I've come to the point where I am not sure I can successfully write this blog post without using every four-letter word in the book, but I'll try. I've had it with 3rd party recruiting partners. Flat out had it. I've never made it any secret that I understand why everyone hated me when I was a "headhunter." But the lack of accountability and professional courtesy I have experienced as of late has my head spinning and my mouth spewing profanities. (Sorry office mates.)

Against my better judgment, I decided to give a contract talent firm a try - they seemed to have their stuff together - had some good qualified candidates, etc...But that's where it ended. The candidates were great on paper, but have turned into ghosts before my very eyes. When I say ghosts, I mean, vapor, smoke and mirrors, the epitome of the bait and switch.

Missed deadlines, empty promises, more trouble than it's worth and a complete lack of integrity are what we've gotten for the premium prices we are paying for the contractors. Our own client relationships are suffering because of the incompetence of not only the contractors, but moreover the recruitment firm and the lack of ability to hold their talent accountable.

The flag has been raised - hell, I've sounded an all out CODE RED - and yet, I get nothing. But you can bet your bottom dollar I get an invoice every week like clockwork. Now, we're in a pickle - we're right in the thick of project life-cycles, and our resources are sketchy at best. We're screwed if we pull the resources, but if we keep them, we're playing roulette with our projects - they might get done, but most likely they won't.

And you wonder why the industry has the reputation of being all about fees? Uh, yeah, this is why. I don't care if your firm has been around for 30 years - it's whomever you have in charge of managing the talent, and upholding the firm's integrity that matters. If you don't have that, you're worthless to me. Actually, worse than worthless, you are a liability.

Views: 318

Comment by Ragan Kellams on October 18, 2010 at 3:55pm
Thanks Jerry - it's the risk we run with anything in business I suppose. It'll get figured out - integrity in our industry is just one of my biggest pet peeves. :)
Comment by Michael Donovin on October 18, 2010 at 6:17pm
WHOA-as former headhunter and someone who has worked retained down to temp I can feel for you. Its the bad apples that ruin the industry. When you find the right agent, stick with them, partner with them, win-win.

If this is left up to a procurement mindset, you are screwed
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on October 19, 2010 at 7:55am
Set a meeting up again, then fire them face to face...
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on October 19, 2010 at 7:56am
what is the name of the firm
Comment by Ragan Kellams on October 19, 2010 at 10:14am
I couldn't agree more, Michael.
Comment by Nicole Dowden on October 19, 2010 at 10:32am
Ragan an IT Consulting firm can have a very good Sales Person/Account Executive selling their brand/services but as a Sr. Technical Recruiter who has worked both positions internally at an IT Consulting Firm (both sales and recruiting) I know for a fact that any good sales person can pitch their company and services to a prospective client but if they don't have really good, well networked "A player" recruiters in their organization in a hot market, it doesn't matter what they have done in the past what matters is what can they deliver now. I would highly recommend if you pursue another IT Consulting firm to do business with that you ask if one of the Recruiters can come and meet with you as well. Recruiters have their finger on the pulse of the market every minute and I can tell you that if you are doing web development or internet dev work that the supply and demand has taken quite a swing in the past few months and the talent pool is getting scarce again so the importance of working with very good, well networked recruiters in more important than ever and timing is critical. Hope this helps! If I was in Altanta I'd help you out.
Comment by Becki Dunaway on October 19, 2010 at 11:37am
Ragan,

I’m sad to say it, but it seems this is the direction things are moving too. I have been a Corporate Recruiter for years and struggle to find any work except at a third party firm. It’s never been this difficult for me to find work. So, I decided to try working for a third party consulting firm that specializes in placing contractors onto projects - similar to what you're describing. And this was a firm that was a vendor of my prior employer. So it should have been an easy fit, right? I felt like a square peg in a round hole. Did not fit in at all with this company.

Even though I had set the expectation up front that I have family responsibilities in the evenings and there are certain days of the week I cannot stay past 5 pm; I learned 4 months later that apparently that WAS an issue for this firm. I am the type of person who prefers to arrive by 7:15-7:30 in the morning, work through lunch and then log in from home after my kids are in bed. This has always been acceptable (and respected) by other employers I have worked for in the past. But also, my prior employers did not monitor my hours as long as I was performing (getting enough hires).

