“Have you got any roles in internal recruitment ?”

I speak to agency recruiters all day ……some approach me looking for a new role and others are recipients of a headhunting call. Something that I am hearing more and more these days is the following sentence (or a version of):

“Have you got any roles in internal recruitment”
Fair enough. However, the majority of people that give me this response are not able to provide any well considered reasons for wanting to jump the fence to an internal role. In fact, in nearly all cases the individuals do not demonstrate a good understanding of the role of an internal recruiter beyond what the title suggests. When I dig a bit deeper into their reasons, the answer is usually something based around not wanting to do sales or working towards targets anymore. What I suspect is really sitting behind their thoughts is a belief internal recruitment would be a much easier job. In my experience this could not be further from the truth.
OK, there may not be a billing target to stress about but there are certainly very demanding expectations of fill rates. OK, there may not be a requirement to business develop but you still need to build relationships with your hiring managers, which is essentially the same thing . Furthermore, internal hiring managers will be far more demanding on you than an external client because they absolutely depend on you to deliver. As an agency recruiter you will probably not be the only person engaged by the client and therefore their need for you to deliver is less. At the end of the day it is far easier to walk away (or hide!) form an external client than it is a hiring manager sitting in the same office as you.
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I speak to managers in recruitment agencies all day…..some approach me looking for new staff and others are recipients of a sales call. Something that I am hearing as commonly these days as ever is the following (or a version of):
“They need to sell”
Absolutely fair enough. However, a good deal of these managers do not seem to be able to provide much more on their wish list than that. In fact, in a lot of cases they do not seem to have thought much beyond what they are looking for in a prospective employee than their ability to sell. What I suspect is really sitting behind their thoughts is a belief that a good sales person will make a successful biller.In my experience, whilst that is sometimes true, there are many more attributes that someone hoping to be a successful recruiter needs.
OK, there may be billing targets to achieve and a key part of this is an ability to develop new business. But if you are just a great sales person you will not be able to place the business you pick up. As an agency recruiter you will probably not be the only person engaged by the client and therefore you need to deliver.
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 Here is a thought…. Agency recruiters, be more realistic about what your job is. Developing relationships is an essential part of working in any professional consultancy, not just recruitment. No one has ever died from making a sales call (as far as I know anyway). In my career I have only been hung up on once and I found it genuinely funny, because it was.
At the same time, managers of recruitment agencies be more realistic about what you can expect from your staff. No one wants to come to work in what should be a professional consulting role to spend 80% of their time being flogged to make pointless sales calls to hit some irrelevant target.
Hopefully we can then retain (and attract) great talent that this industry desperately needs.

Luke Collard

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