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I cringe when I hear company recruiters talk about how “broken” their internal recruiting systems are. While I agree that internal recruiting processes can suffer from what are sometimes enormous challenges, I prefer to think of the process as bent, not broken. Internal recruiting is a challenging and fast-paced effort – often driven by rapid growth, innovation, and a pressure to deliver. The process can be more of an art than a science at times, and the task of finding the right people at the right time for the right place in an organization is hard work. And in that environment, there are many moving pieces – including other people – who can make it more difficult.

If the task of finding the right people rests firmly on your shoulders, you already know that it is not a job for the faint of heart. To be successful requires cooperation and collaboration from your entire team. So why do you sometimes feel all alone and frustrated with the process? What we hear so often from internal recruiters is that their biggest challenge is in maintaining a healthy relationship with their hiring managers. An adverse relationship with your hiring manager can aggravate an already-stressful situation.

Recruitment almost never goes smoothly, and most recruiters acknowledge that the relationship with the hiring manager – as well as the hiring manager’s level of engagement – can make or break the search for the right internal candidate. Working with a hiring manager who seems difficult or who is not familiar with how internal recruiting works may make you think the entire process is broken. It’s not. It’s just bent, I promise. And it is a process that can be straightened out. We recommend the following:

Learn the Hiring Managers’ Expectations

You can’t successfully recruit the right candidates if you don’t know what the hiring managers need, and because they are familiar with the challenges incumbent in the role being filled, it’s essential to talk to them about what they’re looking for. This creates a collaborative – instead of a combative – process.

Manage the Hiring Managers’ Expectations

The hiring managers will want someone now. Right now, if possible. As an internal recruiter, you know that’s not how it works. It’s not as if you can punch in an order and have a perfect match delivered overnight. It takes time – more time than hiring managers will want – or expect – it to take. Communicating the timeline and managing the hiring managers’ expectations can help keep the pressure on you at a minimum, so that you can focus on finding the right people.

Standardize the Process from Start to Finish

Our approach to Recruiting Excellence is an 80% standard process, which leaves enough room for variances across businesses and geographies. Recruiting the right hires for the right job requires a process that allows you to fairly measure candidates’ skills. In addition to a competency-based interview format, you may need to implement psychometric testing and technical screening tools. Part of the process must also include providing feedback to those who were not selected. Candidate experience is critical for all candidates, not just those selected for the job.

Be Proactive and Communicate Often

Rather than waiting for an urgent opening that has both you and the hiring managers feeling stressed, meet with department managers on a regular basis to discuss upcoming anticipated needs.

At Beacon Lane Consulting, we define Recruiting Excellence as the “right hire, for the right role, at the right time, for the right cost…every time.” While it often seems ambitious, we continue to help clients work towards this through the ideal blend of process standardization and innovation, resulting in the most aspirational candidate experience. If you are looking for a way to straighten out your “bent” internal recruiting process, get in touch. We’d love to help.

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