Should Corporate Recruiters Get Paid Salary & Commission?

First, shoutout to @Hervbird21 (Recruister) on Twitter for starting this conversation (Editor’s Note: Hervbird21 I don’t know who you are but send me a note and I’ll share your LinkedIn if you’d like) Also, take a look at the Twitter thread as there are some exceptional recruiting thought leaders who had thoughts on this subject.

Link to the thread

I’ve written about this a number of times over the years, but with the recruiting market being so hot right now, I’ve actually had a number of Recruiter compensation calls with corporate TA leaders trying to figure out three main things: 1. How do we retain our recruiters; 2. How do I attract more recruiters; 3. How do we reward great recruiting performance?

First, I’m all in on the fact that recruiters should be paid in a pay-for-performance model. That doesn’t mean that corporate recruiters, agency recruiters, and RPO should all be paid the same way. All three of those roles are different and should be compensated based on what the organization needs from each recruiter.

Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of Performance Pay for Corporate Recruiters

Pros:

  • You get more of what you measure and more of what you reward.
  • Your best recruiters will be compensated more, and higher compensation is tied to longer tenure.
  • Low performers and internal recruiters who actually hate recruiting will hate it and self-select out.
  • It will most likely raise individual recruiting team member performance in the aggregate.

Cons:

  • You will most likely have turnover with this type of change
  • Potentially, you could get behaviors that aren’t team-oriented. (IE., senior recruiters not helping junior recruiters)
  • Potentially, you could lower your quality of candidates as recruiters move quickly to gain performance comp. (the quantity over quality argument)
  • It actually might increase your compensation budget, initially, until you can find the model that is most effective.

Okay, wait, why did I say “potentially” on the Cons? Primarily, because it truly depends on the model design. Just making a decision to pay more for hires is ridiculous and leads to bad outcomes. But, developing a model that rewards individual performance that is based on recruiting behaviors that lead to better hires, quickly, and in a team setting, well, now you diminish the negative outcomes of pay for performance.

How could we make pay for performance work for corporate recruiters?

I’m not trying to dump on all the folks who commented on “Quarterly Bonuses” but stop that! “Quarterly Bonus” really means, “I don’t want to be individually measured and held accountable, but I also want more money on top of my great base salary”. Quarterly bonuses in most corp TA shops are a joke. They are usually based on Hiring Manager satisfaction and days to fill, two of the most subject measures that have zero correlation to better recruiting.

Also, internal recruiting pay for performance is not just a modified agency or RPO model. Corporate recruiters do much more than just recruit in most TA departments, so if you reward them to just recruit, understand, you’re just standing up an in-house agency model. Your internal recruiting model for corporate has to be unique to the job.

Some thoughts and ideas:

– Spend a bunch of time deciding what you actually want from your recruiters and from your function as a whole. Those two things must be aligned.

– Before going to a pay for performance model you need to get your arms around your recruiting funnel data. Otherwise, you’re just guessing at what and who to reward.

– In most cases, you can’t make the rewards the same because recruiters have different requisition loads and levels of position. Also, in most cases, certain areas of your organization hire at different times. So, get ready to test and be flexible to do the right thing at the right time.

– It’s okay if a recruiter makes more than you think if the model is producing what you want it to produce. Too often I hear from TA leaders that are like, “Jill is making too much!” But, Jill it killing it and the top recruiter.

– If you can’t get your head around paying for hires, pay for the behaviors and activities that lead to more hires.

– Start with a month or quarter test, make sure during the test no one will lose money. The goal is to try and reach some sort of outcome of better performance, to see if it can work. If they are only concerned they might make less money, you won’t truly see what can work or not work.

– It’s not about quality or quantity. It’s about quality and quantity. I’ve never led a recruiting team in a corporate or agency where good recruiters would ever send a crappy candidate on purpose. That just doesn’t happen, normally. If it did, that recruiter didn’t belong on the team.

