Recruitment Consultants and In-house Recruiting… You may not like what you read
I’ve been pondering this blog for some time, mainly because I want to encourage people to consider the transition in-house from agency, because it is the future, but also because I don’t like to focus on negative issues particularly in the public domain. I’m swayed to write it for a number of reasons:
- August and the stock market wobbles saw a surge in recruitment agents/consultants/headhunters wanting to register or discuss in-house recruiting
- I’m not sure the overview I give in-house market, their value, and the demand for their skills registers… Frankly I think they think I’m fobbing them off when actually I’m giving sound advice (to back this up 80% of the candidates we’ve placed since the beginning of June are direct moves in-house from agency, and 100% have some career agency experience)
So let’s start with some pre-conceptions about the transition:
- It’s only failed recruiters that “give up” on the agency money to move in-house
- Absolutely not, in fact google or run a Linkedin search for Heads of Recruitment and I’ll guarantee the best recruitment teams and the biggest brands with in-house recruitment are lead by ex-agency staff
- This year in particular we’ve noted a real change in the agency candidates speaking to us about the move; they’re successful,at the top of their game right now or maybe a little off , but can see a change, maybe only a small percentage change in their earning projections. If their main client has cut their agency use by as little as 10-20% and that’s having a knock on effect on the recruitment consultant’s revenue of the same and probably higher on their commission then they can see where their industry is heading – fewer roles from clients, higher expectations to deliver when they come through, greater scrutiny to get on the PSL and less money at the end of it soo… Now’s the time to move, get in-house before your competitors have and hope you’re at the top of the tree before the agency world is significantly cut in size
- It’s an HR/administrative job
- Well absolutely not, particularly if the recruitment function is operating correctly, what it should be is the first line of marketing the employer proposition to potential employees and it should be directly engaging and managing candidates processes
- Dare I say it publicly but in-house recruiting really shouldn’t be a sub-set of HR, it’s a specialism that frankly is closest aligned to marketing and branding in today’s world and should interact with those professionals
- It’s a lifestyle decision to have an easier job and work less hours
- NO! In fact I can hear the fury rising amongst the in-house recruitment community right now… You’ll work at least the same hours, probably longer, and you won’t get the client lunches and long afternoons in the pub into the bargain
- Moving in-house is a corporate move, you work for the company in a way that you never do for an agency, and you don’t have the fee revenue to dangle over your manager when you want something
- The transition is often harder than people think, in particular the compliance, employment law, full process management and role/salary sign off that goes on behind the scenes when you are a consultant are right there in your inbox to deal with
- There’s no escape! As a consultant you can to a certain extent cherry pick, work the roles that pay with the clients you want, well in-house if you do not like the Head of Sales and they want to make a hire that’s your problem and you cannot say no
- Finally typically in your first in-house role you are NOT “consulting to the business” you are delivering to it and the expectation is high
So having dealt with the pre-conceptions why do in-house and RPO functions want recruitment consultants and what do you bring to the table?
Well the key start point is the value you bring to an in-house function. Again this is a little general but if you look at your peers who have moved in-house and are in their first role you can see why they’ve been hired, to do exactly what they did before!
One of the biggest issues for consultants when transitioning in-house from agency is your value is almost always directly linked to the sectors you have recruited for and more importantly the functions you’ve recruited into. Time and again the reason our clients come to us is to find specific experience from the agency world, a recruiter who’s hired SAP professionals in Eastern Europe (and found them in the toughest places), the consultant who has hired sales staff into digital media clients across the UK and will come in-house to do the same. If your current specialism is highly niche consider what value it has to a client in-house and the volume of hires you could make for them, if it’s low consider a move within agency to a more generalist high demand function before moving in-house.
Your value, above all else when you’re writing your CV to apply for an in-house role make your track record clear, this is who I recruit, this is who I recruit those people for, these are the locations I have experience of doing it in, and these are the volumes I am used to working with. That is the key to who is going to hire you.
And finally salary… The toughest conversation of all…
I understand that a successful recruitment consultant moving in-house is giving up a lot financially but that is the recruiter’s decision to make. If the career change is the goal you are likely to cede most of your bonus and occasionally some base salary but you are building a new career and one that is going somewhere. In making that decision you enter a competitive market (there are many many similar consultant candidates to each role where the background is considered) and the client will have set financial parameters, remember you’re not joining an agency you’re joining a structured business which hopefully for your sake if you’re joining them, has a workforce plan and therefore a budget to keep to for your future role.
So the good news…
Yes recruitment consultants your skills are in demand for in-house opportunities
Be aware it’s those with flexibility on focus, salary, start date, joining on a contract over a permanent role, and on making themselves available during the working day who are getting hired right now and are just maybe now a step ahead of the rest in their longer term careers!