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Delivering long-lasting impact as an Embedded Recruiter

By Thomas Molenaar. Thomas leads Zeren's Embedded Recruitment division and is responsible for the quality of service delivery.

 One of the recurring requests I get as a leader of embedded recruitment teams is to provide my clients with feedback on what they can do better when recruiting.


Though the willingness to implement that feedback will always differ, I believe providing good, well-structured feedback sets good recruiters apart from transactional recruitment service providers. This feedback can be subdivided into three sets, each more complicated than the previous one, but doing this well would unlock long-term, recurring value for the companies Embedded Recruiters support.  



Data and Transparency 

One of the core elements of recruitment is the internal conversion of moving candidates through the stages of the internal talent acquisition process. There is a lot of room here to deliver clear progress updates on what embedded recruiters are doing, in a standardised, easy-to-digest way. This is a must for any external recruiter, as a client must know what they are paying for. Yet, there is room to expand upon this information by diving deeper into the data to identify recurring bottlenecks or other issues faced by the internal recruitment team.  



It is no secret that managing any recruitment function effectively requires data processes. However, not all companies have the insight they require in their recruitment. Any information gathered by an Embedded Recruitment party feeds back directly into their client’s recruitment function. Additionally, Embedded Recruiters have the benefit of exposure to multiple environments and can thus help steer clients to focus on which metric they should follow, such as time-to-hire, and subsequently build processes to track those metrics. This in turn enables clear identification of where candidates are held up within the processes of the entire company, or where the process may have a bias towards a specific gender.  



The above discusses the data gathered in the internal recruitment processes. The flip side is of course the external, candidate-facing side of the recruitment process, where there is ample value as well. Through detailed market mappings, a company can have a great idea of where its talent will come from and what candidates are in their hunting ground. Similarly, this can also be used to help scope roles conform to market expectations.


For example, I had a request a few years ago for HR specialists with exposure to SQL. By showing how many candidates have that combination of skills, a client can visualise how many more people they can speak to before they must make a hiring decision, or what would happen if they were to drop that SQL requirement.  


Process improvements 

Using the better insights Embedded Recruiters can bring from data gathering, these insights can be translated to bring long-lasting value by tweaking processes, or by identifying specific KPIs that the recruitment team can aspire to.


Due to their wide exposure to different organisations, Embedded Recruiters have a grasp of different solutions to similar problems, and as such can support finding solutions to recruitment challenges. Additionally, since Embedded Recruiters are somewhat outside the system, they are freer to provide critical thought and challenge pre-existing assumptions around the recruitment process and identify opportunities for process improvement.   


At the same time, these teams can support employer branding topics by providing best-in-class examples from other organisations. Though the effects of employer branding are often felt at least 12-24 months down the line, an embedded recruiter’s support on employer branding topics enables a fresh look at what may appeal or not appeal to the market. It would be up to the Internal Talent Acquisition team to take over these efforts and bring them to full fruition. Fortunately, a lot of embedded services support this today, as it directly affects some of their outcomes in processes.  


Aiding in Recruitment Strategy 

Agreeing on what roles to hire and in what volume lies at the foundation of why Embedded Recruitment projects succeed or fail, yet it is also one of the most complex problems to face. Companies are not always internally aligned on the profile they are looking for, or may even disagree on what roles to hire for.


Without that internal agreement, any recruitment project is bound to fail regardless of whether you work with a Recruitment service provider or an internal recruitment team. As such, one of the strongest, and yet one of the least explored, pillars of strengthening an Embedded Recruitment project is to support client companies with the ideation of the roles they need to hire for. This would involve aligning teams on the basic challenge that the company faces and coming up with different ways to solve that problem.


Founders frequently would benefit from seeing their options for solving hiring problems and this may affect their overall hiring strategy. An example would be a company which may want to hire 15 salespeople, but after review could structure workload and workflow by hiring 8-10 people ranging from Account Managers, Strategic Account Executives and Pre-sales team members. That would be a saving without losing opportunity cost if done properly.  



Yet, proper implementation of such support would require elevating team members from mere service providers to strategic recruitment partners, operating at the advisory level with the C-level team. This necessitates a clear understanding of concepts around the organisational design on the Embedded Recruiter’s part. Additionally, for truly complex topics, a recruiter could bring in people from their network to advise on how to best tackle a company’s strategic problem. Ultimately, the objective would be to have a clear goal, with clearly aligned milestones and alignment among the various stakeholders of any recruitment process. This would set any recruitment project up for success.   



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