What is co-option? Definition, types, pros and cons

What is co-option? Definition, types, pros and cons

What is corporate co-opting?

Co-option, also called participative recruitment, consists of calling upon the network of one’s collaborators (the co-opters) to recruit internal candidates (the co-opted). In fact, it is a recommendation from a friend, relative or even a colleague who has the skills required to fill a certain position in your company.

As a candidate, this means that if a member of your network hears about a job opportunity in their company that matches your profile, they will recommend you to the human resources department, which will open doors for you.

This technique is mainly used to recruit profiles that are complicated to recruit: executives, experienced profiles, or for penurious positions, or simply when the company wishes to save time and reduce the costs of its recruitment.

It’s a practice that’s becoming more and more democratic. In 2017, according to a study by APEC, 37% of executive recruitments came from co-option.

This number is constantly increasing, especially with the rise of social media, such as the professional network LinkedIn.

According to another survey conducted by the temporary employment agency “QAPA”, on a sample of 4.5 million candidates and 135,000 recruiters,

-More than 89% of recruiters say they practice participatory recruiting within their company.

-Only 32% of employees say they have been co-opted in their career.

– 56% of employees admit that they have never sponsored another person in their life.

This practice is generally carried out by large and medium-sized companies. A co-optation campaign requires time and human resources to organize and manage it, as well as financial means for the payment of co-optation bonuses. It is therefore very difficult to set up. There are two types of co-optation, one internal and the other external.

-Internal co-option

We speak of internal co-option when the job offer is distributed internally to employees. They, in turn, share it en masse with their network.

This is a way to involve employees in the recruitment process, and to reinforce their commitment to the company. Employees are thus encouraged to recommend a candidate: a friend, a relative, a former colleague, whom they consider suitable for the position to be filled.

Consequently, the cooperator commits his own reputation by recommending a person from his network. He or she is therefore making sure to recommend a person with the appropriate skills. Internal co-option generally allows the recruitment of trustworthy people.

One of the advantages of internal co-option is that it promotes internal mobility within the organization. Indeed, in the framework of internal co-option, the employees are the first to be informed of the vacant positions in the company. As a result, they can apply for vacancies themselves. This may allow some of the employees to move on or change positions within the company.

-External co-option

Today, many companies such as Pentabell use co-optation to find new employees. However, not only employees can recommend members of their network to the company. In fact, companies have turned to external cooptation to find new employees.

This can sometimes be explained by the fact that the company’s employees are not able to use their network due to internal co-optation. In this case, it is people from outside the company who recommend people they know for a position in a company. This is a fact, and it is becoming more and more common. As a result, companies are using social networks to call upon the help of referrers, who can recommend a person from among their contacts or address themselves to a network of referrers.

-The benefits of Co-optation

Co-option is a technique that is increasingly used in companies.It offers several advantages:

-To the employer :

  • Relevant profiles:

The most recurrent problem that recruiters face is the lack of relevance of the applications received. It is a real waste of time for human resources teams to spend hours analyzing a hundred or so resumes, without a single application actually matching the one sought.

Indeed, when you inform your employees that you are going to set up a co-optation campaign, they will take the subject seriously, as long as their reputation is at stake, and will in turn co-opt the profiles they consider suitable.

  • You reduce your recruitment budget

According to the Recruitment School, on average, a recruitment costs the company between 5,000 and 8,000 euros. This cost varies from one entity to another and includes internal and external costs.

Indeed, a strategy of cooptation strongly reduces all the costs related to recruitments.

Through a referral campaign, the company saves money on the recruiter, who can spend his or her time on more value-added tasks rather than posting jobs and sorting through applications.

A mistake in recruitment is very costly to the company, so it is in the company’s interest to look for candidates that match their needs!

-To the co-operator

  • The co-operator benefits from a co-optation bonus paid by the company at the end of the trial period, when the recommended candidate is hired.
  • To have a competent, friendly, professional colleague who will advance the company’s projects.

-To the co-optee

  • An optimized experience, the co-optee will benefit from the coaching and assistance of the co-operator throughout the recruitment process, as he will vouch for his recommendation.
  • Access to a hidden market. The co-optee can find out about the position before it becomes a job offer, which gives them an advantage over other candidates.
  • An insight into the company’s values.
  • The co-optee has the opportunity to occupy a privileged place in the company. When he is recommended by a colleague, his manager will trust him more quickly. He or she will be entrusted with strategic files more easily from the start.
  • The co-optee is more likely to be perceived as a trustworthy person by his manager. And to occupy a privileged place within the company.

-The disadvantages of Co-optation

There is no doubt, that recruiting by co-opting has many advantages. On the other hand, this recruitment system also has its drawbacks. For the company, it risks falling into what is called “cloning”. Candidates recruited through cooptation can sometimes resemble the employees they have co-opted.

In addition, the company will have to manage internal relations differently, especially with the employees who will co-opt candidates (management of bonuses as well as possible sources of tension with the co-opter and co-opted if the recruitment process is long enough,…).

As far as the co-opted candidate is concerned, if he or she is retained, there is no guarantee that everything will work out for the best. Indeed, for the company, the new employee is an excellent person, and may assign him/her a lot of responsibilities without giving him/her time to adapt.

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