Receive daily articles & headlines each day in your inbox with your free ERE Daily Subscription.

Not logged in. [log in or register]

Why Some Recruiters Will Almost Always Be a Success

by
Carol Schultz
Jan 24, 2013, 5:02 am ET

photo.jpgThere is nothing like a good controversy to stir up one’s feelings and subsequently a fierce debate. One of my favorite things about reading articles on ERE is how some of its contributors have a wonderful ability to write articles that generate comments a mile long because of controversial subjects covered. We were barely into 2013 when Adrian Kinnersley wrote an article entitled, “Why LinkedIn will never kill the professional recruitment industry,” which was very on point.

People are so polarized around this issue, but the comments section was what really made it an interesting read for me. If I didn’t know better I would have expected a fistfight to break out. One commenter even suggested that commission-only salespeople are unable to provide independent advice to candidates, and candidates know this. This inspired me to pick up my pen (figuratively, that is) and write, which I haven’t done lately.

The Demise of the Agency Recruiter

First off, great agency recruiters won’t go away until they want to, even though there has been so much talk about their longevity. It started back in the olden days (the mid 1990s) when the Internet was still in its infancy. Companies like Monster, Career Builder, and Yahoo HotJobs came on the market and tried to convince everyone they were a panacea to recruiting. In my opinion they were and are nothing more than prettied up classified ads. Many people said companies would no longer need to use agency recruiters.

Didn’t happen

Next, companies began ramping up their internal recruiting staffs and it was predicted that companies would no longer need to use agency recruiters.

Didn’t happen

Then LinkedIn became more and more popular, and powerful, and many people said it would put agency recruiters out of business (people are still saying it) because now potential candidates are all over LinkedIn and recruiters would need to have a better value proposition.

Hasn’t happened … and I predict it never will.

Get the picture?

Independent advice: An oxymoron?

The comment about commission-only salespeople and its relationship to independent advice seems to target contingent recruiters since, by and large, they work on commission, but I’m asserting that it is valid for retained and corporate recruiters as well. No recruiter, whether agency or corporate, is able to provide totally independent advice.

Why not?

Contingent recruiters get paid only if they close a deal. Retained recruiters are on commission too even though they are paid part of their commission up front.  This means they have clients to answer to. Corporate recruiters have job openings they are responsible for filling.

Let’s look at the definition of the words “independent” and “advice”:

Independent: not requiring or relying on something

Advice: recommendation regarding a decision or course of conduct

When these words are combined, they don’t make much sense. How can a recruiter make a recommendation to a candidate that doesn’t require or rely on something? We all have opinions and ideas that shape us, and consequently the advice we provide, about how things should go; hence, we can’t be completely impartial.

All recruiters have certain pressures to close deals, and these pressures impact how they interact with candidates, clients, and employers; the bottom line is that the best and most successful recruiters work very hard to be impartial.

Qualities of a Successful Recruiter

The most successful recruiters are part salesman, career counselor, consultant, advisor, fact finder, archaeologist, and “shrink.” They are balanced in their advice. They present both sides of the story, ask candidates a multitude of questions geared directly toward their professional needs and wants, and work to build relationships based on trust with candidates. This is something that takes time and commitment.

When I was still in my recruiting practice full time, I got calls all the time from candidates requesting advice. Sometimes I was representing them in one or more of the opportunities they were exploring, and sometimes none of them. They called to discuss all the opportunities with me because they trusted the counsel I provided.

I called an old friend in New Jersey to discuss the idea of recruiters providing independent advice. He does only contingent search, has been in practice since 1985, and is very successful. He has built his practice upon all the items I mention above. Sometimes he wins deals. Sometimes he doesn’t. He is a very trusted source to his candidates. He doesn’t lie about opportunities. He presents both sides of issues.

In speaking with some corporate recruiters and recruiting leaders, they also confirmed my assertions on what makes a successful recruiter. The best corporate recruiters also follow these principles.

The Tasks of a Successful Recruiter

There are a number of regular practices that make recruiters successful. It’s not a mystery. It’s just a matter of following some basic principles and work habits.

Sometimes I’d find myself struggling in my early years in Search. I’d sit down with my boss to get his advice and I’ll never forget his wise words, “Go back to your basics.” It always proved successful.

