The Real Reasons Why Corporate Recruiters Hate You

Agency and corporate recruiters have always had this love/hate relationship. It’s a sibling rivalry of sorts – in some cases each thinks the other doesn’t know what they’re doing. After 10+ years on the agency side, I have a great deal of admiration and respect for those that do it well. I also have a newfound respect for my corporate brothers and sisters as I enter my 7th month on the dark side. I still maintain that recruiters shouldn't be allowed to go internal until they've cut their teeth as a third party. It's essential training and as @MattCharney said on Twitter yesterday, you learn to "hustle".


After 60 reqs filled in just over 6 months and mixed results with agency recruiters, I must admit I look back on some of my past behavior as a TPR and cringe just a little (ok, a lot). I know none of my beloved RBC friends make these mistakes but perhaps you can forward on to the real culprits…?


Reason #1 – you are too cocky. Hey I love a little swagger, I really do. What drives me nuts though is when your agency arrogance displays itself by looking down on the poor corporate recruiters who “can’t” do what you do because of some perceived lack of skill or ability. That’s not why I gave you the job order… I gave you the job order because my time is better spent working on the other 40 reqs I have open instead of devoting half of my working hours to ONE. It’s not that difficult a concept. We both perform a valuable service to our clients, and the best on both sides will always have a seat at the table. Don't mistake my decision to go in house for weakness.


Reason #2 – you view me as an obstacle between you and the “real" hiring manager. I know you want to talk to the hiring manager, and I want you to. I gave you this job order because I have other things to do. Unfortunately if the hiring manager doesn’t want to talk to you (and sometimes they just don’t) then you and I are going to have to play nice. It is in my best interest for you to fill this job. I will talk to you every day if you want, and be completely transparent. Why on earth would I not give you every last scrap of detail I can to make this a win for both of us?


Reason #3 – you over promise and under deliver. What more can really be said about this? Don’t make promises you can’t keep – period. Or, if you say you’ll have candidates in a week, but don’t – just let me know! I’ve been recruiting long enough to know things don’t always go according to plan. Just be straight with me like I am with you.


Reason #4 – you get the job order, then disappear. I know I am not your only client. I doubt I’m even your best or favorite client. My company has a very strong internal recruiting team, so you may do one or two placements a year with us. I get it - that probably doesn't put us at the top of your priority list. If you’re not willing to put in the effort, why take the job order? If I am not the kind of client you want, then just politely decline… I can handle it.


Reason #5 – you push back against my feedback. If a candidate you’ve submitted is rejected (before or after the interview), I will tell you why. If we have a strong relationship, you can count on me to be brutally honest. I’m not talking about reasonable discussion – I’m happy to listen to your side and would expect you to defend your candidate. When you start demanding to speak to the hiring manager about “why” he/she was rejected, and ignoring me because you don't like what I have to say, then we’re going to have issues (see Reason #2).


Reason #6 – you treat me like the competition. I realize not all corporate recruiters operate this way, but if I give you a job order I am no longer actively recruiting for it. You are. That doesn’t mean we won’t still have the role posted, and we may still receive active candidates applying, but I am not sourcing. Personally, I view you as an external extension of my team. Why compete with my own resources?


Reason #7 – you don’t know me. You’re too busy selling me on your awesomeness to even bother getting to know me or my company. I especially love the split desk agencies. If I somehow end up talking to the recruiter finding the candidates, I find out the Business Development dude told him very little about my company, and what he did learn was wrong. So when I have to set you straight, don’t tell me “that’s changed”. Nothing’s changed, you just didn’t know anything about us in the first place. Hint – don’t assume, ask questions.


Now let me have it. Someone out there is DYING to come back with a list of why agency recruiters hate the corporate side. I can’t wait to see it, because I know you won’t be talking about me. :)

Views: 9940

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on January 14, 2012 at 10:37am

Wait for it Barry that's next week's post! ;)

thanks everyone for the comments, I really appreciate it. I think sunlight is the best disinfectant and understanding where each of us is coming from should make our working relationships better, yes? I am certainly going to ask my staffing partners point blank if the think my hiring managers and I are incompetent. If so, tell me why. Maybe there are things I can do better or things I can help my partners understand.

