External Recruiting: An Insider’s POV


I have been in talent acquisition for almost ten years and have chosen to work in corporate recruiting.  I often get asked the question, “When you can earn two to three times what you are earning now, why haven’t you gone out on your own and begun working with many companies instead of working within just one?”  The answer is pretty simple.  For positions within a services organization where talent is what we are selling to our customers, I just don’t believe in the external recruiting model.

With experience in both external staffing agencies and as a corporate recruiter, the corporate recruiting model in conjunction with a proactive in-house recruiting department has proven to impact overall business success positively, specifically in business planning, client acquisition, and building and retaining our company’s talent base.

Talent acquisition is a critical component of overall business planning in a services organization.  If your company is exploring a new business venture, offering, or customer pool, it is necessary to determine not only what staff is going to cost in order to serve this niche, but also how readily available they are in your market.  A business plan may not seem as strong after considering the staff complement needed to create and ensure continued success if unavailable or extremely overpriced.  An internal recruiter can provide this expert, up-to-date perspective from his/her experience within the market and take into account the company’s challenges and opportunity to acquire talent to serve this business plan.

Client acquisition is another area of the business that is heavily influenced by a company’s chosen talent acquisition plan.  An in-house recruiter can work with the new business departments to ensure that the company has the right talent in place as soon as the new client is acquired.  The talent acquisition process takes nurturing of candidates that should occur far in advance of client on-boarding and working within the company, which gives you foresight that an external recruiter typically does not have.

Due to the often confidential nature of new business development, it is important that the recruiter has a strong relationship with the new business development team and that they have a vested interest in the company.  Business development isn’t likely to be shared with an external resource that may be partnering with possible competitors in the same industry, potentially creating a delay in acquiring the talent necessary to make client onboarding successful.

Furthermore, internal recruiters have a much stronger ability to assess fit to-role simply through continuous exposure to the company.  They have the benefit of working with all of the various hiring managers 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.  Through this close working environment an in-house recruiter has a much better chance of identifying which types of personalities and working styles will work well with each manager by observing how each hiring manager works with others inside of the organization.  Adding one more personality into a team can completely change the functionality and dynamics of that team.  When a company has chosen to go down the road of paying a 15% to 25% fee on first year annual salary with an external recruiter, there is most likely a pressing need for the role to be filled, and often hiring managers in a services organization don’t have the time to spend with external recruiters to describe all of the intricacies of the team to them.  When working externally to the environment you are recruiting for, it is nearly impossible to know each hiring manager and how he/she operates within the culture and environment.  Now, imagine the challenge of finding a solid fit-to-role once you begin hiring for several organizations with several hiring managers; the ability to keep up with changing environments, roles, and personalities becomes nearly impossible.

Undoubtedly, with a limited qualified talent pool available globally, recruiters must actively maintain relationships with qualified talent for future openings.  This is another area that an internal recruiter can more effectively serve a services organization: targeted relationship management with potential staff for the company.  The internal recruiter has greater knowledge of how the company can be a fit for the candidates and possibly alleviate pain points they may be experiencing in their current situation.  It is key to recognize that the value proposition to various qualified candidates may change over time and it is imperative that an internal recruiter keep abreast of changes with candidates’ situations and changes within the company and how the two may be a fit at a later time.

Finally, retention in a services company is imperative with the product of the company being the knowledge that each employee carries.  An internal recruiter has more of a vested interest in seeing the recruited candidate succeed and remain committed to the company. Not that the external recruiter doesn’t wish good things for the candidate, but he or she just isn’t there every day reaping the benefits or suffering the repercussions of the hire.  Furthermore, the external recruiter reaps benefits in the form of 15% to 25% of the candidate’s first year annual salary, as long as the candidate has the one to three month tenure guaranteed in the contract. From a monetary standpoint, most often internal recruiters are not rewarded on a per hire basis.  The paycheck they receive each week is in exchange for them continually serving the company that they are committed to, while external recruiters typically are serving many organizations at a time and are rewarded for each successful placement.  If a hire from an external recruiter fails after the tenure guarantee, the recruiter is not responsible for the replacement; whereas, an internal recruiter is required to replace the hire regardless of the time spent in the role.   You can see how one system is built to reward long-term employment, while the other rewards even with short-term tenure.

In conclusion, I believe an internal recruiting model versus an external recruiting one better serves a services organization.  Internal recruiting more effectively serves the business in the areas of identifying the right talent for the company, targeted relationship management, retention, business planning and client acquisition.


Amanda Papini, Recruiting Director at Response Mine Interactive started her career in recruiting at Medical Staffing Network in 2005, and moved over to a corporate recruiting role at BKV and Response Mine Interactive in 2007, where she built an internal recruiting practice for both companies. Amanda has since staffed over 250 full-time employees within both companies; an average of 50 hires per year. After assisting with RMI and BKV’s growth over the last 5 years, Amanda decided to move over to focus solely on RMI’s talent acquisition and take on a role more dedicated to employee development.

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