The basics:

  1. Sourcing: Sourcing is not just trolling LinkedIn and other online sites to find names. It’s picking up the phone and “pirating.” It’s looking online in creative ways. It’s looking through your database. It’s networking.
  2. Turning names into conversations: Once you have names, you must get them to engage in conversation, and you  better know how to speak to them. If you are calling people who get flooded with recruiter calls and emails, you need an effective strategy to get them to return your calls/emails.
  3. Turn conversations into candidates: Now that you have gotten someone on the phone you need to determine if he is a potential fit for the organization and job. Do you want him to interview? Remember the first rule of Sales 101; Ask questions about their needs and wants and show them how you can help. You may be interested in him, but he may not be interested in you.
  4. Interview preparation: Be sure the candidate knows who he is interviewing with, what the job expectations are, how long/how many interviews will be taking place, and what the entire process may look like.  Set proper expectations of the interview process.
  5. Stay in communication: Be sure you provide interview feedback in a timely manner and communicate next steps. Keeping a candidate in the dark will not elicit good will.
  6. Hold their hand: Spending time answering questions and dealing with concerns. Don’t avoid difficult conversations. This “high-touch” interaction will enable a candidate to trust you. Trust is crucial to outcome.
  7. Qualify: Qualify the candidate throughout the process. Is there a possibility of a counteroffer from the current employer? Will any red flags show up in reference or background checks? Ensure the candidate will accept the offer or keep negotiating until you have agreement. If you don’t feel the candidate is going to accept, find out why. Can you or the hiring manager handle the objection? Don’t be caught with your pants down.
  8. Follow up: After the offer is signed, place a call or send a note to the candidate congratulating him on joining the company. Tell him how excited you are to have him joining the team. This little act will go a long way.
  9. Onboarding: Ensure the candidate is onboarded effectively. Walk him through the process and make sure he knows what to expect for the first 30-90 days of employment. Let him know that you are available to answer questions, or refer him to the person who can help if you can’t.

Moral of the Story

Quality recruiters will always have work, whether they work for an agency or inside a company. Why? Because job boards,and online “databases” like LinkedIn are unable to replace them. There are just too many skills required of a quality recruiter, and it’s these skills that take years to develop. Great recruiters don’t take short cuts because short cuts don’t work. They consistently practice the basics that made them successful in the first place.

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.

  • Alex de Soto

    Brava!

  • http://www.techtrak.com Maureen Sharib

    I’m reminded in your post by my ever-continuing surprise that the departments of commerce in different states don’t stick their noses into this “agency” concept that exists in recruiting.

    I always recognize the close similarities recruiting holds to real estate and am continually surprised (I already said that) that some governmental agency hasn’t committed incursion into the fiefdom known as recruiting.

    Goodness knows there’s money to be made – big money – in regulation of the industry (those licensing “fees” and educational requirement costs add up!)

    Maybe it’s the human in the concept of capital vs “real” capital (already-produced durable goods that are used in production of goods or services) but I don’t see some sort of regulation as being unforeseeable.

    This concept extends to job boards and social media in the sense they are “selling” something; hence – impartiality extends to them as well. The public is more and more “getting this”; albeit subtly but the message is coming across.

    As social media and job boards blur into “dating” sight mentalities (has anyone noticed lately all the cleavage on the right side of the screen in the “also viewed” sections? If not – you’re in for a treat if that’s what floats your boats!) their “believability” becomes diminished.

    Rayanne Thorn wrote a timely piece on this yesterday – http://tinyurl.com/bgajd8u – about online networking “crossing lines.”

    “Quality recruiters will always have work, whether they work for an agency or inside a company. Why? Because job boards,and online “databases” like LinkedIn are unable to replace them. There are just too many skills required of a quality recruiter, and it’s these skills that take years to develop. Great recruiters don’t take short cuts because short cuts don’t work. They consistently practice the basics that made them successful in the first place.”

    Your words herald the reality of what it means to be “human” today and the quality of our work is what we can count on – each and every time – to set ourselves apart in the madding world.

    When everyone’s doing something one way you’d better be able to do something another!

    It’s come to that, I believe, in this mad, mad world of online “oneness.”

