The Internal Vs External Recruiters Paradox

The Internal vs External recruiters relationship is one that is viewed very differently by people within the industry. With many viewing it as one that is based on competition and resentment of the other. However there are the select few who value the relationship and recognize the value it can bring.

The basis of these thoughts is often formed on the connotations towards external agents, spoken about in my previous article. Many believe they are motivated solely by money. Meaning they are looking to get a candidate into a role and move onto the next client’s requirement in the fastest way possible. Where as Internal Recruiters will be focused on the company’s long-term plans, striving to fill multiple positions while keeping employee turnover to a minimum.

The issue with the paragraph above is that it is based on connotations and misconceptions. Yes there are good and bad on both sides of the camp, but when an internal team and external team can work in harmony, they can achieve a great deal.

However all of this is based on an External Recruiter acting in a moral way with a long term mind set. If they are driven by short term profit driven results then the relationship is destined for the rocks.

External recruiters tend to be focused on a sector, Putting their resources into building an extensive network and knowledge of the sector they work within. Understanding the full functions of the role and the skills needed to fulfill these. They also have the added bonus of gaining insights from within the Industry.

While Internal teams tend to be more generalist. Recruiting for a range of roles based on a job spec and keywords. With the volume of roles they have to recruit across the company they physically do not have time to build up a network and knowledge of roles they work with.

With this in mind, it is becoming increasingly important to hire not just a technical fit but a cultural fit for your organisation. As spoken about previously having an employee who is aligned with the values of your company and is suited with their work colleagues and environment can lead to a massive increase in productivity over a lesser fitting counterpart. This kind of understanding is unattainable to an external recruiter but comes naturally to those part of an in house team, why? Because the In-house team is part of that culture. The in-house team eat lunch, communicate daily with employee’s of the company. They understand the values of each employee, they have access to internal reports on leadership styles across the company. All of this gives them a far deeper understanding than someone external to the company could ever have.

The combination of both can lead to hires being made that are technically and culturally matching.

It is estimated that less than 25% of the total labor market are looking for a new role at anyone point. This figure is significantly lower when you look at more professional specialized roles that pay well and have a greater emphasis on staff retention. Meaning posting job ad’s and advertising roles is simply not enough to hire top talent in 2019. To attract the best talent to your company, a headhunting approach is often needed. External recruiters spend their time actively speaking to candidates who may not be looking at that moment but forging relationships for the long term. The volume of work internal teams handle allows them very little time for this. From conducting interviews to posting ad’s their time is ran thin. Meaning talent is often overlooked by internal teams. An external team can attract talent that is not actively applying but is open. This allows a whole new talent pool for companies.

The ultimate goal for both internal and external teams is to keep internal Hiring Managers happy. Hiring Managers want the right person in the seat in the fastest time possible to keep their managers happy and their department growing. How this happens is of minimal interest to them. If Internal and External teams can make this happen and share the credit, then valuable relationships will be formed.

If an Internal Recruiter can find an External Recruiter who is knowledgeable and value driven, focused on working towards a long term partnership then there is no reason why they shouldn’t work with them. Rather than view external recruiters as competition, internal recruiters should view them as extensions of themselves that they can plug into specialized areas. Across every other function of a company, external consultants are welcomed and valued. When an external Recruitment Consultant, does their job and not only places CV’s but consultants on the market and process, then internal teams should welcome them in the same way.

Internal Recruiter Key Points.

  • Stop seeing External Recruiters as competition, they can make your life a lot easier!
  • Hear them out when they approach you, use your judgment to establish if they are good at what they do. If so build the relationship! You never know when you may need them.
  • Admit when you are stuck! There is no shame in admitting a role is a difficult fill. As technology advances, roles and job specs are becoming increasingly complex and the candidates pools smaller. A role that is tough for you, maybe a walk in a park to someone focused on that sector.

External Recruiter Key Points

  • Stop seeing Internal Recruiters as gatekeepers, forge a relationship with them. Internal Recruiters often know their counterparts in other companies and talk! A good reference can go along way.
  • Stop the lengthy sales pitches. A lot of Internal Recruiters started out in your shows. They are likely to see straight through your lengthy pitch. Be straight up and Honest. It takes less time and is a great deal more well respected.
  • Respect their job, if they say no to your approach. Don’t take it personally. They have targets and KPI’s the same as you. They may be screaming out inside for a good agent to come along, but their seniors may not permit it. Take the rejection gracefully and offer support in any alternate way you can.

Like any relationship, each party has it’s strengths and weaknesses, but speak to any Marriage Counselor and they will tell you the key parts of a strong relationship are trust and respect. If Internal Recruiters and External can heed this advice, both of their jobs will be much easier.