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Is your recruiting firm a trusted advisor or just a commodity?

Exceptional recruiting should bring value to the customer and the candidate. A great recruiter should remove their ego and their personal goals from the hiring equation. It is the irony of service that by focusing on the needs of others, the recruiter gains greater personal success by moving from sales person to trusted advisor – earning long-term relationships that lead to a lifetime of friendships and monetary success.

Unfortunately, not all companies allow a recruiting firm to deliver exceptional customer service. For example, recently a large company contacted Accountants One (along with several other recruiting firms) in regards to a search for an Accounting Professional. An HR Associate from this potential customer called to give us the specifications for the role. But in order to work on the job order, we were required to adhere to the following guidelines:

1)      Send as many resumes to the hiring manager as quickly as possible.

2)      In cases where the same candidate is presented by competing recruiting firms, the recruiting firm that presented the candidate first will be entitled to the fee.

3)      If a resume is submitted by the recruiter, and the hiring manager deems the candidate a potential fit, then the hiring manager will call the recruiter to set up an interview – otherwise, no feedback will be provided.

4)      After the candidate is interviewed and the company has decided to hire, then the company will determine the compensation to be offered.

Upon being presented this list of guidelines I put in a call to the Director of HR asking if we could have a face-to-face discussion. They declined. I got the feeling that as a recruiter (even though they had never met me) I was viewed as a “bad used car salesmen.” Unfortunately they did not allow me to challenge their perception, and we passed on the opportunity to work with the client.

I believe that each of these 4 guidelines actually diminishes the chances of engaging a quality requiting firm in an effective search. Therefore, I’d like to challenge each of the four areas that the company asked us to adhere to in taking the job order. I hope to show that each of these requirements is an attempt to commoditize talent acquisition, and that such an approach decreases the value that a company can derive from a recruiter.

Let’s examine this list of guidelines

Guideline #1) Send as many resumes to the hiring manager as quickly as possible.

 

Implications of implementing the guideline:

Great recruiters don’t ask a hiring manager to evaluate a stack of resumes. They send 2 to 4 resumes that fit the technical job descriptions as well as being a good personality fit. Once a recruiter and a hiring manage have established a good relationship, the manager should be able to interview 2 or 3 candidates in order to make a great hire.

 

The screening process of a recruiting firm is one way to bring value – by saving time in the hiring process a company can focus on their core objectives. In order to bring maximum value the quality recruiting firm uses many different sources to recruit, qualify and pre-close the candidate. By sending qualified candidates, the hiring manager can focus exclusively on personality fit.

 

When recruiting becomes a race, the recruiter (or recruiting team) cannot focus on quality. The recruiter must become a salesperson at the risk of loosing the race to another firm who might concentrate on superficial attributes instead of working to make a quality match. So, by focusing on quantity and speed, the hiring manager actually diminishes their chance of hiring an exceptional candidate.

 

Guideline #2) In cases where the same candidate is presented by competing recruiting firms, the recruiting firm that presented the candidate first will be entitled to the fee.

 

Implications of implementing the guideline:

First, note that there is no law that states that the recruiting firm that sends a resume first is entitled to a fee. The problem with this guideline is that it can run counter to incentiving effective recruiting – awarding bulk presentations to focused delivery of qualified candidates. Shouldn’t recruiting be sharp shooting instead of a shotgun approach?

 

This guideline can negatively impact a recruiter who is pouring his or her time and energy into a search. By carefully screening a candidate – including reference checks, behavioral interviewing, and technical skill investigation, the recruiter could find that he or she has been trumped by another recruiter who simply pulled the same candidate’s resume off a job board. In fact, we have even seen candidates who had no idea they were being submitted by another firm. Why should aggressive and reckless behavior (at the loss of quality) be awarded by your company?

 

Guideline #3) If a resume is submitted by the recruiter, and the hiring manager deems the candidate a potential fit, then the hiring manager will call the recruiter to set up an interview – otherwise, no feedback will be provided

 

Implications of implementing  the guideline:

We believe that the client / recruiter relationship should be one of mutual respect in order for the company to derive maximum ROI. If a recruiter is unable to gain feedback from a candidate submittal, then the relationship will not grow. A great recruiter should constantly be learning what fits and what doesn’t fit into your organization. By providing feedback, a manager is investing in a relationship.

 

When a manager makes the decision to provide feedback only on potential candidates, then the company looses the opportunity of recruiter development. People learn more from mistakes then they do successes. By using the “non-fit” as a point of dialog the hiring manager is investing in a long-term relationship that will lead to a recruiter who knows exactly what a manager expects in a candidate.

 

Guideline #4) After the candidate is interviewed and the company has decided to hire, then the company will determine the compensation to be offered.

 

Implications of implementing the guideline:

The easiest area to evaluate a recruiter’s effectiveness in terms of return on investment comes in the offer stage. A great recruiter should be able to tell the hiring manager exactly how much money they will need to spend in order to hire the candidate – and not a dime more. Unfortunately there are recruiters out there that will try to increase the salary of the candidate in order to increase the fee due. The quality recruiter should be a partner in helping find the exact salary to bring on a motivated employee.

 

Recruiting firms see hundreds or even thousands of hires every year. A quality recruiting firm should be leveraged to help your company save money by being a trusted advisor. If your recruiter can’t be trusted with salary negotiations, then I would advise partnering with a different firm.

Each of these 4 guidelines is part of a trend that I see in working with Recruiting Firms. Companies are trying to commoditize hiring by putting guidelines like the 4 I have outlined here. Unfortunately, great hiring can not be commoditized. So the result of this attempt is more mishires that in the end leads to decreases in profitability.

It is ironic that in attempt to save Recruiting fees, companies are becoming less competitive through utilizing recruiters who are willing to cut corners for the sake of their fee. Unfortunately, this approach breeds an environment where sales savvy becomes more important than recruiting excellence.

At Accountants One we refuse to follow in the footsteps of so many recruiting firms. We work to become a trusted advisor, demanding value from the services we provide.


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