GE has built an internal recruiting staff of about 500 in the last six years. In 2012 the team, helped by LinkedIn (LNKD) and BranchOut (a Facebook app) filled most of GE’s 25,000 openings, about 10 percent of which were executive and senior professional positions. They completed most searches in about 73 days, compared with the average 170 days it takes outside firms. “We still use outside recruiters but only when they’re absolutely required—for confidential searches or very specialized jobs,” says Steven Knox, who heads recruiting at GE for markets outside the U.S. and Europe.
The company’s cost savings have been substantial—close to $100 million last year in search firm fees alone, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly. Even more important, Knox says, GE is able to keep attractive candidates on its radar for future searches and find hires who better fit its culture. Explains Knox: “Our recruiters know what it takes to work here.”