Fire Your Administrative “Bambi” Recruiters

It’s amazing that only one company I know, Cisco, requires rigorous internal recruiter training before a recruiter can start recruiting. Most firms use a “throw them out there and see what happens” approach. If your newly hired recruiter has a background in executive search or sales you are probably OK. That’s because they have experience in cold calling, selling, and fighting for the best candidates. But if you get “HR types” that “like to work with people,” you could be hiring, or inadvertently “growing,” an administrative recruiter… the worst kind. What is an administrative recruiter? Warrior recruiters are the best type of recruiter. They are really sales and marketing people that happen to hold the title of recruiter (see my previous article Hire A ‘Warrior’ Recruiter…Not ‘Bambi’ for a description). They sell people on new jobs. They focus on employed top performers that must be poached from the best firms. The opposite of a warrior is the administrative, or “Bambi” recruiter. They are:

  1. Administrative Requisition Shepherds ? They demand a req. before they start recruiting. They spend a majority of their time either writing them up or helping in getting them approved.
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  3. Vendor Managers ? They hire and or manage executive search and contract professionals that do the real recruiting.
  4. Interviewers ? They actually believe that sitting in on all interviews adds value or reduces lawsuits. They spend valuable time scheduling interviews, or sitting in asking pre-written behavioral questions. They never check to see if their “vote” is better or worse than that of the line people.
  5. Resume Readers ? They actually believe that the best candidates have the best resumes. (Test it sometime. Do your best current employees have superior resumes to your average employees?) Resume readers collect, sort, toss a few out, and send the obvious ones to a manager after a two week delay.
  6. Event ?Attenders? ? They think attending events is the same as recruiting. They have no data to show that the best candidates actually attend job fairs or college information events.
  7. Job Description Writers ? They spend hours doing “job analysis” and rewriting job descriptions that seldom end up being close to the actual job the candidate ends up doing.
  8. Headcount Managers ? They spend their time managing and counting “headcount” for positions that were already approved in the budget process.
  9. Reference Callers ? They have no data to show that high scores on references turn out to be top performers. They really believe people that give references tell the truth.
  10. Applicant Tracking Data ?Inputers? ? They input data on dozens of people that have no chance of getting hired and view that as recruiting.
  11. Want Ad Placers ? They call ad agencies and end up placing the same ads as the competitor. They don’t track to see which sources produce the best-performing hires.
  12. Job Board Scanners ? They exclusively use “monsters” to find resumes. That’s OK as far as it goes, but they never seem to get to chat rooms, boolean searches, “bots,” and personal web pages.
  13. Non-Measurers ? They are allergic to numbers. They don’t have time (or it’s too hard) to measure what works and what doesn’t in recruiting.

Conclusion Recruiting is a unique field. Literally no one in it has a degree in recruiting (because no university offers one). Most recruiters use recruiting as a stepping stone to another HR job. As a result, they don’t spend the time to become experts in recruiting. They don’t join professional recruiting associations and most just “learn on the run.” They repeat the practices of those that came before them, even though technology and the economy have changed dramatically in the last few years. It’s time to call an administrator an administrator. It’s an honest profession…it’s just not recruiting! <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website and on He lives in Pacifica, California.