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It’s been a week here at Rice & Co. Claudia is attacking the agency rec to rec desk like a woman possessed. We made a big placement which will set tongues a-waggin’ across the industry. And I received a call that vindicates the many hours I spend writing opinionated nonsense like this every Friday morning. It was actually a voicemail from one of New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs that I’m referring to. It turns out that a non-recruiter happened to be googling “internal recruitment headhunting” and lo and behold, who’s blog should the Google gods serve up to them? You guessed it. A brief conversation then led to the most interesting meeting I’ve had in a long time. Due to my poor note taking, I’ll paraphrase below.

“Sean, my business partner and I run a business with 82 sites across New Zealand. Lots of people want to work for us, which is great, but they’re typically those who are new to New Zealand, or inexperienced. The real gold for us is in attracting those from our competitors.”

So far so good.

“To get to this gold, we need to headhunt them. So far, it’s been the job of my regional managers, and sometimes me to do this. However, my regional managers hate doing it, and most aren’t particularly good at it. It’s a different skill set I guess”.


“So I’m thinking we hire an internal recruiter. They can look after all the candidates who apply directly, and this is what their basic salary covers. The big bit of the job is headhunting from my competition. Lack of staff is the only thing that holds this business back. If a recruiter can make this work, I’ll hire more of them. I want to industrialise recruitment”

That’s the spirit!

“I understand that recruiters are salespeople. And you have to incentivise sales people. I was thinking of paying them a percentage of the revenue each new hire generates in month one. The better the people they find, the more they get paid. How does that sound?”

It sounds like the most sensible thing I’ve heard in a long time.

“There’ll be no cap on what they can earn. That would be stupid. The more good people they find, the more money we all make. Also, is there some sort of system we can use to map where everyone else works? I don’t need loads of functionality. In my experience, systems that do too many things end up not being used properly.”

It’s called an ATS and you understand the DNA of a high performing recruiter better than 99% of HR professionals I’ve ever spoken to.

And that was that. A retainer in hand, off I go to recruit the most sensible internal role I’ve worked on in a very, very long time. A role that will appeal to hungry, high performing recruiters, and not burnt-out desperados. And it struck me that the reason this role makes so much sense, is that it was conceived by a highly-commercial business person, and not someone in HR. And as much as it may upset some who are reading this, it really is quite obvious. Internal Recruitment has been destroyed by non-commercial HR professionals. The vast majority of internal roles have “targets” which are so far from the commercial reality of running a business that they are a hindrance to actually doing the job, and not a motivator. The only target that matters is hiring good people, and lots of them. The rest is superfluous fluff. The reason internal functions are often so dire is largely because many senior HR professionals have never worked in the world’s second oldest profession: selling sh*t to people at a profit. And it really shows.

Anyway, if you want to check out the role, click here. And if you want to be a fantastic HR professional, take some time out and work in a revenue-generating role.


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