Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson
Associate Director: In House

Articles From the Team

Recruiting right now? How your internal recruitment team can make or break the process for you

The premise of my blog may seem rather odd, as you would expect a company’s internal recruitment function to have its best interests at heart, however in a significant number of cases this is simply not the case.

A good internal recruitment function can be a massive benefit to a company and to a recruitment process generally. A good internal recruitment team understand the business, its culture and people, and whether recruiting directly or via an external recruitment consultancy, they ensure that all parties – hiring manager, job seekers and recruiters (where appropriate) - are fully briefed and are kept informed. Good in-house recruitment teams are aware of their capabilities and they will seek to employ specialist help (also listening to suggestions and advice) if the need arises. They recognise that recruitment (when working with external recruiters) is a three way partnership between them, the recruitment company and the hiring manager, and they are aware that all parties have the same end goal – to find suitable candidates and to fill the role as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Alas, all too often the internal recruitment function is none of these things. Employed to save money by recruiting directly, the in-house recruitment function can become a slave to that one goal. Hiring managers are stopped from speaking with and engaging with specialist recruiters, the company is closed off to new talent and knowledge about market trends, and good candidates are often overlooked or ignored due to a lack of understanding about their CV, background and/or experience. By trying to remove or reduce recruitment spend; companies are inadvertently closing off their ability to attract the right or best talent.

Three recent examples of below-par recruitment processes:

Client 1 contacted BCL to assist them with a General Counsel level role with significant international exposure. The recruitment function sent us a written brief with details which were anything but clear and we were asked to submit CVs of interested parties. They had not spoken to us about their company, the role and requirements, and it was only after a number of requests to speak that we managed to discuss the role with the recruitment team. During the whole process the recruitment team was slow to respond, didn’t answer direct questions for information, and they never spoke with us again – all communication was via email. Despite the lack of communication and reluctance to fully engage, we did fill the role; however the difficulties were noted by the candidates, all of whom were senior legal decision makers.

Client 2 received a direct application / CV submission in February however the candidate never heard back. In June my colleague contacted the candidate and ran a new role with the same client past them. Despite receiving confirmation from the legal department that they could represent the candidate and send the CV, the internal recruitment function attempted to pull rank – they asserted that the candidate was known to them and so was therefore a direct applicant. It was very clear that the internal recruiter had not gone back over previous CVs received (and was unlikely to do so) and but for my colleague the candidate would not have had an interview, and the hiring manager would have missed out on a potentially suitable lawyer.

Client 3 outsources its internal recruitment function to an external Managed Service provider. The Managed Services provider offers an onsite team handling both Permanent, Contractor and Temp recruitment, and it manages every aspect of the recruitment lifecycle – this includes direct adverts, PSL lists, briefing calls, online CV portals, first CV sifts, interview arrangements etc. The problem with such a model is that the Managed Services provider is not employed directly by the client and they are incentivised to fill the roles directly – often creating delay as they are slow to reach out to specialist recruiters when they are struggling to source suitable applicants. They also create problems because they are sticklers for process, they do not allow external recruiters to speak to line/hiring managers and they are yet another middleman in the process.

Recruitment can be a straightforward and painless process when done correctly however hiring mangers need to ensure they are getting value for money and a decent service from their in-house recruitment team. Recruitment works really well when the internal function operates in partnership with the hiring manager and the external recruitment specialist(s), creating a three-way team.

To be effective, the external recruiter must have an initial briefing call / meeting with the hiring manager, receive a detailed job description (signed off by the hiring manager), and be provided with full details of the salary range and package by HR/recruitment. As the process develops, the internal recruitment function should act as a proactive conduit between the external recruiter and hiring manger, with regular three-way communication and dialogue an important part of this process. The internal function should be looking to move things along quickly, ensuring they oil the wheels of the recruitment process to ensure a speedy resolution from initial instruction to offer and acceptance.

From the candidate / applicants perspective, the difference between a good and a bad recruitment process is quite obvious. A good process provides the applicants with plenty of detail – as the recruiter has been given a full brief and access to the hiring manager; the process moves along at a good pace – as the hiring manager has visual of CVs quickly and is aware of the market conditions for attracting talent; and the applicant is made to feel valued – as they are provided with regular updates, prompt feedback and a speedy resolution to their application.

For more information contact Craig Wilson at BCL Legal.

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