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Recruiters Are Sharks! Episode 2.
The Bull Shark - The Internal Recruiter
The Weekly Walkaway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Issue No. 45 (15th September 2023)
What to expect?
Thought of the Week - Recruiters Are Sharks! Episode 2. The Bull Shark - The Internal Recruiter
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Episode 2. The Bull Shark - The Internal Recruiter
Welcome Back Walkawayer’s
These are agency recruiters in constant competition with.. well .. everything and everyone!
They are borne into a world of struggle. It’s shark eat shark out there; survival of the fittest.
There are just so many alternatives to them, internally and externally, as individuals and as an organisation.
This means their counterparts, candidates and clients, have more options.
They have, what is known as, BATNA’s (best alternative to a negotiated outcome), which gives their counterparts power!
This Weeks episode will explore one of those options, The Bull Shark, the ‘The Internal Recruiter’.
The internal recruitment team are The Bull Sharks of the Human Capital Sea. The Bull Shark is known for being adaptable, able to survive in either salt or freshwater, either deep or shallow waters.
Flexible eating habits enable them to consume across the food chain as they are at the top of it. They behave like ‘The Client’ against 360 Recruiters and like the 360 Recruiter internally to their stakeholders, and hiring managers.
Let me be clear here. I’m not talking about internal recruiters who are employed by an external recruitment firm, on client site, managing recruitment operations.
No, they are an entirely different type of shark, well a symbiotic partner of another type of shark. We will come to them in another episode.
The Bull Shark is tasked with the intricate process of finding the right talent to fuel growth and meet business objectives whilst following strict guidelines and policies.
They are employed directly by an organisation to analyse and understand their stakeholders needs, create appropriate specifications and acquire candidates across multiple different channels;
Digital - online tools and social media platforms;
Agent - external recruiters;
Direct Sourcing - database and referrals.
The Bull Shark has their own database and search tools and they have the organisation's employees as a large pool of resource knowledge.
They also compete directly with external agency, 360 Recruiters, The Raggy Tooths. This puts them into direct conflict when sourcing for the same position.
The Bull Shark’s role is much more demanding than The Raggy Tooth, requiring them to navigate an ocean of negotiations with internal stakeholders, candidates, HR teams, compliance, and of course other Raggy Tooth’s, the external recruiters
This complex landscape requires The Bull Shark to adopt multiple negotiation styles, moving between the Western Negotiator (warm and cooperative) and The Eastern Negotiator (Cold and hard) depending which counterpart they are dealing with.
How many have been trained though. VERY FEW. And that is why they face high burn out if they fail to adapt their behaviour to suit their ever changing circumstances.
Externally they have a position of power so they have options; to haggle or not to haggle, that is their question.
Internally they are considerably weaker and their options are lessened.
But both internal and external negotiations require differing behaviours depending on the Negotiation Compass and PLANT analysis; behaviours depending on differing circumstances.
Welcome to The Bull Sharks paradox. Many started out as Raggy Tooth 360 negotiators!
That's right. Remember from last week's episode; The Raggy Tooth compete with their own brothers and sisters in the womb. Those that are eaten in the womb usually, and I know this is very general, but in my experience, go on to join the client side.
So, many, having once been Raggy Tooths, negotiate simply by replicating those past experiences but they are now navigating a far more complex world. The world of internal recruitment negotiations.
The Raggy Tooth now finds themselves in a constant state of negotiation, balancing the diverse needs and expectations of internal stakeholders, candidates, HR teams, compliance requirements, and external recruiters.
This dynamic and multifaceted role should force The Bull Shark into adopting negotiation styles that depend on their levels of power, flexing between hard, cold and tough with some counterparts and warm and cooperative with others.
But, if they compete like a Raggy Tooth they will fail! And if they overly cooperate they will be exploited by the conflicting needs of their multiple counterparts.
The classic Bull Shark, having to survive in either salt or freshwater, in either deep or shallow waters.
Like The Raggy Tooth you find a lot of selling when in fact they should be negotiating.
Negotiating with Internal Stakeholders
The Bull Shark’s negotiations with their internal stakeholders are particularly challenging.
These stakeholders, often including department heads, managers, and senior executives, and they have their own unique wants, needs and expectations when it comes to new hires.
Oh, and they usually have a list of preferred Raggy Tooths they want to use instead of the Bull Shark.
Navigating these diverse needs and wants can be like walking a political tightrope
The Bull Shark has had to become the gatekeeper ensuring Stakeholders follow company policy and long term goals.
