RBC Financial Group brings recruitment back into the fold

Ends four-year outsourcing arrangement to develop a stronger partnership between recruiters and hiring managers

A little more than a year ago, RBC Financial Group decided to “in-source” its recruitment function.

The organization ended a four-year outsourcing arrangement, in part because they wanted to develop a stronger partnership between recruiters and hiring managers, says Maureen Neglia, senior manager of recruitment strategies for RBC.

“That was the weakness of the model before. Because recruitment was not in-house, we truly didn’t know what managers’ needs were,” she says. “The whole focus now is developing a relationship with managers, the better we know the manager the better we can help them find the people they need,” she says.

To that end, both management and the recruitment team agreed to new guiding principles around the treatment of candidates and expectations for hiring top talent. Service partner agreements, or SPAs, were created to help manage the expectations of managers around things like turnaround and response times.

But the most basic change with this new arrangement is recruitment experts are more consultative and less transactional. They are more accountable than they were before, Neglia says.

The hiring decision is left up the manager, but the recruiter is expected to act as a partner for the manager throughout the entire process. In the past, a service level agreement with the recruiters just set expectations up to the point of handing over a short list of candidates and roles were clearly defined and distinct. Now the recruiter works with the hiring manager from the moment the request to fill the position is filed. They are constantly collaborating and communicating, she says.

Soon after filing the request online, one of RBC’s 60 recruitment consultants meets with the manager to get a clear understanding of the skills and behavioural competencies needed. There is also a conversation about why the position became available. For example, if it is a new position, does it need to be redefined?

“Once we know what we are looking for, we talk about where we will look,” says Neglia.

The recruitment department provides two roles: consultant and specialist. The consultant takes over the relationship with the manager while the specialists are active in building and feeding talent pipelines into the organization. After meeting with the manager and clearly defining the requirements for the new position, the consultant meets with a specialist to see if the right candidates may already be in the RBC resume database (the organization receives about 300,000 resumes per year).

Once the high-potential CVs are identified at least two interviews follow. The recruiter usually conducts initial behaviour-based interviews and the manager does everything after that.

It is up to the manager to decide how to handle the interview, though many of the managers are also trained in behaviour-based methods so they usually use some of those methods together with less formal questioning.

One year later, “we have seen considerable success,” Nelgia says. The managers are mostly happy with the new service and times to hire have been reduced in most areas. These are important metrics but Neglia wants to take this further.

By monitoring the performance ratings of employees hired over time, Neglia hopes that, in the near future, they will be able to prove the new recruitment process is having a positive bottom-line impact. The organization has never done this before so it is the first step in a benchmarking process of sorts.

If the internal recruiters are doing a better job of meeting the needs of managers and supplying a department with high-quality talent then recruitment should be able to take some credit for the improved performance of that department, she says.

“We are saying we feel that we can take some credit, or recognize the impact on the increased productivity for the organization.”

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