What Is Embedded Recruitment and How Does It Work?


As the world of hiring evolves, businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to find top talent. Embedded recruitment is a game-changing strategy that’s transforming how companies hire. This approach involves integrating external recruitment experts into your company’s internal talent team, offering a unique blend of internal insights and external expertise. Think of it as a powerhouse recruitment team, deeply embedded in your organization, with a direct line to key decision-makers and a deep understanding of your internal processes and needs.

Embedded recruitment turns the hiring process into a collaborative venture involving various teams, moving beyond the traditional HR department. This method not only improves efficiency but aligns recruitment with your company’s broader objectives, representing a shift from isolated hiring to a cohesive, team-based approach.

This article will explore embedded recruitment, revealing how it revolutionizes collaboration, brings fresh perspectives to recruitment, and helps companies assemble outstanding teams. We’ll examine what embedded recruitment entails, its role in modern hiring, the specifics of the process, and why it’s a game-changer for both startups and large corporations.

What Is Embedded Recruitment?

Embedded recruitment (Recruitment-as-a-Service (RaaS) or Embedded Talent Partner) is a model where a consultancy company provides skilled and committed recruiters and sourcers to join the client’s in-house talent function for a set period of time, usually 3, 6, or 12 months.

Embedded recruitment is not a novel idea, but it is gaining more popularity in Europe and the US, as more companies appreciate its advantages and potential.

Embedded recruitment is a strategic hiring approach where external recruiters are integrated into the internal teams they serve. This ensures close collaboration between recruiters, hiring managers, and business units, fostering a deeper understanding of the organization’s culture, values, and specific hiring needs. 

Key elements of embedded recruitment include:

  • Having a dedicated recruiter physically present in the office
  • Working closely with hiring managers to streamline the recruitment process
  • Focus on identifying candidates who align with the company’s culture and values, utilizing creative methods like employee referrals and social media recruiting
  • The process involves continuous data-driven reporting and analysis to enhance its efficiency further.

Embedded recruitment represents a holistic and nuanced approach to talent acquisition. This integration results in a more efficient, effective, and culturally aligned recruitment process, tailored to meet the unique challenges and opportunities of the modern business landscape. As more companies recognize its value, embedded recruitment is poised to become a pivotal strategy in shaping the future workforce.

The Pros and Cons of Embedded Recruitment

Embedded recruitment stands out as a novel collaboration model, bringing together the strengths of various approaches to offer businesses a strategic and tailored solution. Understanding the nuances of each model is crucial for organizations to make informed decisions that align with their specific needs and goals.

Embedded recruitment partners (ETPs) offer several crucial advantages that set them apart:

  1. Financial Savings: ETPs typically work on a fixed monthly fee basis, providing cost predictability. This model can yield more sustainable and long-term results compared to other hiring solutions, ensuring better financial management.
  2. Rapid Deployment for Growth: For rapidly growing companies, an embedded recruitment partner can be deployed within 1-2 weeks. This quick setup is essential for businesses needing to scale up their workforce promptly.
  3. Advantageous for Specialized Talent Acquisition: ETPs are particularly beneficial for roles that require highly specialized or hard-to-find talent. They offer a viable solution for businesses not under immediate hiring pressure but still seeking specific skills.
  4. Cultural and Value Alignment: ETPs gain a deep understanding of a company’s culture, values, and vision. This enables them to align candidates not just based on skills but also on cultural fit and compatibility.
  5. Enhanced Communication and Efficiency: The model fosters closer and more regular communication between recruiters and hiring managers. It leads to a more streamlined recruitment process, reducing costs and improving the efficiency of hiring.
  6. Improved Quality and Retention: By aligning candidates closely with company culture and requirements, ETPs contribute to higher-quality hires. This alignment typically leads to better retention rates, as employees fit well within the company.
  7. Ideal for Senior and Critical Positions: ETPs are particularly suitable for filling critical and senior positions where the right talent can be challenging to find. The focused approach helps in identifying candidates who can meet the high demands of these roles.
  8. Suitable for Startups and Scale-ups: Startups and scale-ups, aiming for rapid growth without compromising their culture, can greatly benefit from ETPs. Embedded recruiters help these companies grow their teams quickly and efficiently.
  9. Flexibility and Scalability: Embedded recruitment offers a flexible and scalable solution, ideal for companies with varying hiring needs. This is especially useful for businesses with seasonal or project-based hiring requirements, allowing them to adjust their recruitment efforts as needed.

While embedded recruitment offers numerous advantages, it’s important to acknowledge potential challenges. These challenges, however, can often be mitigated with the right strategies and approaches:

  1. Dependency on External Teams: Relying on external recruiters could create a dependency, potentially affecting internal capabilities. To mitigate the challenge, you can foster a collaborative environment where knowledge transfer between the external and internal teams is prioritized.
  2. Possible Cultural Misalignment: There’s a risk that external recruiters may not fully integrate or understand the company culture. To ensure cultural alignment, invest time in onboarding external recruiters, immersing them in the company’s culture, values, and vision. Regular feedback sessions can ensure alignment is maintained.
  3. Cost Concerns for Smaller Businesses: The fixed-cost model, while predictable, might be a significant investment for smaller companies or startups. For smaller businesses, we suggest opting for a customized, scaled-down version of the service, balancing cost with the benefits of specialized recruitment expertise.

