Tough Choices When It Comes To Recruiting

Maybe you are one of those companies that have your own internal corporate recruiters. I like to call this model “fixed cost, variable quality”. In a perfect world jobs come open on a regular basis, applicant flow from active and passive channels are smooth, and the entire process flows like clockwork. The reality is we both know it doesn’t work that way. Openings come in bunched together, applicant flow is chunky. You are faced with over-staffing recruiting in slow times and under resourced in heavy times.

So many of you turn to the outside sources and here is where it gets tough for you.

Let’s start with one of my favorites. The unsolicited email comes across your desktop, “I’ll find you 5 people for $5,000!!!” Really? I mean…Really? Or stated another way “low cost, low quality”.

Then there are the variety of versions of the flat fee per position (“low cost, variable quality”). This one might actually have some promise, I’ll find you a person for $5,000. The question you need to ask yourself is who is providing this service. Is it a traditional old school traditional agency mindset where they are going to undercut their usual 20% to 30% commission then assign it to a junior recruiter. Or maybe it’s a newer model where much like Henry Ford and the model T, “you can have any color as long as it’s black. This is your candidate, these are there skills, and don’t ask me for anything outside of this box.” There is no denying this will work for some.

There is always contingency (“high cost, high quality”). There are many great contingency providers out there. Really great recruiters, with great networks, that will overturn every stone to find a great candidate. Again, who is providing the service? On the surface this sounds great, what not to like about not having to pay anything until the candidate is placed? Hmmmm. Lobbing candidates over the cubicle wall and seeing what sticks? Placing difficult to fill positions on the back burner and having the search drag on for months and months?

Next is retained search (“high cost, variable quality”). Much like contingency there is no denying there are great some great providers out there. When you are looking for the your next CEO, you want your recruiter to have his LinkedIn connections full of Members of the Board, having lunch with The Next Big Thing, and playing golf on Saturday with the Ones Throwing Fireballs Around The Firmament. But when you need an Assistant Marketing Manager it seems wrong on so many levels when someone is asking for 1/3 up front of their 30% fee. And oh by the way, if we don’t find one, you still owe us the rest.

And lastly there is Contract Recruiting (“low cost, high value”). The best practitioners of this model use best-in-class practices but leverage technology and flexibility combined with transparency to add value. Think of it like paying for your electric bill rather than your internet service, you only pay for what you use. But here the worst practitioners run up the bill, take the money and run, or continue to lob candidates over the cubicle wall that explode like hand grenades because it’s more billable hours.

What to do.

Pick one.

Explain the opportunity.

Ask them “What would you do?”

Tell them “Be specific.”

Do you like what you hear?

Do you believe them?

Tell them to go away or…

Tell them to go do it.

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