Five Ways in which IT Recruiters are Killing Your Bonuses


Five Ways in which IT Recruiters are Killing Your Bonuses

By Lou J Berger, CPC

If you are working in Information Technology and you supervise IT employees, then this article is written for you:Five Ways in which IT Recruiters are Killing Your Bonuses


1. Recruiters aren’t technically savvy.

Most recruiters have no formal training in Information Technology and have never programmed a single line of code. Yet you call upon them to help you find your next .NET or Java developer, perhaps a Sharepoint Developer, even a CIO or CTO.

Why would you trust a non-technical recruiter, somebody skilled in the art of selling, to recommend a new employee?

You rely on a recruiter’s “people skills” to overcome his lack of technological savvy, assuming that you will be able to screen through the resumes given to you to help determine if the candidate has the chops for the job. But, and remember this, aren’t you paying a recruiter to screen candidates on your behalf? Why would you pay a recruiter’s fees and then screen through a dozen resumes?

Isn’t that the recruiter’s job?

A good recruiter should have a technical background in order to recruit technical people. Using a non-technical recruiter is like asking a professional baseball player to recommend a mechanic.

2. Recruiters focus on keywords, not on the “fit” that your team needs.

Most recruiters don’t have the ability to tell when a candidate really understands the technology and when a candidate is faking it. If a recruiter working on your behalf doesn’t understand the technology required for your open position, how can you be sure that your new hire was properly vetted? A bad hire can cost, when you calculate the costs involved, over $100,000!

When you add up screening the new hire, the interview process, training, having HR onboard the new hire, and the loss in production while the new hire is brought up to speed (over ninety days or more, usually, before the decision is made to cut them loose), the costs can be staggering! A good recruiter should take the time to interview the team prior to submitting candidate resumes, to help determine what kinds of personality traits are vital to achieving the right fit.

3. Recruiters rarely give you their best candidates.

Most recruiters are working against a time crunch, since top-quality candidates have very short shelf lives. Imagine a rare painting coming up for sale at a flea market, mixed in with hundreds of other paintings of average quality. A savvy buyer (you are one, right?) will pick through the hundreds of paintings searching for that gem, that diamond in the rough.  Speed is vital for this process.

When a smart IT manager sees a top-quality candidate’s resume in her pile of submissions, she will move quickly to secure an interview, knowing that if she doesn’t, the candidate will be snapped up by a competitor. If your company’s internal hiring policies are stodgy and slow, with many steps in the hiring process, it is a fair bet that your existing recruiter pool will never send their best candidates your way. They simply can’t afford to have a candidate who is worth gold to languish in your hiring process.  It takes too long and no candidate ever works with only one recruiter. The faster company will “win”.

It is one of the great unspoken truths in the world of recruiting:  Time kills all deals.

If a nimble company with a fast-track hiring process puts out a call for a senior .NET developer, that company will get the very best candidates available, simply because the recruiter knows that he or she will be rewarded with a fast hire if the candidate is the right fit. Companies that are slow to hire will only get candidates who are average at best, since those candidates aren’t in danger of being snapped up quickly. A recruiter can afford to wait with poorer candidates.

4. Recruiters don’t understand your company.

How many times has your recruiter come onsite to visit you, in your office, to see how you work, what is on your desk, where your employees sit?

A recruiter tasked with finding a Java Developer may be handed a job description from your HR department that is, essentially, identical to the job description used by your competition. How is a recruiter who has never seen the inside of your company going to possibly be any good at understanding the position you are trying to fill? With luck, you’ll be presented with a decent candidate with a good job history and experience in the technologies you are searching for, but they won’t necessarily be the right fit for your particular company.

If you are leading a young, dynamic team of Internet-savvy developers who work flex hours and sometimes don’t come in until noon (but work into the night to offset the late start), how will a more traditional 9-to-5-type developer (with family obligations and limited hours of availability) mesh with your existing team?

How about the reverse situation?

A good recruiter will spend the time necessary, at your office, to understand the individual dynamics of you and your company, thereby insuring that he gives you the right fit with the very first presented resume, saving you time and unnecessary screening.

5. Recruiters act like vendors, not partners.

If your recruiters are bundled into a “Vendor Management System” because HR wants to “protect” you from being annoyed by recruiters, how much quality information can that recruiter get when it comes to understanding your particular needs?  If you treat your recruiting partners as vendors, holding them at arm’s length and depending on HR to make decisions in your best interest, how can they do an effective job? How often have you met a technically savvy HR person who has the time to dedicate to a full-time search?  HR personnel are constantly being pulled in different directions and, let’s face it, most aren’t any good at recruiting.

The best recruiters will frequently reach out to you directly and try to skip the process of being approved by HR. A good recruiter counts on her ability to understand a hiring manager’s unspoken needs, probe with insightful questions on the things that she doesn’t understand, and go out into her network of potential candidates to specifically find the right “fit”. If a recruiter is relegated to a system that “manages” the introduction of candidates to your company through a layer of abstraction, the good recruiters will walk away, searching for an opportunity to partner with your competition.  We recruiters only go where we have a decent chance of success.

There you have them, the five ways in which most IT recruiters kill your bonuses.

The 80/20 rule holds true, even in the recruiting world.  The top 20% of recruiters earn 80% of the placements, simply because they focus on specific clients who offer them the best chances of success.

When you are approached by a recruiter, ask her when she will come visit your office, how she implements her own personal technical savvy in screening potential new hires for your team, and what her process is for determining the right fit. If you are met with a blank stare, move on to a better recruiter.

Lou Berger is a Senior Recruiter at Talent Recruiters, Inc.  He has a Master’s Degree in Computer Information Technology from Regis University in Denver, Colorado and spent six years as a production-level software developer.  He loves meeting new clients and finding just the right fit for his candidates.He can be reached at 303.539.9350 or via email at Lou@TalentRecruiters.net.


Lou Berger

One Comment

  1. Lou,

    I enjoyed the article and I am passing it along. Thanks for the wake up call. Let’s see if we can shake things up.

    Jim Fuller

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