it increasingly difficult for contingency recruiters to thrive. In fact, technology offers many benefits but it also encourages laziness. Anyone calling himself a recruiter can spit resume's out and accept any type of fee that they want. Recruiters are being marginalized whether they admit it or not. I have many colleagues and clients who are in contingency and none of them do it because they love it. They ALL do it, because they cannot get out of it. Believe it or not, I don't blog just to make people mad, but to help recruiters get paid what they're worth. But all recruiters are not EQUAL or worth the same fee either. Many contingency recruiters do great work and are discounted and disparaged by their "clients." Much of their work ends up on the trash heap. (20% close rate is typical) It is disheartening to work hard on a search and end up getting paid nothing, but this is standard fare in contingency search. This is why over time, we hedge our bets.
I guess that I had my "Jerry Maguire Moment" and just wanted to do it differently. It is true that I don't make a lot of placements, but that is the beauty of it. I get paid on every search that I do, which enables me to do careful work. Go easy now... …
ve an affinity for those that have a presence aimed at giving back as opposed to winning a popularity contest. A good example is Jim Stroud - he consistently creates value and helps me do my job better, and from what I know of him, it's more about helping us than winning any awards. Personally, the individuals I often 'notice' (and subsequently keep my interest beyond 1 post) are those that meet the following criteria:
a. They are honest. If someone agrees with everything they read or hear, they can become more a placater than an innovator or thinker. ("Traditionalists often study what is taught, not what there is to create." - Ed Parker, Kenpo Grandmaster)
b. They assume a position. Again, agreeing with everything means "standing on the fence" as opposed to having independent thought and reasoning ability. As Seth Godin says, "Don't be afraid to polarize people." The reason for this is because so many people fall into the middle ground as opposed to standing for something. As an example, consider the Honda Pilot or Infiniti FX - sure, many people dislike them because of the body style, but to again quote Seth Godin, "For every person that hates you, there is someone that loves you." If you can identify and grow among the group that loves you, then you have a niche.
c. They write in an engaging way. When I say "engaging", I am suggesting that even the most advanced topics can be presented in such a way that we can understand. The ability to communicate complex issues is as much an art as a skill. Although amusing, Alan Greenspan put me off when he said, ""If you think you understand what I said, I probably misspoke..." (paraphrased).
The dilemma I see Trace, is that by being honest and assuming a position, there are risks. Yes, you will polarize some . . . particularly if your honesty can impact the money stream or "flow of commerce" in a market (at the end of the day, this is human nature.) Natural segregation, and to a degree, forced or 'highly recommended' segregation, may occur . . . and as a result, building a resonating personal brand requires a dose of thick skin. However, I personally believe that over a period of time, there is more to be gained through honesty and candor than playing it safe at each corner.
Just my $0.02 of a declining USD.
Someone with Little to No Personal Brand :)…
really, at least not in a black & white sense - sure, we may fall on either side of the fence more often than not, but I think we have to be careful with this subject as you can often be blanket-branded either an "angel" or a "devil". The truth is that we're all probably both from time to time - it just depends on the situation and who is doing the 'judging' per se. In fact, I like to think I'm a more 'ethical' person than 'unethical', but it all comes down to the eyes of the beholder. Being ethical in some situations is unethical in someone else's eyes and vice-versa.
That's why the ethics issue can divide so many, but it shouldn't - we all have different paradigms and different frames of reference . . . and truthfully, I believe no other issue divides our industry more than 'ethics'.
I only toss that out there because I've seen (time and time again) people get branded as "saints" or "criminals" based upon how some may perceive their answer to a given question. The Penelope Trunk issue on ERE was a much different one that illicited a great deal more flaming than this particular situation, and in fact, that's why it was put out there - to stimulate conversation and flaming in the first place. As they say, "sex sells" and the easiest way to ratings is through a little skin!
I ask all of you as my recruiting brethren and brethrenettes to withhold immediate categorization or judgment against anyone for how they answer an ethical issue given any one particular situation. One sound bite doth not a person make :)…
and signed up for subprime loans even though they didn't have legal work in the US. (Believe me I used to work for a subprime company I came across a bunch of cases.)
But to the Recruiting ethics issue. I think this one is a two parter - how you sell the candidate and who you choose as a client.
I myself have struggled with this one as well. I have worked with a company in the past that honestly made me feel like a snake oil salesman. In the end I decided to steer certain people away from my company that I felt didn't have the scruples or thick skin to handle the place. I actually told a candidate: "You're a really nice person, and speaking as a friend, I think you should look elsewhere. Trust me - you would not be happy here." If you oversell you are just going to cause more turnover and headache for yourself, and you are doing a disservice to the candidate. You don't have to scare people away necessarily, but don't try to sugar coat a piece of crap either.
As to client base - I think we have to make the decision to be ethical people even if it might hurt us in the short run. I think this lack of personal ownership and 'mercenary mentality' is why we are in the current economic crisis. For me the question isn't, "Will this company let me represent them?"
Rather, "Do I want to represent this company? Do I want to risk damaging my reputation in the community by representing them."
**By the way the person I said that two nine months ago not only thanked me profusely, but contacted me a few days ago to retain my services as a resume writer and job coach.…
makes for a painful spectator sport.
Sometimes I think the biggest thing that SMedia and Web 2.0 have done is give everyone a megahorn and the (often misguided) idea that we are all *experts* and that what we have to say is both right and matters to everyone else.
Earlier this week some dude made the comment that candidates looking for a position should *always* refuse to talk about compensation with recruiters and even direct companies. Boy, that'll move you up to the top of my stack! Another "expert" said you should try to get fired from your current job, because after that you'll better be able to find your dream job. Both of these clowns were irresponsible bloviators, and annoyed me no end, and I bet they would have you as well. To top it off they were also selling shit online about how to get hired billing themselves as *experts* (neither were recruiters so put the rocks down). Their approach was so reckless, irresponsible and stupid I wanted to puke on my shoes.
I guess my point, and I do have one, is that *perhaps* we should all take a step back and realize that our own personal experience does not absolute truth make. Lots of ways to skin a rabbit (I hate that phrase as much as beating a dead horse) and nothing comes off as annoying as telling other people what their truth is. If we do we better have some serious proof in our back pocket (and in my experience in this industry that teaches us new schtuff every minute that is pretty hard to come by) or we should just shut the heck up.