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Internal recruiters: It`s time to become strategic

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30 January 2009:
There are seven key areas in-house recruiters should focus on this year to ensure they add value to their employers and keep their jobs safe, says specialist recruitment trainer Martin Warren.

With many internal recruiters going from "lots of jobs to potentially no jobs to recruit for" over the past few months, it would be a mistake not to look at ways to become more useful to their business, he says.

Warren, principal consultant at Insidejob, says that while employers shouldn`t be considering laying off internal recruitment staff at the moment, recruiters need to demonstrate their value in order to keep their jobs safe.

He says internal recruiters should:

* Get involved with redeployment. Redeployment`s going to be "the thing" in 2009 in internal recruitment, Warren says. "It`s going to be an opportunity for recruiters to help their hiring managers select key people for redeployment rather than those they need to let go. And it`s going to be an opportunity for recruiters to really help these people in terms of their careers within the company... in helping them match their careers with what they want to do down the track.

"An organisation`s structure - how they are today compared to how they`re going to be in 12 months` time - is going to be very different, so recruiters should work closely, in terms of redeployment, to help the organisation build a structure around their key people."

It`s important to create metrics around redeployment that demonstrate the value recruiters are bringing to the company, Warren says. "[If you can show] you`ve helped redeploy 20 per cent of your workforce versus let them go... out of that will come significant cost savings to an organisation, both in redeploying the right people and in not having to pay outplacement fees."

* Re-engineer screening processes. This requires "really making sure that if you are hiring, then you`re hiring the quality candidates, and you`re not getting bogged down in a whole lot of candidates that you have to screen and wasting a lot of time", Warren says.

"Generally what we see in internal recruitment is the screening process is a bit `hit and miss`." Now is the time, he says, to look at the end-to-end screening process, including your online screening, resume screening, telephone screening, behavioural interviewing and any testing.

* Create talent pools of critical skills. Internal recruiters should use this downtime in hiring to build relationships with candidates in the passive marketplace, Warren says.

"Now`s the time to be building future capability for the organisation of critical skills so that in 12 months` time, or 18 months` time when the market picks up, they`re going to have a validated pool of people that they can start to tap into."

* Align position descriptions. Get these up to date and ensure they`re aligned with the employer value proposition, Warren says. "Make sure that the EVP that the organisation offers is in alignment in terms of targeting those high performers into the organisation. The EVP should be compelling, authentic and differentiated."

* Align the career site to the EVP. "If you go and have a look at a lot of career sites they`ve got boring stuff on them - it`s not compelling; it`s not interesting; it says nothing about the organisation. So, now`s an opportunity for recruiters to add value. They`re talking to the candidates; they know the marketplace; they`ve got the intel - what do we need to have on our career sites that`s really going to attract people to our organisation?"

* Update account plans. "Internal recruiters should sit down with key stakeholders in the business and really understand the types of skill sets, projects, whatever it may be that`s coming on board down the track so they can start to put account plans in place in terms of targeting those high performers," Warren says.

"An account plan is like a relationship management plan. It`s about understanding what the business is about, what are the key drivers, what are the things that they`re aiming to do in the future, that are going to take their business to the next level. Also understanding how they can go about it and how recruiters can support the key stakeholders of the business to secure those people that are going to help them move to that new place."

* Improve sourcing attraction and CRM tactics. "This is a critical thing that recruiters can start to do in 2009," Warren says.

"[This] ties in with building future capability though talent building. It actually allows an organisation to reduce its costs in the future and really get the right people into the organisation - the high performers that they know have been validated against the criteria that they want - and they know that when they join... they are going to be high performers; they are going to provide the benefits to the organisation that it`s seeking."

Internal recruiters, Warren says, will say they already do a lot of these things.

"But they do it at the surface. Now is an opportunity to really go a lot deeper and make a big impact."

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