In-House Headhunters – Would you use them?

Last week’s Social Recruiting Conference hosted in London provided another opportunity to learn about new and innovative ways companies are recruiting. However in this case one of the most interesting recruiting examples I came across stemmed from a conversation I had while having coffee before the event kicked off.

I was talking with a couple of guys who worked as part of the in-house recruitment function at a large brewery company. What was unique about their roles compared to many other companies and clients I’ve spoken to and worked with, was that they were actual headhunters. They researched, sourced, contacted and sold candidates on the benefits of working for their company.

Most in-house recruiters I’ve come across help to attract staff directly via more passive means such as advertising. I’ve had meetings with clients who have told me they know the exact people they would like to hire/approach from competitors, but did not feel it was ethical or appropriate to contact them directly. Indeed the headhunters I spoke to also mentioned that to begin with their management were not comfortable with their approach; once they begun hiring top talent from their competitors however, the resistance diminished somewhat.

So in summary I’d be interested to hear your thoughts or opinions on the use of in-house headhunters. Do you share the opinion of some direct employers that it’s unethical? Or do you think it’s a function of in-house recruiting that will grow in the future?

Views: 362

Comment by Elouise MacFarlane on December 6, 2010 at 7:54pm
Strikes me that this is a critical part of adding value as a Corportae Recruiter, otherwise all the work done on reducing third party spend is rapidly undone. I recognise the ethics and do take extreme care when sourcing from what may one day or currently be a customer.
Comment by Paul Alfred on December 6, 2010 at 9:07pm
Jean-Paul ... The bigger the Company - take companies apart of the BIG X group for example - its harder for Recruiters to apply a direct approach with respect to recruiting approaches ... A lot more protocols need to be followed on how resources are attained ... Publicly Traded companies don't like it publicly known that their employees are being poached by their competitors ...
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on December 7, 2010 at 9:48am
That is why peiople hire me to do contract recruiting for their firms, so I can call on Competitors but I do not work for their firm....
Comment by Ilona Jerabek on December 7, 2010 at 3:40pm
I don't know if, ethically speaking, it makes that much of a difference whether you snatch top talent from a competitor via a third party or via in-house head-hunters. If your conscience tells you that it's OK to be a "home-wrecker", then it doesn't matter how it happens.
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on December 8, 2010 at 8:13am
If they are not a client they are a source!!!!
Comment by John Bennewith on December 8, 2010 at 11:28am
Isn't this the real reason why companies use outside recruiter/headhunters to find talent?
Comment by Craig Silverman on December 8, 2010 at 12:54pm
Here is Silicon Valley we are seeing many top companies building large staffing organizations inside. Several of my clients have their own executive search team with people hired directly out of the big names in retained search to help them recruit talented managers, Directors, VPs. Some companies are choosing to build while others realize it is not a core function for them and prefer to use outside experts. My guess is that inside teams are in growth mode but the $300B global staffing market for agencies is still growing as well.
Comment by Paul Alfred on December 8, 2010 at 1:09pm
CB I agree but this is a totally different ball game working internally for a Fortune 500 Company.. Even when you are brought in as a hired gun ... Protocols for engagement are different ...
Comment by Bill Ward on December 8, 2010 at 7:05pm

Please explain the career upside for a successful recruiter to go in house and work for a Fortune 500 besides exposure to systems and processes not typically seen in recruiting firms? I'm curious.
Comment by Paul Alfred on December 9, 2010 at 6:58pm

Hi Bill ... Perhaps left for another question my point to CB was that Publicly Traded Companies will not allow Recruiters to apply direct headhunting skills when sourcing candidates .. I have taken on enough contracts to know that.


Now the question on upside for moving from an Agency Recruiter to going in-house .. Some folks want stability Bill  ... I love my independence but I have seen successful TPRs make the move to the other side ... I have the lucky  rare opportunity as to the way my firm is positioned to stay on the outside and take on Contract Assignments from time to time when Clients get stuck -so I understand both worlds ...


Most Agency recruiters would die with the processes a Fortune 500 Company would throw at them when 90% of the work has nothing to do with recruiting ... But hey that's just my experience ..  


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2023   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service