  • Doug Cohen

    I enjoyed the article and I agree after seventeen years of recruiting, I still go back to basics when I can. I have watched our industry change and I find there are many inexperienced recruiters in the market and are not being taught how to work with candidates.
    I have worked with agency’s over the years, with vast number of them out there, there are only two I will work with because of they listen to what I need and not just send me paper.
    I think if certain recruiters stop worrying about making the metrics, (both internal/external) and commissions-then you would see a higher quality recruiter emerge.

  • Howard Adamsky

    Hot Damn! I have a new hero and her name is Carol Schultz!

    Bravo indeed.

  • http://www.techtrak.com Maureen Sharib

    Here’s an example of social media getting just too familiar and is what will take it down:
    http://tinyurl.com/avtbwv3

    Boundaries, people. Boundaries. They’re important.

  • Howard Adamsky

    You might be right Maureen but we come from a different world. There is an essential humanity that is lacking today. An erosion of what it means to connect and to be human and to understand privacy and boundaries.

    As an example, someday soon the concept of privacy will be seen as quaint and charming but long time gone. The sad part is not that it privacy is disappearing. The sad part is that few people care and even less feel the pain of its disappearance.

    As far as boundaries go, don’t even get me started.

  • http://www.scopegroupdc.com Mark Batenchuk

    Carol,

    Thanks for the article. This piece and specifically, “The Tasks of a Successful Recruiter” paragraphs, will become required reading for my Jr. Recruiters!

  • Ryan Stowell

    I’m with you on that one Howard. Great article Carol. Getting back to the basics is overlooked A LOT. I think of Vince Lombardi on con calls talking to the team letting them know ole’ Vince’s approach he took with his teams and the game. He would bring the team out to the field and proceed to tell these sports veterans: “This is a football. This is a football field that is 100 yards long. Your goal is to take this ball and run it down the field towards the opposing team in order to get this ball into their end zone.” To which the entire team would look at him like he was crazy. “Coach. We already know that?!” And he would reply, “I know. But you need to hear it again.” He did this with every team at the beginning of every year…and won a lot if I remember.

  • Rich Deakmann

    Well written and completely accurate ! Great job Carol !

    As far as “government regulation” is concerned – let’s not give them any idea’s!! From now on the word “regulation” should be stricken from the record and hence NEVER be spoken again !!!!

  • Pat Martin

    Excellent article Carol!

    I always enjoy it when candidates tell me “you aren’t like other headhunters”. When I ask why they say it is because I take the time to get to know them and they feel comfortable with me like I am a friend. That is always a big part of my goal with my candidates and clients.

    We are in the human resources industry, yet the metrics of our industry make many forget that what we do has a profound effect on the lives of others, candidates, families, and the the people in the companies where we place people. Do I sell the company? Yes, but I also tell the candidate what the company culture is like. I give them the good, the bad and the ugly so they can go into the process with eyes wide open.
    I know that the decision has to be right for everyone involved or it doesn’t work. I place both contract and direct hire people and my motto for those placements is “happy contractors make happy clients”. I go the extra mile to be available for my contractors. With direct hires I remember that today’s placement is tomorrows hiring manager. Repeat business is the key to my success. Treat people with kindness, compassion and respect and you’ll get repeat business and candidate referrals.

  • http://www.jpkreiss.com John Kreiss

    Recruiting is about relationships. Always has been, and always will be.

  • Keith Halperin

    Thank you, Carol. A good and well-written article. (Got any hints for me?) I think much of what can be said about high-level contingency (30% fee) and corporate ($100k salary) recruiters can be said about the sellers of expensive and luxury goods of all types. While many may want the world-class services these folks provide, most folks don’t need or (more importantly) can AFFORD the very best service. IMSM, Gerry Crispin’s last survey indicated that ~3% of responding large companies’ hires were from 3PRs. While these might be the most important hires in the company, it still isn’t very many.

    ISTM that those who deliver the highest-value service have nothing to fear, accept for an (unlikely) decrease in the willingness of employers to pay for the very best. Also, as long as their are large numbers of employers who are ignorant or unwilling to use efficient and cost-effective alternatives like Maureen’s sourcing, there will be large numbers of agencies employing newbies to dial for dollars for clients willing to pay 15-20% for Monster, CB, DICE or Craigslist candidates.

