In-House Paradox

By Ted Dieck | Employers Intelligence - Search | Mar 26, 2024

Despite a shrinking workforce and increased demand, many employers are moving their recruiting efforts in-house.  Some even exclude outside contributors, literally attempting to go it alone.

It’s an odd decision.  Typically, fewer resources would mean lower quality and higher costs.  How’s that working out?

Does an employer really save money by bringing its recruiting efforts in-house?

And what about quality?  In-house recruiters usually won’t reach the strongest Candidates.  What does that cost?

Nobody Knows Everybody

There are a few simple reasons recruiting shouldn’t be done exclusively in-house…

The world-famous Post and Pray strategy will only get you so far.

And reaching out to “passive Candidates” is difficult for corporate recruiters.
(Apparently, poaching your neighbor’s employees is still considered bad behavior.)

Sooner or later, every in-house recruiting effort will come up short.
Search partners remain the backstop for serious work.

A Core Recruiting Principle  

Here’s a recruiting principle that will serve us twice…

1) The better Candidates —the really high performers— probably aren’t looking for work.
They’re already employed.

So, simply posting a job opportunity isn’t going to generate a conversation with the best of the best.

2) In the same way, it’s unlikely that high performing recruiters are looking for work.
Brace yourself…  The kind of recruiter who would apply for your in-house position might not be a high performer.

Net result…
If the top recruiters are busy working the top talent;
then your home grown, in-house efforts will be stuck with the left overs.

Can you afford that?

Costs vs Results

When the Buyer becomes its own Supplier, it’s easy to misunderstand the costs.

On the Supply side…
All productive recruiters have similar costs.
And yet, we clearly get different results.

That’s interesting.

On the Buy side, employers hope to…

  • get acceptable results
  • and pay less.

OK.  Good to have a goal.

But it seems more like an attitude than a strategy.
And that attitude carries costs of its own.

Hidden In-House Costs

Let’s recall the original point of the searches…

Adding employees was supposed to increase production and grow revenue and profits.

Lowering the priority of searches, as a cost-cutting measure, suggests that some searches will be slow to fill.

Question: When a position goes unfilled, what’s the cost?
Answer: The lost revenue and profits.

The Cost Of Good Enough

Slipping “good enough” employees into the mix, just to keep things going is an eternal temptation.

The justification for “good enough” Candidates is, “That’s all that was available.”

The downside of weak Candidates is well documented.

Bottom Line

In-house recruiting strategies are intended to save money.
For normal searches, that might be possible.

There are visible penalties for completely ignoring outside contributions.

Recommended: For the tougher fills, enlist an outside search partner.
Use exclusive assignments for best service.