Having spent the last 10 years working in ‘internal recruitment’ for national companies within the retail, sales and hospitality sector, I often get asked the questions: “why would you move from in-house recruitment to agency recruitment”.
Before I answer the question, I’d like to take a moment to dispel the common myth that In-house recruitment is a cushy number. From my personal experience, here are just a few reasons why:
All the roles I’ve worked in have been heavily target driven, with a plethora of KPI’s to adhere to, including; time to fill, cost per hire, cost avoidance, candidate show rate, candidate hire percentage, new starter turnover, to name just a few….
It’s a pressurised environment. You’re always up against the clock and are constantly reminded that an unfilled vacancy will result in a store / branch / department not hitting target, which in turn, will result in another (usually more senior) member of staff not achieving their bonus.
Setting up an internal recruitment function from scratch can be challenging. What’s even more challenging is gaining Hiring Manager buy in, policing the process and constantly reinforcing the massage that the internal recruitment team is best for business. Despite the fact that an Agency Recruitment Consultant has already tapped up on of your hiring managers and has “The perfect candidate for the role”
You’re often expected to be a “Jack of all Trades”. At a previous company, I had overall responsibility for a network of sites spanning from Inverness to Plymouth, a Call Centre and Head Office which had all the usual departments such as marketing, finance, HR and IT. For many niche roles, my ‘CV Library’ postings just wouldn’t cut the mustard.
There are also so many more strategic aspects to internal recruitment which include; involvement in the wider HR strategy, learning and development, budget accountability, succession planning, talent management, employer branding etc.
The challenges were endless and the variety meant that I would constantly learn about different aspects of the organisation. I got to interact with people at all levels and it was funny, the individuals I found most challenging (in some cases intimidating), ultimately became some of my favourite people to work with.
Before I get back to the question, it would probably make sense for you to understand a few things about me, what I enjoy about internal recruitment and what makes me tick.
I’d definitely describe myself as a ‘people person’ and I love working in a role where I can interacting with clients, candidates, departments and employees at all levels. I love the challenge of breaking down barriers and winning people around the way of thinking.
I’m passionate about candidate experience and it’s something I’ll never compromise on. A great candidate experience is the first part of any successful recruitment process and leads to a new employee being fully engaged within their role.
I think it’s important to do the ‘right thing’ not the ‘easy thing’. There are lots of temptations to cut corners in recruitment, but experience has shown me that taking the easy route NEVER pays off. Playing games over salary, haggling over percentages, and ‘selling a false dream’ to candidates are all a proven recipe for disaster.
I love uncovering a hidden gem and matching candidates to their perfect role - Any average recruiter knows what a good CV looks like (we used to call them slam-dunkers), but it was so much more satisfying when you would see beyond the CV, twist the hiring managers arm into meeting the candidate, only for them to be blown away and offer them the role. It was even better, when it was 12 months down the line and they were top performers.
So, having explained all of this, I’m aware that I’ve still not answered your question. So, here goes;
I’ve spent the last 10 years developing my knowledge and experience within in-house recruitment and I’ve worked with hundreds of recruitment consultants along the way, but I’ve never quite been able to shelf the thought, could I do that? Could I be successful in Agency Recruitment?
It’s fair to say that I’ve worked with good recruitment agencies and bad recruitment agencies, from ‘one man bands’ to the large nationals. I’m sure I’ve heard near enough all the annoying recruitment clichés under sun and wasted countless hours screening calls and deleting voicemails from recruiters claiming that they’re “really keen” to understand more about my business. I’ve encountered numerous bad practises including:
The ‘throw enough mud and some will stick’ approach.
Candidates being vastly over prepped for the interview. On one occasion, a candidate turned up for interview with a copy of our interview questions printed off in a plastic wallet!
Candidates arriving for interview having been through no formal process, with very little knowledge of the organisation or role they have been put forward for.
I’ve encountered agencies that aggressively fought for business but delivered very little and agencies that waited patiently in the shadows until they were contacted to support a need. It’s great when you find an agency that really understands your business, ethos and brand, but sadly, they are few and far between.
So to summarise, and to finally answer your question; I was at a stage in my career where I was looking for my next challenge and when I sat down and thought about it, there were actually a lot more similarities between in-house and agency recruitment than I originally thought. I knew I worked best in a challenging, people focused and fast paced environment and I loved recruitment.
It then all became clear. I’d take all my knowledge and experience of internal recruitment and I would apply this to an agency model. I was in a relatively unique position where I had first-hand experience of what’s most important to my future clients and I knew there was a gap in the market for an honest, transparent service.
Hopefully this blog post will help you understand a bit more about the foundations of Logic Resourcing and also my journey in taking the leap between the two worlds!
If you’re considering making the switch, either way, or have any questions please let me know.