Thinking of making the transition from agency recruitment into in-house recruitment? I was in this position myself a few years ago and remember searching for information to help me make that transition but found more about how to work with recruiters than the truth about moving into corporate recruitment — the good and not-so-good.

I started writing this post and it got way too long, so I’ve separated it into three parts:

There are two things you should accept about moving into in-house recruitment

  1. It will take you a while before you drop the habit of calculating what your commission could have been on each requisition. You’ll look at those numbers and reconsider your choice to come in-house, but this will eventually stop when you see all the other benefits to coming in-house.

    We’ll talk about this in part 2.
  2. You will go through culture shock. Big time!

“Prepare to adapt to a different world”

Meetings, meetings and more meetings

In the agency world, time is money. You will rarely find yourself in a meeting that is not absolutely essential or could not have been communicated via email. Every minute you’re not developing business, sourcing passive candidates or interviewing is wasted time.

Things are very different in the corporate space. In fact, I found myself in countless meetings where I wondered why this couldn’t have been discussed via email. Many ended with promises of an upcoming meeting to complete the discussion.

I remember asking a new work friend of this was the norm. His response was to “get used to it”.

I remember being really frustrated at first, but I later understood that unlike the agency environment, there were different stakeholders who were often involved and needed to know what was going on. It’s a culture of keeping everyone in the loop, which is much easier to conduct in a meeting rather than through email.

Slower pace

In my first week at my new job as an in-house recruiter, I was warned of the incredibly fast pace. It was quite the opposite.

Coming from the agency environment, you’re likely used to things moving quickly and juggling different clients who want (and deserve) to be treated like they’re you’re only client.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that things are slow… just slower. This actually isn’t a bad things considering all the meetings you’ll have to attend.

High volume

It wasn’t the pace, it was high volume that took getting used to for me. In agency, you’re used to working on a limited number of reqs and could prioritize which ones were likely close. In a very active corporate recruiting environment, get used to juggling anywhere from 20 – 50 reqs at once… and this doesn’t include bulk-hiring.

It takes some getting used to and you definitely have to create a system and prioritize to ensure that you’re getting things done.

Heavy administrative process

I started my job when the company was just starting to automate certain processes. In most companies, however, things like interview scheduling, background checks and job offer letters are not automated, so you’ll find yourself doing (or directing others) to do a lot of the heavy admin work.

Everyone is involved

Now, take this one with a grain of salt because it’s not the same in every corporate recruitment role.

Need a phone interview template?In most larger organizations, however, you’ll have one person conducting a recruitment intake meeting,  someone else sourcing, another phone interviewing, another working with the hiring manager, another making compensation recommendations and yet another person making the offer.

Coming from a 360 role, I was used to owning the recruitment process from intake to offer. I was shocked, for example, to discover that hiring managers were making offers to candidates! It didn’t take too long to convince them to let this sit with recruitment. In fact, most of them were happy to get this off their plates.

My job as a recruiter is to develop a relationship with the candidate and be their main point of contact rather than being contacted by different people at various stages of the recruitment process. I had to make a business case, but shortly after, I was managing the full recruitment cycle, which makes a difference with the candidate experience.

Attitude towards recruitment

This was by far the biggest culture shock for me.

In agency, everyone eats and breathes recruitment. You have to be passionate about what you do because you have to produce in order to survive.

I had a new HR manager who started a few months after I did and in our introductory meeting, she announced that she was glad she had a recruiter on the team because she “absolutely hated recruitment” (sadly, I heard this echoed several more times).

Not exactly the best first impression, but you’ll slowly start to realize that recruitment is a pain for some people.

Learn not to take it personally and be patient. Their experience is often old-style post-and-pray recruitment with countless declined offers, not true talent acquisition.

So there you have it folks, these are the challenges that surprised me about moving into in-house recruitment. I was lucky enough to have joined the company in the beginning of a massive transformation in recruitment. So I had a chance to streamline a lot of the processes and partner with hiring managers to help them embrace a different way of recruiting then they had been used to in the past, including the introduction of a recruitment intake process, something that comes naturally to most agency recruiters. .

This was one of the most satisfying parts of the job… along with a few other awesome things.

Let’s head on over to part 2 – the advantages of moving to in-house recruitment.

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