Claudia's Wednesday Wisdom: The Case of the Disappearing Hiring Manager

Dear Claudia,

I am trying to learn how to make efficient client calls and meet their requirements. But you know what happens, the client (a prime vendor), gives me a requirement which has been on the market for a long time and is not filled yet. I try to get a consultant who is close to meeting the requirements, and submit them at a marginal rate. Till then the client will be communicating with me, but once I ask for the feedback, he just disappears!!!!

I just want to know some kind of solution for this. It’s a waste of time for both of us. I don't understand why they don't realize it. Sourcing is not that easy, like just giving the requirement. Finding the right consultant, negotiating and finally getting the consent from his employer, and then submitting to the client.....This is not an easy job. Can you advise me what to do?

Sirisha


Hi Sirisha,

I’d like to say that your clients have way too much time on their hands for game playing, but it sounds more like you’re not hitting the mark on your submittals – and your hiring managers don’t have the time or inclination to help you get it right. And if they are working with multiple recruiters to fill the role, it’s no wonder you’re getting the silent treatment. Busy hiring managers with difficult-to-fill openings don’t often make time to train third-party recruiters (even really nice ones).

But I suspect that the problem may be starting for you long before the submittal. It sounds like you're jumping into candidate sourcing without enough information to do a good job. It’s natural when starting out to think that you’ll learn the profile of the perfect candidate as you go along, and in the speed-recruiting business the tendency is exaggerated to submit, correct, and submit again. But nothing could be more painful for your hiring manager.

Calibrating a resume is fine, but as a rule of thumb if you need to test more than one resume with a hiring manager at the start of a search, it’s likely you don’t have the information you need to be sourcing effectively.

Go back to the basics to prepare for your next assignment. Do you have a series of questions to use for intake? There's good information to be found here and here on this topic, but here's a short list that can get you started:

- Why hasn’t the role been filled yet?
- Have you seen other candidates? Why haven’t you hired them?
- What is the business problem or opportunity that this person will address?
- What about this role will be irresistible to the perfect candidate?
-What do you expect this person to accomplish in the first 90 days?
- How will you measure their success?
- What tangible skills, competencies, or experiences do you expect to see on the resume?
- What kind of personality fits well with your team?
- Are there specific education or certification requirements?
- What are the compensation specifics?
- Is relocation or travel a necessary part of the job?
- When sourcing, are there any companies or industries I should target or avoid?
- Who will participate in the interviews?

Once you have this information, don’t stop there. Use the intake meeting to get commitments from the hiring manager about how you will work together (i.e., who is responsible for what, and when), agreements on response times for resume submittals and interview feedback, and the frequency of communication between you until the placement is made. Setting "service level agreements" ahead of time will save you headaches later.

I think you’ll find that a solid intake session will result in greater hiring manager interaction and respect; and if it doesn’t, you’re in a better position to find out why with confidence. Ultimately it's your choice to not work with a client who won’t work with you.

Best of luck, and happy recruiting!

**
In my day job, I’m the head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage engagement for competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here.



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I'll jump in. My first thought is really a question. Do we really want to solve Sirisha's issue here? If so the answer is quite simple.

Let's face some facts. Sirisha is clearly an extra middleman in the H1b Shuffle. There is no rhyme or reason to how that whole thing works. Sirisha needs to find his/her own clients. The person up the chain is yet another H1B pusher. Gaining influence or trying to close THAT person does no good.

While your thoughts are right on (as usual!) Sirisha's client is not "THE" client at all. Sirisha is also not having any type of discussion with the candidate. It is merely a matter of sending emails out to the H1B "owner list" and waiting for someone to more or less be "assigned" to the project.

This in my opinion is not staffing at all. It is another world entirely.

Traditional "what do I do in this situation" replies aren't going to help one bit. So let's not pretend this is anything other than what it is.

Sorry for the mild rant. I just get worn out with it all some times........
This is one of the things I love about this format -- the discussion. I have to admit that I didn't have the same take on Sirisha's question as you did, but your assessment of the situation made me stop and think. You raise a valid (and very reasonable) point, Henry.

So assuming that Sirisha wants to get better at recruiting, or "controlling" the recruiting process, what do you suggest that she does? Quit her job? Go to work for another agency? Work to change the system where she is?

Inquiring minds want to know .

Henry Hillman said:
Sirisha is clearly an extra middleman in the H1b Shuffle. There is no rhyme or reason to how that whole thing works. The person up the chain is yet another H1B pusher. This in my opinion is not staffing at all. It is another world entirely.
I think this is easy to see just by being looking at the consultant promo spam that goes on here at RecruitingBlogs.com I am constantly emailing members and asking/telling them stop leaving comments and messages about available consultants on people's pages here. It's obviously very annoying to everyone
My Thoughts:

I read the question and thought - Sirisha is a recruiter focused on placing contract/temporary roles - not as a third party resource.

