(from Recruiter Daily 2011)

The once huge difference in capability between recruitment agencies and internal recruiting teams has become smaller and smaller, and agencies risk becoming "marginalised and outdated" if they don't employ new methodologies, says HCMS director Trevor Vas.

Previously, he says, internal recruiting teams lacked the expertise, tools, methodologies and - importantly - the mindset to successfully recruit.

Now, though, the major thing holding them back is "bandwidth". Vas says that because internal recruiters have a greater number of jobs to fill at any one time, "something is usually sacrificed".

Vas, who is also a director of the Australasian Talent Conference, outlines some of the remaining differences between agencies and internal teams:

  • Professional recruiting methodologies - agencies use these more consistently, due to the fee-for-service aspect of their business;
  • Job boards (generalist and specialist) - internal teams "have more of an edge" due to their desire to create direct channels;
  • Recruiting technologies - internal teams are more likely to use sophisticated ATS and other technology, while agencies have lagged behind;
  • Advanced internet sourcing - internal recruiters are more likely to learn about new methodologies via conferences, Twitter and networking. They are also more likely than agencies to share and copy innovative practices, due to the perceived lack of competition;
  • Employee value proposition - internals are better placed to develop and use their EVP to attract and recruit candidates, while agencies have limited impact in this area;
  • Talent pipelines, pools and communities - internal teams have a strategic advantage here, and can use their brand to attract and create relationships with potential candidates. Agencies have talent pools "of a sort", Vas says, "but they are not maintained for one or more [clients] and they have not worked out how to make money from them"; and
  • Quality of hire - measuring this has exclusively been the domain of internal teams, and also enables them to measure the quality of external agencies they use.

Vas says that agencies can become "the masters of the recruitment universe" again if they make efforts to become more like internal recruiting functions and learn new technologies.

"If they do not accept this challenge, many agencies will become marginalised and outdated."

He recommends that agencies:

  1. Develop a range of new services, such as talent pooling, that create value using new technologies;
  2. Build digital profiles in a range of areas, and manage increasingly sophisticated and complex social media connections; and
  3. Become leaders in all things sourcing - by participating in specialist sourcing conferences and training - and demonstrate this to internal teams.

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