The traditional enterprises of post-war period were slow moving and stable. They offered employment for life in exchange for an employees contributions in an hierarchical work environment. When most white collar jobs were still repetitive, this model worked quite successfully and is possibly one of the important factors in the success of Japan and Korea from 1950s to 2000s.

Now, companies face increased competition and lower survival rates. They are looking for new models. On-demand recruiting is an important first step as the company looks beyond itself for talent and structures project focused teams that experiment relentlessly and improve continuously.

What is on-demand recruitment?

On-demand recruiting, also called on-demand talent, is filling the right position with the right talent at the right time. On-demand recruiting is a recruitment service that provides an hourly or per project (daily) hiring to meet an organizations’ existing talent needs. On-demand workers can either work on-site or remotely depending on the job’s requirements. A business can prefer this type of recruiting to extend its in-house talent capabilities at short notice.

When does an organization need on-demand recruiting?

When recruiting for in-house candidates is not fast enough

With the advancements in technology and increasingly agile workplaces, organizations need to meet the demands of customers by providing goods and services faster than ever. However, a mishire is an expensive mistake for companies. All the effort to hire and train a candidate are wasted when the company decides that the candidate is not a good fit. Therefore hiring needs to be a slow process aiming to reduce error. According to the 2019 talent acquisition benchmarking report, the average time to fill a role is 36 days which may not be fast enough for organizations to meet demands of an ever-evolving market.

When companies’ talent requirements change fast

Startups seek flexible recruiting solutions since their needs are likely to change as they try different products or business models. Established organizations may face unpredictable hiring needs due to various factors such as fast growth of the organization. On-demand talent is a fast effective solution to these problems.

When companies can not afford to have in-house talent for their requirements

Freelance employment has numerous advantages for highly-demanded talent. They can remain flexible, work with companies and projects of their choice. Instead of offering excessive benefits to convince them to work as permanent members of the organization, companies can offer them on-demand opportunities suited to their talents.

When companies need talent for short durations

Pregnancies and other personal reasons lead employees to leave the company temporarily. Some of these positions need to be filled for the company to function effectively. In addition, M&A projects or other short term projects require specific expertise. On-demand employment can solve this problem and bring an outsiders’ perspective to the organization.

Which talent gaps do on-demand commonly resolve?


  • Expert calls: For an investment or market entry, you need specific experts to help you understand the market. For example, a PE considering investing in shipping containers and they would like to talk to the people who spent their careers in that specific industry. GLG and AlphaSights are two companies that help organizations connect with an expert on a specific topic for a call or an in-person meeting.
  • Training: The talent gap of employees prevents organizations from reaching their goals. On-demand talent management companies such as Cornerstone provide training for specific skills with on-demand talent.
  • Operations: Companies may need to dramatically expand their operations due to changes in the market. They can work with on-demand talent companies to find employees to quickly expand operations


  • Tech talent: Companies that lack technical talents such as developers, designers, product managers or data scientists, can rely on on-demand recruiting services. Comprehensive databases of these service providers enable organizations to work with the most suitable talent for their projects. Toptal and Proteams can hire freelance tech talent for your organization.
  • Consulting talent: Organizations may need consultancy on new projects that they are not familiar with. With on-demand recruiting, companies replace expensive management consultancy companies with ex-consultants who have seen this specific type of project during their career. For example, COMATCH proposes different candidate consultants depending on an organization’s project requirements.
  • Interim management: Especially in busy holiday seasons like summer and half-terms, organizations may face talent shortages and need an industry-experienced talent to fill the position. Expertera finds talent in various industries that infuse the company with new ideas and approaches.

Full time

  • Full-time recruiting: Though on-demand recruiting services mainly focus on per project or per hour employees, organizations can use these services to fill their talent gaps permanently as well.

What are the benefits of on-demand recruiting services?

HR is important to optimize and on-demand enables companies to bring flexibility to HR. HR costs averages around 16-20% of a business’s total expenditure. Employees are behind all the notable actions of a company.