I don’t believe in recruiting “team” rewards as pay for performance in most cases. Most teams are not designed and measured for “team” performance, so many on the team are getting the reward for a few doing most of the heavy lifting. You can still have team rewards, but you truly have to think about how you reward your most effective recruiters, short and long-term.

I think the ideal ratio for compensation for corporate recruiters should be 75% base salary and 25% pay for performance, where your best top recruiters can make 125% of their normal total comp if they are killing it. As I mentioned above, you will have recruiters quit because you have “recruiters” on your team that didn’t take the job to recruit, but to administer a recruiting process and collect a nice base salary.

Okay, tell me what I missed in the comments or if you have a model that is working you would like to share with everyone!

It’s Harder to be a Corporate Recruiter than an Agency Recruiter, Today!

And in this corner, weighing at 185 and standing 6 feet 1 inch, from Shrimp Taco Capital of the World, Mr. Corporate Recruiter! And in this corner weighing in at, “wait, what? what do you mean she won’t give us her weight?” Weighing in at the same weight she was the day she got married, and standing 5 feet, 6 inches with heels, from City of Night Lights, Ms. Agency Recruiter!

It’s been an argument that is as old as the profession. Who is better? Who has the tougher job? Etc.

For the most part, it’s an easy breakdown. Corporate recruiting folks, on average, do far more inbound recruiting, than outbound recruiting. Agency folks do far more outbound recruiting than inbound recruiting. Corporate folks have way more meetings and politics. Agency folks have to way more ass-kissing, but get to do way more actual recruiting. Corporate folks do way more administering of the recruiting process. Agency folks do way more contacting of candidates.

All that being said…

Corporate Recruiters Have a More Difficult Job, Today!

Why?

Basically, in today’s market of ultra-low unemployment and way too many open jobs, corporate recruiters are put in a no-win, highly stressful situation. Yep, they get paid salary and very little performance pay, but they are being forced to perform right now, so that big salary is really meaningless when your quality of life sucks!

Let’s breakdown all the reasons:

  • Corporate C-suites are pushing their TA teams over the edge. The c-suite thinks their TA teams suck, but really have no data to support it except for all the open jobs. But when you take a look at what those same TA teams did in 2019 vs. today, in almost all cases they are performing better. But, hey, the job isn’t getting done so let’s bash them over the head with extreme pressure.
  • Corporate recruiters can’t go tell a hiring manager who sucks to just f’off. Oh, you want me to find you someone but your JD sucks, you won’t give me feedback, you won’t give me interview times, and you throw me under the bus in board meetings! Agency recruiters won’t tell you to f’off, but they’ll just not work on your awful opening. Espeically right now when 99% of companies have needs and there is always someone better to work with.
  • Corporate recruiters have been conditioned and trained to do mostly inbound recruiting and for decades it’s actually worked okay. That is what made the job so desirable! Oh, hey, I get paid full salary and great benefits and I just have to post jobs and wait for someone to apply!? Yes! Sign me up! Inbound recruiting, by itself, is not working very well right now. Corporate recruiters are being forced to do heavy lifting and work longer hours. All the while, without the tools and training they need to be successful.
  • Corporate TA teams have worked for decades under this notion from our finance team that every year we should be able to reduce our budgets. Than we have a hiring crisis and some dumb corporate Accountant in finance who thinks they know everything says you can have 10% more to “help” out. When in reality you’re probably closer to around 300% underfunded to actually make it work. Agency folks are historically cheap, but they spend money when they can get the business! And they can turn that around over night!
  • This one stings a little, many Corporate Recruiters didn’t actually take the Corporate Recruiting job because they love to recruit. They took it because they love to administer a recruiting process. Those are two very different things, but now they are being forced t recruit. That sucks. If you took a job that you loved and now someone changed that job, that sucks.

