Recruiting Is Worthless

Paul DeBettignies a while ago had an article over at ERE – Where Have All the Recruiters Gone – which gave me the idea for this post.  In Paul’s post he wonders why recruiters are networking face-to-face anymore. I think many of us in the recruiting field who have been in the field pre-internet, probably wonder this and many more things as we look at how the industry has totally transformed over the past 20 years.  A person today can get into recruiting, sit at a desk, have great internet skills, marginal phone skills and make a decent living.  They probably won’t be a great recruiter – they probably won’t make great money – but they’ll survive – they’ll be average or slightly above.  It’s why the recruiting function in most organizations gets a bad rap!  In corporate circles I’ve heard it called “worthless” many times – and for some this is their reality.

Recruiting is Worthless, if…

…you’re a hiring manager and you never have face-to-face conversations with your recruiter when you have an opening, and when you don’t have an opening.

…you’re recruiters believe it isn’t there job to find talent, talent will find them.

…your organization believes it’s the recruiting departments job to find talent.  It’s not, it’s the hiring managers job to ensure they have the talent they need for their department, recruiting is the tool that will help them.  This “ownership responsibility” is very important for organizational success in ensuring you have the talent you need.

…your recruiting department acts like they are HR – they aren’t – they are sales and marketing.  Too many Recruiters, in corporate settings, don’t want to recruit, they want to be HR – which makes them worthless as recruiters.

…if your recruiters have more incoming calls then outgoing calls.

…if your recruiters believe their job begins Monday thru Friday at 8am and ends at 5pm. The best talent is working during those times and most likely won’t talk to you while they are at work.  That’s not a slam on you or your company – they are great employees, it’s what we expect from a great employee.

…your senior leadership team feels they have to use an “executive search” company to fill their higher level openings, because our recruiting department “can’t handle it”.

…if they are victims – “it’s not my job”, “we can’t do that because…”, “marketing won’t allow us to do…”, “our policy won’t allow us…” etc.

…if they just send hiring managers resumes of candidates that have come to them, without first determining if the person is a fit for the organization and a fit for the hiring managers position – before sending them on.

…they haven’t developed the organizational influence enough to change a hiring managers, hiring decision.

Recruiting is worthless if in the end they have failed to show the value of their service back to the organization.

Recruiting is the one department in the organization, besides sales, that truly has the ability to show ROI back to the organization, yet so few of us take advantage of the opportunity we have!  There is nothing more important, and have a bigger competitive advantage, than our organizations talent – and oh by the way – THAT IS US! We control that.  Recruiting isn’t worthless, unless you make it worthless.

4 thoughts on “Recruiting Is Worthless

  1. I think you make a lot of great points here, Tim. I’ve been away from a direct recruiting role myself for awhile, but even in 2006 and 2007 I was beginning to see a decline in companies making themselves available for face to face meetings with recruiters on my team. It was very frustrating to those of us who expected a live meeting before allocating a lot of time to a job order. In the hiring manager’s mind if they could find a recruiter to work on the job with out taking time out to meet with them in person, why would they bother. They were completely missing the value to themselves. I can only imagine how much more prevalent this is today. Are “seasoned” recruiters that would prefer to meet their hiring managers in person now forced to do otherwise to compete?

    • Amy –

      You read this as I was writing it for ‘Agency’ recruiting, when in fact I wrote it thinking about ‘in-house’ corporate recruiting! I think all of those things I wrote happen at the corporate recruiting level. In terms of your question – no doubt it is always difficult as a contingent recruiter to get the access you would like to with hiring managers at many companies, for the simple fact many HR Pros own the process and don’t want multiple third party recruiters contacting their hiring manager.

      How do you compete in that environment? You either play the game of just doing it faster than the next guy, or only play with companies that value the skills you bring. If you have an actual relationship with the HR dept, more than likely, you’ll get the access you need. If you’re an order taker, you won’t have access.

      Thanks for the comments –


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