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Recruitment Agencies vs Developer Marketplaces – Which One Should You Choose?

Recruitment tips | May 13, 2020 | itcraftship |
Recruitment Agencies vs Developer Marketplaces – Which One Should You Choose?

According to Evans Data Corporation findings, from May 2019, there are about 24 million software developers around the world. If that number increases at the current rate, it is expected by 2024 there will be 28.7 million professional software programmers. The study indicates strong growth in the regions of the Asia Pacific and Latin America, with North America and EMEA staying behind. 

There are plenty of fish in the sea, but finding that perfect match is not so easy. You don’t have to look for your future remote software developer all by yourself. In this article, we’ll go over two of the most popular alternative approaches to software developer recruitment – using the services of an IT recruitment agency or sourcing a pre-vetted candidate on a developer marketplace.

What is a recruitment agency?

A recruitment agency is a company that assists other businesses source the best candidates for their job openings. People tend to confuse recruitment agencies with employment agencies. The main difference between these two is in who becomes the actual employer. In the case of employment agencies, the employee is hired by the agency.

Using the help of a recruitment agency means that the employee will be hired by your company directly. More and more companies outsource their hiring to external companies; it’s especially prevalent when it comes to niche, technical positions, like software developer recruitment. 

How do IT recruitment agencies work?

Every agency has different methods and different know-how. Usually, an IT recruitment agency process starts with acquiring information from their client about the software developer job opening. A seasoned recruitment agency knows that this necessary information from the client is often not sufficient to initiate an optimized recruitment process and that they need to conduct a technical interview to obtain detailed candidate requirements. 

You can learn more about how we prepare for it by reading our article “Client Technology Survey – Collecting All Development Job Requirements”. Based on the information they receive, recruitment agencies set up the whole recruitment process in their ATS and other tools and prepare their IT recruiters for passive and active sourcing.

Active sourcing

There are different methods for active sourcing when it comes to IT recruitment. The most common option is to use LinkedIn. IT recruiters can use LinkedIn’s paid tool called LinkedIn Recruiter to prepare advanced boolean searches to filter out non-suitable candidates and contact the ones who meet expectations. One of the less popular methods is to reach out to software developers on their most visited websites, like, e.g. Github

Github has an advantage over LinkedIn when it comes to software developer recruitment – tech recruiters can source potential candidates and take a look at their code commits, which saves lots of time at the later stages of the recruitment. IT recruitment agencies also have one significant benefit – they usually have a vast database of past candidates who agreed to receive correspondence concerning any new job openings. These candidates are pre-vetted, which immensely minimizes the time for sourcing. 

Passive sourcing

Passive sourcing is another method used for securing candidates in the IT recruitment agency’s pipeline. This means using their brand to drive potential candidates to apply for their clients’ job openings. It can be especially beneficial for smaller clients, who don’t have such a strong employer brand as some recruitment agencies do. 

Passive sourcing consists of preparing a job ad and posting it on the agency’s careers page, relevant job boards and FB groups. It’s not as efficient as active sourcing but also not as time-consuming. 

Most IT recruitment agencies don’t cover anything more besides initial sourcing and resume screening. That’s what makes ITCraftship stick out from the crowd. We outsource the whole recruitment process from our clients, and we start with active and passive sourcing, resume screening, but also perform technical testing as well. We prepare custom coding challenges which best reflect daily challenges that would await the potential candidates in their future job.

After candidates complete the test, we review the results. We choose only the best candidates for our clients. These candidates are ready to be onboarded as we have certified both their technical and communication skills.

What is a developer marketplace?

A developer marketplace is a platform that gathers software developers who are actively seeking a job and stores information about their experience, tech stack, code samples and other useful data. It acts as a meeting place for employers and potential candidates. A company logs in to the platform and browses through hundreds of software programmers who registered before. 

How do developer marketplaces work?

There are many different developer recruitment platforms out there. Some of them are curated, and some not. A curated developer marketplace means that the programmers who register there are in some way pre-screened – so that the candidates who are willing to register are obligated to take a technical test. If they don’t pass, they are rejected and not allowed to gain access to the platform. Some other marketplaces do not check the eligibility of their candidates at all and leave it to employers.

Depending on the business model of such a marketplace, it can either be a case that the employer has to pay for access to the candidates or the other way around – a software developer must pay for access to, e.g. the hottest remote software development jobs. 

Such marketplaces are an excellent solution for talented professionals who want to land a remote software development job. It’s also the right solution for employees who wish to hire a software developer on their own but have problems finding developers online. 

The process of accepting software developers to join a developer marketplace differs from platform to platform. The most common practice is that a candidate registers, adding all their necessary data. After the platform’s IT recruiters vet them, they’re asked to complete a software developer assessment test. 

Some marketplace platforms also provide communication skills check – which is especially the case for remote software developer positions. That’s usually the point where employers are allowed to take a look at the pre-screened candidate pool. Afterwards, if they identify a software programmer who’s skills they like, they can invite them for a technical interview, get to know them, and potentially hire them.

IT recruitment agencies vs developer recruitment platforms which one to choose?

IT recruitment agencies’ processes differ very much from the methods used by developer marketplaces. The main difference being the level of engagement an employer has at the first step of the recruitment funnel. If you decide to use the services of an IT recruitment agency, beyond accurately describing all your employee needs, you won’t need to take an active part in candidate sourcing. 

Filling your recruitment funnel with candidates is the agency’s responsibility. The majority of them, though, leave the recruitment process in your hands after they’re done with this part – you as the employer must take care of job interviews and technical screening. To conduct technical screening you may need a tech recruiter. Read our article “Technical Recruiter – What Shouldn’t You Miss Before Hiring One?” to find the right person for this role.

In comparison, IT recruitment platforms usually leave the sourcing to you – you can use their candidate database, and by filtering out the candidates browse through the ones that interest you. Some developer marketplaces provide dedicated Account Managers who help you understand the platform. In most of the cases, candidates that you can see on the platform have gone through some technical screening process arranged by the platform – this takes away the burden of preparing your professional assessment. 

Some employers still decide to prepare their custom technical screening for candidates who they meet on the platform – which means that candidates of their choosing must go through an extremely lengthy process and can drop out if asked to complete yet another assessment. 


While building ITCraftship, we decided it was high time to offer an alternative to both recruitment agencies and developer marketplaces; and create a service that would cover the whole recruitment process – sourcing, checking communication skills, technical screening. That’s what makes us stand out from the standard IT recruitment agencies out there! 

Developer recruitment platforms are also incomparable to us. What makes our approach exceptional is that it is proprietary. We treat every recruitment differently, while marketplaces usually rely on one process for one specific technology – which is the reason why employers don’t trust their assessments and still drag candidates through their methods.