When to hire an internal recruiter

Recruitment takes time. Raising awareness of the opportunity you have available, identifying potential candidates, vetting those who are competent, arranging interviews, negotiating contracts etc. For a growing recruitment company the time commitment involved can itself quickly become an obstacle to growth. Recruitment business owners should be aware that the investment in an internal recruiter is often cost neutral or positive much earlier than they expect.

Try thinking of it this way:

1.     You are probably one of your company’s most effective billers and time you spend recruiting for internal roles is time you don’t spend billing. Work out the average revenue per hour you generate recruiting for external roles then multiply that by the hours spent on internal recruitment. Would that cover the cost of hiring someone?

2.     The internal recruitment role can be part of a wider role that covers training & HR or marketing enabling you to get a full time resource with a wider skillset.

3.     An internal recruiter is likely to be able to spend more time on each role than you could meaning they can cast their net wider and spend more time engaging with potential candidates meaning they are likely to find better candidates for the business, faster.  You can still be involved in the interview process so you are not giving up control.  

What to look for in an internal recruiter

Internal recruiters are first and foremost recruitment consultants and can be incentivised as such. Many in-house recruiters tend to be recruitment consultants by background, if they are not then make sure they understand the mindset and pressures of the consultants they are recruiting for.

Given the need for talent pipelining they need to be able to maintain relationships with prospective employees and effectively communicate the culture of the business, potentially even helping to shape it. 

For combined internal recruitment & HR roles previous experience of developing training courses or programmes, or of sharing best practice is also important. If you are looking for someone who can combine the recruitment and marketing roles in the company then the will need to understand the importance of effective communication with clients and candidates as well as branding.

Will an internal recruiter cut out rec2rec fees?

In many industries it is not realistic for an internal recruitment manger to cut out rec2rec fees – hardly a surprise given that hopefully your clients HR/recruitment teams are dependent on you. If a rec2rec puts a great recruiter in front of you then they are still worth looking at as they are hard to find in the current market however rookies should prove no problem for your internal recruiter to source and secure. What is important however is to make clear your expectations for the role and how success will be measured.

Alex Arnot is non executive advisor to more than 20 recruitment consultancies.

Alex Arnot