We’ve got a couple of busy weeks ahead here at Rice. Next Thursday is the highly anticipated jewel of the recruitment calendar, the Rice Pow Wow (only 8 tickets left). Then the following Thursday is our Access event; our new to recruitment speed interviewing evening. I say evening, it last for an hour and our clients get to see seven top candidates in the time they would usually see one. I’m glad the Outlook is filling up with the activity those two events generate as it’s been a tad slow, especially on the candidate side. The market seems to be losing agency recruiters to two places at the moment, overseas and internal recruitment. With the end of a financial year on the horizon, it’s understandable. Companies are looking back and asking themselves the question ‘how much have we spent on agency fees!?” then the idea person earns their money and a plan as old as time is hatched “why don’t we hire the agency recruiter that’s bleeding us dry?” If you’re spending $250K+ a year on fees then offering a $120K base to an agency recruiter is a savvy business decision that will have you carried around the boardroom on the shoulder of shareholders. It’s a good deal for the company, but is it for the consultant?

There’s a perceived perception in recruitment; you cut your teeth in agency recruitment and then when you’ve got some hair on your chest you ditch the short pants of agency for the mature long trousers of Internal recruitment. I’ve always said that recruitment shares a lot of parallels with academia. You are always learning and progressing in a social environment with an established hierarchy. However, there’re some myths about internal recruitment that need to be debunked and instead of having this conversation for the 1000th time, I’m just going to direct consultants to this blog.

Firstly, money. You will ALWAYS earn more money in an agency, that’s a fact. Yes, you will have a higher base salary in an internal role but that is your lot! I do resent the fact that kiwi builds inability to deliver affordable housing is having an impact on the decision-making process of many a consultant. Banks that lend money are less likely to know how lucrative the early months of the year can be in agency recruitment. Any recruiter worth his or her salt will back themselves to earn over the base salary of an internal recruiter. There are very VERY few internal recruiters that earn $200K a year, there are plenty of agency recruiters that do, whilst having boozier lunches, in better offices in nicer suits.

The next thing, stress. Internal recruitment is where agency recruiters go to die. You feel like you want a new challenge? You think you will add more value by working with one client in a more strategic manner? Oh! You don’t want to BD and you don’t like your targets! Got it! The mad thing is, there is so much more stress when working internally! Not only do your new owners demand a pound of flesh for that inflated salary but you and the external hiring manager are no longer separated by a phone line. They are often in the same room as you! Except when they are in meetings getting a grilling because the agency recruiter they hired to stop the agency spend has had to go to an agency!

On the other end of the scale to stress, fun. Yes, it’s not as fashionable as talking about fulfillment, wellness, diversity of thought, etc. but the small part that is actually fun in internal is what you do all the time in agency. The thrill of matching and connecting dots in an agency setting is 100 times better than placing a candidate within your own company. Not to mention the recognition. You make a placement in agency, you’re likely to head down the pub or at least have a pep in your step as you approach the whiteboard. There’s no point looking around for a bell to ring or a high 5 to slap, in the time it’s taken you to place that role, three more have come in. That’s the game in an internal function it’s hydra recruitment, rewatched Hercules the other week, still holds up.

Lastly, flexibility. It’s almost an unpopular opinion but agency recruitment has heaps more flexibility than internal ever has or ever will. You see, there is a golden rule in agency recruitment; if you bill you can do whatever you want! Managers love having someone question where the high biller is at 9 am only to get the answer “do their numbers and you can work from wherever you want” Especially post Covid most agencies are either moving to a work from home day a week or considering two days. It’s probably a good time to mention that if you are billing over $600K and your boss is on your back about anything, I’m easily contactable on LinkedIn and my number hasn’t changed for the past 9 years.

The shift from agency to internal isn’t as like going from sitting cross-legged on the gym floor to a cushy bench with the other older boys. You’re not putting away childish things, nor are you now grown in the eyes of your peers. You’ve essentially sold out and entered into an arena of work that sounds good on paper. It’s a nicer job title to tell your mum but she’ll still tell people you work in an office. I think most of us look back at our time in school with rose-tinted nostalgia and when I talk to internal recruiters about their time in agency it certainly has a ‘good old days’ ring to it. If you’re ready to make a triumphant return to agency life or if you want to tell me how cool your Co-ordinator job is, I’ll be at the Pow Wow next Thursday 😊

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