In-house and Agency recruiters. No Dear John or Dear Katie letters but a different approach - maybe?

Funny how the debate about a blog post by Katie McNab has found its way overseas with some quite different points of view UK vs. US.


Of course there is no right or wrong but as I have worked in many areas of recruitment (TPR, In-house, tech vendor, media buyer, website designer, job poster etc) I thought I'd share how I'd run an In-house team.


My approach would be of architect - builder - contract labour. 


The architect


The expertise I would employ would be architect. This to me is where the real value lies. I would make sure I personally was up to date with the latest and greatest ideas. I'd know what existing tactics still worked well and which did not. I would be looking to build something of great beauty that underneath had the functionality of a well oiled machine. A Ferrari with a BMW engine. Or an iPhone running on Android.


I would also know my customers REALLY well. It's all about relationships and I would make sure these were held at the highest level. My very small team would be there to make sure our customers were happy and our candidates had a great experience. But, I may not employ one single recruiter. I would not pay directly for an ATS or a career site. I would not be building a Facebook Page or post jobs to my LinkedIn profile. But my team would be known by the right suppliers who would manage these things for us as part of an outsource type model for attraction and marketing.


The builder


I would have a builder with the experience to manage the contractors but I would not expect them to do any building. That's what we have contractors for. Their expertise would be in selecting the right level of labour on the right type on contract and then make sure their work is up to the required standards.


They would also be keeping an eye on internal talent to make sure internal mobility was maximised and that the quality of new hires was reflected in individual performance and retention. Don't want to keep on recruiting leavers!


The contractor


Of course we'd need skilled people to get the "real work" done but why employ them? Why not have a team of on-site day rate contractors dealing with the volume and then bring in niche project specific experts for the more intricate jobs. Ultimate flexibility in my opinion. 


It is recruitment of the right contractors and niche experts that my team would focus on. Let the contractors et al know the markets; we just need to know the people that know the markets.


So that's my view on the In-house and TPR model/relationship. I think this way there is more harmony and less conflict. I think it gives the employer far greater flexibility, access to better market knowledge/expertise and is financially lower risk. Sound expensive? Maybe at face value but if you end up with better people, that stay longer and perform better I'd say it is significantly lower cost than anything else out there.


Utopian? Maybe? Aiming for the moon? Maybe so. But why just do the same as everyone else, put up with the same crap, face the same struggles. I'd rather innovate and die than follow and be boring.......

Views: 232

Comment by Katie McNab on April 28, 2011 at 7:18pm

Oh lord... I'm really starting to wish that I'd never posted the original Dear John letter.  It was originally just a little bit of creative writing to amuse myself one night... Now it has turned into the blogpost that just won't die.  It's the Freddy Krueger of blog posts.

Peter - Your model sounds super.  The contractor model can work - and we occasionally use contractors to flex up when we have a critical mass of roles in a particular space.  But the most successful in-house teams I've seen are the ones where the recruiters really understand their client groups, have their own great trusting (and challenging) relationships with hiring managers, and really know what good looks like for those particular team.  That's hard to achieve with short term contractors.  

A lot will depend on the business model and culture in each company.  There is no one size fits all.

Comment by Peter Gold on April 28, 2011 at 7:25pm

I agree there is no one size fits all. Mine is purely an idea and unlikely one I will ever implement (out of choice not to become an In-house recruiter).


As far as late night writing, you may want to find a different past-time. Tiddly winks or cluedo tend not to ruffle too many feathers ;-) although maybe Mr White with the lead piping on the Katie McNab blog could be an interesting deduction?


Alternatively, carry on writing. I don't think anyone died although I think it is pretty safe to say Darren won't be adding you to his Xmas card list! And I thought I could be blunt LOL

Comment by Katie McNab on April 28, 2011 at 7:43pm

Despite some of the "sprited" defences posted online, I'd say about 90% of the response I've had across the various channels has been overwhelmingly positive.  You would not believe the emails I've had from in-house people, hiring managers, candidates, and yes, even some agency recruiters.  The response on Twitter and LinkedIn and the comments on the blogs themselves barely skimmed the surface.  There are a lot of very frustrated people out there in all camps.

I challenge anyone to argue with my basic premise, which is simply that there is a large section of the TPR world with astonishingly poor standards and service.  

So, I'm not planning to stop advocating for higher industry standards.  I've said all along that there are some great TPRs out there.  And I think all sections of the recruiting community have a responsibility to drive up standards and service levels.  I don't think that is controversial at all.

Comment by Peter Gold on April 28, 2011 at 7:48pm

Well if nothing else then my Mr White deduction may one day be right :-) 


And I agree, recruitment like many other industries has too many cowboys and snake oil sales people.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 28, 2011 at 8:15pm

I agree Katie and i promise there is a large section of the HR and internal recruiting world that are so incompetant and covered up with the arrogance of ignorance that it is no wonder candidates are screaming about the black hole of the ATS and hate HR.   You aren't exposed to them as the TPR's are of course but you would die if you could hear or experience the level of service and standards that both candidates and recruiters experience at the hands of the ones who do fall into the catagory of lying power brokers with a bevy of bimbos.  They give your side of the house the same bad rap that the section of the TPR world you refer to gives my side of the house.  My email is running probably about the same as yours from TPR's, hiring managers who hate their HR people, candidates and yes even some HR and internal recruiters who have incompetance at the helm where they work.


I agree that it's not controversial.  It's reality and you are correct everybody with a brain or who wants to do a good job on both sides of the coin is so frustrated they are ready to run and scream.


We can have fits on both sides while the candidates go nuts about the complexity of the process, hiring managers are not getting what they want, Good TPRs can't get the time of day because of the the lying recruiters who will do anything for a buck.  So what is the answer, we all know the problem.


If it were only possible to put all the miserable, bad ,awful, incompetant sleazy TPR's with all the miserable, bad, awful, incompetant, snaky HR and internal recruiters we could build a fence around them and let them eat each for lunch.


Believe me there are a lot of us who are trying and have since the dawn of time tried to drive up the standards and service level.  If i could wave a magic wand i would prohibit agency owners from thinking that training a recruiter means forcing them to make 50 mindless cold calls a day.

What would you change on your side of the house?

Comment by Nate Fischer on April 29, 2011 at 11:37am

@Peter, the only thing I would mention is your concept of contractors.  I'm not sure about over there, but there is a bad rep surrounding those who are contract recruiters over here vs true agency recruiters.  Contract recruiters, the good ones anyways, are so difficult to find.  We are currently looking for a number of FT Staffers here and we have run across a number of people who have spent years as a contract recruiter and aren't worth it.  


So I'm afraid it would be difficult to find really good contract talent for short term periods in an agency environment.

Comment by Peter Gold on April 29, 2011 at 11:58am

Hi Nate


Appreciate each country is different but the contingent workforce is growing and a lot of good in-house may go contract anyway. Orange world thinking..... ;-)


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