By directly addressing these challenges with appropriate strategies, businesses can effectively utilize embedded recruitment while minimizing potential drawbacks.

Embedded Recruitment vs ‘Traditional’ Recruitment: What is the Difference?

Understanding the unique features of various recruitment models is vital for organizations to make informed choices:

  1. Internal (or In-House) Recruitment: Involves establishing an internal recruitment team to manage hiring processes. Represents a fixed cost, requiring training to understand the company culture and needs.
  2. Agency Recruitment: Delegates the hiring process to external agencies, relying on their expertise and know-how. Common when internal resources or time are limited.
  3. Outsourcing (RPO): Contracts external services for strategic areas where internal knowledge is lacking. Enables specific operational tasks or processes to be outsourced without new internal hiring.
  4. Embedded Recruitment: A collaborative contractual model offering benefits of previous models. Balances the external expertise of recruitment companies with in-depth knowledge of the company’s culture and operational sector.

The comprehensive comparison of these recruitment models, including embedded recruitment, can be explored in detail in this article.

What Is the Embedded Recruitment Process?

Embedded recruitment bridges the gap between external expertise and internal hiring needs. For businesses, engaging actively in this process enhances recruitment efficiency and ensures hires align well with company culture and goals.

The typical embedded recruitment process includes eight steps:

  • Onboarding and Access Sharing
  • Kick-off and Planning
  • Communication and Regular Updates
  • Talent Audit and Strategy Formation
  • Ongoing Candidate Sourcing and Performance Tracking
  • Project Management and Scaling
  • Integration and Candidate Management
  • Project Completion and Wrap-up

Let’s examine the embedded recruitment process and how your involvement as a client can drive success in this hiring approach.

1. Onboarding and Access Sharing:

  • Provide the embedded recruitment team with access to internal systems and tools, such as Applicant Tracking System, corporate email, and LinkedIn Recruiter Seat.
  • Share detailed job descriptions, onboarding plans, and relevant company information to enable the recruitment team to understand your needs and company culture.

2. Kick-off and Planning:

  • Participate in a kick-off call to introduce both teams, discuss hiring plans, and priorities, and set expectations.
  • Collaborate in setting key performance indicators and targets for recruitment, aligning them with company objectives.
  • Arrange meetings between recruiters and hiring managers for specific roles, facilitating an understanding of role requirements.

3. Communication and Regular Updates:

  • Set up regular catch-up meetings (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) to ensure ongoing alignment and address any concerns.
  • Engage in continuous dialogue to refine strategies and approaches based on feedback from both sides.

4. Talent Audit and Strategy Formation:

  • Provide insights into salary expectations, talent pool size, and market competitiveness to aid in strategic planning.
  • Work with the recruitment team to develop effective sourcing and outreach strategies based on market research and company needs.

5. Ongoing Candidate Sourcing and Tracking:

  • Collaborate in reviewing an initial list of candidates to ensure alignment with company standards.
  • Utilize dashboards and reports to track the performance of recruitment efforts and make data-driven decisions.

6. Project Management and Scaling:

  • Oversee project management, including candidate outreach, screening, and introduction to the hiring team.
  • Work closely with the recruitment team to continuously improve sourcing, outreach, and screening strategies.

7. Integration and Candidate Management:

  • Ensure that the recruitment process provides a positive candidate experience reflecting the company’s values.
  • Focus on the continuous enhancement of the hiring process based on feedback and performance data.

8. Project Completion and Wrap-up:

  • Receive guidance from consultants on best practices, toolkits, and workflows for future hiring.
  • Adjust the size of the recruitment team based on changing hiring needs.
  • Ensure a smooth transition at the project’s end, leaving your team equipped with the necessary resources and knowledge.

Embedded Recruitment in Startups, Scale-ups, and Corporations 

Embedded recruitment offers a versatile solution applicable across different business types, from startups and scale-ups to corporations. It addresses unique challenges in each sector: streamlining hiring for startups, aligning with rapid growth in scale-ups, and providing strategic talent sourcing for corporations. This approach consistently delivers a tailored hiring strategy, demonstrating its broad relevance and effectiveness in modern business environments.

Embedded Recruitment in Startups

Startups often grapple with the intensive demands of hiring, which can divert crucial time and resources away from core business activities. The founders typically juggle multiple roles, including that of a recruiter, which may not be their area of expertise.

