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As the competition for talent continues unabated, employers need to ensure they are using the right recruiting channels to land the right person for each role.

For some jobs this might be via a human resources department or direct recruitment by a manager or department head – or in some cases by a specialist internal recruiter. For other jobs, it might involve a third party recruiter, working with various internal resources.

In response to this mix, many US recruitment firms have adapted their traditional methods to include co-operation with the rising number of internal corporate recruiters.

Some companies prefer taking on a dedicated in-house professional to devote themselves completely to seeking quality candidates, while others see no need to pay for a full-time post when they might only be needing candidates once or twice a year.

Those companies with specific hiring and firing patterns that allow them to focus on recruitment at pre-planned times of the year, and those chasing large numbers of candidates, especially for lower level positions, tend to be sticking with recruitment firms.

Josh Tofteland, managing director at KForce staffing agency, says: “There are three primary channels of acquiring human capital. First is HR or internal. Second is direct recruitment from a manager or department head. Third is a combination of internal and/or department heads, and third party vendor recruitment.”

For internal recruiters, the pressure is always on them to be looking out for talent. Large recruitment firms have plenty of candidates coming to them, but an internal recruiter must find the ideal candidates themselves – and posting positions on job websites can be very untargeted.

“Internal recruiters must vigilantly screen resumés and identify many levels of development and training,” says Elaina Genser, senior vice-president of executive search firm Witt/Kieffer.

“The first step is to generate interest in the position from the candidate, then encourage them to apply. This is much more powerful than posting a position and waiting for people to contact you. Internal recruiters have to be pro-active about recruiting.”

Often, internal recruiters will work with search firms, combining a more focused and tightly controlled search with the benefit of a larger pool of candidates known to the recruitment firms.

Internal recruiters can also face the challenge of sparking interest in someone who might not need a job – they might be calling candidates out of the blue – and they must exercise discretion, especially when trying to poach someone from a competing company.

For very senior appointments, companies might use internal recruiters to assist with strategic placements in, for example, departments specialising in tax law, financial reporting, auditing and regulatory compliance.

But many would not entrust the most vital positions solely to their internal recruiter, preferring instead to let departmental heads lead the search. For candidates with tangible skills, an easily identifiable career trajectory, and an exemplary educational background, a department head might more readily identify the best candidates.

For broader positions demanding a wider range of skills, agencies are more likely to be retained to provide access to a larger pool of candidates.

The candidate’s experience is broadly similar, whichever model is used, although internal recruiters can provide a deeper insight into their organisation and what it is seeking, and have a greater stake in creating a good impression.

Trends such as internal recruiting mean the art of hiring remains fluid and reacts to changes and shifts in the economy and jobs market. Dori Rosner, director of HR and recruiting for Rubenstein Public Relations, has also worked as an external recruiter: “I think internal recruiting has evolved as companies place an even greater value on their HR professionals recruiting in more creative ways.

“The recruitment process has slowed down, in that companies are more cautious, and not as hasty in their hiring as they were before the recession.”

While large recruitment firms have access to large candidate pools and charge clients only for services provided, internal recruiters are able to focus on serving only one client: their employer. With a wealth of choices available to employers and an increasingly complex set of hiring needs across a range of industries, no single model is likely to emerge.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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