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Many hats of the recruitment consultant – from external sourcer to strategic partner

17 Mar 2022 by Liisa Raulas

Recruitment consultant can be many things. The role varies by the need of each customer, but there are typically four hats that a recruitment consultant can wear: external sourcer, recruitment coordinator, talent acquisition partner and strategic partner. Here I explain each role, what they entail and for what kind of situation they fit the best. This article will come in handy especially if you’re considering hiring an external recruitment consultant to your organization.

Role description in short

Recruitment consultant as an external sourcer

Acts as a purely external talent sourcer resource, not onboarded into the organisation and team.

Recruitment consultant as a recruitment coordinator

Acts as both a sourcer and a candidate pipeline coordinator. Partly onboarded into the team and organization. Looks at recruitment on a tactical level.

Recruitment consultant as a talent acquisition partner

Has full ownership of the recruitment process and looks at talent acquisition on a strategic level. Needs to be fully onboarded into the hiring organization, similarly to an in-house talent acquisition partner.

Recruitment consultant as a strategic partner

Gives guidance on how talent acquisition and employee experience should be improved in the organization. Does not participate in the actual hands-on recruitment work.

Recruitment consultant’s responsibilities

External sourcer

Creates longlists of potential candidates for hiring managers, takes care of the first contact after a manager has approved longlists, hands over candidates to the hiring manager for first discussions. Does not take part in interviews or candidate communication after the first initial contact.

Recruitment coordinator

Proactively sources new candidates into the process from external channels, also responsible for reviewing, forwarding and rejecting inbound applicants. Manages the candidate pipeline by arranging interviews, following up candidates and overall making sure recruitment processes move forward smoothly. Typically takes part in interviews only as an observer and does not take an active role. Responsible for creating a positive candidate experience and collecting candidate feedback. Can help in adjusting the recruitment process to ensure an improved candidate experience. Does not participate in final contract negotiations.

Talent acquisition partner

Has full ownership of talent acquisition on a strategic, tactical and operational level. This includes having responsibility on developing recruitment strategies and recruitment process as well as creating a positive candidate experience journey. Determines selection criteria for candidates together with hiring managers and other members of the staff. Creates job ads and interview questions for each role.

Proactively sources new candidates into the process from external channels, also responsible for reviewing, forwarding and rejecting inbound applicants. Manages the candidate pipeline by arranging interviews, following up candidates and overall making sure recruitment processes move forward smoothly and also takes care of rejecting disqualified candidates.  Conducts first-round interviews and other personal assessments independently, and presents qualified candidates to hiring managers. Can also participate and support in hiring negotiations together with hiring managers. Often also responsible for driving forward employer branding strategy and activities.

Strategic partner

Digs deep into the hiring organization’s pain points that act as obstacles to successful talent acquisition. Supports the hiring organization by offering expertise in recruitment process development, employee experience and other HR-related issues. Can e.g. coach hiring managers to become better recruiters and can offer support in developing the leadership skills of hiring managers. Looks at the long-term vision and helps the organization to level up their ways of working in the areas of employee experience and talent acquisition. Aims to clarify the employee experience offering and making adjustments when needed in order to create a stronger and more attractive employer brand in the candidate market.

Hiring organization’s responsibilities

External sourcer

All candidate communication and pipeline coordination from first contact to signing the contract.

Recruitment coordinator

Taking part and leading the candidate interviews, providing candidate feedback to the consultant throughout the recruitment process, making the final hiring decisions.

Talent acquisition partner

Participating in drafting job descriptions and interviewing the candidates on the final round. Final responsibility of making hiring decisions.

Strategic partner

The whole recruitment process from start to finish.

Consultant’s level of involvement in the recruitment process

 

Time savings for hiring organisation

 

Hiring organization’s level of control over the recruitment process

 

Requirements for hiring organization

External sourcer

Hiring manager crafts the profile of an ideal candidate for the recruitment consultant. The hiring organization is responsible for moving candidates along in the recruitment process.

Recruitment coordinator

The hiring organization needs to onboard the recruitment consultant into the company, its products and services and culture. The first couple of weeks should focus mostly on onboarding, which enables the consultant to see which are the most critical tasks they should focus first.