    Cheers,

    Keith

  • Andre du Preez

    Hi Carol

    Well done, you hit it spot-on in this article. I’ve been in this business for the past sixteen years, it is all about building Trust with our connections, incorporating a “want” in them to reconnect with us on a contineous basis, willingness to take our calls (or get back to us asap they see we tried to phone them up if they are engaged). It is clear that you Love your Profession.

    Kind regards

    Andre du Preez

  • http://thesmokingrecruiter.wordpress.com Bill Barnes

    Spot on! It’s all about having a true consultative relationship with candidates and clients. Placing people in a job they love and excel at is just good business “Karma”.

  • http://www.inboundrecruiter.com Brian Kevin Johnston

    Influence And Persuasion Why TOP Recruiters Continue To Do Well.. Thanks for the reminder Carol.

  • http://www.pjmconsulting.com.au Peter Macdonald

    Sorry to disagree with you Carol. All I hear from your article and from other comments are justifications to convince yourselves that your (our) skills are invaluable and so much greater than can be had by using internal recruiters who use linked-in and job boards.

    I don’t disagree with any of your claims of our superiority, but I don’t need convincing. The CLIENTS need convincing.

    In my experience most corporations don’t get it. So internalising recruitment and RPO’s are a rapidly growing aspect of the industry (at least in OZ). The only noticeable exceptions are governmental agencies, probably because its not their money they are spending!’

    Linked-in is not killing our industry, internalising recruitment is and Linked-in and job boards are the main reason that has been able to happen.

    Many/most larger companies in OZ are happy with the results they get (for the $) in the permanent executive market from corporate recruiters especially in a low vacancy job market.

    Hopefully when we get back (if ever) to a high vacancy, low candidate availability market the recruiters will come back out to play.

  • Keith Halperin

    @ Peter: It sounds like a higher percentage of placements take place through 3PRs in Australia than they do here. I also suspect that there may have been a much higher percentage of 3PR-based hires here in the US than there is now, but I don’t have any *figures.

    Cheers,

    Keith

    *Does anybody have historical figures for 3PR-based hires in the US going back decades? I know Gerry C has figures going back some years, but don’t know how many….

  • http://au.linkedin.com/in/garethrobertsaustralia/ Gareth Roberts

    A good article Carol, thanks for sharing.

  • Martin Snyder

    Very well done piece, as the many positive comments indicate.

    Peter, there is certainly confirmation bias present here, but high-impact decisions (like buying a house or taking a new job) tend to proceed faster and easier with quality, face-to-face communication, and the more data in the universe, the more valued that interaction seems to be.

  • Eric Boardman

    It is rare for me to encounter this level of professional. I am much more use to seeing agencies send out blanket impersonal emails for roles that frequently are completely unsuitable. The impression I receive is that many who now work in this industry are predominantly sales people. When you find a professional recruiter it is like a man with a parched throat in the desert who stumbles upon an oasis.

  • http://www.rgr-uk.com Dyll Davies

    An excellent and to-the-point article! It never fails to amaze me that so many recruiters don’t do the ‘basics’. It is not brain-surgery yet so few seem to understand that these simple things are all we need to do well to be successful and stand out from the crowd. Contrary to those who believe that internet job sites and the increase in in-house recruiters will be the death of the expert agency search recruiter the ‘commoditisation’ of recruitment that has resulted from these changes has highlighted the value of the individual specialist recruiter. We stand out because we treat people differently.

    A client once asked me what my ‘recruitment methodology’ was. I replied, “I ring people up and ask them if they’d like a job. I don’t insult their intelligence, appreciate that it is their time I am potentially wasting and generally just be nice!” This means telling both sides of the story. I would argue that I am less likely to ‘sell’ a candidate into a role because I need my commission than some others – firstly, because I am a decent human being who wouldn’t do this, but secondly, because it is not good business practice. If the candidate leaves I have to pay back my fee and the client is not happy. How am I winning there? As you point out a good recruiter will be honest and want to see good candidates placed in good and appropriate opportunities.

