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In-house are from Mars, Agency are from Venus

Recruitment - In-house are from Mars, Agency are from Venus - how do we get the planets to align?

Recently I had to turn down the registration of a recruitment agent to attend our event. He didn’t like it and he sent me an email:

“It is a shame. Events like these could help build a greater understanding between internal and external recruitment professionals which is greatly lacking in Australia. This could lead to better outcomes for all.”

Another wanted to come along to our Resourcing Leaders Lunch to hear what is keeping recruitment leaders up at night.  That one I found interesting given that agencies often tell us they are the experts in this space. Another commented that he was hoping to move in-house and wanted to learn more.  I offered to help set him up. Another was incredibly rude over the phone. I get it. Our events are great fun, a great resource and a great place to sell services.

The Recruitment Events Co. started in London and now, are here in Australia.  Our events are strictly for in-house people to get together, network and learn from each other how to make corporate recruitment better.   The events were born from the from the frustration of in-house recruitment leaders being receiving so many sales calls. Across the industry, in-house recruitment leaders are getting rapidly fed up with cold calling, from job boards, technology providers and recruitment agencies, each promising to be the next big thing. We found a way for recruitment leaders to cut through the noise and get quality information to deliver on their strategies.

We run the one-day conversation, 'meet the tech' events, a leader’s lunch and coming up soon, our one-day recruitment festival.  It’s strictly in-house and we turn down agencies regularly. RPO are welcome to some events if they are representing their client.  It works and we are happy with it.

Could we get an inclusive event happening - just once?

The Recruitment Events Co. Australia has the opportunity to align with a great niche agency and run a very interesting event.  We are keen to do it. We think there is a conversation to enjoy and learn from. But what could it look like? TA people don’t want to be sold to.  Agency often have targets to meet. In between is what we all do - recruitment, candidates, clients. We just approach from different angles.

So should I do more with agency recruitment? I am not anti-agency but do believe that there are different conversations to be had when we meet.  And there are different services on offer by both.

What team are you?

Google the difference between the two camps and you will find many pros and cons as to who is better, happier, richer and how to transition. The similarities and the differences.  There is always a LinkedIn conversation where the other is disparaged.

I believe there is a key mindset difference is long term vs short term. Yes, there are good agencies and there are bad in-house recruiters. For the most part, an external recruiter will look for the short term win rather than the longer term strategy of the employer. However, talent leaders need to be better at communicating the wider business strategy and the impact on recruitment as if they wish to advance that long-term thinking. With that said, in-house recruiters can learn a lot from external recruiters, including kicking back to the line managers, saying no when it’s not right, selling the job to the candidate and embracing changes in technology, to name a few.

 What has been fascinating to me upon my return to Australia is just how strong the agency world is in Australia. The UK had strong areas like Tax and Legal but a lot was done directly or via RPO. As companies move to in-house teams with KPIs around direct sourcing and hiring, what does that mean for the recruiter/agency relationship? And do we need to ‘understand’ each other more?

Mars and Venus

To be clear, I am Team Inhouse.  Have been for years. I love it. I am part of the business, involved in the plans for the future, sitting in strategy meetings and having the ear of the leaders. I have been respected for my advice and for building up their teams. And I get to watch my hires grow into their jobs.  And I am sitting there at the times it all goes wrong! And that’s not always the best seat in the house.

Usually, I am doing a lot more than just sourcing, interviewing and onboarding.  I am looking at the brand, processes, training hiring managers, and always looking at ways to improve recruitment within the business. I would also mentor junior team members, work with HR on workforce planning and resourcing and work hard on all the relationships.  

I am invested completely in the company that I am working for.  I have great conversations with candidates from the heart and I know what success looks like as I sit with the hiring manager and team all day! I challenge the hiring manager on their assumptions and bias because diversity is important. Big picture recruitment.  And when I can’t do it all or it’s a job that is so niche, I outsource it to those that know it better than me!

Team Agency

I have had some great relationships with those on Team Agency (shout out to Darren Head, James Pfahl and Vicki Woodcock!). There are also some really bad ones.  I think I will keep those quiet.

What made those relationships so good is that they have been niche suppliers, experts in their fields, great on customer service and just a little bit of fun! They have understood the challenges that I face, have worked with me to overcome them, found great candidates and given good insight into the market.  I have had their back in front of hiring managers and they have had mine. And just maybe, we have shared a few wines over lunch and laughed a lot!

Quite a long time ago, I did the onboarding training for new hires into an agency. I taught them how to get around the gatekeeper and HR to get straight to the hiring manager. How not to take no for an answer and always present a shortlist of at least three candidates.  In my opinion, those are the agencies that don’t work. And when I get the call from a newbie that asks me, ‘tell me more about your company’ and they haven’t read our website, I would send them on their way. I am not sure coming to our events would help them at all!

The view from Mars

I asked some of our in-house recruitment leaders what they thought of agencies. Should we do an event for both?  (I have changed the names to my favourite divas to protect their identity and I do love a good show tune!)

Barbara:
Agencies face many of the same candidate experience and sourcing challenges we do. Plus it's good for them to get exposure to what keeps us up at night. Provided they're contributing to the conversation and they're not coming in just to schmooze the internal TA people - I have no issue with it at all. I think we also need to try to move away from the Us VS Them mentality - its limiting and we can both learn from each other. Perhaps if we included them more and educated them - we might actually raise the bar in terms of the conversations we're having with them.

Shirley
Internal Recruiters are thinking about the company as a whole, the team fit and the recruitment strategy for the whole business, not just to fill one role as quickly as possible.  We also have processes that need to be followed. At the end of the day, if an agency supplies the candidate or the candidate comes directly, we are responsible for that candidate meeting the requirements of the business.

Dusty
Recruitment agencies are not cost effective or time savers at the moment. By the time you engage the agency, briefed the successful agency and wait for a shortlist of candidates that have often not been briefed, screened in person, reference checked or assessed. You then have to organise and pay for further checks,  assessments and reference checks. For $20,000 only half the job is done.

Ella
Having been on both sides of the agency fence, I understand the enthusiasm by recruiters for wanting to be able to attend and to network, but this does often change the dynamic of the event for non-agency attendees.

Having only in-house attendees keeps the conversation on topic and the only sales pitch being given is by your sponsors who are paying to be there essentially.

I think potentially there is a place for a showcase agency, if they can demonstrate they are doing something out of the norm (most aren't). I recall many moons ago, whenever 'us agency' folk attended a call centre community event, the term used by the call centre industry was 'agency leeches' - not pretty, but telltale of how some agencies present themselves at such events and if you get those at the events it can become a turn off

There are places we come together:

#MelbRecMeetUp - contact Stefen Welack

#SydRecMeetUp - contact Mark Mansour

#PerthRecMeetUp - contact Stan Rolfe

If you haven’t gone along, register via MeetUp and get along to their catch ups. They are a lot of fun, informative and very social.  Last night’s event on onboarding was really insightful!

ATC has just finished there and there are agency and in-house mixing it up late at night in the streets of Sydney!

So we will keep The Recruitment Events Company predominantly events for in-house recruitment leaders and operational people and find a way to every so often, get Mars and Venus aligned.

Give me some ideas for an event that would work for both sides?  What would you want to do, talk and learn about? And let’s see what we can do together.