This can be in direct conflict with a hiring manager whose wants are pointing in a different direction. They may not care for policy. They’re function or their team's ability to function may depend on different priorities and times scales.
The Bull Sharks paradox here is how to negotiate. Cold, hard and tough to tell their stakeholder what to do or warm and cooperative. Hmm.. which one… Choices Choices.. They need a tool to help them decide!!
The difficulty is that warm and cooperative and the stakeholder might take that as a sign of weakness.
While if they are arrogant, cold and hard they risk harming the long term nature of the stakeholder partnership.
They must assertively defend their choices whilst also showing empathy and flexibility.
Falling back on their Raggy Tooth training means they rely on selling, usually in the form of arguing.
There is no such thing as Win / Win
Negotiating with Candidates
Obviously The Bull Shark must also negotiate with candidates, who are of course integral to the recruitment process and their organisations very survival.
These negotiations can be high-stakes but candidates come from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and carry differing expectations.
Some candidates may be rare and highly sought-after, while others might be ‘ten-a penny’.’
Bull Sharks can find themselves being tough to ensure they achieve the best outcomes for the organisation and especially when dealing with highly competitive candidates, and on the other hand, they must adopt a warm and empathetic approach when dealing with much needed skilled candidates.
Like their Raggy Tooth brothers and sisters they sometimes find themselves in a competition allowing their ego and the need to win cloud their judgment of what a win actually is;. The need to satisfy their counterpart and make them feel like they were the ones who won.
Although they do have more variables to play with to offer this needed satisfaction some fall back into selling to argue their position or overly explain and justify and so come across as weak and untrustworthy.
The Bull Shark must balance these contradictory approaches to attract top talent.
Many fail to navigate this negotiation appropriately. You don't have to search far before you find stories of terrible candidate experiences which harm the organisation's brand and future prospects of acquiring top talent.
Negotiating with HR Teams
Within the organisation, HR teams are essential partners in the recruitment process.
However, Bull Sharks often face conflicting interests when negotiating with HR.
HR departments focus on compliance, standardisation, and minimising risk, which can sometimes clash with the urgent need for specialised and or scarce talent.
This dynamic creates a negotiation paradox, where the Bull Shark must be tough in advocating for exceptional candidates whilst also accommodating the HR team's need for conformity and adherence to policies.
The ability to strike a balance between these opposing forces is a hallmark of the successful and the head stones of failed Bull Sharks.
Negotiating with Compliance
Navigating the legal and regulatory landscape is another challenging aspect of The Bull Shark.
Compliance requirements can be complex, particularly in industries with strict regulations, such as security, healthcare or finance.
The Bull Shark is tasked with ensuring that their recruitment processes adhere to these regulations whilst still attracting top talent. They have become highly affective project managers.
Here, the negotiation style is typically tough, as Bull Sharks must ensure that all necessary compliance boxes are checked.
However, they must also exhibit warmth when communicating with candidates about these requirements, making the process as transparent and comfortable as possible.
Balancing these competing needs is a constant struggle
Again this an area The Raggy Tooth breeding can unfortunately leave a bad taste in the counterparts mouth as The Bull Shark can come across as overly pushy and arrogant.
Or, they fall back into selling and come across as weak or just incompetent.
Negotiating with External Recruiters
In the competitive world of recruitment, internal recruiters often find themselves in competition with external recruiters. Their brothers and sisters from The Raggy Tooth womb!
Do they carry some cognitive bias from the past experience of being in the womb. Some form of chip on their shoulder or even need for ‘vengeance’.
None are appropriate for successful negotiation. We must always be looking to the future not the past..
In some cases Recruiters find they are in a contact tussle for who submitted a candidate first…
Internal recruiters need to be tough and assertive when defending their organisation's interests and conveying their needs, the requirement to follow process and compliance and ensure the Raggy Tooth knows the value of in-house recruitment.
Simultaneously, they must maintain a warm and collaborative approach if they require specialist skills… to build long term relationships with niche Raggy Tooths. To keep them linked as a Partner not a Competitor.
A Competitive Raggy Tooth will headhunt the organisations talent and move them elsewhere.
This duality can be mentally taxing for internal recruiters.
The Difficulty of Being an Internal Recruiter
The challenges and paradoxes faced by internal recruiters are underscored by the difficulty of their role.
They must constantly balance the needs and expectations of various stakeholders, adapt to rapidly changing job markets, and navigate an increasingly complex legal and regulatory landscape. Moreover, the pressure to deliver top talent in a timely manner is unrelenting.
They often have to deliver disappointing news to candidates and manage the expectations of hiring managers, which can be emotionally draining.
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