Jan 28, 2015

When It’s Sink or Swim

It’s often that businesses find themselves in the difficult situation of needing extra help on a large or complicated project, yet not having immediate access to the additional resources they need to get the job done. Finding the right talent is challenging—you need someone with a very specific skill set that will also fit your budget and timeline. You’ve decided you need help, but now are now faced with the tricky part: considering all of your options and deciding which path is best suited for your company’s needs.

When it's sink or swim

Find a Freelancer


Freelancers generally cost less than the competition, since they have very little (if any) overhead costs. They typically work at a fixed cost, are flexible in the length of their engagement, and you can conveniently call upon them for help whenever there is an influx of extra development work. There is also the added benefit of the freelancer coming to you, working with your team at your offices.


Hiring a freelance contractor can be a high-risk investment. Because the freelancer isn’t backed by a company, he/she may quit at any time, for any reason. Without a collective mindshare or time for knowledge transfer, it may be difficult to find a new replacement and get them up to speed on the previous contractor’s work. You will need to vet a new pool of candidates which may prove to be a daunting task and valuable time and information may be lost along the way. One individual freelancer is also less likely to have the complete range of skill sets needed for your project, meaning that you may need to hire various freelancers to fulfill each aspect of the job.

Go Off-Shore


Again, low price is one of the number one benefits for outsourcing off-shore. Off-Shore development teams are flexible in their length of engagement, offer a fixed cost option to get large amounts of work done on a short time frame, and are scalable to your demand. It is often easier to sidestep office politics and avoid the headache of hiring, training and integrating a new member into your team by simply outsourcing whatever skillset or manpower is missing in your internal team.


Off-shore teams are notoriously difficult to manage due to language barriers, time differences and geographical distance. Quality of work can also suffer, as it is hard control who is working on the project and what methods they are using. The language and distance factors can make for slow turnaround time, and communication issues can add another element of stress during rush times.

Hire In-House


The best part about finding a in-house hire is that you can train your new employee on your company’s mission, vision, values, and process. As a result, he/she will have a better understanding of what you want, how you want it, and produce the high-quality work you’re looking for. It is more convenient to have an in-house team for many reasons—they are easier to oversee and are a permanent solution. In-house hires are also a cheaper solution in the long run, after you’ve invested in the initial hiring costs.


The biggest challenge for hiring an in-house team member is finding someone who has both the skill sets you’re looking for and also fits in with your team and company culture. Anyone who has dealt with hiring knows how time-consuming and involved the process can be. Even after you find the right talent, there will still be a significant amount of ramp up time before the new team member is 100% productive. All of the added costs for hiring, managing, training, and providing benefits packages for new hires add up to a considerable expense.

Partner with a Consulting Agency


A consulting agency is the most flexible of the options. The agency does all of the recruiting, hiring, and training work for you so that you can sit back, relax and feel secure knowing that someone with the skill sets you need will arrive at your offices and integrate into your team for as long as you need them. If they don’t work out, there are other consultants available to take their place, making sure that you’ll never be caught short. They will be working within your own team, at your own offices, and can be easily managed. Side-step office politics by skipping the recruiting/hiring/approval process necessary to hire a full-time in-house team member and enjoy the benefits of a consultant that is well-trained in industry best practices, flexible in length of engagement and poised to make an immediate project or team impact.


Consultants found through a recruiting agency are often higher priced than other options, however the flexibility, consistency and high quality of work usually make up for this fact.

Now that you’ve read through all the pros and cons of the different options, you probably have an idea of which one would work for your team. We’d love to hear from you! What is your ideal consulting/hiring solution? Let us know in the comments!

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