How to build a internal recruitment function

Why Do Internal Recruitment Functions Fail?

At Recruitment School we get to work with recruiters from both agency, internal recruitment and Corporate Managers who are involved in the recruitment process.

We have seen a tendency for internal recruitment functions to fail. Now by no means are we saying that all internal recruitment functions fail, nor are we saying that internal recruitment functions are not valuable. The internal recruitment function are a very important part of the recruitment ecosystem and despite what anyone says, they are here to stay. But why do internal or corporate recruitment functions fail?

What do we consider a fail?

  • If an organisation has invested in their own internal recruitment function, but they still use Recruitment Agencies, that’s a fail.
  • If the recruitment function has ongoing unfilled roles, that’s a fail.
  • If the recruitment function is not respected by the line managers in the organisation, that’s a massive fail.
  • If the recruitment function has a high staff turnover, that’s a fail

So why do corporations build internal recruitment teams?

Most organisations build a internal recruitment team as they are trying to reduce the costs associated with hiring staff. They feel that if they have their own team they will reduce the costs associated with agencies, and have more control of the outcome, which makes perfect sense and is logical.

However the thought process around the new recruitment team is out of whack. Recently we were asked to explore why a internal recruitment function wasn’t performing. After digging around for a while, we found that the attitude of the “boss” was the issue. You see, the person responsible for setting up the internal recruitment function was the CFO of this organisation (no HR on site), and he believed that recruitment is easy, all you have to do is hire a recruiter/s, throw them in the corner, and let them do what they do. In fact here is what he said and I quote

We have hired three of them, paying them $70k each, given them everything they want and they still can’t find us people.

* NB: I love the tone that was used in this comment. The use of the word “them” as if they are some sort of special machine that you turn on and then the best candidates just “pop out”. 

Let me add some context around this. This is an engineering company, chasing very hard to find candidates. There was no EVP in place and very little incentive for anyone to join. What this person didn’t realise was that recruitment is a difficult process(especially in their space). These type of people honestly believe the “Post & Pray” (post an ad on a job board and pray that someone applies) recruitment strategy works. Post & Pray was never going to work. They need to build a community of suitable people and that will take time.

This is why some internal recruitment functions fail. In this case, this CFO was about to fire all three people and hire more. He thought it was a people problem, and it was, but he didn’t realise he was the problem.

How do you build an internal recruitment function?

So when it comes time to build an internal recruitment function, here are some tips that might make it easier

  1. PLEASE, don’t let the CFO control the process, unless of course they are new breed of CFO
  2. Build a strategy. This is a new business function and it needs to be mapped out
  3. Identify your market and what is the best sourcing strategy for your market
  4. Build effective KPI’s that are measuring the correct activity. Do not fall into the trap of measuring the outcomes at this stage. The outcomes are a byproduct of the right activity
  5. Give it time to become effective.

Once you have this framework in place, you need to make sure your people have the necessary skills to be able to execute the strategy. If they don’t, get them trained as quickly as possible, otherwise they just become a drain on cashflow. The best training for them is our Recruitment Ninja course. Actually, if you don’t know if they have the skills, you need to call us immediately and we can carry out an audit on your people.

Then the next element is time and consistency. If they (the recruiters) are consistently building their network and carrying out the correct activity, they will be successful


Recruitment School builds brilliant recruiters through a combination of online self paced and assisted training programs. If you want to know more about how we can improve the efficiency of your recruitment function then contact us on 02 9188 3490 or click here.


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