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Have you Hired the Right Internal Recruitment Manager?

Today in Singapore and around most parts of Asia, companies are hiring at a faster rate than HR can cope with. If left unchecked, Recruitment activities can absorb an ever-greater portion of an HR team’s time, especially in periods of boom. At worst, talented HR staff who originally signed up to perform Generalist HR roles can become burdened with never-ending recruitment briefs and are resigning in favour of better-structured HR departments.

So is a better structured HR environment one in which recruitment activities are assigned to dedicated internal Recruitment Managers? And if so, how do you find the right one for the job? In this article we examine the rise of the internal Recruitment Manager role, and look at:

1) Whether a dedicated internal Recruitment Manager leads to a more efficient hiring process.

2) Structuring the internal Recruitment Manager role in an effective way that delivers results to the business.

3) Finding the right person for the internal Recruitment Manager role.

Is a Dedicated Internal Recruitment Manager the Answer?

It sounds like the best ‘quick-fix’ ever. Hire a dedicated Recruitment Manager to handle all the recruitment needs of the business. However, this new Recruitment Manager hire can prove to be a double edged sword, adding another layer to the recruitment process. Rather than the business talking to HR before going straight to the market, the business may need to speak to HR who then talks to the Recruitment Manager who then passes the brief to the search firm. The result, if not carefully managed, can be a watered-down brief, a protracted recruitment process, the wrong candidate and ultimately an upset business manager.

An Internal Recruitment Manager is most suitable when hiring has become a time-intensive activity for the business or for the existing HR team. This may be due to large volumes of hiring, complex skillsets or poor company branding making it difficult to attract candidates. It can also be useful to have someone dedicated to hiring when the market is hot and suitable candidates are difficult to move across, due to counter-offers from their existing company or other offers in the market.

Structuring the Role so that it Delivers Results to the Business

Once a decision has been made to hire a dedicated Recruitment Manager, the next step is to decide whether the business situation warrants an administrative recruiter or a more strategic recruitment manager.

The table below shows the effective difference between the two types:


An administrative recruiter is best suited where specific technical skills or prior knowledge isn’t needed to understand the company’s business. They are also useful where the HR or business team wants to retain control of critical aspects or ‘pressure points’ of the recruitment process. A strategic internal Recruitment Manager is suitable where the business is complex, and in most cases the recruiter would need to come from a business or industry background in this space to be able to properly add value. This more strategic person will also be most useful where the business and HR want to remove themselves, to a high degree, for responsibility in recruitment decisions.

Regardless of whether the role should be administrative or strategic, it is equally important to define what parts of the business the role should cover and what levels or types of roles should be handled by the recruiter. The biggest mistake companies make is lumping together all business units and all roles under the responsibility of the internal recruiter. Give careful thought to the volume and complexity of the hiring needs of each business unit, as well as the personalities and perceived needs of each business leader. Perhaps initially focus the internal Recruitment Manager on one or two critical business units and only on more junior positions. Then over time the person’s responsibility can easily be increased if they achieve success.

Sourcing the Right Person for the Internal Recruitment Manager Role

Finding the best candidate to take an Internal Recruitment Manager role is always a challenge. Here are some easy to follow rules:

1) If the industry or business is complex, it pays to find a recruiter who has a business or recruitment background from a competitor or a similar industry. This will ensure that the recruiter earns credibility fast with the business. It will also ensure that the recruiter deeply understands the skills of candidates and also earns their respect. Additionally, the recruiter may bring existing networks of candidates or recruiter contacts.

2) If the company’s hiring processes are unsophisticated, it will pay to hire an internal recruiter who has previously performed a recruitment role in an organisation with rigid recruitment processes. They will be able to help with the upgrading of the recruitment infrastructure.

3) Hire to the need of the role. If the recruitment role is administrative or reactive, don’t hire a recruiter that wants to do more value-adding activities. Apart from getting unmotivated quickly, they may become distracted on activities that are perceived to be time-wasting. The result may be that they will not be able to “close” the open positions quickly enough. On the flip side, if the recruitment role is to be more strategic, look for evidence of the recruiter having performed value-adding activities such as pipeline planning with business managers, talent deployment and creative sourcing from other geographies.

4) Try to think ‘outside the box’ in a tight market. Every company when hiring an internal recruiter wants someone who has performed a similar role with a competitor. Keeping this sort of recruiter challenged and motivated in the future can often end up being a problem, since they’ve done it all before. Look for recruiters from other industries with the right process skills (provided the industry experience is not important). Look to successful agency or search recruiters who would transition into an in-house role quickly. Also consider marketing, communications or sales people, ideally from within your existing company, who may have the attributes to make good recruiters. If these people are high potential and have appropriate industry experience, perhaps they might be able to be taught the recruitment skills.

5) Promise the internal recruiter the potential to grow a team or expand their role once they’ve fleshed out their potential and established credibility with the business. Few recruiters like to do the same thing again and again, even after they become successful at it. Looking to the future and designing growth in the role is a good way to keep the recruiter motivated. Be open-minded in allowing them to add more staff beneath them to take on more operational aspects of their recruitment role, allowing them to become more strategic over time. You could also add portfolios under their responsibility, such as an HR Business Partner role or even organisational development. These can be smart ways to retain high performing resource staff and differentiate your resourcing function from others in the industry.

Make it Work

Whatever the structure of the HR function or the needs of the business, HR Directors are now evaluating their HR teams and working out the best means to alleviate the pain of the recr
uitment crunch. Working with the rank and file to increase referrals, communicating with the business to exploit market conditions, and networking in industry circles can all contribute towards an improved resourcing strategy. But one thing is certain: be sure to recruit the right recruiter.


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