I bet your colleagues think you’re pretty awesome.  Maybe you do not know it (or you are far too polite to say it) but all the data tells everyone else you are. Your colleagues look up to you, they wonder why you don’t work somewhere else, somewhere with a really cool brand, but that’s part of the fun for you filling the tough to fill role, and honestly this is a cool brand to you because what the business is doing is cutting edge even if others do not see cool.

But there is that itch, the one that says I want to test myself with the best, I don’t want to be the sourcing guru people come to with their Boolean problems, I don’t want to be the Recruiter the hiring managers cut corners to come to because they’d rather deal with you than your colleague.  You don’t mind the awkward conversation, far from it you thrive on making things better but…


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Remember when you used to hire for growth?

When new roles were really new.  Technical projects that you were proud to recruit for.  The types of challenges that really got your candidate pool interested, the things that made them think they would make a difference.

Not the pain as you need to hire yet another developer to replace that great person you hired last year for that project that went on hold when budget got pulled who’s been sat there wondering why they joined and has finally given in and resigned to join that awesome firm down the road.

It’s time for growth again.

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Recruitment Scheduler

Scheduling interviews.  Not much to it really is there?  Well that’s what your colleagues think.  But then you know differently.  Firstly there’s the three different timezones to account for across the meetings, there’s the room bookings* (when are they ever free?), you know the candidate loves soya milk in their latte from the call you had earlier, and you know we always run out of it on a Friday.  And when are they in for interview..  Well that’s obvious now isn’t it.

Then there’s the flights to book, perfect hotel in walking distance of the office, personalised gift basket to have waiting, show tickets to organise that you got 24 hours notice on.  Oh and the hiring manager wants to move the meeting back a day, but you said no to that because you are the candidate advocate every single time.

Scheduling interviews.  Easy.

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It’s that time of year when around 50% of the candidates registering with Aspen are looking to move from agency recruitment to in-house recruiting.  Sometimes it’s a career plan, sometimes it’s to try and escape something that is no longer enjoyable or working, sometimes it’s about finding out about something new.

We’ve written a lot on this topic before but there is always value in a refresh.  Here’s Ellie’s take this year.

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You know what I hear a lot at the moment; ‘what’s going on out there for in-house recruitment?’

At times in the run up to the referendum and in the immediate aftermath I was tempted to say I wish I knew!  I’m fairly sure no-one is really sure.

Given the interest it’s the first time I’ve toyed with mass communications for Aspen but talking to a number of active job seekers they discouraged us and said keep it personal and post what’s going on to LinkedIn we’ll pick it up there if we want it.

Fair enough.  (But we thought we should put it on our website too…)

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In her latest blog Ellie has written about some of the challenges of moving from agency recruiting to in-house.


We regularly speak to candidates wanting to move from agency to in-house and who are not sure how best to go about this or who are finding the application process tough so I thought that I would write about the experience in more detail.

So what are the main differences between an agency and in-house Recruiter?

Before I write more, I just wanted to clarify that I have not worked agency side until now. I went straight in-house which I know is fairly unusual. So I am writing this from the perspective of our candidates who I’ve spoken to across this last year and have given me a great insight into the role of an agency Recruiter.

The main thing that surprises most candidates in their first role in-house is that you do not have ‘instant credibility’, just like a supplier you have to build trust with hiring managers.  Typically you have to do all that while being overwhelmed by more process and administration than you could ever have expected!

In-house recruitment is still target driven to but not in the same way as agency recruitment:

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The massive gap“We absolutely love you, it’s just you’ve not worked in our sector before and well you know…”

The greatest frustration in the market place for talent acquisition professionals bar none at the moment is this feedback, particularly when there’s so much talk about transferable skills.

And the common thinking for candidates who receive this tends to be:

“You are rejecting me for a role you think I could do an have interviewed me for because of something you have known ever since you first looked at my CV.  You think I can do the job (you actually said I’d be great at it) but organisationally it’s seen as a ‘gamble’?  You don’t know what you are doing.”

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In Ellie’s second blog for Aspen she takes a look at the often trotted out assumption by agency recruiters seeking an in-house role that it’s much easier in-house because you have a direct relationship with hiring managers.  Is that always the case?  Read Ellie’s thoughts based on her experience.

“My Client is taking forever to come back to me on the shortlist that I sent to them weeks ago. If only I worked in-house or on-site in the resourcing team, I’d have much more influence”.

This thought must have crossed most agency recruiter’s mind at one point or another. After all, one of the most frustrating aspects of what we do is receiving a requirement from a client who wants CVs yesterday, pushes you for a shortlist of good quality candidates, it’s panic stations to give them a shortlist and then they disappear off the face of the earth. They won’t return your calls or e-mails. They were chasing you like mad a week or so ago so what’s happened?

I’ve never worked agency side. Before joining Aspen In-House, I worked either through RPO or in-house. So this has been a bit of an eye opener for me in terms of what it can be like for Agency Recruiters when this happens.  I’m on the other side of the fence now and it isn’t nice when it happens on this side either.

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It felt like half the people I’ve ever met in the industry were at the first In-house Recruitment Expo at Olympia last week and that’s not bad when it felt like half had told me they were busy dealing with too many open reqs and too few candidates to step away from their desk for a day or two!

The Expo brought some good news; after a few years of every conference (barring the fantastic SourceCon), workshop or meet up seemingly being dominated by social sourcing, the organisers put on a pretty broad range of topics.  I’ll do a round up in the next few days, but stand outs were Julie Johnson from J&J on their TA journey, and Chris Hoyt on PepsiCo’s use of metrics (if David Green had been there I think he’d have got a ‘little’ overexcited).

This blog though is on the topic that took up most of the content and the conversations around the exhibition hall.


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