All of this leads to the fact that being an Agency Recruiter, today, is a better job than most Corporate Recruiting jobs. Agency Recruiters have far less stress. There is still stress, but not like corporate. Agency recruiters can pick and choose, way more than corporate, on the openings they work and focus on. The commission stress that agency recruiting gets a bad rap for, isn’t really an issue, today, because everyone is so busy.

Do you agree or disagree? Give me your reasons in the comments!

Exploding Job Offers!

I had a question the other day from an executive outside of HR and Talent. A C-suite type who was frustrated by the lack of hires his “HR” team was making. My first question was, does HR hire for you, or do you have a recruiting or talent acquisition team? He didn’t know. Problem number one.

This guy wanted my opinion, well, he really wanted my agreement if I’m honest, to something he was forcing his HR team to do with job offers. You see, they had many job offers turned down to accept another job offer. Basically, almost all candidates we have are interviewing at multiple places, and these are technically skilled candidates, in IT, engineering, etc.

His plan was to start offering expiring job offers so that the candidate would be forced to accept their offer at risk of losing it!

Brilliant, right!? He asked me…

Here’s my exact reply:

“So, in an employment market where the unemployment rate is around 1% for technical candidates, you feel the best strategy is to force someone to make a decision to come to work for you? Also, who says that they won’t just accept your offer, continue in the process while waiting on other offers to come, and eventually just leave you high and dry? Also, do you really want to start off an employment relationship with someone who felt forced to take your offer?”

His response:

“Well, the hell should we do?”

The Problem with Exploding Job Offers

  1. Expiring job offers only work on candidates who are lower end of the value chain, or have no other vaiable offers to choose from. The best talent, won’t even consider you if you pull that strategy.
  2. If you aren’t a “unicorn” brand (Google, Apple, etc.) you have no shot at getting good talent to accept your exploding job offer.
  3. While it might in theory “end” your hiring process faster, you have a higher chance of a late no-show/decline that puts your team even farther behind in hiring. Especially, if they went back to your other viable candidates and told them they were silver medalist.

What’s a better way? Because it’s not unheard of in today’s world where we put some timing around job offers. The reality is, we can’t wait forever. So, the real question is, how long should we give someone to consider our offer before we have to pull it back?

I like to use this as a great way to find out what I’m up against. Let the candidate tell you a time, and then negotiate it down if you don’t feel like it’s appropriate. First, when I make an offer, I expect a full acceptance the moment I make it! What?! But, you just said…! Yeah, I don’t like exploding job offers, but I also work as a recruiter who has already pre-closed the candidate and knocked out all the objections, so when I make the offer, the candidate and I have already agreed, if I get X, Y, and Z, you’re answer is “Yes”, correct?

That doesn’t mean it works every time!

In the case where the candidate, legitimately needs some time, I give them some time, but also I need reasons to go back to the hiring manager with. Why do you need the time? Are there other offers you are waiting on? What would make you take those other offers over ours? Again, keep closing, with demanding an answer. Changing jobs is one of the top three most stressful things a person does. These decisions don’t come lightly, and we need to respect that.

Offering Exploding Job offers is old advice that has turned into bad advice, similar to not accepting a counter-offer from your employer. Job negotiation has changed a lot over the last few decades, some of the traditional things we did in the past just don’t work anymore.

1 Free Job Posting from @LinkedIn if You Read This Post!

Pretty cool news coming out of LinkedIn this week! LinkedIn has made a few changes to help job seekers (#ImOpenToWork photo frames, Career Explorer, free skill courses, etc.) and also will be helping employers, especially SMBs, who need help connecting with this talent with FREE job posts! No, really, you don’t have to put a credit card or anything – no bait and switch!

Check out the video below…

How do we post that FREE job? 

Basically, if you’re a hiring manager, HR, TA, etc. and looking to hire, you just go and create a new job posting. You can find the job posting button by going to your main LinkedIn feed page, going to the upper right-hand corner, and clicking on “Work”. A drop down will show you a “Post a Job” button and you can click on that.

