Love-Hate between corporate and external recruiters?

I read a blog recently that is addressed to external recruiters. I thought it was well written and useful:
The Real Reasons Why Corporate Recruiters Hate You

I responded with a general message to internal recruiters and HR people:

Excellent article!

In my 15 years of recruiting, as a headhunter and staffing consultant, I have worked with some great internal recruiters (and HR generalists and HR Managers), and some that were very difficult. I like the people like Amy that give me straight answers. So for the people NOT like Amy here are my suggestions:

1) Tell me what you like and what you do not like. Be straight with me, I can handle it. If you are wishy-washy then I can not improve, and be a better person to help you, and get you what you need.

2) I am here to make to make your life easier. I can do this because I am a specialist. I am not here to waste your time, my objective is to use as little of your time as possible. If you answer my calls or emails, I can get more work done more quickly, which will make you look good.

3) Be willing to trust me. I know that I have to earn it. But after a while look at my record. When I provided you candidates, and told you which was the best for your company, was I right? Did I fill your positions with great people? I am happy for you to track me. Let me prove myself. Then in a few months, when I say “you have to interview this person…” you will know that I really do have a great candidate. No, I will not over-use that phrase if I am any good.

4) If you let me have direct contact with your hiring managers I will respect their time as well. I will always CC you on emails and candidates, or send you an email report if you were not involved in a phone call. I will treat you as a team-mate not an obstacle.

5) Once the contact is signed I am not going to try to inflate candidate salaries to improve my fee. If I want you as a long term client, I know I need to find the middle ground on salary. I want you to be happy, and I want the candidate to be happy. I want to make more placements with you. The simple financial truth is that I can make a lot more money making multiple placements than I can by inching up salaries.

6) I have a technical background. I can talk the right language to the candidates and the hiring managers. I really do understand both sides. If do not understand it I would be happy to explain some of the technology to you, and I am sure that your hiring managers would be happy to do so as well. If you do not have the time to do this, then trust that I know the technical details, or listen to your hiring manager to see if I am getting it right.

7) If I cannot help you with a particular job I will let you know, or if candidates are tough to find. I may have allies that can help you.

8) I will send you reports and candidate summaries. I will let you know how things are going, including if I am having problems.

9) If I am not doing a good job then let me know. If I am not doing all the things listed above you have a right to be unhappy about it. Let’s talk about what the problems are. If I am not treating you and your company with respect, then you can terminate my contract. Sometimes this is the best for both of us and it much better than ignoring me for months until I finally give up.

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Need help finding a head hunter

This is a response that I wrote for someone in a linkedin group, reposted here with some slight modifications and added links.

Q: I have a friend in the Rochester area whose job search has gone nowhere for too long. He is willing to pay someone to find him a job – not just resume advice but an advocate actively connecting him with jobs. Can someone recommend a company that provides this service?

A: I thought I would respond as I was for many years a ‘headhunter’ running my own business, and there may be others that have the same question.

Yes headhunters, and any staffing agency (I will lump them together for the purposes of the rest of this response), are paid by the hiring company. When I got into the business I was told that it was illegal for a headhunter to ask an applicant for a fee. I do not actually know if that is true or not, but for ethical reasons a headhunter should not take fees from an applicant. I think that it may also be illegal for a company to extract the fee from the candidate’s pay, because that amounts to the same thing.

In my opinion it is probably not a headhunter that you are looking for. Headhunters are paid to fill the job. They are not in the business of finding jobs for candidates. They may coach candidates (to help them fill a particular position), and may submit a given candidate to multiple positions (to improve the odds of filling any one position). But in general if odds are low that the candidate can be placed, then the headhunter will not work hard for the candidate. And here is the harsh reality: as a headhunter I placed at best 5% of my candidates. I would bet that most others are about the same.

The exception to this is the MPC (Most Placeable Candidate). When a headhunter finds a superstar, they will actively market that candidate. They do this for two reasons. 1) The odds of placing this candidate and earning a commission are high and 2) they can use this candidate to open doors and get contracts with new clients.

I am not saying that you should not use an agency or headhunter. I found jobs for a good number of people, and I know others that do quality work. Consider this to be one aspect of your job search.

That said what I think the friend really needs is a coach. These come in three major flavors.

The first is a company that inverts the headhunter model. They charge a fee to the candidate, but not to the client company. They will help the candidate with all aspects of the job search, including contacting clients on their behalf. The client companies like this because they can get quality vetted candidates without paying a fee. However these companies are not cheap. 15 years ago they cost $3000, and they would only work with candidates they felt they could successfully place, but they also gave no guarantee. I did some quick searches today, and claims of scams about these companies abound, including the one that I knew. So I cannot recommend this presently.

