Why Most Recruiters Suck

When I meet with potential clients, the first question I always ask is “Tell me about your previous experience working with recruiters?”

Their answers are almost universally negative, as they relate horror stories of recruiters who advertise only on Craigslist and then forward candidate resumes without interviewing them, of recruiters who edit a resume with false information, and of recruiters whose placed candidates don’t stick around.

Most of my role, as President of Talent Recruiters, Inc., is sharing how we are different.

Victor Lipman, author of the book “The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World,” points out that “Somewhere around 60% or 70% of employees are simply not working as hard as they could be.”

Companies that experience high employee turnover should be firing the managers whose departments experience such turnover, rather than trying to keep backfilling those open positions.

Bad recruiters feed candidate resumes into such departments as if they were meat grinders, and lose professional respect when the new hire is gone within a few weeks, off to a less dysfunctional position elsewhere.

Bad recruiters then become resume-generating automatons, destined for failure and no longer interested in finding the “right fit” for their clients. They hurl resumes like a chef might hurl wet spaghetti against a wall: hoping something sticks.

When working with a recruiter, the fastest way to determine if they are awful is to ask them how long, on average, their candidates stay hired. If they don’t know, move along.

Companies that spend recruiter dollars on hiring a new employee must see a positive ROI on that investment, or they will find another way to source new talent.

Good recruiters who partner with their clients provide excellent ROI.

Mostly, they do the following:

1. They work directly with the hiring manager, ascertaining precisely what the “right fit” will be for the open role. Companies that “protect” hiring managers from talking directly with recruiters provide a layer of potential misdirection and lengthen the hiring process. Nimble companies are rewarded with the best employees, especially in this low-unemployment environment.

2. They act as “snipers,” not “shotgunners.” Your recruiter should provide no more than two resumes for any open position, in order to evaluate the validity of their search parameters. If neither resume is a fit, then the recruiter should quickly modify their search to provide better results.

3. They partner with their clients, not behave like vendors. People aren’t toner cartridges or reams of printer paper. So much of hiring is personality and temperament fit, characteristics which aren’t explained on any job description. Knowing the intangibles that the workplace “family” needs to see in a new hire gives a good recruiter all the tools necessary to nail down that “right fit.”

4. They follow up after the hire to ensure that the new employee is settling into their role without problems. It’s mind-boggling how often new employees are confused about what is expected of them, despite having endured successful interviews and making it through the final selection process. A good recruiter will check in periodically during the first year to catch small problems before they snowball into big ones.

So, if you are actively trying to fill open positions in your company, dig down into your recruiter’s track record and hold them to a higher standard.

The difference is breath-taking.

Lou Berger is the President of Talent Recruiters, Inc. and an active recruiter. He is available for presentations and public speaking engagements, and welcomes new clients who are interested in an active partnership. He can be reached at Lou@TalentRecruiters.net or by phone at 303.539.9350.

Lou Berger

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