For SMBs who aren’t already using LinkedIn to post jobs, you will get one free job post to use. If you fill that job, you can post another. Basically, you get one free job to post at a time. If you are an enterprise LinkedIn user, you’ll get pushed into your account to post a job.

Once you add a job, you will be given the option to add the “Hiring” frame around your profile picture.

Check out this LinkedIn Blog post for additional details and links.

It’s pretty rare for an organization like LinkedIn to give away something so valuable for free! We know LinkedIn job postings work, we also know they can be quite expensive for SMBs to use.

I’m sure the cynics will say this is just another way LinkedIn is getting more people to use the platform and get addicted. Maybe! But, if it works, who cares! And, if it works and it’s free for an SMB to test, seriously, that’s a great thing! Take advantage!

Go post a job out on LinkedIn and then send me a note and let me know the results! I’m super interested to see how this works for everyone!

 

Someone is Banking on You Being Lazy!

I work in an industry where I’ve been told for a decade technology is going to take my job. The staffing industry is half a trillion-dollar industry worldwide. The entire industry is built on us banking on the fact that someone in corporate TA is going to be lazy.

Ouch! That should sting a little!

So, I don’t really bank on you being lazy at my company. We do contract work so we are looking to fill contingent roles, not direct hire staffing, which is an industry almost completely built on lazy! For my staffing brothers and sisters out there, I hear you, I know you’re ‘just’ filling in when ‘capacity’ is an issue. (wink, head nod, wink)

There are other industries that bank you us being lazy. The entire diet industry! You’ve got overpriced awful foods, bars, shakes, workout gyms, at home gyms, etc. Because we won’t eat less and move more, because we are “lazy”, we pay a lot for that! Believe me, I pay my fair share! Just because I’m too lazy! Ugh, it’s embarrassing!

Direct hire staffing as an industry could be gone tomorrow if corporate TA just did what they were hired to do. You have an opening, you fill the opening. We aren’t trying to put a woman on the moon! This isn’t rocket science!

But, we don’t fill the opening. In fact, we do just about everything except filling the opening. We post the opening. We meet about the opening. We send whoever applies to the manager of the opening. We meet some more about candidate experience. We have another meeting about employment branding. One more meeting with the manager to see if anything has changed.

That doesn’t sound lazy, does it?

But, deflection of more difficult work is just another form of laziness.

My kid doesn’t want to go out in 90-degree heat and mow the lawn. It’s a hard, hot job. So, they come up with ‘alternative’ work that they have to do that just happens to be inside in the air conditioning.

As TA Leaders, we have to understand how are others are banking on us being lazy, and then make adjustments to stop lazy. So, how do you do that?

Well, I wrote an entire book on the subject – The Talent Fix – you can buy it here – but until you can get it, here are some tips:

  1. Have clearly defined measurable activity goals set for each member of your TA team.
  2. Make those measures transparent so everyone can see them every day.
  3. Have performance conversations immediately when measures aren’t met.
  4. Course correct as measures need to be adjusted to meet the needs of the business.
  5. Rinse, repeat.

1 -5 above is like page 37 of the book. So, you can imagine what the rest of the 200+ pages will be like! 😉

If you follow the five steps above about half of your team will quit in 90 days. That’s a good thing, those idiots didn’t want to recruit, to begin with, they just wanted that fat corporate check and Taco Tuesdays. They were being lazy and it was costing your corporate bottom line.

The talent acquisition function is not a charity case. I think in the history of HR we’ve done some corporate charity where we let people keep collecting money even though they were costing us money. They weren’t giving back the value we needed for what we were paying. Great leaders stop this from happening.

Great leaders understand that there are people in the world that are banking on us being lazy.

The Fight Club Recruiting Rules!

Great talent and great hiring are about getting the best candidates to respond to your messaging. It’s our reality as talent acquisition professionals that we have candidates who apply to our jobs, some of whom might be great. We also have to go out and find great talent and find ways to get them to respond to our overtures.

