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INTERNAL RECRUITMENT : FRIEND OR FOE?

Thursday 10th September 2015
Internal recruitment functions are now more prevalent than ever in technology companies where they are looking to make significant numbers of hires.  If you’re on LinkedIn it would be impossible to miss the posts on how much Pizza is being consumed in Sky’s Leeds HQ, for example!

The immediate reasons to have an internal recruitment function in an organisation seem obvious – anticipated reduction in cost through paying less fees, direct candidate engagement, all processes managed internally, and a perceived better candidate experience.

So, as Recruiters, should we see internal recruitment functions as the enemy!?  

The obvious and easy answer could be YES.  They are taking our placement fees, they aren’t as good as us, we manage the recruitment process better than anyone etc. etc.

If you’re thinking any of the reasons above then you’re probably not seeing the bigger picture, and operating in a pretty short sighted manner.

As Recruiters we should see internal recruitment functions as a good thing – they are our friends.  (although I will add a caveat that there are some internal recruitment functions who look don’t see Recruiters as partners and we recently dis-engaged from an organisation for this exact reason).

If an organisation has an internal recruitment function the overriding feeling you should have is that the organisation in question clearly takes recruitment seriously. They don’t view it as a small component of an existing large HR function.

Internal recruitment functions, from my experience, will rarely source all the roles an organisation is looking to hire so your market share won’t always be reduced.

And this is where we are Recruiters should be looking to partner with and compliment internal recruitment functions.

By working together as a team, understanding the strategy behind the hiring plan and by both seeking to achieve the same goals the results for the hiring company and us as Recruiters can be met.

Here at Amsource the majority of our clients have an internal recruitment function and we love to partner with them.
Here are my thoughts on the best approach to achieving maximum outcome for all involved.

WORK AS PARTNERS
By working together Recruiters can really add significant value to internal recruitment functions and direct hiring campaigns. As Recruiters we have a unique involvement within our specialist markets, understand the dynamics and will be able to find candidates internal recruiters can’t.  

We can accelerate hiring times and improve the experience of candidates by working together.

I say this from experience.  Working with a key client of ours at Amsource Technology who hired 100 technology staff in the last 12 months in Yorkshire, there was a 50/50 split between direct and agency hires, with the hires made ahead of outlined timeframes.

UNDERSTAND THE STRATEGY OF THE BUSINESS AND WHY THEIR HIRING
This is something Recruiters are often short sighted about, or just don’t ask, but getting to really understand the hiring organisations strategy and why they are hiring and using the methods of attraction they are should be a given for recruiters.  This will provide critical information when representing the organisation in question, but if you’re feeling threatened by an internal recruitment function it will also help you put the strategy into context and your mind at ease.  

Oh, and you’ll need to get over feeling threatened by internal recruitment teams pretty quickly before you drive yourself crazy and the company engage with another supplier who gets the what and why before you’ve had time to engage your brain.

REGULAR COMMUNICATION AND MEETINGS
This is absolutely key in any client/Recruiter engagement but is especially so when working with an internal recruitment function.  There will be daily communication around candidate processing, role profiling etc. but holding review meetings to look at the volume, pressure points, changes in priorities is absolutely key.  

Weekly phone reviews, monthly priority meetings, quarterly strategy reviews and annual evaluations should be a minimum.

DISCUSS ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
Following on from ensuring regular communication it’s important recruiters and internal teams discuss issues and challenges – you will both be feeling the same pain!  Together you can discuss solutions, evaluate to ensure there is no re-occurrence and look at how to continually improve your approach and success.

TRUST EACHOTHER
This is huge in any client/supplier relationship and is no exception when looking at the relationship between internal recruiters and external recruiters.

This can only be gained by ensuring you hold the upmost respect for each other, and that as suppliers we provide excellence in service.
The internal team also have to respect you and your methods and regular communication and helping to resolve issues and challenges will add to this. 

You should never approach a relationship with an internal recruitment function with the attitude that all you care about is maximising fee revenue (or any recruitment relationship for that matter!)

ENSURE CLARITY IN COMMUNICATION WITH CANDIDATES
Make sure you’re both sending out the same messages to prospective candidates, irrespective of whether its coming from the recruiter or internally.  

As recruiters we are an extension of that businesses brand – make sure you know the key facts, figures and information.

DON'T BE AFRAID OF BAD NEWS
Always face up to challenging situations – you’ll always earn more respect in the long run and you don’t want to lose credibility by burying bad news.

COMPETE, BUT DON'T DEVALUE
There will be a degree of competition to ensure you’re finding the best candidates as recruiters, but don’t view internal recruiters as direct competition.  The competition should be to meet business goals, not to send the CV first and claim your fee.

If you see the internal recruiters as your direct competition, you run the risk of creating a negative relationship and also losing sight of what you’re both trying to achieve.

CELEBRATE SUCCESS TOGETHER
This to me is key.  If you’re working closely as Recruiters and internal recruitment teams you both share the same goals – so when you hit those hiring targets celebrate together.

I appreciate these points may seem basic, but from talking to our existing clients the majority of Recruiters really don’t look to engage with internal recruitment functions for the benefit of the client or to build a lasting relationship.

Any thoughts / comments welcomed / Tweet Andrew directly @AndrewMaeer.
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