Your usual Whiteboard scribbler has been a bit busy with matters relating to the round-ball game of
soccer football this week so today’s musings are brought to you from the pen of Sean Walters…
I’m in a good mood and feeling optimistic about the market. Maybe it’s due to this run of fantastic weather. Maybe it’s the opening of a new bar opposite my office. Or maybe (and your usual blogger would be pleased to hear this), it’s the fact that this year has seen us re-brand, gain traction in new and exciting markets, and prove the concept of our latest offering; virtualRPO.
Being altruistic about our industry, I also feel that we’ve built some bridges over the past twelve months. Those who attended RHUB for its second trip to these shores in October, may agree that this year there actually seemed to be a consensus between agency and internal recruiters. I left the conference feeling like we might actually be on the same side? It was like kicking a football around on no-man’s-land, Christmas Day circa 1944. We’re not sharing cans of bully beef yet, but there seems to be a ceasefire
This year, I’ve also felt a change in hiring behaviours from Internal Recruitment Managers. When I was a fresh-faced new employee of Rice Consulting in the winter of 2011, those candidates who applied for Internal Recruitment roles directly from agency had little chance of success. My colleagues at the time were bored of my standard telephone response;
“So why are you interested in leaving agency recruitment?
….uh-huh….uh-huh…so there are too many KPIs?
…Yes, yes, I understand…business development sure is tough
…look, sorry to cut you short. I’m sure you’re a great recruiter. Unfortunately, my clients only want to be introduced to experienced internal recruiters…
Yes. It’s totally unfair. I agree. My fee is more likely to hinder your chances. Good luck with your search. I mean it”
Fast-forward to the second half of 2013. 80% of my perm placements into Internal Recruitment roles YTD have been candidates sourced directly from agency. Now, I’m either getting more convincing (unlikely), or Internal Recruitment Managers are finally realising that the skills and disciplines created and honed in a cut’n’thrust, target-focused agency environment are also essential to the modern Internal Recruiter. The once familiar mantra of “must be a Snaphire/Taleo super-user”, has been replaced with “Sean, can you find me someone who can actually recruit and isn’t scared of picking up the phone?” I’ve never had so much fun.
I can think of at least three banks who in the last few months have made senior hires directly from agency. One of whom, after scouring (and they really did) the internal recruitment landscape, could not find a recruiter with the direct search capability required for the role. The solution? An agency search consultant who previously plied their trade doing anything humanly possible to avoid the PSA-wielding internal recruitment foe of old.
As Internal teams evolve, it seems that agency recruiters may be getting some of the recognition we deserve. In the current market, with mortgages to pay, we have no choice but to work hard, work smart, win client affections, and directly source the top talent that our competing clients can’t reach. Personally, I sometimes even struggle to fit in a boozy lunch on a Friday. It’s seriously getting to that stage.
As more recruiters swap between the disciplines, and also swap back, it can only herald a more collaborative relationship. As an agency recruiter, it’s nice to talk to an Internal Recruiter who has done the hard yards. An agency recruiter who has previously worked in-house also understands the stresses, the politics, and the frustrations of their opposite number. It’s a win/win, and can only serve to raise the quality of recruitment across the board.
A Freudian slip this week highlighted that although both reality and perceptions are changing for the better, Internal Recruiters may still be perceived as the the paper-shuffling HR admin bods of old. When an (ex-agency) Internal Recruiter I know asked her account manager if she could attend last night’s Seek S.A.R.A awards as she was unavailable for the “corporate” Christmas drinks, she received this unfortunately worded response;
“Would love to invite you along however this for Recruiters. (sic)”
Thankfully, the account manager does a fantastic job (I know, we use him) so I’m sure the omission of the word “agency” before “Recruiters” was purely a glitch with his email server.