It’s the number one job of every talent acquisition professional. I would argue it might be the only job of talent acquisition. Get great talent to interact with you!

The first rule of Fight Recruiting Club is you need to get candidates to respond!

The second rule of Recruiting Club is you need to keep trying to get talent to respond to you until they actually respond. Wait a second, Tim! You mean we have to reach out to a candidate more than once!? I mean, if they don’t respond to me after my first outreach, that’s their loss! No, it’s your loss! You need that talent!

The third rule of Recruiting Club is you need to interact with candidates in themedium they are most comfortable with. I like it when you text me, most people do. It gets a high response rate. Some folks like email, phone calls, Facebook messenger, handwritten notes, etc. Find all the mediums the candidate likes, not your favorite!

The fourth rule of Recruiting Club is it’s not about you. It’s about them! “I’ve got a great career opportunity for you!” How do you know what I want? Stop assuming you know what I want when you don’t. How about you first to get to know me a little. I mean, you don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date!

The fifth rule of Recruiting Club is….(there are ten in total, click through to the rest of my post over on Saba’s Blog)

Google Leading the Way on #COVID19 Gig Worker Response! #Coronavirus

Google has more contractors (gig workers) than actual full-time employees. Did you know this? I didn’t. Google employs roughly 120,000 contractors and has about 100,000 regular full-time employees. Welcome to 2020!

Here’s what most people don’t understand about the contracting world (it just happens to be my world at HRUTech.com!)

  • Most contractors (gig workers) want to make as much money as possible, as such, most will choose to take the highest dollar offer in lieu of medical insurance and paid time off (PTO). Some states require a certain amount of PTO.
  • Running a contract staffing firm, our contractors are our product. If our ‘product’ doesn’t work, we have zero revenue. So, it’s not like we can just have contractors stay home for 14 days and pay them their full-time wage. It’s simple economics, zero revenue in means no money to pay out, plus most large enterprise clients, like Google, are usually out 30-90 days in paying their contract staff invoices.
  • Of course, every contract and temp staffing firm wants to do what’s best. They also want to stay in business.

Google understands this simple dynamic and they stepped up big time this week in making this announcement:

“As we’re in a transition period in the U.S.—and to cover any gaps elsewhere in the world—Google is establishing a COVID-19 fund that will enable all our temporary staff and vendors, globally, to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19, or can’t come into work because they’re quarantined,” the post read.

Google relies on approximately 120,000 temps and contractors on top of its 100,000 full-time employees, and not all of them have paid sick leave currently. Google’s post seemed to indicate that the fund would cover expenses for those not already able to take sick leave under current employment arrangements.”

That message right there is coming from a huge place of understanding from Google! We rely incredibly on this pool of talent, our contractors, and we have to find a way to make sure that the suppliers of this talent are taken care of so they can take care of their employees.

Uber and Lyft also came out this week and told drivers that tested positive for COVID-19 they would also pay them their average week’s wage to stay home and not drive. Another giant cost for these companies, but when you rely on gig workers as your business model, you better find ways to take help these folks out when a crisis hits.

Most organizations don’t consider “Total Employment” when a crisis happens. They circle the wagons around their own FTEs and not much else. I’ve spoken to multiple giant enterprise HR leaders this past week and this concept wasn’t even a blip on their radar! They could care less about their contractors and their partners for talent when it comes to COVID-19.

This is ultimately a much bigger problem for these organizations. I preach constantly to organizational TA and HR leaders they should be owning all talent in their barn. Total employment (FTEs, Contractors, Temps, Consultants, etc.). This is who really gets your work done, and if you don’t have awareness of all aspects, you are truly missing the boat.

What do you think? Do you feel your organization should be paying attention to contract and temporary workers during this public health crisis?

You’re Going to Jail because of your LinkedIn Profile Pic!

Breaking News from down under! An Australian woman lied on her resume and used a fake picture on her LinkedIn profile and those facts were used in a trial where she was sentenced to over a year in jail! Let’s face it Australia is kind of like the Florida of countries.