  • Flexibility in HR staff: Hiring an on-demand recruiting service reduces the need for full time recruiters. On-demand service are easy and free to scale up or down depending on the needs of the company.
  • Flexibility in HR costs: Labor laws prevent companies from making abrupt changes to their staffing levels since they need to pay severance to employees they terminate and since they need to spend months for hiring when they want to ramp up number of staff again. With on-demand, employees are compensated more for their services but they also know that their position is not permanent. In line with market needs, companies can quickly scale up or down on-demand talent.
  • Access to expertise: On-demand recruiting services enable organizations access sought after experts.

What are the cons of on-demand recruiting?

  • Onboarding times can result in loss of efficiency: Though on-demand recruiting services can offer you hiring experienced employees who have industry-specific expertise, adapting to an organization may be an issue for employees. Organizations should have the necessary process and material to onboard on-demand employees quickly. Otherwise, an on-demand employee may not be as efficient as intended.
  • On-demand talent is more expensive than full time employees: Full time employees enjoy the job security provided by the labor laws as well as career advancement opportunities. However,

What are on-demand best practices?

  • Working frequently with a few select on-demand recruiters: There are many on-demand talent companies. Focusing on a few companies that serve your business well, can help your team get accustomed to the on-demand company and work more efficiently.
  • Preparing detailed descriptions of the talent need: On-demand recruiters need to have a full understanding of the business needs to be able to match your company with the right talent. Companies need to specify at least these factors:
    • The necessary experience
    • Start time and project duration
    • Mode of work: Office or home-office
    • Qualifying questions for the candidate
  • Notifying on-demand recruiters in advance:  Like all recruitment, on-demand recruitment also takes time. Giving advance notice helps recruiters analyze their company’s network in detail to identify the right candidates
  • Digital interviews can help organizations speed up the recruiting process for positions which can be filled by a large number of available candidates. PeopleScout uses digital interviews for on-demand recruiting processes for a multinational food distribution company. This process improved the time-to-hire ratio by 12 days.

What are example case studies?

Hiring for full-time positions:

On-demand Company: Recruiting Social

  • Coco Pure was a startup of fewer than ten people and their financial controller was quitting the job. With on-demand recruiting services, Coco Pure was able to find the right person to fill the job within 10 days.
  • Appnovation Technologies is a global technology-enabled services firm that was expanding fast with its new office in North America. On-demand recruiting services enabled them to speed up their time-to-hire to one third of the original duration. Appnovation Technologies doubled its workforce from 44 to 88 in 8 months and became the 4th fastest growing software firm in Canada.

On-demand Company: Proactive Talent

  • Contiq is an AI-based web application that helps salespeople decide the next content to present for their sales opportunities. Contiq is engaged with Proactive Talent for 3 months to hire an architect, a data scientist, a development lead and engineers. Within three months, Contiq saved over $100,000 and had a functioning team from different locations.
  • UT Health East Texas (UTHET) is a health service that is providing healthcare to thousands of patients each year. UTHET was struggling to fill 563 open positions and had limited resources and time to fulfill the job requisitions when they engaged with Proactive Talent. Within the first 45 days, UTHED filled 236 roles (42% of open positions). After 6 months, they filled 1,332 positions while reducing their hiring costs 50% (from an average of $4,000 per hire to $2,000 per hire).

Hiring for short-term positions/projects:

On-demand Company: Personify

  • Personify’s client company is a research organization offers its services in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. In 2017, demand for operational output in Ohio facility was rapidly increasing and HR team was struggling to fill monthly headcount quotas for their non-exempt, technician- level requisitions. Personify developed a hiring strategy that focuses on Facebook ads since targeted candidates are not active on traditional networking and professional sites like LinkedIn. Within two weeks, Personifies successfully hired 17 candidates for their clients.

On-demand Company: Toptal

  • Bluedrop is an eLearning company that wanted to implement AWS services for automating infrastructure. Bluedrop tried to use their on-premise hardware but they quickly realized that it will take a considerable amount of time and decided to partner with Toptal to hire a principal DevOps engineer. The goal of this hire was to create tooling that would help Bluedrop mimic the existing infrastructure for a new client and bypass the need for any manual inputs. With the help of Toptal, Bluedrop was able to bring in the right resource to safeguard their investment by getting the job done right the first time.

We’ve also written about how AI affects recruitment process, feel free to check it out.

If you still have questions about on-demand recruiting, we would like to help:

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