  • http://linkedin.com/in/amandamoore1975/ Amanda Moore

    “The basics” still apply. In my world this means cold calling. The internal recruiters I know are 100% reliant on job postings and messaging through sites like LinkedIn. Today’s new generation of 3rd party recruiters have even strayed from picking up the phone until someone shows interest. I utilize sites like LinkedIn for sourcing, but I do not wait around for someone to answer an InMail. I identify the person I want to talk to, look up their phone number and call them. If you deliver a relevant and intelligent message, even if the person on the other end of the phone is not interested, you have developed a new contact and will most likely get a referral. Funny story – I placed a cold call to a person at their home last week and this person demanded to know how I got their home telephone number. I replied “the phone book”. The point to all of this – if you are a recruiter and you combine old school recruiting practices with new age tools you will always have work. Fortunately for me (in my experience) most recruiters do not remember what recruiting was like before LinkedIn.

  • John Miraglia

    Carol is right that external (or for that matter corporate) recruiters are not going away but not because they are necessary part of talent acquisition process. It’s because of poor talent management in organizations and poor to non-existent career planning on the part of people.

    As to “independent advice” from recruiters, the funniest/saddest thing I hear from candidates is that they need to talk with “their” recruiter. As if the recruiter was working for them. In reality third party recruiters neither work for the candidate nor the organization who’s paying them. They’re working for themselves.

  • http://www.jpkreiss.com John Kreiss

    Amanda is right. Many corporate recruiters, in my opinion, have so many job requisitions, they don’t have time to directly appreach candidates via cold calling.

    Some prospects will not be found through job boards, and will not reply to electronic solicitations. Many of them, will however, listen when approached directly by a recruiter.

    It’s hard. It’s time consuming, but if often produces the best candidates.

  • Gareth Cooper

    Good Points Carol.
    Recruiting done right will always be an art; using recruiting technology to recruit is a skill and I am tired of hearing the argument that social media will get rid of independent recruiters. It is flawed but makes for a great debate.
    If that be true then it is all about the conversion process from prospect to placement/hire.
    I would say prospecting accounts for 10-20% of the job and social media including LinkedIn does an awesome job for prospecting but thereafter its value/prospect plummets.
    Until someone can demonstrate further real quantitative value from recruiting technology, I am led to believe that the remaining 80% of the work until the deal is closed is down to real talent and skill developed over a long time and spoken about in this article by Carol. If this be true then social media is a great enabler for 3rd party recruiters to focus more time on what is more important (the remaining 80%).
    Social media will not replace staffing companies, if anything it could finally start to de-fragment the industry as a whole while making great recruiters stand out even more and getting the credit they deserve.

  • Keith Halperin

    @ Dyll, Amanda, & John K: IMHO, the lack of “cold calling” is not the main problem, as “cold calling” is telemarketing. Get a list of phone numbers of potential candidates, get a skilled & trained appointment generator equipped with an automatic dialer, and crank out the 200 calls/day!

    The problem (as I see it) is there are too many 2nd-rate employers trying to fill 3rd-rate jobs with 1st-rate candidates, who get flooded with emails, calls, tweets, etc. by hordes of recruiters with NOTHING SPECIAL TO OFFER THEM.

    Here’s my “Wanna Date a Supermodel” analogy again:
    Let’s say you are a single, available, straight (wo)man looking to date, and on an overall evaluation scale, you’re an 8/10. You and 300,000 other single, straight, available (wo)men have complete backgrounds and direct contact information on all the supermodels in the world. You’re an 8/10, but what do you think the chances are that ANY of the supermodels would go out with you, no matter how quickly, frequently, or pleasantly you contacted them?

    There’s another way around this, but it isn’t pleasant and probably won’t be done:
    Instead of going after the people you want who won’t work for you (because really: YOU, YOUR COMPANY, AND YOUR JOBS JUST AREN’T SPECIAL ENOUGH TO GET THE “SUPERMODELS”) you figure out who you reasonably CAN get and go after them, because they’ll do well enough to get the job done. If your company needs to be filled with “supermodel” employees to succeed, you’re in a pretty precarious situation- maybe you should try another type of business…

    @ John M: my sentiments exactly.

