Internal vs External Recruitment

15 June 2018 Mark Abbott

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As the owner of Interactiveinc digital recruitment agency in Sydney, I could be perceived as biased but given my decade of experience, I feel I’m permitted to make some observations.

Late last year, I saw an inspiring interview with Atlassian’s founder. The success of this Australian software company is exciting and great for our local digital market. At one point in the interview, he mentioned a major challenge for them was finding local talent - understandable given the company’s rapid expansion.

It’s just that only a few weeks earlier, I had been talking with Atlassian’s internal recruitment department who politely stated that the company doesn’t partner or work with external agencies for finding talent.

Because I run a talent finding agency I must say I was perplexed to hear the Founder say they find it hard to secure talent yet I knew their strategy didn’t include working with external recruiters. Atlassian isn't the only company with this strategy of course.

Different recruiters prefer different environments. Internal and external recruitment are very different for different reasons.

Interactiveinc has great relationships with some internal recruiters who come to us knowing that they need help but are super focused on getting the right person for the role. Their loyalty lies with the company and their incentives aren’t necessarily tied up with their bonus. These are some of the most successful partnerships we have with internal recruiters.

Some of our most strained and stressful relationships can be with internal recruiters. It often boils down to personality or a reluctance to collaborate. These relationships are hard and sometimes, like people in all jobs, internal recruiters come and go and the company inevitably ends up needing us to fill the gap. In my view, this is why it’s important to have good relationships with external agencies.

I imagine most businesses have a similar culture to a recruitment agency where there is a sense of urgency to do your job well and succeed. What I can’t understand is why some create policies that put all eggs in the one basket and close doors to recruiters who have candidates that rely solely on them to find them their next great digital job.

As a company, I understand the need to consider the internal recruitment model. It’s just that I feel for the best results and the best talent, businesses need to be open to working externally if and when needed. Internal recruitment is not to be confused with internal HR who focus more on employment and tend to partner extremely well with external recruiters.

Internal recruiters give candidates one option only. External recruiters provide candidates with multiple opportunities and this makes it exciting for the candidate, as well as the companies vying for the best talent. And if you’re a great company the candidate will always choose you.


Nick Barry is Founder and Director of Interactiveinc, a digital recruitment company based in Sydney finding digital jobs for digital people