Recruitment: Evolution through Conflict

Recruitment: Evolution through Conflict

Why is the relationship between recruitment agencies and in-house recruitment functions so riddled with frustration and conflict? Surely, both exist to serve the same purpose? Should both functions attempt to work in harmony and campaign for a more complementary relationship, or can we instead celebrate the conflict and appreciate the benefits of this evolved market offering.


In-house recruitment functions are a popular model for large companies today, so is it any wonder that agencies are feeling threatened by their presence? The antagonist Preferred Suppliers List seems to be getting shorter and increasingly difficult to join, and agencies are being instructed solely for those ‘hard-to-fill’ roles.

Survival of the Fittest

Conflict often brings about good, and natural evolution of any organism typically gives way to growth and advancement, does it not? In this cost driven market has the agency recruiter managed to flourish and grow or has it accepted its fate, given up and ultimately cease to exist? Fortunately it’s the former, and the reason? The quality of service has vastly improved. There has been a shift in the values of the agency function, and they are recognising the importance of building long term professional relationships with clients and candidates alike.

Stepping Up

How often do we see the ‘Geezer’ type in recruitment today? Do we still liken the recruiter with ‘Car Dealer’ types? No. There isn’t the appetite for such a recruiter in 2017. Honesty and Integrity feature heavily in the mission statement of every good recruitment agency today, and rightly so. Rather than focusing on volume, emphasis is on quality, integrity and delivery. It is this polish and progressive attitude which has kept the agency function alive and kicking. The ability to offer insight into market trends and competitor intelligence goes a long way too!

No Easy Ride

Is this advancement of recruitment unique to agencies? Is the threat one-sided? I would argue that for an in-house recruitment function to really add value to the client they too are expected to perform as an agency, as well as deliver on the additional trimmings as per their service level agreements. There is no room for complacency or under-delivery in today’s competitive recruitment industry.

Win Win

So, is it finally time to celebrate the conflict? In today’s market, whether a client instructs both or either recruitment model, they can expect a service which is far more quality-driven than in previous years. Within the recruitment sector we have witnessed an internally driven, organic growth due to the competitiveness of in-house recruiters and agency recruiters. This process did not begin with a method statement, and perhaps that is the reason for a somewhat unpredictable relationship between both, however there is a clear reason to be hopeful that the product we have today is of sound structure, open to continual improvement and mutual sophistication.