Internal Recruiter: The Most Important Role in Your Agency

I need to be careful here. So I’ll start with this caveat, I’m not tarring every internal recruiter with the sh*t brush. I know there are some amazing ones out there because I’ve spoken to them in my job with Hunted. But… yeah, there’s a but… there’s a worrying trend in recruitment.

Namely not valuing the importance of the Internal Recruiter role highly enough.

“How hard a job is it anyway? We’re awesome, people just need to know that and they’ll join.”

Most recruitment bosses in the world would say the number one barrier to growing their business is hiring consultants.

So, they make a snap judgement on hiring an Internal Recruiter. Maybe they hire the latest ‘poor performer’ in an interior realignment of talent.

This affects the standard of new consultants joining.

The quality of work deteriorates.

It costs money.

It costs progress.

It damages reputations.


Before you leave us, have you thought about internal?

Let’s say you walk the well trodden path of offering the impending leaver your internal role. Here are some reasons that might not be such a great idea.

Yes, you might save a rec to rec fee. But this is the most important role in your business.

OK, I know you like the top biller. But who’s challenging them? Where are the next top billers? Who’s finding them? Are you happy with that person billing £450k? Would you like them to bill more? To be challenged? Have a team built around them? Who’s going to do that?

Your internal recruiter might.

But you’ve just given that role to someone who didn’t bill well in a regular environment. Let alone a challenging one. With no choice on client. No choice on skill. Thousands of competitors all offering a similar thing, in the same language, in the same shop window.


The first reality check I’d like to offer is this… if you’ve hired your last failed consultant in this role, they might struggle. You know that because you were about to fire them for not being very good at the job you’re now hoping they’ll excel in.

Only, this job’s harder.

Just by taking away half of the role in 360, it doesn’t make it easier.

They now have no choice of client. They have one. Who they sit next to. They have no choice on skills or specific niche. They’re recruiting for one type of candidate.

Imagine, if you will, hearing a recruiter pitch for a role. On the phone they admit they’ve not billed too well recently. They say…

“I’ve actually not got any experience in this market. But I will work hard.”

“I’ll have to, considering I don’t have much of a network. In fact, if I’m honest, I don’t know anyone.”

They haven’t been connecting on LinkedIn, they don’t know people in real life. They speak to some recruiters occasionally, but actually most already work for the same company.

Would you hire them? Even on contingency? Obviously not. Why would you? It doesn’t make sense. It’s a decision you’d make quickly, without much thought.

Why then, would you pay that person a salary to do this full time?

I can think of only one reason. Desperation. You’ve tried everything and what damage could this person do? They might unearth a gem. But this person is the face of the company. This is how recruiters will think about you.

As long as they get lots of people to interview that’s OK, right? Then you can step in and dazzle them with your wit.

If you do make this decision, you’ll need to have the infrastructure, time and patience to train them. Properly. Trial and error isn’t the best strategy in internal recruitment. You lose trust and credibility instantly with individuals. And that’s tough to win back.

Boat Beer

We’ll pay you £1000 for every referral

Course you will. Trouble is, so will everyone else. So why would they bother?

Equally, how are you setting your internal recruiter up for success? Whether you’ve just hired the latest ex-consultant or realised the importance of this role and hired from industry, £1000 referrals won’t cut it. You need to make sure that person knows the market. Well.

You also need to pay them as favourably as other consultants in commission and benefits. Which means inviting them on company holidays too.

No, your internal recruiter won’t make £50k for the business 14 days after a placement. But over the course of the year they’ll probably bring more to your business than anyone else. They hire the winners. They turn potential hires into great employees. How? By persuading people your business, is the one for them.

They win for you once.

So others can come and win all year.

Employer brand

You need to define your employer brand in recruitment these days. It’s not enough to say you’re market leading. Everyone else says that. And it’s nonsense.

You’re not the fastest growing. You’re not paying the best commission.

Want the good news?

That’s not why anyone’s joining you. Why they’re joining is down to everything you offer as a macro package. Yes, it’s the money. But it’s also the people. The atmosphere. The culture. The market. The location. The future. The past. Definitely the present.

So, if you’ve got an internal recruiter working for you, include them. Make them part of the team. Don’t put them on a different desk or out the way of ‘the real consultants’. Include them in company meetings. Holidays. Strategy plans. Idea sessions. Reviews. Even if it’s just for the purpose of letting them ascertain the culture you’re trying to showcase.

That way, even if they’re completely unimaginative and simply repeat “we’re the best” over and over again, they might actually believe it.



Your internal recruiter should be one of the most emotionally astute in the company. They should know how the teams work. What drives individual managers. What kind of personalities do well. When to take risks. When not to.

They should also be learning progressively from the day they start.

Without personal development your internal recruiter will maintain the standard of practice they have currently. Which means you won’t get results different to what you already have.

If you want your business to grow, this is the position you have to invest in.

Before marketing. Before designing  your own mobile app. Before upping the referral scheme by £250.

Arrange a copywriting course. Maybe a course in marketing. Strategic thinking. Headhunting. PR. It might be a better use of time than fabricating Glassdoor reviews?

Before anyone I know emails me in response to this, I’m not talking about you. But if this is a position you struggle with at your agency, just imagine if your internal recruiter was top biller material.

You could strategically grow your business, not just follow a bums on seats plan that has no direction. That would, in turn, give you something to reach for. You’d be able to boast to your clients during BD. You’d get recognised.

You wouldn’t have to fabricate and pay for your own awards.

Imagine that.

If you’re reading this thinking you’d be great at internal recruitment, as luck would have it, we have plenty of roles for you. By clicking this link you’ll find out everything you need to know. Who the companies are. Who the hiring manager is. What they look for. What team you’d be working with.

You can even apply anonymously. So your current boss won’t find out. 

The best news? All of the companies are on Hunted, so you have a competitive advantage from the off.