Archive for July, 2006

Is the trend towards centralised recruitment a fad?

Friday, July 21st, 2006

When I started in human resources, decentralised recruitment was all the rage. The mantra was “devolve, make managers fully accountable for recruitment, HR should be hands off” etc. The organisations that succeeded using this model provided managers with the tools and skills to manage recruitment and selection. Although this model had its positives, it was very difficult to assess its quality and effectiveness across the organisation. Fast-forward nearly 15 years, and the model du jour (especially for organisations of 750+ employees) appears to be a dedicated recruitment team within the organisation, working in partnership with the managers. Some organisations have even gone a step further by outsourcing to a specialist party all or some of their recruitment management.

There are still decentralised recruitment models out there, with strategy, resources, overall budget, and process controlled locally. Consistency of approach and quality across business groups and managers can vary greatly. In some of these situations managers appear to have a stronger partnership with external agencies than their own HR teams. Some organisations adopt a middle ground, a “hybrid” model, where an HR or recruitment person oversees an account, working directly with managers, possibly even physically sitting within the business group.

My guess is that the trend towards centralisation will continue to grow over the next few years.

Why the trend towards centralisation?

  • Organisations are taking control of their recruitment strategy
    In the hunt for talent, together with a desire to minimise external agency costs and reliance, and become an Employer of Choice, many organisations are developing a coherent strategy for attracting, sourcing and retaining people. As organisations are becoming the ambassadors of their own brand, decision and policy making is starting to be managed centrally. Job titles like Employment Brand Manager are starting to pop up in New Zealand.
  • The rapid uptake of recruitment technology systems
    The better recruitment technology out there is providing internal recruiters with a range of recruitment and selection tools to better manage recruitment assignments and partner with managers. Recruiters are able to provide a range of services applicable to a manager’s skill level and unique requirements.
  • The desire for consistency of approach
    Centralisation is providing organisations with an opportunity to standardise and tighten the recruitment and selection process and to create a consistent hiring experience for candidates and hiring managers.
  • The rise of recruitment measurement
    You can’t manage what you can’t measure. The science of “recruitment metrics” is becoming a real discipline in itself. Recruiters, HR and senior management can access real time reports of what works well and where the bottlenecks are. Again, technology is helping heaps in this area. We find our recruitment technology clients are now very clear on things like recruiter and agency performance, candidate care, hiring timelines, manager satisfaction, and quality of hire. The ability to drill down by business group, hiring manager, and/or region provides some very interesting reading and a platform for future improvement. Managing data collection and measurement seems a lot easier when it’s controlled centrally.
  • Centralisation supports a “proactive” recruitment model
    The smart organisations are building their own talent pools and talent pipelines with the help of recruitment technology, especially for high volume roles across a variety of regional locations. They are creating a dialogue and relationship with high potential, even semi-passive candidates, and are recruiting up to half of their hires from direct searches on their talent pools, eliminating the need to always go out to market. Again, this appears a lot easier to manage when controlled centrally.

I know that some people have strong views on the merits of different recruitment models and not everyone is a fan of the centralised recruitment model. What are your thoughts and experiences? I would love to hear from any recruitment agencies on whether this model is changing the client relationship and/or the range of services you provide.

Paul Jacobs
Engage