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Dear Agency Recruiter …

by Nov 3, 2011, 5:11 am ET

… the last two candidates you have sent me are terrible! The agreement you sent me prior to engaging in this search requires me to pay you 25% of the individual’s first-year salary if I hire one of your presented candidates. In my case, that would be in the neighborhood of $17,000, which is a good sum of money.

I am feeling a little confused at the moment, as I was under the impression that you are to provide me the top 1% of talent available in the field of which I am seeking talent. Or, at least that is what you told me in your initial presentation of why we should use you.

Instead I opened both of the resumes you have sent me this morning, only to find the first individual, who has already applied to this position no less than eight times and we have already rejected, and the second individual has changed jobs more times in the past fiv years than runway models change outfits; am I to think this individual will stay with us any amount of time to learn our business and be a strong contributor?

When I signed up for this “executive search/recruiting” service, I was under the impression that you were going to bring me the best of the best, a game changer or an “A” player who can bring significant value and contributions to my business unit. But all I see here are average professionals and not the caliber that warrants me paying you $17,000.

I know it’s your business on how you operate, but I feel as if I need to share some suggestions for you and for what I really need in a search partner…

  • Executive search is a science that requires patience. You don’t have to fire me every resume in the city on day one of the position being open. Take your time and bring me your top 3-4 high quality individuals from which I can make a selection.
  • How do you know what I really need? All you asked for was a job description. You never once asked me what was/is important, what the key functions to be performed are, the type of individual that will fit in our group, why someone should take a job here, etc.
  • Quality means quality. If you are asking me to pay you 25% of one’s first-year salary, this person better be worth my investment.
  • Please follow up with me — after you sent me 20+ non-qualified resumes on day one, it was almost two weeks since I heard from you. I wasn’t sure if you were still engaged on my search or if I was to even expect another resume.
  • Don’t circumvent the process. We started working together on Day 1 and next thing I know you are pinging my boss with other candidates and topics. This makes me look bad.

Hope these few pointers help you in the future, but at this time we are going to take this search in house and handle it ourselves.

Good luck,

Mr. Hiring Manager

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • arthur dealey

    So in other words Morgan I am right. One of the things that skilled interviewers do is to look behind what is presented to them, and even a low level recruiter like myself can sometimes grasp this concept. There is a “righteous” presumption about what you say revealed by the fact that you choose to say it in public. Your post reveals more about you than it does about dodgy recruitment agencies – anyway back to spamming.

  • arthur dealey

    And Morgan recruiters are paid to get the most suitable worker for the job at the time. Only headhunters are tasked with finding the best.

  • Jerry Miller

    Part of the challenge of working with contingency firms is that knowing they might be in competition with other firms they try to get there firstest with the mostest. Unfortunately, because of the desire to win the date stamp battle with their competitors some firms sacrifice quality for speed of response.

  • Ellen Grieve

    Thank you Morgan, I received a response and really was not expecting one.
    My largest problem with agencies (as the one I work through) we become just a body to fill a position. The company I am currently under has two sides of their house as I put it. One side is office and professional where the other side is factory labor. I started in the office side and somehow ended up being in the labor side. Two years later, the office side has nothing for me.
    I stay under that company because by changing companies yet again puts another company on my resume. I search every where I can try in seeking a job, and catch much gruff from friends due to not going for holiday work – also another job on the resume. More jobs on that resume means the faster I go into the not hire file.
    It can be a vicious circle. A freshly graduated high schooler with low grades, no work ethics built yet, no clue of how they can actually make things better, one that is still dating and wanting to start a family – those inexperienced workers will be hired over myself and many others – we are older, have brains, work ethics, not out looking to marry and make life wonderful – many of us find the physical labor which we could do is no longer what our physical bodies will allow us to do. Bodies age, lifting a 40 pound bag of manure becomes a struggle. So the desire to work, to life a full life, means one needs to return to the office skills which they knew in the past. But where we older are possibly rusty on the computer, the young high school graduate is sharp as nails on a computer. Yet, many of us women out here in the real world were once married and supported our husbands to reach the level of work skills which they aquired, have found ourselves with out that marriage we worked so long and hard on only to find that the world of employment agencies and hire authorities find us “unplacable”.
    Vicious circle.
    But, Thank You dearly Morgan for talking with me.

  • steve Odell

    @Ellen- I suggest you find work where ever you can with whichever agency you can. It sounds as if you are looking at contract positions vs permanent/direct hire positions. Most companies/agencies will realize that folks do that from time to time. You don’t need to list EVERY assignment on your resume. You can lump the short stay positions together and say “Various contract/part time assignments” and some times say “such as” and you may list some companies. Most will understand and won’t view as as a negative. Good luck on your search.