Staffing Agencies = Training Ground for Corporate Recruiters?


I never thought I’d be a corporate recruiter.  Well, if we go back far enough I never thought I’d be a recruiter.  In fact, I don’t know a single recruiter who set out to BE a recruiter, on purpose.  We all seemed to kind of fall into it, but I digress. 


I started out as many do, in an agency.  Actually my first experience with an agency was covering the front desk at a recruiting firm that rhymes with Blobert Blaf.  I remember the staffing managers literally crying at the end of the day, and I swore I would never take a position that caused me to burst into tears.  Heh.


Well, after turning down the good folks at “rhymes with Blobert Blaf”, they placed me with another staffing agency, this time working in advertising for the company headquarters.  I swore I’d never take a field position in this crazy agency recruiting industry.  Mm hmm.


Now this was back in the day when people still placed want ads in the Sunday classifieds.  As luck would have it one of my newspaper partners thought I’d be a great recruiter.  He made some introductions, next thing you know, I’m recruiting for an agency that placed temps in warehouses.  That went great until one of our drivers drove into the side of a house.   What can I say, win some/lose some.


Slowly I worked my way up the agency food chain, landing an awesome gig with a Dutch search firm doing mid-senior level professional direct hire placements.  It was a great experience and I made good money, until the economy took a dive and my company pulled almost completely out of the US.


After a brief stint working as an employment coach I’ve now found myself reunited with my true love – recruiting – but this time in house.  All of my fellow recruiters have come from agency.  And we all rock.  Know why?


We have a sense of urgency.  In agency recruiting, you don’t place, you don’t eat.  While we all enjoy a stable paycheck, that sense of “get it filled yesterday” is ingrained in us.  We know if we don’t move quickly (and keep our hiring managers moving) we’ll lose good candidates.


We “politic” well.  Just because the same company writes our paychecks, doesn’t mean we have the undivided trust and attention of our hiring managers.  Just like agency recruiters, we have to build relationships.  We make mistakes too – but having the occasional cup of coffee with our hiring managers and just listening goes a long way.  We need them to have our backs, too.


We find people interesting.  Note I did NOT say we “like” people.  Most of us do not, at least not in that Pollyanna junior Human Resources assistant kind of way.  However, we DO find the human element of our business fascinating.  We love uncovering what makes people tick and how to bring them together to solve problems.  Speaking of HR…


We are not HR.  I love HR.  Some of my best friends work in HR.  HR makes sure I get paid.  But we are NOT HR.  We are professional people finders/matchers/closers, and that is what drives us.  That, and…


We are money motivated.  Yes, even corporate recruiters are money motivated.  One recruiter I know has her bonus directly tied to her recruiting efforts.  Me personally, I am on contract.  I get paid for the hours worked, and it’s in my best interest to WORK a lot of them.  (never over 40 a week, in case my boss is reading this lol) As a contractor, I’m only as good (and therefore open to extending my contract) as the number of quality placements I make.  Which leads me to my final point…


We are RESULTS, not PROCESS oriented.  It’s all about the placement.  My best friends in HR can focus on on-boarding, benefits, all the little t’s that need crossed and i’s that need dotted.  Also, I don’t care so much (within reason of course) where my candidates come from – I’ll source, I’ll take low hanging fruit off job boards, I’ll network/social media all that fun stuff.  What matters is I get the talent I need for my organization.  I just want to fill some reqs .  And then do it again.

Views: 593

Comment by Adi Kaimowitz on July 13, 2011 at 4:59pm
Nice energy :-)
Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 14, 2011 at 12:34am
This ladies and gentlemen is the profile of a real recruiter who knows what it's all about.
Comment by Jessica Lunk on July 14, 2011 at 9:48am
I liked this post a lot, especially the distinctions you made between agencies/corporate recruiters/hr.  plus, it's always fun to hear how people get from point A to point B in their careers - thanks for sharing your story!
Comment by Ken Forrester on July 14, 2011 at 10:42am
Same old thing, but with a different spin.  Just goes to show that a positive attitude is what makes the difference.  NICE...
Comment by Amy Ala Miller on July 14, 2011 at 12:05pm

Thanks everybody!  I always make my toughest critic (my 16 year old daughter) read these before they go out.  If I get a shrug and "pretty cool I guess" from her then I know I have a hit.  She pretends to know nothing about mommy's work but she's grown up with it, can't fool her.  lol


I really appreciate all your positive feedback.  I love reading what everyone else is up to and even when I don't comment know that all of your amazing stories are entertaining, inspiring, and sometimes just plain fun!


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