The Rivalry between Internal & External Recruiters

Lewis Adams-Dunstan








Why is there so much animosity between internal and external recruiters?

“An external recruiter isn’t trying to take the job of an internal recruiter.

We’d actually be far more successful if we worked together.

Is it about taking credit?”

Lewis Adams-Dunstan chats to Amy Miller, Senior In-house Tech recruiter in this open, honest and funny discussion.

Here’s a snippet but you can listen to the full episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

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Lewis Adams
As an external recruiter, it’s sometimes hard to deliver that message from a cold start, unless you know that particular person because there is still that that pre-conserved notion as a simple we’re like, we’re trying to take a job or we’re trying to replace you. And actually, we’re not. We’d actually all be much more successful if we work together, right?

Amy Miller
I mean, I imagine that imagine a world where I could give you a wreck and go about my business and take care of other stuff, like, okay, Louis has got it. I don’t need to worry about it anymore. I got other stuff to do. That’s how it should be. I’ve never understood this. This needs to compete with each other. I don’t compete with my other colleagues. They work on different wrecks. I may occasionally find a candidate that fits and flip it over to them or whatever, and that’s fine.

And you can argue about credit, I guess if you want. But it always confused me. And believe me, I use this line when I was doing biz dev, an agency that somehow on the agency side, there’s some magic portal to candidates hiding in Narnia that only you can find because you’re external. It’s just so interesting to me. I’ve never given a wreck to an agency or had a hiring manager say, I want to work with this agency and then try to compete with them. Okay, that’s your wreck.  I’m going to go do other stuff. Call me if you need me.

Lewis Adams
You know what? I want to point out one thing that I’ve seen, there’s a clear difference between typically an external agency, a specialist agency, should we say, and an internal recruiter, is that normally spread much thinner over multiple positions?  So there’s some value that if a specialist recruit comes in.

Okay, well, give us that one specific role, and you can go and focus on the rest. That brings value to you as a recruiter. Right. Would your business ever look at you and go, well, why have you created that great partnership and would fit on all these roles? But you’re not?

Amy Miller
No.  I’m sure it happens because people talk about it, and surely it happens. And the thing is, in my last few companies, they’ve been huge billion-dollar tech companies that have armies of recruiters, thousands of internal recruiters. And our agency partnerships generally tend to be contingent workers, bringing in contractors, things like that. So that’s stuff I don’t even touch. I do exclusively full-time FTE hiring placements, whatever. But my first corporate gig was with a very small company, and I did everything. I was very much a generalist recruiter.

I was working across every Department, except for sales and College hiring. We had a dedicated University team and then a dedicated sales recruiter. But I did everything else, so IT, marketing everything else. And I remember our creative team had an open role. And so go to do the intake. And what do you want? What are we looking for? And they’re like we have this amazing agency. And I’m like, great. I don’t have to worry about it. Go deal with your amazing agency.

And I remember as that unfolded, I start working with this agency. Recruiter. I’m like, hey, they want to work with you. Like, that’s awesome. Because I don’t know anything about this space. I’ve never done marketing. Whatever it is you all are doing. And this person tried to, like, recruiters explain. You know what he was going to do and how he works. I’m like.

Lewis Adams
We’ve got the secret sauce.

Amy Miller
I know exactly what you do. I was a top biller at your company three years ago. I think you can just go ahead and go recruit, little buddy. I mean, it was just so strange to me, but there was kind of this, I don’t know. But anyway, back to your question, like, no, nobody ever looked at me and said, oh, my gosh, Rod gave that role to an agency. Amy. No, Amy was busy doing other stuff. I’m good.

Lewis Adams
There’s something to be said as well, right? If you can be an internal recruit, great at building an external relationship, that’s not a problem. Like, you’re bringing value to your business.  Rather than fitting in the quality of yourself.

Amy Miller
I mean, I look at it like this. Okay. I have a husband and children and people in my house that are very capable of doing the yard work. Okay? These are healthy, functioning, semi-adults. But you know what? I’ve got a lawn guy, and it is worth the price. It is worth the time that we save. That’s how I look at it. This is not that we’re not capable of running a lawnmower, but this is something that he does for a living, and he’s good at.  And the prices, right. And it frees us up to do other stuff. That’s how I look at any kind of external partnership.

Lewis Adams
And I know for a fact that maybe not so much now, because I live in the house has got a managed service, so they come and clean.  But I’m also on a building site, so we haven’t seen that yet. Yeah. It just relieved so much stress as well from your day-to-day life. Having that thought often looked after. We’ve spoken about specifically what we need. They understand the business. They’re able to deliver a very concise and clear message back to the market, the kind of message that you would deliver if you were doing it yourself for sure. So, yeah, you don’t have to worry about those things.