How to build a strong partnership with internal recruitment teams

When companies are looking for their perfect candidate, it makes sense that they spread their search far and wide.

Many businesses have relished in the fruits of cohesive partnerships between their in-house recruitment team and agency recruiters. Having worked on both sides of the fence, I know first hand how true partnership enables a company to get the best of both worlds when looking to augment their teams.

Leveraging a range of talent sources, including partnerships with agencies, enables an organisation to gain broader and deeper access to the talent market.  This can only be a good thing.

Like all relationships, professional or personal, we all know that clear communication is what keeps the fire alight.

When in-house recruiters work with external recruiters, employees can be sourced from a wider range of suitable candidates.

In-house and agency recruiters have a lot in common

At the end of the day in-house and agency recruiters have a mutual interest.

Quality recruiters want the same thing;

  1. We want our candidates to be successful, happy and land their perfect job and;
  2. We want the best for our company or our client, so we’ll strive to find the best candidates.

Do you agree?

A recruiter’s role is to place the perfect candidate into a role they’ll love, thrive in, and in turn, the company has an excellent employee.

So why do so many struggle to get along? Let’s explore the cornerstones of building win-win relationships with internal recruiters.

Top 4 tips for external recruiters to build solid partnerships with internal teams

1. Respect

Respect goes a long, long way in building a stable partnership. If you’re the external recruiter, it’s vital to respect internal process.  Think of it like being a guest in their house. You may not agree with their rules, but you won’t put your smelly feet up on their table at dinner time.

And you don’t have to agree or even like their processes, but it works for them – respect that. Take some time to learn their engagement models and follow their procedures. If they ask you to only refer CVs via the internal team, do it. Over time, when you build a relationship, you can then gently make suggestions that you feel may strengthen the partnership.

2. Build relationships like a house of cards

Be delicate, be gentle and don’t go in all huff and puff. As an external recruiter, ask what the internal team is expecting from you. If you go in and step on toes, the team will only see you as a threat and squash any ideas you put forward.

By understanding the needs of the in-house team, you can add value where you see fit. Look at the bigger picture and present scalable ideas that fit their needs. Credibility and trust will see you go far.

A quick word to internal recruitment teams: I know you’ll be swamped with emails, calls and probably LinkedIn requests from recruiters all around the world. Never feel like you need to accept every offer. Do some research and think about whether a relationship with that person would be of mutual benefit. Explore  their track record and the quality of their networks within the industry they recruit. If a recruiter stands out, connect with them and see if you can form a partnership to work exceptionally well for your company.

3. Honesty is the best policy

Both parties need to make it clear from the beginning on what they require from the recruitment partnership. What’s the best outcome for both of you? Honesty and pragmatism are the best qualities you can bring to the table.

Intrinsic motivation to place great candidates in roles they’ll love should be first and foremost for both internal and external recruiters. External recruiters are also hugely motivated to build their own business and earn an income from their services. That’s why they must make sure they are adding value to an internal recruitment team to nurture relationships, and not merely pushing candidates into roles. Both parties need to think about the long term.

4. Provide feedback and EDUCATE each other

All recruiters are pretty savvy – it’s a trait we must have to survive. It helps us connect and influence in today’s digital world, and it helps us to have those sticky, difficult conversations when needed. And as we all know; the recruitment process is a roller-coaster ride for all involved – you never know for sure what to expect.

Let’s say an external recruiter can’t find an ideal candidate and everyone they’ve put through have been given a big fat thumbs down. The internal recruitment team is frustrated and gets to work finding their candidates, ghosting the external team. This creates ambiguity and confusion as no feedback has been given.

Work together to educate each other.  In the case above, the external recruiter has valuable information about what’s happening in the market, and an internal recruiter knows why that candidate did or didn’t hit the mark. Knowledge sharing and honesty here can help manage expectations all-round and fill a job quicker. It’s all about bringing it back to the common goal of finding the right person for the job.

Internal Recruiters: Agency folk rely on your feedback to adjust their priorities in the candidates they represent and how they dedicate their time to jobs. Keep this in mind and take the time to update them frequently.

ULTIMATELY: Be honest, build relationships gently and say it how it is.

Trust me, I’m a recruiter who’s seen both sides

With many years of being a recruiter, I’ve worked in both in-house and external recruitment roles. I’ve seen both sides of the card and know what it takes to create a successful relationship.

I’ve seen  first hand how difficult it can be for internal teams to accept an external recruitment team into their world, especially if they come in all gung-ho. Think about it – how secure would you feel if someone comes in who also does your job, and starts crowing about how you should be doing your job? You’d feel pretty crappy I bet.

And I’m now that external recruiter who comes in to help companies. I use my experience to liaise with teams gently and build relationships that last.

Over to you

If you liked this article and know any external or internal recruitment teams who would benefit from reading this article, or even having a chat with me about building relationships, please share this article using the icons below.

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