The pros and cons of recruiting your TA leader internally

I have been part of the TA community in one shape or another for over 20 years.  I avidly follow the comings and goings of the leadership in the Australian Internal TA market, as I’m sure do most of us in the industry.

Recently, there have been a number of significant TA Manager roles being recruited internally. I find this to be an interesting shift in the process; the recruiter is effectively recruiting their new boss.

This paradigm shift raises a number of questions. As the TA Leadership candidate, are you comfortable being recruited by a person who works in the team you will be managing? Can a recruiter be truly objective when it comes to recruiting their own team leader? What, if anything, does this say about how the role is valued within the organisation?  

If I were applying for a TA Leadership position, I wouldn’t have an issue being recruited by one of my future team (provided, of course, that they have the capability to recruit a senior role).  However, I believe in total transparency on topics such as remuneration, qualifications, prior experience, and KPIs. Would a recruiter really be in a position to have these conversations with their potential Team Leader?

(As an aside, when I was an assistant accountant in Local Government, I looked up an invoice that we paid to the Local Authorities Superannuation Board and keenly eyed the executive salaries. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how much the CEO was paid! There was nothing I could do with this information and to this day I’ve never told a soul.)

After lengthy deliberation on the topic, I’ve come up with a list of pros and cons for recruiting your TA Leader internally.

Arguments FOR getting one of the TA Team recruiting their future leader:
  1. A beneficial experience for the recruiter
    The recruiter gains an in-depth perspective on the market and has buy-in into the decision-making process.
  2. An insightful experience for the candidate.
    The prospective TA Leader is able to experience and form an opinion on the recruitment service.
  3. Increased transparency
    Internal recruitment for the role allows for a greater deal of transparency into the process than is possible with a third party.
  4. A swift decision-making process
    With first-hand knowledge of the experience, the candidate will be able to make the decision of whether they are interested in the position more quickly, and vice versa.
  5. Clear salary expectations
    Many organisations now advertise salary ranges, meaning word will spread in the market about what the role is worth. 
Arguments AGAINST one of the TA Team recruiting their future leader:
  1. Discomfort with sharing sensitive information.
    A prospective TA Leader may feel uncomfortable with the recruiter knowing what they would be paid, or discussing areas in which the candidate may feel they require professional development.
  2. Less objectivity
    Undoubtedly, the process would be more objective if undertaken by a qualified third party.
  3. A narrower understanding of the market
    A qualified third party would have a broader knowledge of the market, be able to undertake a comprehensive search, and reach out to candidates confidentially. They would also have a comprehensive pool of potential candidates at their disposal.
  4. Issues with confidentiality
    There is a risk that confidential information would not be treated as securely with an internal recruiter as it would be with a third-party.
  5. Pull focus away from regular work
    The in-house recruiter is typically screening a variety of candidates, and focusing on the TA Leader would pull focus away from that proactive work.

What do you think? Have I missed any key points on the topic? Is this a topic you’d like to explore in more detail at a roundtable discussion at the upcoming #ATC2021? If you’ve made it this far through this article I’m sure you have a number of thoughts of your own. Share your comments below – I’d love to hear what you think.

Cover image: Shutterstock

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