And in truth, we are all middle men - we play that role between clients and candidates - what separates us, as recruiters, into segments of good, bad, and ugly, is the quality of our work - to that end Claudia, your response was right on.
Perhaps you didn't put the whole scenario together. Sirisha's client as she says is "Prime Vendor". So her "client" is the recruiter who is then trying to place their contractor in the middle of that rat race. There is no feedback, no manageable approach or anything.

If we want to take this topic in a different direction thats good with me. Let's talk about getting feedback, establishing timelines, gaining concensus, striking agreements "If I do this, then I can expect you to X, Y or Z" type things.

The H1B "trade" as it is called is nothing more than a spam game. No real discussions are taking place. I doubt if Sirisha has even spoken with her "client" beyond being the person who was forwarded the "Hot List" from God knows who......

Don't you get this crap in your inbox every day? If you don't - then your name is not out there. If you do - then you know exactly what 'ol Henry Hillman is talking about.

You can have the very highest quality of work - but if you are in the middle of a $#@& email business/req's/hotlist/req's chain - it doesn't matter. Your product - what you have to offer to your candidates (or whatever candidate is on your daily hotlist) is crap.

Can we just be real about this? I for one am getting sick and tired of pretending half of this shit I see is anything close to actual recruiting.
Not the way I might have said it - but certainly thought it! Must be that my name is "out there" as every morning I get the latest International Talent Trader emails too. I just delete them all.

It is accurate to say that what goes on in that circle has little or nothing to do with what we consider traditional recruiting.

Carry on!
Henry, thanks for keepin' it real. Good stuff. I like someone with the cajones to speak his mind - Kudos.

Let me toss out there that I'm absolutely sick of these H1-b 'Prime Vendors' sending over banana boats of non-citizens to do work that citizens can . . . however, I do understand that it's an issue of economics. It's not corporations fault that our economy is in a tail spin and that they have to cut costs to maintain adequate margins. Frankly, I vacilate between respecting the economics of the matter and watching buddies of mine go weeks longer trying to find opportunities because they won't work at the blue-light special rates that H1-bs' will.

I used to think that Defense contractors would not employ the same strategies as other F500 orgs submitting an RFP. However, this isn't true. They're not quite 'as bad', but offer a chance for a company to 'certify' . . . which is another system that gets gamed. Yep, there has always been, and will always be, cat & mouse games when big $$$ are involved.

Now, the one area where I can offer a scathing review is these ridiculous 'Supplier Diversity' awards handed out to companies that mass-import H1-Bs'. Frankly, I'm sick of seeing them - I know people that run firms that don't stand a chance because they provide local citizen talent . . . and can't stay in business unless they import H1-Bs' as well. The result? The local firms chase the 'left-over' reqs from the huge RFPs' that they lost. At least at that point, they can justify market pricing instead of deep discounting.

$1 million revenue at 5% margin ($50k) is worth the exact same as $500k revenue at 10% margin . . . which is the same as $250k at 20% margin. The question comes down to whether the firm wants to drive earnings (and thereby win an 'award') or profitability (and thereby create wealth and stimulate local economic consumption).

Henry Hillman said:
Perhaps you didn't put the whole scenario together. Sirisha's client as she says is "Prime Vendor". So her "client" is the recruiter who is then trying to place their contractor in the middle of that rat race. There is no feedback, no manageable approach or anything.

If we want to take this topic in a different direction thats good with me. Let's talk about getting feedback, establishing timelines, gaining concensus, striking agreements "If I do this, then I can expect you to X, Y or Z" type things.

The H1B "trade" as it is called is nothing more than a spam game. No real discussions are taking place. I doubt if Sirisha has even spoken with her "client" beyond being the person who was forwarded the "Hot List" from God knows who......

Don't you get this crap in your inbox every day? If you don't - then your name is not out there. If you do - then you know exactly what 'ol Henry Hillman is talking about.

You can have the very highest quality of work - but if you are in the middle of a $#@& email business/req's/hotlist/req's chain - it doesn't matter. Your product - what you have to offer to your candidates (or whatever candidate is on your daily hotlist) is crap.

Can we just be real about this? I for one am getting sick and tired of pretending half of this shit I see is anything close to actual recruiting.
Sirisha's experience is quite common in the legal recruiting industry. Clients give you a description of their ideal candidate and then you go out and find this near to perfect candidate for them. However, the client chooses to pass on the candidate after reviewing the candidate. At this point, I would ask for the reasons for the pass and are there any additional qualifications the client is seeking. Often the client will go silent when asked these questions. Upon discussions with other legal recruiters, I have attributed this silence to the fact that the in-house recruiter does not know why the attorneys at their firm have decided to pass or they fear stating the reasons why may have legal implications. I also suspect the current market has something to do with it as well. It is an employer's market, at least in the legal industry, and employers can sit back and wait for their "wish list" to walk through the door. Once in awhile, we do get some helpful insight into why the candidate was passed over. However, this is very rare. Sirisha I sympathize with your struggle.
If I'm reading this correctly you "rarely" get accurate feedback on why your candidate was passed up? This is not how recruiting works.