From the article:

Veronica Hilda Theriault, 46, was convicted Tuesday of deception, dishonesty, and abuse of public office, relating to her 2017 application for the chief information officer role, which came with an annual salary of 270,000 Australian dollars (US$185,000).
Theriault worked in the position with South Australia’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet for over a month and earned about 33,000 Australian dollars ($22,500) before being fired.
She pleaded guilty to all charges and received a 25-month sentence with a non-parole period of a year…The court heard that she submitted a fraudulent resume to the department with false information relating to her education and prior employment. After she was granted an interview, she also posed as a previous employer during a reference check, in which she “gave glowing feedback” about her own performance.
But the lies didn’t end there. In earlier submissions, the court heard that Theriault used a photo of supermodel Kate Upton as her LinkedIn profile photo, according to CNN affiliate 7 News.

Can you imagine if we put people in jail for lying on their resume or using doppelganger photos on their LinkedIn profile!?! Half of our employees would be in jail!

Well, don’t think it can’t happen in the US! This position was for the Australian government. Turns out, if you lie to the government when getting a job, you might end up in jail! Not only in Australia but pretty much every country! I can only imagine how many employees of the US government, state and local governments, who have access to secret level information who have ‘exaggerated’ on their resume! It has to be upwards of 20% or more.

Now, this person flat out lied and probably has some severe mental issues. Which begs the question, how the heck could this happen for such a high-level position?

Quite simply, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an entire book (Talking to Strangers) about this simple idea. We all, all of us, default to truth. We believe what people are telling us, and we are awful at spotting liars. The higher the level of position, the worse we get. “Oh, she has an outstanding resume and background and education and she looks just like Kate Upton! She must be telling us the truth!”

We. Are. Stupid.

Once we actually come to grips with this fact, we might get slightly better at talent selection and interviewing. We assume everyone is telling us the truth when we interview them. We rarely believe someone is lying. “Oh, they wouldn’t lie, they really want this position! And I know her cousin, and she goes to church, and…” We are all biased in this same way. We do not want to believe someone would lie to us.

I think it would actually do some good if we started putting people in jail or lying on their resume, or at the very least for using LinkedIn profile pics that look nothing like you do now! “Oh, Hi…you’re “Tim”!? I didn’t recognize you, I mean immediately!” (Internal voice – “with that extra 25 pounds and no hair, from your LI profile pic that is clearly ten years old!)

I want to be the HR leader at court for the case where we’re trying to put someone away for their stupid, fake LI profile pic! That’s the pinnacle of HR!

True or False: Corporate Recruiters Fear Agency Recruiters?

True or False?  It’s a common belief, in most Talent and HR circles, that most corporate recruiters fear agency recruiters.  Go ahead and argue if you would like, but it seems a little silly.

The reality is, true recruiting professionals don’t fear amateurs.

It’s like a really great professional Photographer. They charge money because they offer something someone is willing to pay for. Professional photographers don’t fear the mom at the soccer game with her $2,000 dollar camera and $5,000 dollar lens. Who cares that you have the equipment if you don’t know how to use it!? Pros don’t fear amateurs.

So, if you are a really good corporate recruiter who knows how to really recruit and source talent, agency recruiters don’t scare you, because you know your stuff! That’s the problem, though, right? The reason so many people feel the title of this post is true is because we all know so many corporate recruiters, who really don’t know how to recruit. They aren’t pros, they’re amateurs. Amateurs fear professionals when it comes to meeting head to head in competition.

The best professionals love it when a talented amateur tries to play at their level. These types of individuals help to push both parties to do the best work they can. Or, at least, they should! A great agency recruiter should push an average corporate recruiter to want to get better. An amateur agency recruiter will starve, that’s why you only see amateurs in the agency ranks for a very short period of time. If they aren’t good, they don’t eat! That is why on average, agency recruiters tend to have more recruiting skills than corporate recruiters. Agency folks aren’t full salary. How they are compensated forces them to have better skills, on average, of they are out of job.

