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Should you move from a Recruitment Consultancy to In-House Talent Acquisition role?

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As a recruiter who specialises solely in the niche market of Talent Acquisition, I work with recruiters who are transitioning from consultancy to in-house recruitment positions. As businesses move to the In-House model, many consultancy recruiters are viewing this as an opportunity for change.

Talent Acquisition is often seen as an opportunity to move away from commission-based remuneration and target oriented environments, to a flat basic salary and a role that is focussed on stakeholder management. I’d like to break down the difference between consultancy and In-House so you can see which suits you best.

So is the grass greener?

The daily duties of an consultancy recruiter, in the main involves “full lifecycle of recruitment” – sourcing talent, screening individuals, sending profiles to clients, arranging interviews and attracting new clients. Alongside that, consultancy recruiters are also required to reach out to potential clients and generate new business – so it is important that Business Development is something you don’t shy away from.  Consultancy recruiters can find being measured and rewarded on revenue performance and KPIs either challenging or motivating. The job is fast paced,  offers lots of autonomy and variety and if you’re good at what you do, it can offer significant earning potential.

In-house recruiters similarly manage all or part of the recruitment life cycle, but they do not drive business development as they only work for one brand. Their focus is more on the employer brand and the candidate experience. As an in-house recruiter you still have ‘clients’ within the business, and the ability to build relationships, influence and negotiate with them is key. Metrics can also be an important part of an in-house recruiters role with KPIs often in place around time-to-fill, cost per hire, conversion rates and staff turnover. Some large corporations have also started introducing commission-based structures to reward in-house recruiters for their efforts and make their roles more attractive. Working In-House can also involve working on projects outside of transactional recruitment such as recruitment processes, employer branding or graduate recruitment .

As you can see, the duties are very similar, the difference is in focus and whether you are happy to work on a guaranteed set income as opposed to uncapped On Target Earnings. As an consultancy recruiter, your focus is on the needs of both your candidate and your client. In TA your focus is the overall success of the business and how recruitment affects that success.

Benefits of moving in-house

Moving in-house will definitely be a different type of challenge for an consultancy recruiter. You would spend a lot more time working closely with different parts of the business, the candidate experience and the employer brand.  You generally secure a higher base salary, but would lose out on the commission. You may secure more workplace benefits that you may have missed out on, particularly at a junior level in smaller agencies.
In-house recruitment can suit strategic thinkers who want to sink their teeth into a company’s talent plan. You must understand a company’s values and culture inside and out to ensure you are in a positon to source skilled talent that has long term potential within the business. Working towards a common goal can be extremely rewarding.

Quite often consultancy recruiters use a move into TA as a stepping stone into HR. However, increasingly Talent Acquisition is being recognised as a discipline in its own right and HR professionals generally prefer to hire people into TA who have a passion for recruitment, as opposed to those trying to carve a career in Human Resources.

Advice for making the move

If you think in-house recruitment is for you, it’s important that you understand the differences between consultancy and In-house before going to interview.

Employers will want you to have clear examples ready of when you have handled difficult stakeholders, how you would manage hiring manager expectations, how you measure your own performance and  how you would make the transition from consultancy to In-House.

Accepting a contract or interim role is less of a risk than it was 1-2 years ago, as there is a real shortage of top consultancy performers moving in-house therefore there is a real skills shortage in this field.
If you’re considering a move in-house it’s important to look at the practical ways your job will change. If you are wanting a greater focus on growing a single business and the opportunity to develop an employer brand, TA might be exactly what you’re looking for.

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