Step 1. Find out what they want and agree to a process (including feedback, etc.)
Step 2. Identify, qualify and "close" candidate on oppt'y.
Step 3. Present candidate to company and EXPECT the process you agreed to.
Step 4. When they do not follow the agreed upon process including the part about giving you feedback - you need to remind them of the process which was agreed upon. If they refuse to tell you why you are not being successful with the candidate you introduced MOVE ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Picture you as another type of professional. A doctor for example. Can you imagine a patient (client) coming into your office because they are not 100% in some way or another.

You ask "What's wrong?"
They say "I'm not telling you."
You say "Are you serious?
They say "Yes. I'm not going to tell you."
You say "My time is too valuable for games. Get the hell out of my office!"

That is EXACTLY THE CASE every time your client (patient) refuses to educate you on their expectations. Clients that treat you that way have no intention of paying your fee. They do not value your time. My guess is the fee you/they have agreed to is a cut fee as well - indicating how much value they place on your service.

Why don't more recruiters value their time highly enough to expect customers to work WITH them instead of against them? This is not a game.
Hmmm... two points:

@Sirisha, where are you? No comment?

@Josh to your remark "sending over banana boats of non-citizens" I assume you mean banana boats as in the some affectionate reference rather than the alarmist prejudice that sometimes underlies such off-the-cuff stereotyping.

It's easy to take an Americentric view of the world and overlook that fact that the U.S. offshore millions of recruiting dollars to India or that it would only take one of the 268 members from India to take exception to your remark for it to have been truly an unwise choice of words.

For anyone who doesn't know you as well I do it would be wrong to assume you are a chauvinist any more than it is to assume Sirisha is simply trying to find answers to the problems that challenge their place in the universe of recruiting.
Ami, well stated and good points. You are correct that members from India may take offense to my comments . . . as well as the U.S. population's consensus of H1-B mass-importing as we near our next presidential election.

Some may be offended by my ethnocentric viewpoint of the mass-importing of H1-Bs'. In fact, they might even be as offended as U.S. citizen workers that I see being passed over each day in lieu of the lowball rates offered by H1-B contractor firms. To that, I offer to retract my usage of the concept, "Banana Boats", and instead offer, "Slave Ships".

This is a good discussion for us to have as the issue above is on a very large number of American citizens' minds - "What if I can't find a job? How can we pay our mortgage or rent? What about buying school clothes for our children? How are we going to heat our homes this year?" Let me be clear: My business mind understands the economics of offshoring & outsourcing to maintain adequate margins; however, my loyalty remains with the American worker who is out of a job due to an imported H1-B resource, not the other way around. This is a HUGE subject and debate, not only on recruiting forums, but all business forums, not to mention Capitol Hill itself.

I do admit that this is a subject I am passionate about. I have friends and family members close to me that are struggling to get by, and furthermore, I have intimate knowledge of several H1-B mass-importing, contract-staffing firms here in the SE U.S. I understand how they play the game and hold no reservations in letting the cat out of the bag.

Please note that I'm not discussing offshoring; I'm discussing outsourcing that involves such business practices. By all means, offshore if it's the right thing to do . . .

P.S. As you can see, I'm not running for Mayor. But if I was, it would be here in the U.S., where I live and call "home". Therefore, I believe I side with the 10k+ U.S. members of RBC over the 268 from India. I'm sorry, but that's the bottom line. If I'm chauvinist for holding loyalty to friends and family that live here in this country with me, then so be it. That's a rock I'll carry.

Amitai Givertz said:
Hmmm... two points:
@Sirisha, where are you? No comment? @Josh to your remark "sending over banana boats of non-citizens" I assume you mean banana boats as in the some affectionate reference rather than the alarmist prejudice that sometimes underlies such off-the-cuff stereotyping.

It's easy to take an Americentric view of the world and overlook that fact that the U.S. offshore millions of recruiting dollars to India or that it would only take one of the 268 members from India to take exception to your remark for it to have been truly an unwise choice of words.

For anyone who doesn't know you as well I do it would be wrong to assume you are a chauvinist any more than it is to assume Sirisha is simply trying to find answers to the problems that challenge their place in the universe of recruiting.
Just to be clear, I am not stating a position on the H1-B visa issue or the broader issues of labor supply and demand, worker migration, global workforce management, or anything other than my concern for your racial stereotyping. Of course, if you are a racist too I suspect you'll be just as eloquent in defending that position are you are the other items on which you emote.

As a place where we get to thread random thoughts together to better understand the world we live in let me suggest you take a look at a the famous Rivers of Blood speech given by Enoch Powell, a U.K. political figure and polemic from the 60's.

If nothing else it will put this kind of conversation in its historical perspective and may even resonate with someone else in the same way it does with me...In short, Josh, this conversation is not a new one, nor has the language of "banana boats" and "slave ships," and what-have-you changed much either...

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