    @ Gareth: “it could finally start to de-fragment the industry as a whole while making great recruiters stand out even more and getting the credit they deserve.’” If any techniques or technology makes the actual recruiting easier, it will lower the bar for entry in to recruiting, and increasing the number of people who claim/wannabe/think they are recruiters, and make it more difficult for the true professionals to separate themselves from the others. That’s why I welcome all the new things which radically reduces the cost of most recruiting services, and leaving the high-value add activities for us to do…

    Cheers,

    Keith

  • Gareth Cooper

    Keith what bar – there is no bar of entry – my grandmother can stake a claim to fame as a recruiter right now. I agree all LinkedIn will do is flood the market with hordes of “sourcers”. However it will also kill the mom and pop shops and the used car salesman approach that has dogged the industry’s image for years.

    I anticipate a gradual sifting process in the industry and as the industry is forced to evolve, it surely must be survival of the fittest with all the new technology at our fingertips.

    The industry as a whole needs a makeover and quickly and I cannot think of anything more influential than the new approaches to technology. For that reason I think LinkedIn is doing good recruiters a favor in some respects.

  • Lauren Brewer

    This is a great post, and I am enjoying the conversation indeed! In my experience, there have been Companies who have sought out Recruiters for assistance, only to have no positive response to their needs, a high price paid for sub-par Candidates, no follow through, and a multitude of other issues. This has made the “job” of recruiting a much more difficult career choice. For those of us who have worked many years in the Industry in which we actually recruit for, it’s easy to see that anyone seeking to be a “Recruiter” who holds the mentality that it’s “easy” will certainly crash and burn. Getting back to basics is what it takes…every DAY! Call…call….call! I work on both contigency as well as retained basis, and my clients know that when I send them a Candidate, that person will line up to what they are seeking. It’s a matter of really hearing what that client’s needs are.
    The relationships I have built, I have continued to maintain. Let’s be honest, integrity, Industry knowledge, ability to carry on an intelligent conversation, being fully aware that there are times when you are going to deal with rejection, and still getting up every day to pick up that phone and talk to people, THIS is what “Recruiting” is! Companies will continue to use the Recruiters who “work” for them…and offer what they are seeking. Corporations of any size are dealing with a significant amount of resumes daily due to the market, and the use of outside Recruiters allows them to keep up with their daily seat work, and not have to wade through the unqualified Candidates. I only get paid when I produce, so therefore, I’m not really a risk, I become an asset!

  • Karl Zeigler

    Great article. Great recruiters will always be in demand. No websites, processes or procedures will ever take the place of an effective recruiter. A God recruiter garners the trust of candidates with truth & honesty. Candidates and hiring officials alike refer others to good recruiters. Good recruiters are willing to offer sound advice to people (advice they may profit from) because they realize that the race is a marathon, not a sprint. That is, advice that leads to a fee, but does not place their candidates or clients interests first is a bad move in the long term.

  • Keith Halperin

    @ Gareth: Well said.At the same time: if you want “the survival of the fittest” for recruiters, all you need is a continuing period of high unemployment, sort of like we’re in now. ” I cannot think of anything more influential than the new approaches to technology.” I can- a thoroughgoing attempt to create a fact-based set of Generally Accepted Recruiting Practices (GARPs) so employers and recruiters will know what to do or at least what NOT to do…

    @ Lauren: You provide a clear value to employers; a hell of a lot of contingency recruiters don’t.
    Employers don’t need 3PRs to go through a lot of resumes- they need them to get folks who’d never talk to the employer to talk to them and accept offers that they otherwise wouldn’t accept.

    @ Karl and @ Everybody: How about we just agree that we’ll continue to need great 3PR recruiters (who should make at least 30%) for the foreseeable future, and that we’ll continue to have crappy 3PR recruiters as long as there are lots of employers too cheap, lazy, or ignorant of better and more cost-effective alternatives? Furthermore, I suggest we also agree that *the vast majority of hires won’t require a 3PR to be effectively performed, and **the vast majority of candidates won’t ever be approached (let alone placed) by a 3PR.

    Cheers,

    Keith

    *See Gerry C’s figures.
    ** I bet we have an 80/20 rule where at least 80% of the 3PR hires come from 20% of the candidate pool, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more like 90/10 or even 95/5….Does anybody have figures on this?

  • http://www.improvedemployees.com/ David Hilditch

    Being a recruiter sounds incredibly tough – I didn’t always think this, but the more I read in this industry the more truth I see in how tough the job is.

