Ever wonder if it’s worth the cost to hire a professional recruiter for your healthcare staffing needs? It’s a very legitimate question. And the honest answer is: “Most often, yes. But it depends.”

No matter how you slice it, hiring professional healthcare workers is an expensive endeavor, and even more costly when you make the wrong choice. In some cases, it may be appropriate, less expensive, and relatively safe to hire on your own.

When a recruiter costs you money

If you have plenty of time to fill a position and it happens to be a relatively low or entry-level position it may be more prudent to do it yourself: Pay for and place the ads, sort through the responses and resumes, and vet candidates on your own.

It’s still an ongoing and time-consuming process, but in the end, you might benefit from using a little in-house elbow grease to save on the cost of a recruiter.

More often than not, however, the benefits of working with an experienced and ethical recruiter far outweigh the costs, including the risk of making the wrong hire.

When a recruiter saves you money

1. Managing urgent needs

You’re a team leader and you need to fill a position, pronto.

You’re down one or more neonatal nurse practitioners and your existing staff is working overtime to cover the shifts. Each day the job remains open you drain your payroll budget and put your team at high risk of burnout. Practitioners that are overworked and stressed are more likely to make mistakes, jeopardizing your facility’s quality of care and outcomes.

What’s more, this kind of “pressure cooker” environment could lead to further attrition: Losing yet another team member is the last thing your facility needs.

2. Limiting turnover cost

As the primary hiring manager, you understand that turnover cost poses a very serious threat to your bottom line, and should not be taken lightly.

If the vacant position pays an annual salary of $90k, you could easily spend up to twice that amount in overtime wages and lost productivity while the position remains unfilled. That’s a significant expense—far higher than the commission fee you would pay a recruiter. And the longer that job remains open, the more costly it is.

3. Hiring the best fit

Now let’s say you are the HR manager at your facility. You’re good at what you do, there’s no doubt. But your responsibilities span a multitude of disciplines, leaving only certain slivers of time in the day to focus on the hiring process.

Not so with a professional healthcare recruitment firm—they devote their entire day to the staffing process. They search, screen and interview qualified candidates with the right experience, education and proven skills your facility requires. A specialized recruitment firm is often able to execute a more streamlined and cost-effective hiring strategy than the one you have in place. They’ll find you the right person quickly, and often on the very first try.

Additional benefits of partnering with a recruiter

1. Select from a curated list of top candidates

Today’s best healthcare recruitment firms spend each and every day building very broad and robust networks of ideal candidates: Highly skilled, well-educated and trained nurses, physicians, surgeons and more. When you reach out to your recruitment partners, you will benefit from their industry knowledge and expertise, and access a vetted list of pre-qualified, candidates.

2. Speed

Every time you need to replace a staff member, you re-start the hiring process from scratch. That’s expensive. Plus, if you make the wrong hire, you reset the clock and start the process all over again.

That’s really expensive.

At this point in the game, it’s sometimes tempting to rush the hiring process in an effort to make a speedy replacement, but deep down you know as well as we do that it’s a bad move because more often than not a rushed hire isn’t the right hire.

A professional recruitment firm has the system in place to ensure you get the right candidate the first time around and in record speed. That’s because recruitment is their only, and number one, function.

3. Responsible stopgaps

Sometimes it makes sense to fill the position on a temporary basis before making a permanent hire. Hire a locum tenens NNP in a pinch—someone who can step right in and hit the ground running without extensive onboarding. Hiring a locum tenens brings peace of mind, saves overtime costs, and relieves existing staff from the stress of covering extra shifts.

I started this article with a question: “Does it save or cost you money to work with a recruiter?” And the answer is yes, and yes.

Yes, it will cost you a commission fee. And yes, this fee will undoubtedly save you money compared with the combined soft and hard costs you’ll face by going it alone. The fastest way to burn out both your budget and your human resources is by understaffing your unit.

So, don’t do it! Instead, commit to filling positions you can responsibly fill in-house, and commit to responsibly outsourcing the rest. We guarantee you’ll be glad you did. The best time to start the hiring process is before the need becomes urgent. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation Needs Analysis to begin the conversation about your needs.