Welcome to the world of recruiting! Here you will find endless opportunity, flexible schedules, lucrative compensation and a challenging pace. You will also find a number of people (candidates and clients alike) who will tell you to your face how much they hate Recruiters. Some will even go on in great detail so that you know the exact reasons they hate ‘all’ Recruiters. Yay. For the sake of a Recruiter’s sanity and their client’s bottom line, an open letter below to hiring managers and talent acquisition folks alike.
If you find yourself partnering with a professional recruiter, there’s probably a reason. Maybe you’ve had a hard time finding the right employee on your own. Maybe you simply don’t have the time to dedicate to a fruitless search of the job boards. Or maybe your career site is being crushed under 8 gigatons of resumes. In any case, you’re working with a Recruiter for a legitimate business reason. Now, I understand you may have had a bad experience in the past. And I understand that you apparently mistrust all Recruiters as soon as you find out what they do for a living. (I mean really, who can be worse than someone who matches people with jobs?) But despite all that, you find yourself talking to a professional recruiter, or Headhunter if you prefer. Here are some tips on partnering successfully and getting the service you want and the results you need.
- Tell Us the Truth: I believe we’ve covered that you mistrust Recruiters and don’t want to work with them in the first place. But surprise, here you are, working one (or more) of us. So why not make the most of it? Some people have a bias against Recruiters…they think we’re dishonest, conniving and scheming. I’m sure some Recruiters are like that, but by and large, you’ll find long-term professional recruiters to be just that, professional. We’ve made a career out of servicing clients…if we were doing someone bad at every turn, chances are we wouldn’t last long. With that in mind, please, please, please be honest with your Recruiter. If you’re working with a Headhunter, they need to know the job. They need to know the dynamic. They need to know everything. Withholding information from a Recruiter is like lying to your Accountant or Attorney. They can’t help you or protect you if they don’t actually know what’s going on. In some cases Hiring Managers are afraid to let a Recruiter in on the intricacies of their own interviewing style or tactics. I can understand that, but once you’ve chosen a Recruiting partner, please realize that we’re asking for information like that so we can qualify a candidate as hard and as close to you as can be.
- Be Available: If a Recruiter is asking you to sit down with them, there are two reasons. For one, they want to meet you and start building a relationship with you…probably a good thing if you ask me. For the other, they want to meet with you to get a feel for you, the company and the environment. People don’t always realize this, but meeting someone in person, sitting and really speaking with them, seeing their workspace is a valuable recruiting tool. It gives us a piece of the picture and some perspective when talking to a candidate. We may find someone who looks great on paper, but realize right off the bat that the personality is off…all from sitting with you for 15 minutes. Even if the meeting isn’t in person, you can bet that a good Recruiter is going to be fairly perceptive on the phone and get a decent idea of who and what you’d like. Again, if your hesitant to work with a Recruiter, that’s fine. But if you actually need to make a good hire, take the time to get to know your Recruiter. It’ll be a help to them and probably an enormous help to you; you’ll get a better idea of the person you may not yet feel comfortable with and you can build a relationship and make your expectations clear.
- Partner: If you’re working with a good Recruiter, they’re going to be a Partner to you. They’re going to want to be a consultative expert in the hiring field who can help you make strategic and tactical decisions. Let them be that for you. Your expertise lies within your business and your company, but your Recruiter’s expertise is hiring, talent and the market. Simple equation…if you and your Recruiter partner up you have a rockstar expert in hiring the best talent for your company. Why would you pass that up? If you sense someone is trying to get to know you better, trying to know your company better or your strategy, don’t get defensive. A hallmark of a great Recruiter is that they are trying to take in an enormous amount of information, both hard info and soft. That’s the person who is going to make all the different to your bottom line. The guy who’s taking a job spec and walking out the door in 10 minutes? Yeah, he might deliver, but only once and he isn’t looking out for you.
The truth is that most corporate recruiters and Hiring Managers that hesitate to work with Recruiters do so because they simply don’t trust them. And like any profession, there are both bad and good recruiters out there. If you’ve never worked with an agency recruiter or had a bad experience in the past, it must be daunting. But the only true advice I can give is to look for an agency recruiter who has been in the business long-term, hasn’t hopped from company to company and takes their time to know you. Those are the hallmarks of a partner.