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What Is the Job of an Internal Recruitment/ Resourcing Team?

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Following a few conversations over the last couple of years this is a question that is becoming more and more obvious to me.

Obviously I have a biased view but I guess that is the benefit of writing your own blog! Having set up MRK 3 years ago in an area of the country where I live but had never worked, I have spent the last 3 years building relationships from scratch with many people within Blue Chip businesses. These people have ranged from line managers through to HR/ Recruitment/ Resourcing/ Talent Acquisition teams across pretty much every industry you can think of.

Hence I am asking this question with a pretty broad spectrum of people in mind. Firstly, it's important to say that I completely understand the need and logic of larger businesses having in-house recruitment teams to source talent directly whilst looking to reduce recruitment costs. There will always be plenty of recruitment people who have lost their love and hunger for the challenge that working in an agency requires.

Many of them love the feeling of filling jobs but don't want the hassle of 'cold-calling' or the rejection from companies on a daily basis - this is understandable. Hence there will always be a pool of people interested in theses jobs. Also, I completely understand the need and benefits for companies to have a formal preferred list of recruitment agencies to whom they should turn should the direct sourcing model not find the desired calibre of person.

So what do I mean by this question? Obviously I am not referring to the main duty of the recruitment team which is to reduce the recruitment cost base through direct sourcing and promote the 'brand' of the company.

My question perhaps should be more around how long term/ short term do these teams look when considering the role of their function in the company and the market? There have been a number of blue chips who have 'allowed' me over this 3 years to get to know them and they have realised that a new entrant into the local market with 16 years experience in finance recruitment, with an attitude of working the right way, not sending CVs for the sake of it and generally trying to add value to their business is a worthwhile contact to get to know.

Many of these work with me and we now have very good partnerships which I wholeheartedly intend to keep for the next 10 years! It is fortunate because I would have gone out of business if they hadn't!! There have been a higher number of blue chips who have got to know me, been completely honest and up front about their PSL, kept me in the loop but seen the value in maintaining and developing a relationship for the future (so they know other agencies a little as and when they may need to change their PSL). These are the clients that I have a huge amount of respect for and I'll explain why later on.

The employers/ recruitment teams I struggle to understand are those that see their job as 1) Set up a PSL to back-up the direct sourcing, 2) Try to fill their jobs themselves, and 3) Not speak to any other recruitment agency for the next 2 years because they have all agreements/ relationships in place. Please don't give me the usual excuses that there are so many agencies cold calling that there's too many to deal with.

If you go in-house and don't understand you are going to get called then you are very naïve. You could control this 'barrage' by managing the agencies rather than simply ignoring them.

I have multiple clients who I call every 3 months as they request (so I don't pester them) and they are able to manage their volumes of calls by being open and communicative with me in the first place. If you don't speak and engage with the agencies then don't complain when they call you all the time trying to have a conversation or call you at an inopportune moment. 

Also, if you don't engage, don't be surprised when they call line, send speculative CVs and use your business as a pool of candidates to headhunt for their other clients.

Now back to why I have the most respect for the clients who don't actually use me but still keep communication lines open. Mainly this is because I believe these employers properly understand recruitment in that it's an on going networking and relationship driven environment.

The overall mindset is about building a pool of people to whom you can turn when you need someone - either a pool of people to directly fill a job or using the pool to find someone that knows someone. This applies whether I am finding finance staff for my clients, recruitment consultants for my own business or babysitters for my children - have a pool of people that you can turn to directly or for referrals.

It's also important to say that these clients are just as busy as anyone else and don't have to keep in touch but they understand there may be a day when that relationship will be of real benefit (for both parties).

The recruitment teams that communicate understand there is benefit in knowing what is going on in the market, who is good, who is up and coming (or not), and the benefit of keeping your current suppliers honest and hardworking with the behind the scenes presence of other agencies in the wings ready to take their place on the PSL.

Those recruitment teams who can't be bothered to nurture agency relationships must either be happy their agencies will be the suppliers forever (which is never the case), think themselves too good to speak to agencies (which I don't believe is the case), feel they are too busy and not see the value in doing it.

This last option is invariably the case and they are the clients who complain agencies hound them with calls all the time.

Therefore, when an agency does manage to get hold of them, they will trot out the same lines about direct sourcing/ PSL and never even contemplate that you could just be better/ different than other agencies. If they weren't so focused on remembering their lines, they could actually weigh up what's in front of them. For example, a corporate agency who has been incessantly contacting them for 5 years through 10 different consultants but never shown enough value for the employer to put them on the PSL should be dealt with differently to a niche agency who is new to the employer but is working with their competitors and offering something more specific and tailored in its approach.

I really would welcome any thoughts on this and I am 100% positive I am going to get a reaction from a few recruitment/ resourcing members. I am thinking this may just stir up a hornets' nest of opinion and I hope no one takes it personally - it's just a trend that's quite obvious in the market.

However if it gets just one or two to think about how they are planning the future resourcing relationships rather than reviewing a PSL and sticking with current suppliers because they haven't generated any other relationships then I feel I have done my job. I would ask you to forget the short term recruitment of individual jobs for a moment - think about the long term future of generating the best talent for your company.

Are you sure your existing suppliers are going to do it for you forever? Or may it be worth keeping an eye on the market for interesting new talent (agency talent!!)

Thank you for your time.

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