May 8, 2023

Why are internal and external recruiters sometimes adversaries?


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Top 10 gif incoming

The most insane thing in the entire recruiting industry is (sometimes) adversarial relationships between internal and external recruiters.

I hate using weak words like “sometimes.” But it’s a necessary distinction. Some internal and external recruiters are aligned, supportive, and productive.

Others play a Cersei Lannister style game of competing for credit, cutting each other out, and going behind each other’s backs.

It’s silly. We all want the same thing: to fill jobs. But for some reason, Competitive Double Work emerges.

Imagine being a lawyer. Or marketer. Or software developer. Your counterpart from a partner organization is working on your joint project. Suddenly you say “naw, F that, I’m doing this work too!” You proceed to do the exact same tasks. Present to the exact same stakeholders. Angle behind the scenes to one up them.

This of course wouldn’t happen. A lawyer, marketer, or software engineer would be like “oh you’re doing that part? Sweet.” And go about their day. On something else. That someone else isn’t already doing.

Competitive Double Work flies in the face of one of the central problems of economics: we have limited resources and unlimited wants.

Why on Earth would anyone adopt a system where limited resources are being used in a redundant manner? 

Because “that’s how it’s always been done.”

👉Because contingent recruiting was a terrible idea that refuses to die.

When companies motivate their internal recruiters to compete against their vendors to reduce cost, it breeds redundancy and worse, animosity.

When external recruiters are motivated to work around their internal counterparts to pay their rent, it does the same.

I won’t turn this into a rant on why retained or contained or embedded or whatever newfangled model is the best. But if you’re not carving out deliverables so everyone has their own lanes they’re accountable for, you’re contributing to the insanity. (Same for if you willfully enter into these sorts of relationships.)

Recruiters should all be friends. They should help each other succeed in their core responsibility: helping companies hire.

But our leaders – internal and external – gotta start thinking like literally any other function would.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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