Despite a slow economy, recruiting has picked up over the past year. Talent is hard to find in some segments, and corporate leaders talk about bringing “agency skills” to their recruiting teams. What they mean is they’d like to add the executive recruiting skill set to their existing staff. So, they hire a recruiter with an agency background.
On its face, this would seem to make sense. But it rarely works. After a while, it becomes clear that things aren’t working out as planned. The new hire either does what the other staff are doing (abandoning their agency skill set), or they quietly leave.
It’s an old story: the agency recruiter comes into an established department overseen by HR, replete with processes, advertising budgets, and clear lines of authority. Internal company recruiters, especially those working for larger employers, are adept at marketing jobs designed around the company’s brand and managed through an ATS. There are teams, matrixed relationships, and lots of processes governing recruiters. The goal here is to create reliable, repeatable service levels.
Square Pegs in Round Holes
Agency recruiters find themselves wedged into an environment which is the exact opposite of the agency model — it relies on advertising, has much higher req loads, and is a place where process trumps results. They quickly realize they have to get with the program to fill so many requisitions. This is a situation where the agency skills are not much use. The agency recruiter who wants to stay in a corporate role learns they cannot afford to use agency skills unless they have a shorter requisition list, so they can work them intensely.
Recruiters who learned their trade at a company with a strong brand never really learned to recruit. The brand does the heavy lifting. The corporate recruiter runs a different game, emphasizing ads, job distribution, and SEO, instead of digging for candidates, because its the most efficient way to meet their needs. Anyone wanting to stay will do the same. So the agency skill set falls by the wayside.
Others take a different path. keep reading…