Advantages of embedded recruitment for startups:

  • Efficiency: Embedded Talent Partners (ETPs) streamline the recruitment process, freeing up founders to focus on business growth.
  • Expertise: ETPs bring specialized recruitment knowledge, improving the quality of hires.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Reducing reliance on traditional recruitment agencies, startups can minimize hiring costs.

Early engagement with ETPs is recommended, especially for startups planning to hire significantly (10 or more roles) within a short period.

Embedded Recruitment in Scale-ups

Scale-ups, which are in a phase of rapid growth, face unique challenges in scaling their teams effectively while maintaining the company culture.

Role of Embedded Recruitment in scale-ups:

  • Scalability: ETPs provide flexible recruitment solutions that can scale with the growth of the company.
  • Cultural Alignment: ETPs work closely with the company, ensuring that new hires align with the company’s culture and values.
  • Long-term Strategy: Focus on sustainable hiring strategies that support long-term business objectives.

Repeat founders and serial entrepreneurs often favor ETPs due to their understanding of the complexities involved in scaling teams rapidly.

Embedded Recruitment in Corporations

Large corporations face issues in defining specific talent requirements, particularly for niche roles, and adapting to fast-paced industry changes.

Benefits of Embedded Recruitment in Corporations:

  • Tailored Talent Acquisition: ETPs help in identifying and attracting niche talent, tailored to the corporation’s specific needs.
  • Adaptability: Corporations benefit from the ETPs’ ability to quickly adapt to changing industry trends and talent demands.
  • Long-Term Hiring Vision: ETPs assist corporations in developing a more strategic and forward-thinking approach to talent acquisition.

Corporations are encouraged to integrate ETPs into their HR and talent acquisition teams to fully leverage the benefits of embedded recruitment.

In summary, embedded recruitment offers tailored, efficient, and strategic hiring solutions across different stages of business growth, from nascent startups to expanding scale-ups, and well-established corporations. The model emphasizes cost-effectiveness, cultural fit, and long-term talent strategy, making it a valuable asset in the modern recruitment landscape.

Case Studies: How Embedded Recruitment Benefited Businesses

At Matchr, we’ve been working on an embedded recruitment model with various clients. We’d like to share several case studies so you get an idea of what impact this model had on some of our partners’ growth.

1. CircularIT: Expanding into the EU market

CircularIT engaged with Matchr in 2022 to expand into the EU market. The Senior Recruitment Specialist was fully embedded in the HR team, ensuring a deep integration into the company’s operations. This approach facilitated the hiring of multilingual sales specialists in the Netherlands. The collaboration helped design and implement standard hiring processes, optimizing turnaround times and providing relevant data on the talent pool in the Netherlands. The result was a successful hiring strategy, bringing in account managers at an average cost per hire of EUR 7,000.

Learn more: CircularIT Case Study.

2. Miro: Scaling engineering team in Berlin

Miro, experiencing significant growth during COVID, decided to open an engineering hub in Berlin with the aim of hiring over 100 engineers in the first year. Matchr provided a team of two Senior Tech Recruiters and one Senior Sourcer to work closely with Miro’s team, ensuring a rapid hiring process and offering relevant market insights. Within the first nine months, 33 hires were achieved for the Berlin office, showcasing the effectiveness of the embedded model in scaling engineering teams efficiently.

Learn more: Miro Case Study.

3. TikTok: Rapid scaling their sales and marketing teams across Europe

In 2020, TikTok faced the need to rapidly scale its sales and marketing teams across Europe. Matchr joined TikTok with a team of four sourcers and two recruiters to help meet this challenge. The collaborative effort resulted in the successful hiring of 28 candidates in just six months. Following an internal referral, Matchr extended its focus to TikTok’s EMEA team, highlighting the flexibility and scalability of the embedded recruitment model.

Learn more: TikTok Case Study.

Wrapping up

In concluding our deep dive into embedded recruitment, it’s evident that this approach isn’t just a recruitment strategy—it’s a revolution. Imagine a scenario where your talent acquisition team seamlessly collaborates with external recruitment experts, forming a dynamic partnership that not only supercharges your hiring efforts but fundamentally transforms your entire approach to talent acquisition.

At the heart of this model lies a key advantage: efficiency. With recruiters and sourcers embedded within your company, the synergy is immediate and tangible. Gone are the days of waiting for updates or navigating through communication channels. It’s akin to having your entire recruitment team in the same room, strategizing and executing in real time. This efficiency isn’t just a time-saver; it’s a catalyst for quicker, more streamlined hiring processes that adapt to your business needs in real time.

But the impact doesn’t stop there. Embedded recruitment brings a breath of fresh air to your hiring strategy, injecting a new perspective that propels your business forward. With external experts seamlessly integrated, your team gains access to industry insights, cutting-edge tools, and innovative approaches. This isn’t just about broadening your talent acquisition toolkit; it’s about positioning your business ahead in the competitive talent landscape.

Article by:
Senior Talent Sourcing Specialist at Matchr
Senior Talent Sourcing Specialist at Matchr
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