The more I read back through the comments, I wonder if the problem doesn't start with the company... I know how lucky I am to work where I do, because my company views Recruiting as a critical, proactive function - not reactive body slingers. We work with our hiring managers to develop hiring plans for the year, create salary bands and incentives, educate them on the labor market and much more - if recruiters on either side are just sitting around waiting for reqs to roll in and trying to fill them based on a job description, you're doing it wrong, IMO.

Comment by Barry Frydman on January 14, 2012 at 11:08am

You maybe the first internal recruiter i like :)

Comment by Bill Schultz on January 14, 2012 at 2:22pm

I love internal recruiters.  they taste like chicken.

Comment by bill josephson on January 14, 2012 at 2:30pm

I look at them suspiciously cause I don't know if they're bearing gifts, or a time suckage Trojan Horse.


I look at them sharing a position as tantamount to introducing and fixing up a 55 year old single widowed or divorced man with a 45-50 year old woman never married living with mother.  It's saying to the introducer, "Are you going to tell me what's wrong with her, or do I have to invest the time and find out for myself?"

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on January 14, 2012 at 3:06pm

Ahh you Bills are funny... of course I'm taking a break from painting my kitchen walls so it could be the fumes getting to me.

But seriously I love the comments and must admit I spend more time trying to convince TPRs they don't want to work with me than trying to pass off that Trojan Horse. I think the 2 agencies working with me now would (I hope) say that I painted a pretty realistic picture of the job order.

Barry, you seem like a decent guy and good recruiter - I knew you'd come around :)

Comment by Bill Schultz on January 14, 2012 at 7:04pm
I'm assuming with the controversial title and the generalizations, you are getting wexactly what you wanted.
Comment by Linda Ferrante on January 17, 2012 at 9:43am

I love your post, Amy!  Interestingly, as a third party recruiter, I cannot possibly do my job, and do it well, without partnering with the inhouse recruiters!  I am SO not the hard core sales person, but my personality is truly that of a 'consultative' sell.  I realize that we are not a good fit for everyone, and if I don't know who you are, what makes you (your company) tick and what you are looking for, how can I possibly help you out?! 

Maybe that's why I don't slam-bam candidates, but instead, have a thorough recruiting and submittal process.  I would rather help solve a problem for you, then to BE the problem.

Good luck to you, Amy, I'm waiting to hear the blast from the other point of view!!  Why are they all so quiet now?  :)

Comment by Andy Young on January 17, 2012 at 9:49am

Linda - I agree with you. As I said in my previous comment, corps and agency should be aiming for the same thing. And within the business I work for we are not commission based so therefore the interest of candidate and client will always come before a commission cheque!

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on January 17, 2012 at 9:55am

thanks Linda and Andy! Oddly enough my favorite agency right now has yet to present a candidate... the position we've put out is VERY difficult and I'm not entirely sure the person we need exists. :) I like this agency though because they've been very forthcoming with their feedback and keeping me in the loop on their challenges. Another agency threw all kinds of candidates at us then got pissed when I kept rejecting them. But I'm the bad guy...? I think not. :)

Comment by bill josephson on January 17, 2012 at 10:11am

Amy, exactly my point.  The few jobs you release to agencies have at least one major flaw and the reason you've released them to them as there's no guarantee it's fillable.  They could work on the position for a month or two, come up with a few potential candidates able to fulfill 60-75% of the job, which may not be enough to extend an offer nor secure an acceptance.

So at the end of the day a TPR works totally at risk.  They don't know it till after investing a good chunk of time.  TPR's aren't getting the tough jobs, but these days often the unfillable jobs.  Which they won't know till sometime in the future.

The present TPR existence.  The future??


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