Nov 272012

If you’re a hiring manager who has worked with the model recruiter that is “broker” who merely fields resumes of active job seekers – take care not to paint the entire category with the same brush.

Find a recruiter with a specialty in your profession who is not working with low-hanging fruit by way of merely handling job hunters or posting open positions. Ask them how they work. True headhunters diligently seek out talent on behalf of their clients. They make those first time contacts with talent busy in their industry and on the job – not posting resumes on job boards.

Good recruiters are not interested in dealing with a manager, HR person, or in-house recruiter who will not be responsive to their efforts in a timely manner. Nor will they waste your time. Long-term relationships, not single transactions, are very important to quality third-party recruitment firms. When you find such a firm, do not handle them like a casual vendor. They’ll cut you. That is, they’ll cut you from their client roster. And if you’re not a client, you’re a source. Good headhunters drop bad partnerships all the time. Because some hirers will somehow not understand the work being done on their behalf, and so

  • are slow  to respond to introductions
  • lack follow-through (it’s expensive for recruiters to start anew when candidates lose interest – the process must have momentum)
  • hire their candidate down the road and ignore the source (“Recruiter ownership” time lapsed.” What? You just told them their work has no value because a few months passed. Are you really going to lose a good recruiter on a technicality?)

Top drawer recruiters (we believe “recruit” is a verb) find quality candidates by going to trade publications and organization rosters, by referral etc. These recruiters’ client contacts are often C-level participants who pick up the phone to discuss the assignment with them and stay on top of the process. Those clients appreciate the working partnership and understand their recruiters invest the time it takes to do the tough sourcing, have years of practice at qualifying, and  have developed a vast network of industry talent they can tap for referrals.

Abuse these relationships and find yourself at the mercy of lazy “recruiters” that churn out has-beens, wannabes and job hoppers with the hope a few will stick – not the way to get successful fills of course. Unfortunately, contingency recruiters all have to find out the hard way which companies (those who believe we just pull resumes out of drawers) will not become long-term clients. They ask us to engage and agree to terms, yet disappear for weeks when great effort to comb the market on their behalf and qualified introductions have been made. They mistakenly believe the recruiter has breezily swept a candidate from a shelf in the storage room maybe – and can go back for another any time. Not the case of course. If that individual is not available when the client response, the process begins anew. But guess what? The recruiter has lost interest in you, your search, and your company.

By all means, if that candidate you hired was in your system because of a recruiter’s effort and introduction along the way, pay for their work. How is there no value to the work because a few months passed? At Witzig, we count on our clients’ basic integrity. And we never work job boards. Ever.


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