When HR is in Charge of Your Recruiting, or Why a Hands-Off Approach Doesn’t Work

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Meet Jane. Jane is the generalist HR business partner who supports procurement in your organization. Her management has decided that, in order to save money, Jane and her colleagues will now act as recruiters, reducing the need to pay external firms. As a procurement professional, you understand the concept and support an effort to save the company money. As a manager with open positions to fill, you sigh deeply and hope Jane knows the first thing about procurement.

Internal recruiting is the new normal in many organizations looking to lower costs in the HR space. I’ve worked in and around indirect procurement long enough to recognize that this is one of those things where you can argue the merits, but you can’t argue the math. Cutting external recruiting all together equals 100% cost savings. High five!

This approach can be a terrible idea. It takes more time, we end up with inferior candidates and we don’t have time to teach someone about our function. But, I would challenge you to make internal recruiting a way to find the talent you need and strengthen a true partnership with your human resources team.

In my experience, there is really only one way to make this work: you have to put in the time. Managing talent is a priority of anyone in management. The fantasy is that if HR wants to take over recruiting, you would hand them an open requisition and wait for qualified candidates to roll in. The reality is the buck stops with us as managers, and this is not the place for a hands-off approach. Because your primary job is to manage the company’s spend, I will recommend a couple of key areas that will help you land the best talent for open roles.

Job Descriptions

I know this is a tedious piece of the process. My tendency in the past has been to take an old job description that resembles the role I was hiring for and shoot that off to the recruiter. My thought was it was good enough to get resumes rolling in, and I could filter from there.

Here’s the problem. An external recruiter who lives and breathes procurement will know enough to cover for you. They know the trends in the profession; they know what skills other companies in your industry value.

But your internal recruiter most likely covers a number of functions and is going to act based on that job description. They have a handle on the company culture but maybe not the ins and outs of what your team does. You risk filtering out candidates with strong soft skills, leadership ability and high EQs because they may not meet the exact years of experience requirement you left on that old job description.

Take time to write a current job description that emphasizes what you really want in a candidate. And share your strategy with your HR partner.

Interviews and Feedback 

I like interviewing people. I like hearing about what they’ve done and what they are passionate about. I like bringing the best fit in skills and personality to my team. What I dislike is writing up interview feedback forms for HR afterward. I am guilty of one-sentence responses because I don’t have time for more paperwork. I subscribe to the “I’ll know it when I see it” school of hiring people.

This is a problem when the baton passes to someone who may not immediately identify the strengths or weaknesses of a candidate based on what you want. That evaluation form may be your best chance to go on the record with how a candidate fits the bill. It should serve as another data point for your recruiter on what is important to you. Do yourself a favor and fill out the form.

Shadowing

The best way to understand someone is to spend a day in their seat. I haven’t seen too many people use this with recruiting, but it can be effective. Have your HR recruiter spend a day with your team. Have them spend time with people in the role they are recruiting for. There is no better way for someone to get a first-hand view of the responsibilities of a given job. Invite them to meetings where they can see the dynamics of the team and your leadership style.

Procurement professionals today need skills that aren’t always reflected in a job-description document. In an environment where you may have someone who is not in your field in charge of finding talent, this can be a challenge. It then becomes our job to make sure our recruiting partner has all the information they need to bridge that gap and effectively recruit.

Effective business partnering is a two-way street. We preach it every day to the people we support in the business who benefit from our help in managing their budget and supply base. It’s time for us to use our own skills to make sure we get what we need from the people supporting us.

Rebecca Karp is a principal of Sourcing Synergies, a procurement strategy company based in Chicago. Reach her at rkarp@sourcing-synergies.com or on Twitter @rebeccakarp.

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First Voice

  1. Yarbles:

    Interesting.

    As a thought experiment, replace “HR” with “Procurement Department” and “Recruiting” with “Supplying”

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