So, how do corporate recruiters ensure they become professionals? Well, I love Malcolm Gladwell, so I’ll steal a little of his 10,000-hour concept (and go ahead and tell me it’s B.S. – I don’t care, I like it and I’ve seen it work). You must make yourself a true recruiting professional!  You need to invest time and development in yourself, in the recruiting industry, to become a pro. That means as a corporate recruiter, you focus on recruiting, not becoming an HR Pros. What?! Most corporate recruiters are corporate recruiters because that’s their path to get into a straight HR position. Their endgame is not recruiting, it’s HR. That’s a problem because they are not fully vested in the recruiting game. This is an amateur move.

The reality is, those who get promoted are usually professional at something. Become a great recruiting pro and the powers-that-be will take notice, and you’ll find yourself in positions you never thought possible. True professionals don’t worry about promotions, they worry about becoming a better pro at their craft.

The next time you start feeling yourself pushed by an agency recruiter, don’t curse them for what they do, embrace them for what they push you to become — a better recruiter!

Sure! I can give you my “Free” staffing firm option!

I’ve gotten a chance to work both sides of the fence for an extended period of time in the Talent Acquisition/Recruiting/Staffing game. For ten years I ran corporate talent acquisition shops for some very large organizations.  One organization spent over $3M annually on staffing agency fees! Obviously, prior to my getting there!

I’ve spent almost fifteen years on the agency side, sandwiched in between my corporate experience. What I’ve learned along the way is that there isn’t a “free” option when it comes to hiring great talent.

Frequently, I get asked from clients for discounts to my fees on the agency side.  I get that. When I was on the corporate side, I would never take an agency’s first offer.  Here’s the main problem with all of this:

Corporate talent acquisition pros don’t want any of it. They don’t your 20% direct fee, they don’t want your retained plan, they don’t want your RPO plan. What they want is Free. A free option.

Therein lies everything you need to know about staffing agencies and corporate talent acquisition.  One side wants free. One side needs to get paid.

The reality is, even staffing on your own on the corporate side isn’t free.  Corporate talent acquisition done right has a ton of costs. Recruitment tools, automation, branding, job boards, applicant tracking, college strategy, recruiter training, and hiring, etc. None of that is free.

All of this, though, should be screaming to the agency folks that something isn’t right.  What corporate talent acquisition pros are saying is “we don’t like the options we are getting from agencies”.  This should be of serious concern because there are companies trying to design other options for corporate talent acquisition pros.  Options where they’ll feel like they are getting the value they want.

These options aren’t free, either, but they are less than all of the traditional options that 99% of staffing agencies are offering.

When I was on the corporate TA side of the desk, here was my decision matrix to when I would use a staffing agency.

This matrix made me feel good about my decision to use an agency:

1. Does my team have the capacity to do this search? If Yes, why would I pay to have this done? If No, the cost is justifiable.

2. Does the agency offer me recruitment expertise and/or pipeline I don’t have on my team?  See #1 for Yes and No options.

3. Is it financially feasible for me to add more capacity to my team, as compared to an agency option? This one took some more work. If I had a need for an agency to fill, let’s say, three positions and it was going to cost me $100K, well, obviously I could hire a pretty good recruiter for $100K. But, would I need that Recruiter in year 2, 3, etc.? Adding headcount isn’t a one time cost for an organization.

Ultimately, for me on the corporate side, it was almost always a capacity issue.  I had the expertise, but we had bubbles of work I needed extra support with.  Too often, I see corporate TA leaders upset over agency spend and it’s based on the fact they don’t have good recruiters on their team, yet they’re unwilling to change this fact. I’ll pay for additional short term capacity. I won’t pay for expertise I should have on my team every day. That becomes my issue!

Corporate TA leaders become frustrated over agency spend because ultimately it’s a reflection on the team they have created.