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Agency recruitment Vs In-House Recruitment, what’s the deal?

In recent years, the In-House Vs Agency recruitment topic has raised more and more attention among recruiters. In Japan, we are seeing a tremendous amount of agency recruiters open to opportunities in the market, but they would only consider an in-house (Talent Acquisition, Internal Recruiter) role as a next career step up. And it applies even more so in these unprecedented COVID-19 times.

What pushes agency recruiters to go In-house? 

As an in-house recruiter and ex-agency recruiter, I will try to shed some light to those wondering about it...

I believe one of the biggest reasons is to get away from the perceived pressure of having sales targets and a less KPIs focused workload. It is true that as an in-house recruiter you will not be directly involved in generating revenue, and therefore you will not have the same pressure. 

On the other hand, when it comes to In-House recruitment, the pressure is there when you have to fill a role in a limited time, when you can only directly source (not working with agencies) talents in the market. You will also be exposed to various roles that are originally outside of your recruiting scope, but there will be no options to walk away as they are requisitions directly coming from your stakeholders, VS working in an agency that gives you more flexibility in the choice of roles you want to focus on. Furthermore you will be working with hiring managers that might not be knowledgeable about the market, so here your stakeholder management skills will be critical.  

I also believe that in many cases, agency recruiters want to explore recruitment from an in-house perspective with the idea that they will get a more stable income, (yet with lower earning potential compared to working in an agency) with opportunities to open up potential other career paths such as becoming an HR, L&D specialist or HRBP in the future. 

Switching to an in-house role could definitely help open new doors and present a new career horizon, but one thing to keep in mind is that these options remain quite limited. Generally speaking, only big firms will be able to offer internal mobility and an opportunity to switch to an HR function. In several cases though, if an HR position opens, it will be more relevant for the company to look for external candidates that already have a strong experience in the field. 

In other words, going in-house can certainly boost your career by offering opportunities to learn about various other HR aspects. But before looking at in-house roles, ask yourself these questions, is it a career step up for me? Does the company have available career development options or are they simply looking for an internal sourcer?

In my opinion, for a start in your In-House career, the best scenario would be a company that can elaborate about some of the points below:

  1. Does the company have a clear vision of the HR career path available for an in-house recruiter. Then you might have several opportunities to expand your experience and knowledge within the HR field (talent development, talent management, HR planning etc). You may see your career develop into HRBP, HR generalist and more.
  2. Does the company offer a chance to get involved in people management where you will be able to onboard, coach, train new staff and directly interact with employees, and be part of ensuring their success in the company.
  3. Does the company offer an opportunity to develop the company’s branding and it’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Become the face of the company, delivering a positive image in the market creating brand exposure.

As a final advice from our HR recruiter Team Lead @Yannick Klein, never look at in-house because everyone else is moving in-house, or because you just want to leave the agency side.

By choosing to go in-house as the default way out of agency, you may end up making a wrong decision you will regret, and this will also be seen during your interviews by the hiring managers (they know why many agents try their luck applying to in-house positions).
Often they will reject all applicants that don't have a strong enough reason to make the change. Think about your career goals and what you want to do first, and if they align with in-house, then you are set to go.
So here are the questions you should ponder about: Do you want to go in-house for the right reasons? Is perhaps agency recruitment a better choice for what you are looking to achieve? 

Both Yannick and I are happy to discuss in-house Vs agency recruitment with you, as well as share about our open roles at Morgan McKinley. Get in touch!

  • Oct 30, 2020
  • Careers , Japan
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