The next option is an hourly career coach. I would guess that fees range from $60 to $120 per hour. If you are unemployed these costs can be written off on your taxes as part of a job search. These people are typically well connected, so in addition to coaching on resume creation, interviewing, networking, etc. they can often provide contacts at companies. There are few people in the Rochester area I know that do this that I would recommend including Kathleen Pringle, Hannah Morgan, and Fred Dewey (probably more – I apologize to those I have missed…).

The last option is to use employment services and open networks. RochesterWorks is a great place to start, and I know they have some excellent people there. I would also suggest networks like ABCPNG (Always Be Connecting Power Networking Group), Peernet Rochester, RUNG (Rochester Unemployed Networking Group), The August Group, Digital Rochester, at least 3 Rochester job related linkedin groups, and more. The great reality here: networking is still the most effective way to find a new position. Any HR person worth their salt puts internal referrals on the top of the stack (because statistically internal referrals provide employees that have the best productivity and longevity…).

I hope this helps!

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I am an economic indicator!

When the economy is doing well and companies are growing, then they need staffing consultants to help them. Two examples:

In the summer and fall of 2007 I had many companies telling me that they would be hiring ‘soon’. December of 2007 many of those companies did actually start hiring, some for only key positions, some for groups of new employees. By spring of 2008 I was happily swamped. I was also discussing six large projects with new clients, and if I had landed any two of them I would have needed to hire someone to help me. In the summer of 2008 the shock waves from the housing and mortgage industries finally hit Rochester, companies stopped hiring, and my work load went from full to unfortunately sparse very quickly.

This past summer, I had been hearing many of the same things as in 2007. I was seeing fewer people post that they had lost jobs, more companies starting to post critical positions. Companies were planning to hire more, just not quite ready yet. Then in the fall more serious hiring began, and I started to get more responses and was getting more detail about what type of help my clients might need. Recently we have ‘turned the corner’ for technical employment, and my workload is approaching my ‘full’ mark.

In summary: my work as a staffing consultant is a reflection of the economy. While I can always find a few growing companies that need help even in bad times, a full work load is a sign that things are going well in the economy. When I am busy, the economy is generally doing very well. If you want to know how the economy is doing, call me and ask how busy I am! (Or you can subscribe to my newsletter

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The Launch Meeting – don’t start recruiting without it.

Before you start into the major activities of posting, recruiting and interviewing, have a launch meeting with the team to improve your effectiveness and efficiency.

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Employment Branding: get started the right way

The benefits of employment branding are many, but companies need to look at their own culture before they start to put information out.

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Resume Objective: an apparently contrarian viewpoint

Recently I read in two places that the Objective should be removed from the resume. Here is why I disagree with those opinions and how I suggest to make a strong resume objective.

Posted in Resume | 1 Comment

New ideas for reference checks

For me reference checks had been one of the least interesting aspects of recruiting, and something that often added no value to the staffing process. I have attached a video where I talk about how I do reference check now and I add things that I do to make it a little more interesting, and add value to the recruiting process. Feel free to add comments about what you do to make reference checks better.

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Walking the Talk about Social Media in Staffing

For several years I have been telling my clients to change some of their ways to find candidates.  Most of these items would fall under the category of Inbound Marketing.  Here are a few of the items that I have suggested:

  • Have a Careers (Jobs, Employment, etc.) section of your web site that is engaging and dynamic.  Create something that will show prospective candidates who you really are.
  • Include videos of your employees talking about why they came to the company, what they are working on, and what they like about the company.  This works so much better than static text, even if the text is well written.
  • Have a video from the President or CEO talking about the goals and successes of the company.
  • Have an RSS feed or newsletter that potential candidates can receive to learn about new openings.
  • Engage some people in various departments of the company to write articles or blogs, writing about their work day, projects, goals, and successes.  Give away a little of what the company does for free, to establish your company as a subject matter expert.
  • Sponsor networking events or find employees willing to be speakers for events or group meetings.

Are these things easy?  Often no.  Are they fun?  I think so.  Can you create a stream of candidates that are looking to get into your company?  Definitely.

Here is the crux of the matter:  I have been telling my clients for years to do these things, and helping them when they choose to move forward, but I have not been doing them for my own company.

This blog marks a change in my business where I am Walking the Talk.  Right now this site is pretty basic, but you can expect to see improvements, blogs, videos, and staffing tips. I am really looking forward to this!

If you have any questions please ask!

Peace and Health, Eric R. Derby

Posted in Staffing and Social Media | 1 Comment