Corporate Talent Management’s Effect on the Recruiting Role

Dec 9, 2008

The current role of corporate recruiting is to mainly look outward in sourcing candidates for open positions. Typically a recruiter’s compensation is tied to meeting a monthly quota and bonuses are paid out for any placements over that quota. Placement of internal employees that respond to a company website posting are handled by recruiting but are usually not counted toward their quota. An open position is usually “pushed” through the company website and it is up to the employee to apply for the position.

Recently I attended a Human Capital Institute half day seminar on Talent Management or Succession Planning and learned that an inward look at employees is increasing at least in large corporations in light of the talent and budget crunch. Cedar Crestone in their 2008 11th Annual HR Systems Survey showed a business case for this inward look:

“Sales growth for the most part are higher with talent management applications particularly with competency and performance management but not with succession planning.” Highest sales growth was linked to succession planning scope so that if all employees are included in that process, sales growth could be three times higher than if only executives were included in a Talent Management program.

In his currently running series on Talent Management, Dr. John Sullivan recently stated on ERE:

Because many organizations have managers who fail to develop their talent, or hold back employees ready for more, it makes sense to let recruiters turn their attention inward, identifying people who can and will assume greater roles externally if not tapped internally soon.

Succession Planning as part of a Talent Management Plan is made more efficient with the IT solutions out there but can still take years to implement. For many companies it requires a cultural change from top to bottom that might include how recruiters are used differently for internal hiring. A Recruiter from a large IT company had to say this about my question posted on ERE of the effects of Talent Management on the business and specifically on the recruiting function:

We are seeing this (workforce planning) with many of our clients today. They are asking us to build ATS systems and processes that will support more internal sourcing for positions. There is a closer linkage between recruiting and performance management and succession planning than ever before. We are now looking at not only where the best hires are coming from but what actions are taken to develop them once they get into the company. It is a major cultural shift for many clients to first look internally and be willing to move top performers out of critical roles and on to others. I would say the (recruiting) role is definitely changing to address sourcing of internal pools as well as external. I am not sure how compensation would work, since I typically see this being done by internal recruiters. Their performance is measured by getting the position filled with the right resource at the right time and is different than external recruiters. We are seeing some forward looking customers allow their internal employees to create “Profiles” in the ATS to be alerted when matching positions are posted. This allows the employees to be passive job seekers within their own company. (Yet) I don’t see anyone in recruiting acting as search counselors for internal candidates as of today.

I recently phone-interviewed a Talent Manager from a large retail company asking the lead question. This company has a different approach for Succession Planning and internal hiring in that their recruiters do not handle the employee application for a position. Since HR has the relationship with employees and they know them best, their succession planning process is facilitated by them. Part of their process is to post a job internally first before it goes to external sites or to the company website. If an employee applies to a position, they go through an HR Manager who handles the end-to-end recruiting cycle of qualifying the candidate, presenting them to the hiring manager and facilitating the interviewing and follow up. In the event the employee is rejected as a candidate then the HR Manager or Generalist will communicate the reasons and advise what the employee can do to be considered in the future. This puts them in a coaching role which the recruiter would not ordinarily do. One can see that for this company the recruiter role does not change much at all keeping them focused on external candidates. It’s possible that this solves the problem of compensation – the HR staff dedicated to internal hires have positions that are not bonus-tied above quota.

However, if a company was to allow recruiters and sourcers to look internally first, it could be an opportunity for an expanded role in HR. This is especially in the FUTURE of recruiting where internal as well as external candidates come to them in light of Web 2.0. My thinking is that the recruiters/sourcers will have the network that is their currency in the future not the HR people as described for this retail company. Some thoughts on what this role could be:

  • Recruiters with functional expertise are designated to handle the career development of a segment of the employee population aligned by function
  • This can be facilitated by having Talent Communities as Microsoft had spearheaded and presented in this newsletter by Marvin Smith
  • Compensation will be tied to quality of placement among other metrics
  • Recruiters have employees and outside candidates come to them if they are interested in a job they have been alerted to (assuming skills and other competencies are in their profiles) AND/OR
  • Sourcers first seek out employees that have competencies that match the position and determine if the candidate has to be sourced externally
  • Recruiter role assumes more of a coaching role for career path management

We would certainly like to hear from others as to what they see for a sourcer’s role in a corporate culture that fosters career development when managers are accountable for it. If you had someone within the company help with your career development, would you stay longer? Is the result of this inward look going to impact innovation when less of a fresh perspective is coming into the company? Who determines when to get “fresh meat” as wryly coined by others?

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