Far too often a recruiter's value is underestimated, as it's associated with their number of open positions. While it's essential to have a recruiter on your staff working on filling your open positions, it is more valuable to have a recruiter on your staff building a network that will feed the pipeline of your company's future talent.
Great recruiters will understand the culture and personality of your organization. They build the relationships with key talent on the market, and make connections when the opportunities arise.
The quality of a recruiter should not be measured by the number of open positions they are working, or the number of hires they have made, but how well they know what makes a top performer in your organization. They take accountability for on-boarding new talent in your organization by being personally invested in the future success of every new employee.
The person that can dedicate 100% of their time building relationships with external talent that someday you may hire, while presenting the best interests of your organization, is the executive search professional on your staff.
Waiting until you have an opening, and then deciding you need to hire a recruiter is not being proactive. It will cost you more to fill these critical positions, as you have little time to react, with senior leadership pressuring you to fill. Plan for your growth, and bring on someone now that will help build your company's future.