The recruitment consultant needs at least somewhat defined job descriptions to get started but can also support in redefining job roles and requirements when needed. The consultant needs to personally know the key members of the team they are recruiting for and should also be given a full access to all systems used in recruitment (e.g. ATS). The hiring organization need to give the recruitment consultant visibility into all necessary information related to recruitment, e.g. salary ranges.

Talent acquisition partner

The hiring organization needs to onboard the recruitment consultant very thoroughly, similarly to an in-house talent acquisition partner. The first couple of weeks should be reserved for onboarding. The consultant needs full access and visibility to all systems and tools used in recruitment and employment branding activities, as well as freedom and trust in driving development ideas forward.

Strategic partner

The hiring organization is responsible for the tactical and operational recruitment activities with the support of the consultant. Hiring organization needs to be open to adopt a new mindset and be willing to change existing structures and ways of working accordingly.

Pros

External sourcer

Fast start, consultant can start sourcing candidates from day one based on a job description. Can be done with a smaller time allocation and budget and can yield good results when the offering is very attractive in the candidate market. Suitable for a situation where the overall recruitment strategy is already defined and help is only needed in individual recruitment needs.

Recruitment coordinator

Having a consultant coordinating the recruitment process saves a lot of working hours from hiring managers and increases the volume of recruitment that can be handled within a month. In many cases good results can be achieved with 50%-100% work time allocation and therefore on a mediocre budget. The need for onboarding is moderate and hands-on recruitment work can be started quite early on. Does not necessarily solve the overall, long-term challenges in recruitment but can help in establishing better recruitment practices for the long-term future.

Talent acquisition partner

Helps the hiring organization in starting talent acquisition “from scratch” by relying on an experienced recruitment consultant to redefine the talent acquisition strategy and activities. Best model for reaching long term goals in talent acquisition. Talent acquisition partner can also boost the existing recruitment team by bringing an extra pair of hands to the team.

Strategic partner

Offers solutions for the long-term talent acquisition and employee retention issues. Helps the hiring organization to develop skills to be successful in talent acquisition in the future.

Cons

External sourcer

In the current candidate market, good results cannot be achieved with this model if there are problems with the job offering, recruitment process or candidate or employee experience. Requires a lot of recruitment knowhow and time from hiring manager. Minimal insight into the hiring organisation makes differentiating sourcing messages harder which typically leads to a lower hitrate per contacted candidate. Does not solve the overall, long-term challenges in recruitment.

Recruitment coordinator

Requires quite a bit of time and attention from hiring managers and other team members participating in the recruitment in order to make this work. Consultant is heavily reliying on hiring managers’ speed in communication and taking action. Recruitment needs to be on the top of the priority list within the team.

Talent acquisition partner

Usually not suitable for part time consultant model and requires an experienced recruitment consultant, which therefore leads to higher costs. The visible results take time, typically at least a few months.

Strategic partner

Does not offer instant solution to ongoing, urgent recruitment needs. Needs time and change of mindset in the hiring organization, also requires a highly experienced consultant, which means higher costs.

For which situation

External sourcer

The hiring organization already has a good quality recruitment process in place and only has a couple of open positions that need help with expanding the candidate pipeline. Short time allocation.

Recruitment coordinator

Hiring organization has a good basic recruitment process and clearly defined recruitment needs in place but needs hands-on help with managing the day-to-day recruitment activities and making some adjustments in the recruitment practices.

Talent acquisition partner

Hiring organization has very little experience and knowhow in recruitment and needs help in establishing a long-term talent acquisition strategy and common recruitment practices. Also good for situations where existing talent acquisition practices are not yielding the needed results.

Strategic partner

Hiring organization experiences challenges in both retaining and attracting talent and the existing recruitment efforts are not leading to positive results. There are underlying issues that can relate to leadership, management, employee experience and retention, employer brand or any combination of the above.

Ideal duration of the consulting project

 

 

Talented in-house recruitment consulting – When you need an extra pair of hands to carry out technical recruitments or need support for streamlining the recruitment processes and attracting the right talent.

May we help?

 


To prosper in the digital future, winning the talent war is a paramount. That means succeeding across the entire employee lifecycle – attracting, recruiting and retaining the best IT professionals. Talented helps organizations to do just that through Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding and building winning Employee Experiences.

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