TEN TOP TIPS : Setting up In-house Recruitment

There are many issues to consider before setting up an in-house recruitment function – but with the right people and the right executive support you can create an almost immediate impact on the bottom line. Getting the balance right between your own activity and agency involvement is crucial and while an Excel spreadsheet will get you so far, specialist recruitment software is essential if you want to provide the business with meaningful reporting.

1) Establishing the right model Different organisations require different solutions. Think about whether your needs are specialist or generic, low or high volume. Generally an in-house model will suit larger companies. If you have team of internal recruiters but only recruit small numbers you will struggle to break even. Partnerships focus mainly on graduates so will benefit from having graduate specialists while leaving the few experienced hires to HR or agencies.

2) Recruiting the right people Recruiting the right people is vital to success. In-house recruiters need all the competencies of agency recruiters – speed to market, agility, solution provision, creativity and commercialism. They also need sophisticated suite of relationship skills to manage the hiring manager’s expectations and to build relationships with other HR colleagues and internal functions such as marketing, procurement, finance, corporate affairs and communications. In order to successfully unlock their discretionary effort, they need to be passionate, competitive and highly inquisitive.

3) Balance Many in-house functions try to cut agencies completely out of the loop. While attractive from pure cost-saving perspective, you will be better off building strategic partnerships with reduced supplier panel. They can be there in times of need, assist with difficult roles, be your agents in the market and help project your employment brand into areas you can’t reach. If you get the balance right you will make significant savings but also ensure the supply of quality candidates in tight market – keeping both the CFO and hiring managers happy. Save where you can so you can spend where you need to.

4) Be commercial Few other support functions have the same ability as an in-house recruitment team to show an immediate impact on the bottom line. Get commercial right from the start and run your model like business. Promote your team’s achievements at every opportunity through formal and informal communications channels. Not only will this ensure executive support but will also assist with compliance and education.

5) Be competitive and creative The domestic candidate pool is tight but most companies are not using it to its full potential. By all means invest in global attraction strategy, but don’t forget to focus on untapped segments of the local market. Ensure your employment brand appeals to wide audience. Your diversity or environmental agenda may be the difference between two offers in market where salaries do not differ greatly.

6) Effective reporting Effective reporting and analysis will ensure credibility and cement your role as trusted advisors. Fully loaded savings, time and cost per hire and turnover metrics are the bare basics. Detailed analytics around source effectiveness, internal mobility, placement ratios, quality of hire, and spend will allow you to make smarter recruiting decisions, making more use of your time and resources.

7) Be flexible Assign portfolios, but rotate and backstop where possible to provide hiring managers with an additional point of contact, variety for recruiters and bench strength for succession planning. Your team should be capable of all facets of recruitment – from psychometric assessment to graduate attraction, assessment centres and executive appointments. Get the team out in the business but seat them centrally so they can benefit from an agency style environment where they can share candidates, pool ideas and provide mutual support.

8) Invest in specialist recruitment system Buy specialist recruitment system. Organisation-wide products from the ‘90s promised much but did not deliver for in-house requirements. The right specialist software is crucial to reporting and work flow. It will streamline all your processes and provide click-button reporting. Avoid an onerous business case and excessive IT involvement by opting for an online solution hosted outside your firewall. The benefits are numerous and from business continuity perspective, if your system crashes your team can keep working from an internet cafe!

9) Clearly define roles Ensure the role of your in-house team is clearly defined. Areas such as job sizing, description drafting and on-boarding can become murky leading to tension with HR colleagues and confusion with hiring managers. Avoid headaches by ensuring boundaries are set out clearly from the start.

10) Hearts and minds Going in aggressively with compliance approach may work in some organisations depending on size and culture. In most companies the average hiring manager will react by going around your model – leading to even more work for your recruiters. You are better to win hearts and minds through total service. Deliver and the hiring manager will soon latch on to your services. You can then ramp up compliance quietly in the background through policy and process.

Marc Figgins is head of recruitment and selection at ANZ National Financial Group.

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