As a third party recruiter, we are engaged in a partnership of sorts with our clients in the endeavor of recruiting talent. It doesn’t take long to figure out if the company you are working with will ever become a true client or merely be a customer. On the flip side, we find ourselves discovering whether we will be considered a true partner or consultant during the hiring process or if we will be relegated to the realm of merely a “vendor.” I have found that these two questions are forever linked.
I’ve been in both scenarios and there is no comparison as to the quality of the relationship and the results. When we ar
e a true partner, our clients welcome, even solicit our insights and assistance as how to facilitate hiring the best possible person for their open assignment. However, if we are merely a vendor to our customer, they see our contribution as an external, even superfluous component to their hiring process. They fail to fully understand the insight and influence that we have on the successful outcome of their hiring. Very often, their own processes eliminate the best candidates from consideration. For many larger companies, HR has developed hiring processes that they are compelled to adhere to which allows little or no room for the recruiter to impact the outcome. I am mystified as to exactly why this is. Perhaps it is because they have a distrust of the recruiter and want to remove their perceived bias from the equation. Whatever the reason, they/HR often removes the recruiter from the process at their earliest possible opportunity and nearly always at their own peril.
As I consult with recruiters on building a meaningful Retained Search practice, I often encourage them to consider which of the companies they work with actually see them as consultants and which ones only see them as vendors. Based upon their answer to that question, we know which companies are true clients and which are merely customers. There is a huge difference between the two. My advice is to nurture the relationship with your clients and replace your customers with new clients. If you do, you will begin to see your stock go up and as you are more selective in your client selection, you will continue to enjoy your recruiting career more and produce greater outcomes for all parties.
How do you know if a company is a client or a customer?
1. Do they return your calls promptly?
2. Do they ask your opinion?
3. Do they take your advice when offered?
4. Do they allow you full access to the decision makers?
5. Are they willing to amend their process to get the right person?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, it is very likely that this is a mere customer who sees you as a vendor.
There’s no surprise that recruiting has undergone massive change in the past decade. The most dramatic change that I have witnessed is that the Art of Recruiting is dying fast. In fact, for many “Recruiters” who work in the Contingency world, they have actuality become little more than “Data Miners.” You won’t hear them admit this fact, but it is none the less true. No sooner do they secure a Job Order or a signed agreement than they run to the internet to try to beat their competition to the latest arrivals to the job boards. Most of these “Data Miners” must rush to get the freshest resumes into the “in-boxes” of the hiring authorities before someone else does. Repeat cycle, over and over again and that my friends is what recruiting has come to for many. Don’t let them kid you though, this isn’t recruiting. This is something anyone can do and, and companies are getting weary of paying even low flat fees for this marginal service.
I’ve spoken to recruiters who have been in the business for decades and they are at a loss. They used to do it the “good o’l fashioned way,” but when they try to diligently execute a real search, they get beaten to the finish by the least professional recruiters who don’t do any real recruiting or vetting. The old-school recruiters are no match for the swift, techno-savvy “drive-by” resume shooters. Sadly, many of these old professionals are struggling to survive in recruiting because their methods are archaic. It reminds me of the Travel Agency business model that has all but vanished with the advent of the Internet. Now that hoards of active candidates’ resumes are readily available to anyone with a computer, companies searching for active candidates can do this on their own. They merely need a tech-savvy person who can search online and pay a small fee to the job boards and click away. I am convinced that a major part of recruiting is forever changed. As a recruiter, you can ride whatever is left of the wave until it reaches shore, or you can fundamentally change the way you work with your clients.
If your business strategy is to be the “Quick-Draw Resume Blaster” and skim the active candidates’ resumes online and blitz your “clients,” you should expect further pricing pressures because you really aren’t a Recruiter. You need to come to terms with a more appropriate title of “Data Miner” or “Active Candidate Sourcer.” If you are not content to be this kind of person, I would encourage you to elevate your game and leave the Active Candidates to others. Build your practice on finding the most talented, gainfully employed Prospects which require actual “Recruiting” to secure interest. You can expect to provide greater value to your clients and have a far greater impact upon their businesses as a result. All you have to give up is the frenzy of competing over scraps with other recruiters and companies in the race to the finish line.
You can do it! You just have to decide that you want to endure in this business and elevate your game. Leave the feeding trough and go hunting again. You’ll be glad that you did!
Join Drue De Angelis, Apr 05,2012 @ 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM EDT.
In this Webinar, Drue will be addressing why he decided to transition to retained search eight years ago and help you discover if it is right for you. He will also explain what steps you can take to begin this process for yourself.
Drue De Angelis is a 12 plus year veteran of recruiting. He began by purchasing an MRI Franchise. After four years of Contingency Search, he was troubled with what he saw as the “unintended consequences” of contingency search. While he contemplated getting out of recruiting altogether, he began to develop a strategy to approach his clients with a better alternative that would yield a better result for all parties. For the past eight years, he has worked 100% on a engaged/retained basis and has seen his average fee rise considerably along with the quality and level of his work.
Focusing at the VP/C-level currently, Drue is passionate about helping others see the benefit of his approach.