Human Capital Management Solutions


Internal Recruitment Function - Ideas to Add Value When Your Jobs Decline

Trevor Vas, Principal Consultant with HCMS shares his observations on our recent *Talent Management Roundtable meetings (TMRT) where we discussed: “Creative Ways to Add Value to Your Organisation when Jobs Decline”.

How many of you have experienced coming to work one day, only to find that the CEO has issued an edict: “Freeze on All Hiring”? What do you do? How do Recruitment Functions maintain their relevance and capability when there are few or no jobs?

These questions are vexing and impacting many Internal Recruitment Functions. The pressure to add value and become an integral business partner is more important now that filling jobs is not the major priority. The Internal Recruitment Function is often the first to feel the slowdown in an organisation. In the TMRT meetings we used the analogy of the canary in the mine. Recruitment tends to slow or at worst die in anticipation of a reduced demand to recruit staff.

The discussions at the TMRTs raised a number of interesting points:

Two-Speed Economy Operating Internally

It was interesting that many of our participants reported that their recruitment functions are experiencing the multi speed economy discussed in the press. Some areas of the business were growing while other areas of the business were slowing down. This adds an additional complexity of moving recruitment staff to new areas to assist where required. There were many examples cited including:

  • slowing of Business Banking versus growth in Financial Planning; 
  • slowing of consulting projects relating to government versus an acceleration in insolvency or areas of advice where traditionally permanent staff would have been employed.

Also of interest is that the GFC in 2008 and 2009 seems to have given many businesses a greater confidence to navigate this volatility. The organisation’s immune system clicks in quickly to protect and sustain the business.

Increased Compliance and Internal Mobility

As a result of the above changes businesses are certainly more careful about recruitment and have: 

  • increased compliance in getting new or replacement positions signed off, some have increased the sign off authority;
  • put more focus on recruiting existing internal staff rather than external recruitment; and 
  • reduced or eliminated the use of external recruitment spend.

Increased Need to be Strategic

What is also fascinating is that these trends have placed more emphasis on Internal Recruitment Functions working strategically with the business. Internal Recruitment Functions are using workforce planning to evaluate what positions are critical to be recruited and using this as a tool to assist with business planning. This has also placed a greater emphasis on Account Management and the need to segment your Hiring Managers and work selectively where it adds the greatest value. The Internal Recruitment Function staff now need to become “Trusted Advisors” and train their teams to work strategically with the business. Ironic but understandable, now that we have the time we become strategic.

Focus on Strategic Sourcing

The other trend of increased importance is the focus on strategic sourcing and business intelligence. For the Internal Recruitment Function to be able to fill critical positions and become Trusted Advisors they require the ability to source critical candidates and provide input into business planning.

A Change in Metrics

As they say for every action there is a reaction. The above trends have impacted reporting/metrics and competencies required of Internal Recruiters.

The main metric is no longer centred on filling open reactive positions this means that other metrics such as Hiring Manager Satisfaction, Quality of hire and Time to Productivity, Number of Job Ready Critical Candidates in the Talent Pool are now more relevant in many cases.

Different Competencies Required

Recruiter competencies and skills are different in this environment. It is no longer a transactional recruitment position where you take a job order and the recruit. Skills such as managing senior stakeholders, undertaking account management, facilitating workforce planning, reviewing talent management approaches and undertaking strategic sourcing are now important requirements.

So all of this begs two questions that we have asked at the meetings, these are:

  1. What is the most appropriate title of our recruitment roles if recruiting is now less than 50% of what we do? 
  2. What recruitment tasks do we do that cannot be outsourced to an external function?

I would love to receive any comments or questions on the above and can be contacted at

*Trevor Vas is a Principal Consultant with Human Capital Management Solutions (HCMS). Part of our value add to the industry is to facilitate Talent Management Round Table (TMRT) meetings with Internal Recruitment and Talent Managers of large to medium organisations.

These TMRT meetings are held in all capital cities in Australia and Singapore. As the name suggests the group in each location discusses, debates and shares ideas on issues relating to Talent Management. They are provocative interactive meetings based on getting the group to “crowd source” new solutions to topical issues. If you are an Internal Recruitment Manager or in a similar role and would like to participate in our next TMRT, please contact Trevor Vas.


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