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Do We Need Internal Recruiting at All?
Posted By Kevin Wheeler On January 26, 2011 @ 5:08 am In Advice and How-Tos | 44 Comments
As the years have rolled by I have become increasingly aware of how poorly internal recruiting functions perform when compared to recruitment process outsourcing organizations or agencies. These have to make a profit or go out of business. They have to operate efficiently and continue to innovate and stay ahead of the demands or questions that clients will have.
Internal functions don’t have to do any of these things. They are entrenched in almost all organizations, and because their function is perceived as incidental to overall organizational performance or success, not much in the way of efficiency is really expected or, unfortunately, rewarded. This means that few recruiting leaders have any incentive to improve their function. In fact, doing so may mean a smaller budget, less headcount, and even less status.
So this leads to the headline question: Do we need an internal function at all? Does it do something that an external provider cannot do? Can it do it at least as cheap or as fast? Can it provide a higher-caliber candidate?
Yet I am not convinced that this will make much difference. The RPOs and agencies are rapidly adopting social media and are even offering to manage the talent communities of individual firms. Many medium or small firms are not even looking at social media as a recruiting channel, and larger firms have widely divergent opinions and practices.
Effective social media use requires time and dedicated people who can interact with candidates, generate content, provide advice, and screen candidates for individual jobs. These are all strengths that internal recruiters have if they are given the time and charter to do so. Unfortunately again, corporate policy, management’s inability to see the benefits of social media, the fear of litigation, and lack of staff depth usually means this does not happen.
Given the state of recruiting functions today there are few compelling factors to recommend retaining an internal function. I have outlined where they could gain advantage, and a handful are doing these things, but by and large they offer little that would make them indispensible. By negotiating tough performance-based outsourcing agreements and allowing outside recruiters access to hiring managers, firms could eliminate the administrative and benefits costs of retaining employee-recruiters and the function could be reduced to a few liaison folks and vendor managers.
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