It’s one of the hottest topics in corporate right now: Do we build an internal recruiting team or outsource it?

The answer is not a simple yes or no. It really depends.

Many factors contribute to recruitment. Some organizations assess the cost of recruitment through the utilization of recruitment agency outfits and decide to build out a recruitment function. Others may have different recruitment models all being serviced through one process or form of support. Regardless, the topic deserves some serious consideration from companies today.

The 3 Basic Models of Recruiting

Recruitment, by definition, is the sourcing of talent — but that is not all it is. It is an art and a science, founded on a workflow or process driven by business needs. Addressing the internal vs. outsourced debate starts with understanding the business’s needs today and its workforce plans for the future. Once these items are defined, recruitment models commence.

1. Internal Corporate Full Life Cycle (in House)

In the full life cycle recruiting process, a recruiter reaches out to the hiring manager to conduct an intake meeting that unpacks their needs over and above the job description. Once the intake meeting is complete, the recruiter goes to market in search of candidates. The recruiter schedules calls with qualified candidates to ascertain fit. A recruiter may conduct 10-15 of these prequalifying interviews to winnow the choices down to three top candidates, who are then submitted to the hiring manger for further consideration.

This model is advantageous for organizations that have staffing needs in corporate, information technology, software/product development, and sales/business development functions, as well as for organizations that need to fill industry-specific roles that require a deep understanding of functional/technical skill sets in relation to corporate culture.

This model also saves time for the hiring manager and provides the greatest value when it comes to seeking quality talent for the organization. In a full life cycle recruiting model, the recruiter is an extension of the employer brand and has the opportunity to create and contribute to a great candidate experience.

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2. Transactional Recruiting (in House)

In a transactional recruitment model, recruiters simply push qualified candidates to the hiring manager by assessing skill sets based on candidates’ resumes. Unless a recruiter is new to the organization, an intake meeting is not typically conducted.

Organizations with high volumes of open positions with similar skill sets can benefit from transactional recruiting models. Positions that typically fall into this category include customer service, medical billing, collections, mailroom, document processing, and the like.

3. Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

As the name suggests, RPO is when the organization outsources part or all of its recruiting function to a third party. Before deciding to outsource recruitment, an organization should take a look at its data: Do your hiring needs require immediate candidate flow and lots of it?

The specific choice of provider is also important and largely determined by size and scale. Not all outsourcing outfits fit every model. For example, large global companies that have immediate recruitment needs due to growth and backfills would benefit from providers that can scale accordingly. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and service-level agreements (SLAs) allow for compliance and service. Most outsourcing companies will build background checks and audit reporting into the contract, coupled with a promise to replace talent that leaves within a 90-day period. You will also get a dedicated client service team assigned to your account. Make sure you have an opportunity to interview this on-site resource before signing anything.

For small and mid-sized companies, a large global provider may not be necessary. These organizations can hire an experienced talent acquisition consultant to build out their strategies and internal teams. Once that is all settled, the consultant can manage the resources off site or be available monthly or quarterly to make adjustments as necessary.

If your organization has a specific function that could use refinement, hiring a talent acquisition consultant to manage and staff that team could ease your staffing nightmare. This dedicated resource has a main focus on your account, rather than a team servicing many organizations around the globe.

Which Model Is Right for You?

Talent acquisition is often overlooked by HR functions and, therefore, becomes viewed as a must-have rather than a strategic entity. When built with a strategic mindset around how the organization sources and engages talent, recruitment can become a true partner to the business.

How a company recruits for the mailroom differs from how it recruits for product development. In some cases, it may make sense to outsource one function but not another. Executive recruitment also requires a different recruitment approach, thought that does not always including sending the role to retained search.

The takeaway here is that recruiting is not a one-size-fits-all approach, even within a single company. Take a strategic look at your company’s workforce needs, and hire professionals as necessary to review and develop a recruitment model that works for the total company.

Laureen Kautt is a global talent acquisition executive and the founder and principal coach of Volitionary Movement, LLC. “Confessions of a Corporate Talent Acquisition Leader” is her recurring column on Recruiter Today.

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