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Mark Shortall Founder & Leadership Talent Partner

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Making the Move In-house: 20 Recruiters Share Their Advice

Crowdsourced tips from others who have made the in-house move.

It's usually tough for Re:Work to help with someone's first move in-house. Our clients tend to be super specific to justify using an agency and will hire directly if they're open-minded to agency backgrounds. However, I wanted to share some advice as I know choosing the best route can be tough. I've come full circle from agency to in-house and back out again, but I'll never forget how overwhelmed I felt when I first joined Facebook. I remember spending way too much time doubting myself, so I thought it might be helpful to crowdsource some tips from others who have made the move:

Choosing your path & interviewing

  • Leanne Bradley, Salesforce: “Your first role should be about what you can learn and what skills you can gain. You may need to take a drop in salary but it will be worth it. The myth that in-house is easier is a lie! There can be high volume and tight timelines but it is such a rewarding job."
  • Daniel King, Omio: “Agency recruiters are tenacious, driven and find solutions. These are the traits and examples you should be selling in an interview."
  • Owen Murray, Zalando: “Focus on joining a big talent acquisition team where you can learn from everyone!”
  • Victoria Lawlor, Irish Life: “Pick an industry you're interested in or have a connection with for your first in-house role. That way the move won’t feel as daunting!”

Be collaborative & curious, not competitive

  • Kristian Bright, The People Collective: “Show humility, willingness to learn and ask questions to build trust and understanding with your hiring managers. Think about how you can make those around you more effective at hiring. Share your sourcing, negotiation and coaching skills with others.”
  • Rob Campbell, Facebook: “In-house roles require good individual performance but the emphasis is also on your team performance. You won’t survive very long if you don’t play for the team and focus on the extra value you add to those around you.”
  • Matt Cartwright, Fujitsu: “Don’t be afraid to ask ‘silly’ questions. By doing so you’ll build a respected relationship.”
  • Kim Goddard, Nubank: “Use your hiring managers – you have an opportunity to learn about their team more than ever before. Learn other avenues to source beyond job boards and LinkedIn. Remember that you are more accountable to the business now and sometimes that means advising against a hire."

Business develop your personal brand

  • Lewis Milford, Microsoft: “Remember when you are working in-house you are still selling. Just to a different group of clients.”
  • Ian Bright, Eli Lilly: “The key to being a successful in-house is to build trust, rapport and a brand with hiring managers. Never forget the skills you've already gained in the past, just tailor them to a different audience."
  • David McNamara, Facebook: “Spend the first few weeks investing in relationships internally, not only on the business side but other parts of HR. You will need the HRBP and C&B teams to trust you."
  • Rosanna Loughnane, BD: “Use your agency skills like business development to reach out to stakeholders, get to know their team structures and what they’re missing.”
  • Iain Cornish, EPAM: "Get to know your new colleagues in all roles & levels across the company. A good internal network is crucial to understanding what types of people you need to recruit. Buy a lot of coffees in the first few months!"

Process management takes patience

  • Alexandra Vladut, GE: “The frustration of being ghosted or delayed by hiring managers won’t stop. Be flexible and have the willingness to approach that manager to discuss their concerns, to listen and advise them in person not by email.”
  • Ajith Raju, Citco: “You’ll have a lot of tools and transactions across each phase of recruiting. It often involves months of planning, chasing through approvals and working on job descriptions. The focus is about getting it right and less about speed.”

Bring that agency energy & think beyond a hire

  • Brett Bennett, Amazon: “Start to look 6-12 months ahead and drive the talent acquisition discussion/agenda/challenges rather than focusing on the next hire.”
  • Ignacio Usin, Huawei: “It’s important to be aware that with an agency everything ends when the placement is done. The in-house role goes way beyond the placement itself and needs a wider business acumen to be a true partner.”
  • Fabio Paradiso, Zero2Group: “Don’t stop closing your candidates and hiring managers. Adopt the techniques you used in agency and be a headhunter, not a job poster. Bring some of that energy. Trust me, you’re gonna need it!”
  • Nick Womack, Arvato: “Be confident, bring the agency commerciality, energy and pace and you’ll smash it! I have an amazing in-house team who are all former agency recruiters. They bring the specialist knowledge, pace, no-nonsense, results driven approach.”

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