This topic was driven by a webinar I attended, where Ilhaam van der Schyff, a Group Head of Talent from one of the big banks in South Africa was a guest speaker. Her passion for partnering in talent attraction made me want to explore this topic further. It was refreshing to listen to a Head of Talent who is passionate about people and does not just say it but lives it. She appreciates that external talent partners are an extension of the business, not competition.

The race to attract and retain top-tier candidates has never been more intense in the dynamically competitive talent marketplace. HR professionals and hiring managers are often confronted with the challenge of filling positions with the best talent, in the shortest time, and within budget constraints. This backdrop sets the stage for a powerful alliance that can significantly uplift a company’s talent acquisition strategy: the partnership between internal and external talent acquisition specialists.

The Power of Collaboration

Internal talent acquisition specialists intimately understand their companies’ organisational culture, values, and specific needs. They are well-versed in the nuances of the company’s vision for growth and the pivotal roles that need to be filled to drive this growth. On the other hand, external talent acquisition specialists bring to the table their vast networks, a fresh perspective, and cutting-edge recruitment methodologies. When these two forces unite, the potential for cultivating a superior talent pool multiplies.

Here are some compelling reasons why fostering a solid partnership between internal and external talent acquisition specialists is crucial:

1. Enhanced Talent Pool Access

External recruiters often have access to passive candidates who may not actively seek a new position but are open to exciting opportunities. By collaborating with internal specialists who possess deep insights into what makes their company attractive to potential employees, external recruiters can more effectively tailor their pitches to these passive candidates.

2. Broader Skill Set and Market Knowledge

External recruiters specialise in understanding the broader market conditions, trends, compensation benchmarks, and competencies across various industries. This expertise, combined with the internal team’s knowledge of the specific skill sets and competencies needed to thrive in their company’s unique environment, can significantly improve the quality of hires.

3. Accelerated Hiring Process

Speed is often of the essence in talent acquisition. Through a partnership, the internal team can leverage the external recruiter’s resources and networks to expedite the hiring process, ensuring critical positions are filled without undue delays, and the organisation can maintain its competitive edge.

Success Stories of Collaborative Talent Acquisition

Several companies have greatly leveraged the synergy between internal and external talent specialists. For instance, TS Recruitmentpartnered with a Financial Services company to fill a senior position. Throughout the partnership it was discovered that the reporting lines for the role were not aligned with what the client was asking for. Through this partnership, TSR gave the FS company insights into what the market thought about the nature of the position and reporting structures. It was through these insights that the reporting structures were tweaked, and a suitable one was eventually identified. This was a lengthy process, but it was worth it for the organisation; they found a suitable candidate who is in the position for the long term because the internal talent team spent time sharing the vision of the division and the organisation.

Best Practices for a Fruitful Partnership

To maximise the benefits of this partnership, certain best practices should be adhered to:

  • Open Communication: Regular, transparent communication between the internal and external teams is vital to aligning strategies, sharing feedback, and refining approaches.
  • Clear Definition of Roles: Establishing clear boundaries and understanding each party’s responsibilities prevents overlap and ensures a cohesive effort.
  • Mutual Respect and Trust: Building a relationship based on mutual respect and trust enables both parties to effectively leverage each other’s strengths.
  • Continuous Learning: Encouraging a culture of continuous learning and sharing best practices between the internal and external teams can lead to innovative recruitment strategies.


Internal and external talent acquisition specialists do not need to be at odds in the quest for top talent. Instead, by forging a strategic partnership, they combine the best of both worlds, leading to more effective talent attraction strategies, a smoother hiring process, and ultimately, a stronger organisation.

For HR professionals and hiring managers, understanding the importance of this partnership and actively working to foster it is a critical step toward achieving recruitment excellence.

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