Corporate recruiters need to have a deep understanding of their company culture, specific job requirements, and fit with the individual hiring managers. A lot of attention is paid on how to take a great job order and build strong relationships with hiring managers. However, corporate recruiters are often asked to carry a heavy requirement load – a truly deep understanding of jobs across different departments and hiring managers is almost impossible to achieve through the normal process of meetings and phone calls.
The only way to really understand the business problems and daily routines of a particular department is to get down in the trenches and work side by side with them. However, when recruiting departments offer this option to recruiters, the only available option is usually to be nested within their specific recruiting function. For example, if a company retains an in-house technical recruiter, it is a good practice to have them spend some time in the corporate IT department. The recruiter learns about the team dynamic and the practical job expectations for technical employees. Embedding recruiters within specific functions of an enterprise is a very good practice, however, it is still inadequate.
In order to truly understand the complexity of the entire company with cross-departmental collaboration and varying goals and cultures, recruiting departments should consider rotation programs for their recruiters. Rotation programs are most common as executive development programs. Newly minted MBAs and other high potential candidates perform short-term stints in different departments, in order to achieve a broad and deep understanding of the business. The overall goal is to create a strategic mindset and a strong background for critical organizational thinking and decision making. Even though the talent acquisition department often structures these rotation programs, they are often completely left out of the process.
The problem is that recruiting and talent management is not considered an executive level function by most companies. The reality is that very few functions demand the type of deep organizational understanding as required by recruiting. Rotation programs develop the comprehensive understanding that recruiters need to create intelligent hiring processes and to inform the candidate selection process.
Does your company value your recruiters enough to train them like executives? Is your talent acquisition knowledge base sectioned into individual business functions, or worse yet, sequestered entirely into the HR department?
Rotation programs for recruiters allow your organization to meet their talent demands with an intelligent, pro-active approach. Here are some benefits to consider when deciding if it would be possible for your recruiters to benefit from departmental rotation:
- Your business is different than your job requirements – recruiters who understand your product, services, and delivery methods can assess talent from a practical business viewpoint.
- Recruiters who have multi-departmental understanding can better approach singular departmental projects. For example, the technical recruiter who understands the accounting function can understand the talent requirements for building a new accounting software module.
- Hiring and talent planning for the actual recruiting department is easier when multiple recruiters can fill different recruiting functions. Rotation programs build in knowledge redundancy that is critical when you lose employees.
- Hiring managers that develop relationships with multiple recruiters in the organization will find it easier to collaborate with the recruiting department.
- Recruiters that develop organizational understanding and not simple functional knowledge will be more loyal and make better strategic hiring decisions.
- If executive rotation programs are a common practice, placing recruiters into a similar program will allow them to speak to it during the hiring process.
- Developing close hiring manager relationships with multiple recruiters can increase internal job referrals.
The difficulty of implementing recruiting rotation programs is not usually in the logistics, it is rather in creating urgency and executive buy-in. Recruiting great talent begins with building excellence within your recruiting department. However, too often talent acquisition and recruiting is divorced not only from decision making, but the systematic knowledge building programs that they themselves are tasked with implementing. To progress your recruitment function and therefore build your talent strategy, recruiting must be viewed as a inter-departmental, strategic skill. Rotation programs develop the careers and knowledge of your recruiters, but even more importantly, they enrich the understanding of talent demand across the enterprise.