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How to build a flexible recruiting team

How to build a flexible recruiting team

In the past few years, we’ve transformed the way we work and collaborate. Companies shifted from 9-5 office days to remote and hybrid workplaces. Some businesses switched to asynchronous working and others adopted 4-day work weeks. Virtual meetings are just as common (if not more) as face-to-face meetings.

With all these changes, is it time to upgrade how we assemble teams? Building flexible teams that combine full-time in-house employees with specialized on-demand experts is one way recruitment teams can operate more efficiently and adapt to the ever-changing market conditions and internal organizational changes.

What is a flexible recruiting team?

Some companies build an in-house team responsible for all things HR and recruitment. Others outsource every aspect of their recruitment to an external partner.

A flexible recruiting team has the best of both worlds: your in-house team and on-demand experts who help out with specific recruiting challenges. They work together to reach your hiring goals and get the best talent, as fast as possible.

Benefits of flexible recruiting teams

1) You can easily adapt to any change (good or bad) on the market or inside your organization.

2) You can save time and money.

3) You can get the best people on your team by working with recruiters who have talent pools in your specific location and a proven track record filling niche roles in your industry.

Risks flexible recruiting teams help you avoid

Building a flexible recruiting team will have a significant impact on your short-term and long-term goals. Here are five risks flexible teams can help you avoid.

  • Excessive payroll cost: Payroll costs are a substantial expense for any company. When hiring an in-house recruiter make sure you have long term hiring needs. If you have a hiring sprint, it’s more affordable to collaborate with on-demand recruiters.
  • General skills and experience: Companies usually hire in-house recruiters with general recruiting skills and the experience to cover most of the roles. This means they might struggle when they need to hire niche roles or recruit in foreign markets.
  • Scaling bottleneck: If your business is growing aggressively, you need to hire new talent as fast as possible. This means you have to scale your talent acquisition team first. It takes around 3 months to hire and onboard an in-house recruiter which is why it can be necessary to get external help.
  • Scaling down: When hiring needs decrease, companies find themselves with more recruiters than they need. Not only does this lead to high payroll costs but it can also have an impact on your team morale and turnover.
  • Negative impact on your employer brand: If you hire more recruiters than you need, eventually you’ll have to start letting them go. This will weaken your employer brand and have a negative impact on talent attraction and retention.

When to grow your in-house recruiting team and when to use external help?

This is mainly a time and money question. But you should also ask yourself if you have a consistent workload for recruiters or you're facing a short-term hiring spike.

It makes sense to get external help when:

  • You’re hiring for niche or hard-to-fill roles
  • You need to hire a lot of people in a short period of time
  • Your hiring needs are seasonal
  • You’re hiring abroad or expanding to a new market
  • Your in-house team needs support
  • Hiring an in-house recruiter isn’t cost-effective in your case*

*In the next paragraph we'll go over how you can calculate the more cost-effective solution.

Calculate if hiring an (additional) in-house recruiter is cost-effective

Is it more cost-effective to hire an external partner or an in-house recruiter? Let's break down the process step by step to help you make an informed decision.

Step 1: Determine the average cost

Consider the difficulty of roles, your employer brand, and the specific market where you are hiring.

Here’s an average estimate for Estonia:

  • Total cost for hiring an in-house recruiter (Annual salary & benefits + equipment & training)
    - €45 000
    Cost per hire - to get your cost per hire, divide the total cost by the number of roles you're hiring for in a year.
  • Average cost per hire when working with an external partner
    - €5000 (with a recruitment agency) or
    - €3000 (with a freelance recruiter)
costs of hiring a recruiter in Estonia

Step 2: Determine the number of roles to fill

Based on the number of roles you’re filling, you can calculate what is the more affordable option. Use this formula to compare the costs.

If you have to fill fewer than X roles, an external partner would be more affordable.

For example, let's say you have to fill 8 roles:

€45,000 / €5,000 = 9 roles

In this scenario, hiring an external recruitment partner would be more cost-effective with 8 roles to fill. On the other hand, if you have 15 roles to fill, hiring an in-house recruiter would be more cost-effective.

Remember that the cost-effectiveness can vary depending on the difficulty of roles and other factors. Use this calculation as a guideline and consider urgency, role type, and additional recruitment tasks. Read more about calculating your recruitment costs.

How to build a flexible recruiting team?

Your recruiting team will be different depending on the stage of your company. A small business, a growing startup, and a corporation need different teams. But, teams of all sizes are empowered when in-house teams collaborate with external experts to make better decisions, save time and cut costs.

How does it work in practice? Let’s unwrap a few examples. Here’s how companies in different stages benefit from flexible recruiting teams and how those teams might look in each case.

Companies without an HR team

To fill the first roles in an early-stage startup or a small business, teams rely on their own network, referrals and job boards. Co-founders and team leads are searching for talent on their own.


  • At some point it becomes hard to find a suitable candidate within your network.
  • Job ads don't always bring in the right candidates for the role.
  • There's no need for a full-time HR manager or talent team.


Your flexible recruiting team: Founders + Freelance Recruiter or Agency

An agency or a freelance recruiter can help you with a number of tasks: developing your recruitment strategy, creating a shortlist of potential candidates, initial screening of candidates or interviews.

The main benefit is cost-efficiency. On-demand work is a more affordable option than hiring a full-time employee.

Companies with an in-house HR team

When there is a new role (or multiple roles) to be filled, the HR manager needs to add a number of recruitment tasks to their to-do list. Chances are your HR team doesn’t have enough time to dive deep into recruiting and keep up with their day-to-day HR tasks.


  • In-house HR teams have to juggle HR and recruitment tasks - they need support.
  • Internal teams might not have enough time or expertise when it comes to hiring in foreign markets, hiring for niche roles and other time-consuming tasks.


Your flexible recruiting team: Hiring Managers + HR + Agency or Freelance Recruiter(s)

It’s 2023 and we’ve all seen that a burnt-out team isn’t an effective one. By opening up the possibility to delegate part of their work, you're supporting your in-house HR team. That’s why many companies choose to hire on-demand freelance recruiters. External recruiters can help HR teams with any task such as sourcing, screening or full-cycle recruitment.

Companies with a Talent Acquisition team

The traditional placement fee per hired candidate doesn't scale well and gets expensive if you have many roles to fill. If your company's growing fast or expanding to an unfamiliar market, it makes sense to embed a recruiter in your team for a fixed monthly fee.


  • You need to fill dozens of roles quickly
  • You're expanding to a new market
  • You want to build your employer brand and provide a consistent candidate experience


Your flexible recruiting team: Hiring Managers + In-House Recruiters + Embedded Recruiters*

*Embedded recruiters are an extension of your in-house team. They’re external partners who represent your company and use your company's tools and processes. Embedded recruiters work together with your in-house talent team, and bring their expertise to the table.

Embedding recruiters in your team gives you more control, speed and value than traditional recruitment outsourcing. You get to build your employer brand, have control over the candidate experience, and own the talent pool recruiters are building. As a bonus, this approach typically costs less.

Wrapping up

In the rapidly changing world of recruitment, flexibility isn’t just an advantage—it's becoming a necessity. Flexible teams don't only increase chances of attracting and retaining the best talent but also reduce the risks associated with relying only on your in-house team. Creating a flexible recruitment team can help you increase efficiency, save time and cut costs.

If you’re thinking about building a flexible recruitment team or getting some extra help for your talent team, we’ve got you. Book a free consultation with one of our experts. We’ll go over your hiring challenges and determine the best solution for your unique challenges.