I suspect many career-minded people share my paralyzing fear of making the wrong career choices. More than most, recruiters are particularly prone to self-analysis about their careers and their career paths. After all, a good portion of the day is spent judging other people on their career choices and career paths and making decisions based on those choices and their explanations. It’s very difficult to know how to acquire the right skills for maximum career happiness.
Conventional wisdom (and academic models) place our career choices on an axis that pits depth in a company versus depth in an industry. A person that works for one company acquires deep knowledge of that company, but narrower industry knowledge than someone who has worked for multiple organizations. My grandfather worked for the same bank for over 40 years. He undoubtedly had tremendous knowledge of that particular bank – its customers, history, processes and much more. And, he certainly knew a lot about banking, but likely less than someone who held similar positions to his at several different banks, learning different ways to operate and bringing efficient methods to new companies along the way.
Trying to decide if depth in the organization or breadth of experience across organizations is more valuable is a difficult calculation. Even the most loyal and dedicated recruiters wonder what skills they gain when they fill the same position for the 17th time. On the other side, recruiters with new organizations wonder if they’ll ever be deep enough in the organization to be trusted as a true business partner. Like it has in many ways, RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) provides an avenue to provide a new choice to a difficult question. In RPO recruiting, there is another layer of organization – the RPO company layer as well as the client company level, which provides opportunities to simultaneously achieve depth of industry experience and depth of company experience.
Some RPO companies (Cielo included) use dedicated recruiters to work exclusively on client teams. The exclusivity provides depth within that organization that is similar to the experience a corporate recruiter might have. Dedicated recruiters build deep and lasting relationships with hiring managers and truly learn to understand the business needs of their constituents. The difference tends to be that when a corporate recruiter is ready for professional growth – a leadership role on the team, tougher requisitions, etc. – they are often forced to look outside their organization to make that move. In an RPO environment, a recruiter can make a move within the RPO company to a different client and achieve the best of both words – retain their depth of knowledge in the RPO company and develop deeper industry expertise by moving to a new client. That transition is supported by the tremendous knowledge of fellow recruiters and leaders at the RPO company and gives tremendous opportunity for knowledge transfer to the new client. It breaks the mold and provides a win-win scenario of organizational depth and industry best practice knowledge to make RPO recruiters the best in the business.
Of course, agency recruiters also operate in two organizations – the agency and the clients. The difference in the recruiters I’ve talked to that have lived in both worlds lies in the depth of relationship with the client. In an agency, the client relationship is mostly surface level while in RPO, recruiters are oftentimes exactly like employees that simply have a different company name on their paychecks.
As knowledge workers, it is essential that recruiters continuously learn and improve their skills. For recruiters looking to develop their careers, RPO provides the rapid, multi-directional learning opportunities to turn good recruiters into great ones.