Too Many Recruiters?
I got a call from a client of mine at a Medical Device company that needs to fill a key marketing position in a hurry, but not compromise on quality. He gave me the job specs and ideal candidate profile, we discussed the comp plan and relocation policy – and it all looks good. So I asked him what his recruiting plan is, and he told me he is calling me and three other recruiters to have us begin canvassing all the targeted candidates who fit the profile, with the plan to pay only the recruiter who first refers the candidate who is offered and accepts the job. Sounds logical at first doesn’t it? The more salespeople you have out there competing with each other to sell your product the better the chances are that you’ll get what you want.
But consider the situation from the salesperson’s (in this case, the recruiter’s) perspective. Given everyone’s time constraints, the odds are good that by the time I get in contact with three targeted candidates, two of them have already heard about the opportunity. Since I have multiple positions to fill with various companies, some of whom pay me a retainer, and others who have no retainer but exclusivity on the search, how incented am I to perform anything more than a cursory database search for people I know are in an active job search? There is no true recruiting of “passively looking” or “actively listening” candidates for the job because the odds are so low that the time invested in that (which typically amounts to 100+ phone calls) will be worthwhile.
So in the multiple-recruiter scenario the company trying to fill the job will see a blast of resumes of actively-looking candidates in the first week, and then the recruiters will move on to other projects. The recruiters are rewarded for being fast, since they are racing each other, rather than thorough. The frequent result is that the job remains unfilled for a prolonged period, LONGER than the time it takes for one experienced, competent recruiter who is held accountable for results to fill the job. That recruiter knows there is a payoff so will invest the time and deliver results.
From the candidate’s perspective, the best “actively listening” candidates are most interested in openings that are difficult to get, not those that have multiple recruiters calling them begging them to consider it. They respond much more favorably to a recruitment outreach when the recruiter has taken the time to specifically target them, working in a retained or exclusive arrangement. When they are contacted by multiple recruiters they begin to wonder why the job is so difficult to fill.
When a recruiter is working for a client exclusively the recruiter can advise the client better because they have a full view of the whole candidate pool. Over time, the recruiter will get to know the hiring manager’s taste and will become proficient at selling the company. All in all, you win by having one teammate that you count on to be your talent scout in the market.
Whether you chose the Alpine Group or another firm, my professional recommendation is to exchange commitments and hold the recruiting firm accountable. You’ll enjoy the experience more, and you’ll come away from the experience seeing the real value a true professional recruiter can bring to your company. As with any other professional service, if you truly want the recruiting agencies you use to compete for your business, then interview them and check references before the search and choose ONE for best results. As always I encourage your feedback or questions.