    Having been recruited a number of times, there are a few recruiters out there who need to relearn these basics.

    It must be tough being on the phone trying to source candidates all day, especially when the best candidates are normally the busiest and most difficult to get hold of.

    I’m finally learning this lesson too, being a vendor for recruiters, and having to face call, call, call every day.

    I know a lot of recruiters, and the best ones really are truly great – they know the client, they know the candidates, they know the job vacancy and the team too and of course they cover the basics above.

    I don’t think any technology is really ever going to replace the best recruiters.

  • Joe Rademacher

    Great article! The key to successful recruiting is to create value beyond filling the job. If you know your space well you can connect investors with companies looking to be acquired, match industry vendor services to client companies, just to name a couple.

    Great recruiters are able to have intelligent business conversations around industry trends. Why? Because they have talent selection implications!

    The best agency recruiters engage in a series of consultative conversations that ultimately result in a placement. LinkedIn will never substitute for the insight and value these discussions can bring.

  • Keith Halperin

    @ Carol: All these folks who are talking about what exceptional recruiters do…Who are they trying to convince?

    Cheers,

    Keith

  • Tony Rogers

    I am in. After this article I had to sign up. After speaking with Corporate Recruiters and doing a contract engagement it became even more apparent to me that Corporate Recruiters can never replace agency recruiters. In fact many Corporate Recruiters depend heavily on Executive Recruiters (not to mention the temp side/staffing managers). This is especially true for bigger organizations because of the number of requisitions a Corporate Recruiter has to maintain (30 to 40 at times). One Recruiting Manager for a Fortune 500 company told me that to contract 40% of my time would be away from direct recruiting; doing admin duties and posting internal jobs, etc. As a ten year Executive Recruiter with my own small company I know you can not beat me doing 60% of what I do 100% of the time.

    Thanks

  • bill josephson

    As long as a 3rd party Contingent Recruiter can find companies in need of and willing to pay a fee for their services for fillable positions that recruiter will be a success.

    When companies stop using you as they have no positions, can’t pay fees, or don’t need you then you’ll fail.

  • Pingback: Need a Job? 3 Insights for Working with Executive Recruiters - Engaged Leadership - 3 Tips from an LA Executive Coach for Leaders Who Use Job Search Firms

  • Nicholas Wolfwood

    @Peter Macdonald, you are spot on.

    It’s true, as the author states, that job boards didn’t make much of a dent on agencies. Why would they? As noted, the boards simply moved classified job ads onto the internet. Recruiters, with our black books and databases of passive candidates, offered real value because we had a supply of something that was in demand and unavailable anywhere else. This supply increased a company’s pool of candidates significantly over those applying or on job boards.

    Fast forward to today. I just went to Monster and searched for “Software Developer” in the Austin Metro area for the past 18 months (which is as far as Monster lets you go back). I got around 3,500 results. Not too bad. I did the same search on LinkedIn and got 14,000+ results. That’s a difference of over 10,000 potential, “passive” candidates in a 40 mile radius. And they are at my fingertips and at anyone else’s who pays a mere $100/mo to LinkedIn. Not a very high barrier of entry. Are you beginning to get the picture?

    Who are we competing with as agency recruiters? Other agencies? Sorta but not really. We and the other agencies are fighting over a shrinking pool of money, shrinking because those contingent recruiting dollars are being spent on hiring corporate recruiters and outfitting them with premium access to social networks and modern ATS/CRM software.

    And yes, I know, we can still find people who aren’t on LinkedIn and pat ourselves on the back and think we’re so ninja, but guess what? 98% of the time it doesn’t matter. LinkedIn is comprehensive enough that companies don’t need to find the people who aren’t on it. This is why corporate recruiters have become prevalent at smaller and smaller companies. Some companies still haven’t gotten it yet, but it won’t take much longer.

  • Adam Ali

    I run a recruitment portal that helps employers and job seekers find each other in Oman http://www.jobibex.com. Initially, I was under the impression that employers and job seekers would be find using the job board to find out about and communicate to each other. Eventually, I learnt that they would still want/need my interaction in the middle. Job seekers would always want to talk to a person and ask him/her all set of questions and to address their concern. While employers on the other hand would require agency guidance and advise.