The internal client

I’ve touched on this before in a previous blog [HERE].  One of the toughest challenges faced by any internal recruitment function is the inability to say no.  External recruitment consultants get to pick and choose what they work on, or worse still say yes then do nothing with the role whilst the internal recruitment teams have to say yes to everything thrown at them. This is a challenge.

If I were to list out the roles I am most qualified and able to fill it would probably start with IT sales, general management within a technology organisation and programme and project management.  It very rarely includes in-house solicitors, order booking specialists or temporary receptionists.  Whilst I understand those roles I am not an ‘expert’ in the recruiting for those roles.

This creates two issues.  Internally I am challenged in that whilst I understand cultural fit, how to interview etc. I am often more of a screener relying on the increasingly busy hiring manager community to review the screened candidates.  The second part of that same challenge is that I cannot scale up my output nor cover more roles when they arrive quickly potentially causing bottlenecks and delays.  In the external world, a recruitment consultant can prioritise roles by highest fee or speed of hire and drop the rest.  I don’t get that option.

This leads me to the second issue.  External recruiters are in the main naturally predatory and feed on weakness.  If they can short circuit the process, get straight to the hiring manager to screen, book interviews etc. then they will.  Sure the hiring manager is missing out on some good internally sourced and referred candidates and yes the candidate experience can be woolly but in the eyes of some hiring managers that doesn’t matter as speed is everything.  The external recruiters win here as they can be more nimble and agile, purely because they don’t have to see the bigger picture and can focus on a narrow band of roles to work on, even more so if they have sector knowledge or expertise that the in-house team just doesn’t have.

These two issues then put me and my team in a crappy position.  We can deliver a good service, given some buy in but we can’t deliver a good service if our end-user client, the hiring manager, chooses to use an external provider.  Sure we can enforce policy etc. but by then we are on a hiding to nothing unless something changes.

So what would you do?

I’m going for the coaching/education route combined with delivery of some innovative propositions that my internal clients haven’t seen before.  That and I am remaining very professional, delivering a great service and gaining the trust of the majority of my internal clients.

But I would welcome your view.  Either comment on this blog or email me directly at  If you fancy a coffee and a face to face chat then let me know as good coffee and good recruitment are probably my two favourite things.


about martin dangerfield

Martin is currently on an interim assignment for a global techology business but all good things must come to an end.  If you want his help with your recruitment strategy, from inception to delivery, help in the creation of a 3 year business vision or practical on-site recruitment support then contact him directly on +44(0)161.408.4005 or email

As well as being a Regional Director for the IRP, Martin is Director of the innovative search business mckinley|resource, a freelance people consultant specialising in talent attraction, assessment and recruitment and a provider of business coaching for high growth entrepreneurial organisations.

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