Talent Team or a Headhunter? The Good, the Bad and the Useful — Talent Design
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Talent Team or a Headhunter? The Good, the Bad and the Useful

So your company is growing and your recruitment needs are on the rise. The talent market is getting more competitive and posting job ads do not bring good enough results, especially to the very specific expertise you are looking for. Headhunting companies are bringing results, but they seem unfairly priced and you are looking to build your very own talent team to work as internal headhunters.

The price for an external headhunter is justified for an executive position, but seems way too steep for a specialist with less experience. Or perhaps it should be the other way around? Every company has an CEO, often with almost a biography on their website, so they should be easy to find. A highly skilled data scientist, who is tired of headhunters disturbing every hour, who have deleted their LinkdIn profiles, are not that easy to find, but still the price for recruitment should be a fraction of a CEO.

Both having an internal talent acquisition team and the use of external vendors has its benefits, but getting the best out of both worlds and the perfect combination for your needs requires a well-planned strategy. The starting point of your talent strategy should be the companies’ growth plans and strategies on how to achieve that. Talent acquisition should be an integral part of it, not only what expertise we need, but how to get it as well. Having a thorough plan makes it also possible to plan the best approach on how to achieve it.

Having an internal talent acquisition team gives you a team of recruiters, with the best possible internal view and knowledge about the company; they do work there themselves. They have the possibility to network internally, talk openly to their colleagues, read internal material about units, ask questions and get the information they need. And the best of all, they can experience the work culture on their own. Who would be better to sell a company than someone who is working there, experiencing the culture and excited about it?

An experienced headhunter has seen many different organizations, hired hundreds of people, seen many different kind recruitment process, and has a lean and very efficient process with the goal to have a satisfied customer and candidate. Ideally this is the case and it does come with quite a steep price tag. What it also comes with quite often is some kind of a guarantee for the recruited person, and having an entire team focus on your singe recruitment requires quite an investment, which correlates with the price. Price seems too often to be the decisive factor on which company base the purchase decision when it comes to recruitment services. Not understanding completely what the investment from the headhunter is often makes the steep price feel unjust, if that is the primary factor driving the decision.

So both of the options sound quite good, how to decide? There isn’t one answer to which one is better, but once you have your growth plans, budget and expectations, it is much easier to decide on the right approach. Price should not be the only factor. Quite often when companies think of having an internal talent team to be cheaper, they do not consider all the investments required. Just having a team a fresh graduates without the proper tools (or knowledge what the tools should be) most probably will not deliver the results, especially if performance is compared to the experienced headhunters at external vendors. The other aspect to consider when thinking of the price, is the price of an unsuccessful recruitment. Not only the recruitment cost, but also having someone who does not get the company to the growth plans expected, or even worse, if they force the company to take a step back in its plans. Replacements also take additional time and money.

The talent acquisition strategy will also have an estimate on the amount of recruitments needed to achieve the growth plans. Only having a few recruitments, will not justify hiring an entire team of internal recruiters. Some other aspects to consider are the confidentiality and privacy– would you rather have an interview with a competitor or an external third-part? Would you rather trust a headhunter who often gets paid once (pricing models could be an topic on their own) someone is recruited or someone who will become your colleague?

Getting the best out of both worlds and the perfect combination for your needs requires a well-planned strategy: a customized strategy results in a customized approach, which is made to match your exact needs, budget, and goals.

Think first, recruit then,

Talent Designer

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