Is internal recruitment always the best option?

Last updated:
December 16, 2020
January 31, 2022
min read
Bev Campling
Table of contents

A good hire isn’t just a candidate that meets the job criteria and fits the company culture. They’re also someone who’ll end up being a happy and productive employee.

Internal recruitment is a growing trend that will continue to gain momentum in 2022. Many hiring managers believe that internal hiring teams are best equipped to identify traits that will make successful future employees.

Of course, there’s truth to this presumption because internal recruiters haven’t just studied the job description and company culture, they’ve witnessed and experienced it.

Internal recruiters are invested and involved in the day-to-day running of the company. As the age-old ancient Chinese proverb says:

“Tell me and I may forget; show me, and I may remember; involve me, and I will understand.”

Internal recruitment allows candidates to be assessed by hiring managers who know exactly what it’s like to work for the company and what’s needed to do the job successfully.

External recruiters, on the other hand, have to study the job description and rely on information provided to understand the company culture. Even if an external recruiter has been working with a client for some time, they never get the real feel of what a company is all about.

Also, there are often a number of external recruitment consultants who’ll work with the same client, and each consultant will have their own interpretation. (That’s just human perception; we can all study precisely the same picture, but if we give an analysis we’ll all differ here and there.)

Does that mean that internal recruitment is better than using recruitment agencies? Not always.

3 key factors to consider when deciding on internal recruitment

Many factors play into what makes internalized recruitment a sustainable recruitment strategy for your business but these 3 are the most important:

1. Can you afford the time?

If you’re a small company with a few employees looking to add another team member, you can probably handle that quite easily. On the other hand, if you’re looking to bring in a highly skilled specialist, you might not have either the time or the resources to find the right candidate.

2. Do you have a high volume of applications?

For any company, if you’re looking to bring in staff (temporary or permanent) with the same skills, like a call center, floor sales or desktop technicians, outsourcing to a recruitment agency might be best, especially if you don’t have an ATS. Agencies are well equipped to deal with high-volume applications that can be very time-consuming for internal recruiters who are working on manual systems.

If you’ve invested in an ATS like Recruitee, however, your hiring team will have access to the same tools. Easy job promotion and questionnaire features will make screening initial applications much easier, so the applicant sourcing and screening process can easily be managed internally.

3. Do you have the hiring resources?

Many HR managers underestimate what goes into finding the right candidate, particularly if they’re used to outsourcing to recruitment agencies. Previously, HR tended to be more focused on policies and procedures, compliance and administration. If you haven’t yet adapted to digitization and how HR is evolving, your hiring resources might be insufficient to sourcing and hiring the best talent.

How to strengthen your internal recruitment process

The very first question to ask is, “do we actually have a genuine recruitment policy that’s been implemented across the business?” Flimsy suggestions shared in management meetings or via internal communications don’t comprise an official recruitment policy.

Once your recruitment policy is in place, there are many other ways to improve your internal hiring. Improving your internal hiring processes should actually be ongoing though, if you want to ensure that you continuously make the best hiring decisions.

5 rules that will boost your internal recruitment

1. Digitize your recruitment process and make use of technology

98% of Fortune 500 companies can’t be wrong. A data-driven ATS will simplify your hiring processes. An ATS gives you tools like job description templates and easy access to job boards. It allows you to track the progress of all hiring processes and ensures that your hiring is compliant with current legislation. Plus, it enables you to optimize your internal hiring processes in real time.

2. Ensure that all internal hiring team members are trained.

It’s commonplace for key team members on any hiring team to have no background in HR or recruitment. They’ll evaluate candidates on the skills required for the job, but they might not know how to treat candidates! Successful collaborative hiring needs all team members to be up to scratch. Your recruitment process must focus on the candidate experience if you want to promote your employer brand. Invest in training your recruitment team and you’ll save in the future on good hiring decisions and a brilliant employer brand reputation.

3. Consider internal candidates first.

Build a clause into your recruitment policy that hiring managers must consider internal applications before a vacancy is posted externally. Existing employees are often overlooked for opportunities and are reluctant to ask if there’s no policy of sourcing candidates internally first. Current employees have already proved themselves, and if they get the recognition they’ll feel valued and become more productive.

4. Invest in building your employer brand.

Your careers site and how you brand your company as an employer on social media, job boards, and in press releases, are all a reflection of your business and your core values. Potential applicants sum up your employer brand and business values within seconds; if what they see appeals, they’ll apply; if it doesn’t, they scroll past.

5. Use social media.

Internal hiring opportunities are often lost on social media because hiring teams don’t know how to use social media effectively to attract candidates. External recruiters learn this skill very quickly if they want success. You want your internal hiring team to be just as social media savvy. If no one in the company has the know-how, invest in some on-site training; you’ll be surprised at how much people can learn about social media marketing in just a few hours.

What do you do when you don’t have the resources to manage internal recruitment?

Don’t stress! There’s a solution for small businesses or bigger companies who’ve neglected the digital developments in recruiting.

Consider Recruitment Process Outsourcing or RPO, which has become a popular alternative to internal hiring teams. The way an RPO works is that you engage the services of an external service provider and outsource your recruitment process to them to manage.

This is entirely different from hiring the services of a recruitment agency. A recruitment agency only works with you for the duration of time it takes to fill a specific vacancy, and they use their own resources.

When you engage an RPO, you’ll get the services of a recruitment professional, based on-site in your company, to manage your recruitment process. Depending on what your needs are, you could have one person or a team.

Because the internal recruiter is a service provider and not an employee, you could include training an internal hiring team and compiling recruitment processes and policies in the service contract.

An RPO will almost always make use of your technology and facilities, so if you haven’t invested in an ATS yet, this would be an ideal time to get your ATS up and running. The recruitment professional on-site will be able to get the ATS setup for you and train internal staff on how it works.

Once your internal recruitment team is well-trained and up and running, you can downscale or cancel the service agreement that you have with the RPO.

The best way to handle an RPO service agreement is to implement a fixed term contract. Include deliverables like training an internal hiring team and implementing an ATS, as well as recruitment functions.

Keep your internal recruitment in mind

If you decide to outsource to an RPO, remember that you’re looking for a business partner, even if it is just for a fixed term. Finding an RPO that will build your internal recruitment system will take some research before you sign up.

Do your homework! The market need for RPOs is expanding rapidly as companies realize that they don’t have the skills or resources to attract top talent. With so many companies offering RPO services, there’s competition for business and pricing can be a deciding factor.

Get quotes from at least 5 RPOs as well as a full scope of their services. Don’t opt for the cheapest unless you’re looking for basic services. Before you enter into any contract, ensure that the recruitment professional assigned to your site is experienced and capable of meeting your deliverables beyond just sourcing and interviewing staff.

Also, don’t be afraid to get references for both the RPO and the consultant that will be assigned to you. Social media searches and past clients will give you a lot of insight. If an appointed consultant isn’t working out for you either, don’t hesitate to ask for a replacement.

Internal recruitment teams are the way of the future and technology is making it easier and easier for companies to manage their recruitment process. You can also expect digital processes to keep evolving. Remember, candidates are evolving at the same pace, so you must strengthen your hiring processes if you want to be seen as an employer of choice.

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