunters who demonstrate a genuine commitment to finding the right candidates for the long-term success of the organization, rather than just chasing immediate financial rewards.

Business man calculating finance numbers. He is investing the cost of hiring via an augmentation company vs headhunting

Costs of IT staff augmentation vs headhunting

There are differences between staff augmentation services and headhunting when it comes to cost.

The price of using the IT staff augmentation model

The staff augmentation model enables you to hire developers on a temporary basis. Here at Swyply, the only cost you cover is the daily rate of the developer. We multiply the daily rate by the number of days worked in the month. Then we take that number and send you an invoice. You will have 14 days to pay the invoice.

You don’t have to worry about any recruitment costs with this type of hiring model. Moreover, you don’t have to cover the costs associated with employing someone. So, you don’t have to pay taxes, health insurance, sick leave, vacation time, etc. Also, you don’t have to worry about providing augmented staff with perks, that is on us as well. Here at Swyply, we offer our developers perks such as language lessons, e-learning courses, co-financing on laptops and office furniture, and so much more.

As a business owner, you also avoid the costs of paying to keep someone on the bench. You only pay for these temporary developers as long as they make money for you. Once they are done working on your project, we pay to keep them on the bench or we move them to a new project.

Another cost you don’t have to worry about is growth and salary. The vendor will take care of hourly salary increases and you won’t have to cover any costs associated with that. Whereas, when you hire entirely, salary increases are definitely something that is your concern.

Costs associated with headhunting

Headhunting, also known as executive search or talent acquisition, comes with various costs that organizations must consider when seeking top-tier talent. Firstly, there are financial expenses such as recruitment agency fees. These can be substantial, especially when targeting highly specialized or senior-level positions.

Additionally, there may be costs related to advertising and promoting the job opening to attract potential candidates. Moreover, the time and effort invested by the organization’s internal staff in the headhunting process can also be significant. This is partially because they are diverting resources from other essential tasks.

Furthermore, there are intangible costs, like the potential disruption to team dynamics and productivity during the search period. However, these expenses are often justified by the value of securing exceptional talent that can drive a company’s success and growth in the long run.

Smiling colleagues sitting near coffee while work with laptops. They are discussing whether to use IT staff augmentation vs headhunting to hire new members for existing team

TL;DR: Final thoughts on why you should choose IT staff augmentation vs headhunting

So let’s sum up these hiring models to give you one final look at which one might be better for you. First of all, IT staff augmentation is the practice of hiring external IT professionals on a temporary basis to supplement a company’s in-house team and address specific skill or resource gaps. Whereas, headhunting is the process of actively recruiting and pursuing highly qualified and often passive candidates for specific job positions, typically for executive or specialized roles.

When comparing staff augmentation vs headhunting it’s important to go over all the pros and cons of both hiring models. Some advantages of working with a staff augmentation company include:

  • Global talent pool
  • Faster recruitment process
  • More flexibility and scalability

Some disadvantages of working with a staff augmentation agency include:

  • requires more management efforts
  • lack of long-term institutional knowledge

Now when it comes to working with a headhunter you may experience benefits such as:

  • Attract passive candidates
  • Can keep the recruitment process confidential
  • Can help narrow your search, if you are unsure of exactly what skill gap you are looking to fill

But just like with the staff augmentation strategy, there are some cons of in-house recruitment through the use of a headhunter. Some of these drawbacks include:

  • Poaching candidates from competitors can look bad
  • They may not have your best interest at heart. They may offer you a more expensive candidate, to increase their own commission

Finally, let’s quickly look at the costs associated with these hiring processes. Staff augmentation services’ cost-effectiveness makes it an attractive option for someone looking for transparent prices. You truly only pay the daily rate of a developer and that’s all. Therefore, you don’t bear recruitment costs, additional employee costs, or other surprise fees. Whereas, headhunting comes with various costs such as a retainer fee, contingency fee, recruitment costs (job ads), candidate expenses and so much more. Not all these costs are presented upfront either, which can cause potential problems.

Did you make a choice between IT staffing augmentation vs headhunting?

Unlock your IT team’s full potential! Choose IT staff augmentation today for seamless growth and expertise. Ready to supercharge your tech talent? Drop us a line and elevate your IT game!

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