For the project I was on, we had only 3 recruiters to support 200+ open active job orders just for that one client. We were a new vendor to the client who already had 14 other vendors. So when we submitted candidates, ours were not the first ones viewed since we did not have the credibility established. And even though we were a new vendor, we were not receiving complaints from our client. The morning I was let go, we had received at least 2 compliments from the client.

The way this particular third party firm paid their contractors (and employees) was completely uncompetitive. The first paycheck was 1 month from start date. I have operated as a Contract Recruiter for years and when pay rolled through an agency of any kind, I was always paid weekly. The candidates we were recruiting would tell us they could go to another firm and get paid weekly.

Despite my team submitting more candidates than what was required each week; I was let go 4 1/2 months later being told "we’re moving in a different direction" along with a few other lame made up excuses. Honestly....I was GLAD to be out of there. I dreaded getting up in the morning to go there. I have never felt that badly about a company I have worked for in the past. I have never ever been told that I did not work hard enough until I worked for this firm. This was the most unprofessional organization I have ever worked for! I will NEVER return to a third party firm because of this experience. In fact, it was such a bad experience for me that I don’t even have the experience listed on my resume.

And by the way, these firms are not doing anything special or unique to find candidates for you. They are using the major job boards (Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice) and LinkedIn. I never heard anyone on the team at this firm doing any true cold calling. Most of them didn’t know half of the sourcing techniques that I knew. And I know most of them could not build a Boolean search if their life depended on it.

The opinion of this 15-year recruiting veteran is that I am quite sure that your own company recruiters would be able to do a better job of finding contractors for your project.
Comment by Allison on October 19, 2010 at 12:37pm
I am a 3rd party recruiter and it KILLS me when other recruiters drop the ball because it makes it impossible for good recruiters to repair the damage. I apologize on behalf of all good recruiters for your crappy experience.

I also recently developed a software and know the pain of banging my head into a wall when it comes to developers and other techno-people. Has anyone else felt the pain of dealing with them? Is it me or do they all have CAD (communication aversion disorder)?!?! Aside from the CAD issue, I think there is a great market potential for an English-Geek dictionary....I need a translator!

Not to defend the poor communication by the recruiter, thats unacceptable, but could the issue be the type of people need? I am a recruiter by trade, a strong communicator by nature, and I can't seem to communicate with them.....
Comment by Barbara Goldman on October 19, 2010 at 12:48pm
Interesting post.

Your comments matter. The big problem with our industry is the lack of tenure at recruiting firms. It doesn't matter if you work with a large company, or small, few recruiters stay in the business. Even the successful recruiters burn out and move on within 5 years.

Sometimes, the person you give the job order to doesn't last the week. A new person clings to every job order, and doesn't have the knowlege to perform. It is a tough job to learn, and the personality required is hard to find. Good recruiters are part salesman, and part showman, with industry and business savvy. Most recruitng offices are revolving doors.

Unfortunately, you are on the receiving end of OJT. Recruiting is on the job training at it's worst. We take highly educated people, and give them a telephone, a computer, and viola! You are a recruiter. I've always said that to learn this business is very very expensive. It takes time, and effort. The deals lost outnumber deals completed the first year, and the next year the recruiter is doing something else. Something sane like Banking.

I've tried to lesson the effects of OJT on our clients with a system of quality control. We've come a long way, but I know we can do better.
Comment by Jerry Albright on October 19, 2010 at 12:55pm
Allison - hopefully you won't mind but I'm going to offer a different viewpoint to "I am a 3rd party recruiter and it KILLS me when other recruiters drop the ball because it makes it impossible for good recruiters to repair the damage."

I'm a 3rd party recruiter also. I relish the opportunity to prove how I am different. These schlock recruiters only serve to help me look better every time. They lower the bar so far - all one of us has to do is simply SERVE THE CUSTOMER.

As far as making it "impossible for good recruiters to repair the damage...." that is not my job. I'm not in PR for the recruiting world. Far from it. The best thing I can do for my industry also happens to coincide with the best thing I can do for myself: Provide the service my clients pay me for.

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