When it comes to procuring the services of a proven recruiter, there are no shortages of options. And one of the first decisions to make is whether to go with a large national firm with a broad reach or a smaller, boutique local firm with a more succinct network and focus.
There are scenarios where going national and big is the hands-down choice. For example, when the goal is securing a niche industry expert such as a pharmaceutical data scientist or the company’s next leader in cyber security role, explains Jessica Corral, co-founder of Headfarmer, a Phoenix boutique firm that specializes in recruitment and consulting of human resources, accounting, finance and technology.
However, the benefits of a local firm that can be flexible and accommodating on the fly cannot be ignored.
“Local recruiters know the companies, the landscape and the individual market, which is valuable to both clients and candidates,” says Corral, who has more than 20 of her 25 years of recruiting experience in Headfarmer’s home state of Arizona. “And, we are agnostic to industry or size, whether it’s a startup, mid-size or Fortune 500 company.”
There’s nothing wrong with opting for a national firm if that’s the best fit for your needs. However, there are great reasons to stay close to home. Here are some of them.
Deep knowledge of the territory
Sometimes the best talent is very close to home, and that’s where a homegrown team has the home field advantage.
For example, Corral talks about a $6 billion Fortune 500 company that had partnered with an out-of-state firm for more than 1 ½-years with no success. The company went to Headfarmer and within four months, Corral and her team successfully filled that position with a local candidate.
“We all have the access and market knowledge in and can move in a more nimble and faster way,” she says. “We have those trusted connections. Much more so than a national firm that doesn’t have those trusted relationships locally and needs to start from scratch.”
VIP-like access to top talent and leaders
Being entrenched in the local market comes with the territory of being a boutique recruiter. For example, at Headfarmer there’s a total of more than 150 years of recruiting experience in Arizona under one roof. This means it’s common for the firm to connect with a hiring manager it had partnered with early in their career, making the manager a trusted partner in the recruiting realm. “We’ve networked in this market for decades so we have deep tentacles and a deep network,” Corral says.
Having a pulse on the market
A local recruiter firm is much more focused in the market with solid, trusted relationships to boot. “We understand the trends, we track what topics are emerging… the word on the street, if you will,” Corral says.
Living and breathing the market
Exposure and knowledge to top providers along with a deep history of success are intangibles that a local firm brings to the table that a national one may not. However, a local firm with Headfarmer’s longevity, for example, often has a network that extends nationally if needed. “We are committed to being market experts in all ways so this is how we spend our professional days,” Corral says.
Commitment to the community
If you consider a pay-it-forward vibe an asset, a local firm brings just that. Often, personnel serve on local nonprofit boards, donate to local charities and buy and support all things local. “We are local and committed to giving back to the community,” Corral says.
The bottom line
Large, national firms have their strong suits and can be the right choice. But, ultimately, it’s about understanding when going local and using a boutique recruiter is right for you.
Georgann Yara is a journalist based in Phoenix. Find her on X @georgannyara and Threads @georganny.
Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik