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: 9859

Comment by bill josephson on January 13, 2012 at 11:20pm

Until demonstrated otherwise I operate under the assumption that I (TPR) am the competent party in the recruitment and hiring process. 


I assume the corporate recruiter has zero control over the resume review feedback time frame, no understanding if the position is urgent, passively doing what they're told by the decision maker as they don't want to risk assertiveness having to look for another job in this jobs environment, and simply can't control the interview/decision making process. 

I assume the position they give has a fatal flaw to it explaining why they didn't fill it looking for a two headed astronaut who doesn't exist, tough relo, position underpaid, too numerous requirements, too selective, no urgency to fill,  indecisive decison maker, etc........

Comment by Andy Young on January 14, 2012 at 12:41am

Really interesting and thought provoking post. Although I have to say, I've never really seen the agency and corporate worlds as a "them and us". I'm not sure it's too healthy to continue the myth. I think it comes down to the ability and want to build sustainable relationships and recognising that others objectives may differ to a certain extent, but with the end goal largely the same.

To pick up on your points:

1) Being cocky - Not sure that's an agency thing, more likely just a personality disorder. I've met recruiters on the corporate side who are cocky but I don't put it down to which side of the fence they are on!

2) Agency recruiters should not view you as an obstacle. As I said, there is - or should be - recognition of a common goal.

3) Totally agree!

4) Right again Amy. Why waste anyones time - but only I know I can't help and it's not in my area of expertise. This is different from not being willing to take on the tough to land briefs. That's precisely why I expect to get briefed from corporate recruiters, because they need market / functional expertise and knowledge. No one said it should be easy.

5) A good working relationship should always have a healthy level of open discussion. But we do also need to respect that the corporate is also our client just in the same way that a candidate is. Healthy two way respect is the best way. The only way!

6) An extension to your team - the perfect attitude and the best way to get your agencies motivated and working their hardest for you.

7) Yep, ask - but we need to remember to listen to.

But ultimately it should not be about competing with one another. We are all aiming to achieve the same thing. If we all recognise that then the relationship will work more times than it fails.

Comment by Darren on January 14, 2012 at 7:59am

Ok as not one wants to play and I am bored with facebook today here goes :)


Is the real reason, because a sound bite like creates your 15 mins of fame and tells the world you placed 60 people in 6 months?  (congrats by the way)

Anyone of the problems that you listed are easily levied at the employer/internal recruiter daily by the recruiters themselves.  Your observations then score as much as an own goal, as they do provoke reaction.

Reason #1  Hmm yes its amazing how employees of a firm have the ability to adopt the arrogance of they are the brand, an arrogance most founders of said brand do not have themselves.  Then bless those employees they push that new found arrogance on others with a vengeance of a woman scorned.  Normally recruiters, how very dare they be confident, or upbeat to combat the mire of new business generation rejection they deal with every day.

Reason #2  Yes because even with all you learnt about people hire people you took up your new role and have improved hiring mangers approach to hiring zip, nada, nil, not one bit if they don’t want to speak to suppliers responsible for making that match.  Unless your John Coleshaw your impression of your manager are just that, impressions.  So by definition your are an obstacle as nothing changed 


Reason #3 Oh dear, dear, dear feedback that never comes, offers that get low balled, offers that get typed up wrong, offers that get sent late, interviewers who turn up and massage their ego for 1 hour then give the candidate 5 mins to pitch themselves, a promise yours is a great place to work but your hidden hiring mangers are not Muppets (that’s why they hide) and so the list goes on...


Reason #4 Recruitment did not start out as a contingency led payment system but fickle employers led it that way, in no other walk of life do you get service without payment why is it that only in the employers world do they think this model would work for finding staff?  In respect of job specs, these are not works of art your handing out they are spray and play flyers, if they were not you would have retained a recruiter or got your own passive short list and filled it.  You cant blame the rain if you get wet.


Reason #5 Because its normally bland and does not further the cause to get the personality fit which causes most contingency recruiters to miss match.  See previous answer for what hiring mangers must pull their finger out and do, plus it being your job to educate them.


Reason #6 You might be right in your own case but when internal recruiters openly take in CV's then go to the job board accounts and see if they can find the person direct to avoid a fee then your industry peers set a tone of miss trust that is not easily undone.  Or set up in their supply terms so you must meet the candidate then take the CV from another agent who did not, but has a lower fees… now come on really what would you call that if not competition?


Reason #7 Nor do you know me but it will be interesting to see what assumptions are made about us, will my replies be take in good humour, love or hate.  


Do employers see maps of the world, which suit them or the real territory?  Each month one or more of these 'the things wrong with recruiters is rolled out'  most miss the fact that by and large the employers or their representative end up making sweeping generalisations from the experience of dealing with a few, they assume the map for the masses.  


Almost always the observations are set around permanent recruitment examples and are issues of the contingency model.  Just retain your permanent recruiters and the problems will stop.  It will not take long to work out which ones to retain.


Also permanent recruitment is only 15-25% of what recruiters actually do the remain

Comment by Barry Frydman on January 14, 2012 at 8:10am

I've always assumed that a good headhunter would never take a major pay cut to become an internal recruiter.

Am I wrong?


Comment by Rita Beerle on January 14, 2012 at 8:14am

Great post Amy. Appreciate hearing your perspective from the inside.

Comment by bill josephson on January 14, 2012 at 9:46am

Barry, you used to be correct.  I've been recruiting coming on 32 years.  Today, though, due to a combination of minuscule private corporate sector jobs creation, Internet technology, offshore outsourcing, and corporate cost cutting the opportunities for making lots of money as TPR's is still there, but IMO to far lesser degree.

Lots of dynamics working against us which weren't before.  Today we're mostly given the problematic or unfillable jobs, which no one tells us when we're given them.  We either must have the market knowledge to protect our time wasting or we find out in the process that we're wasting our time.

Yet, the moment a company has no needs that corporate recruiter has to often physically pack up unless remote site finding a new gig, whereas we have to pick up the phone to find a new client.  So clearly the security isn't there.

What I see are fewer opportunities with the same success numbers meaning smaller billing numbers.  So today, a corporate recruiter may be earning more than TPR's.

Comment by Ben on January 14, 2012 at 10:08am

A great post Amy. And an even better graphic in the comments section Sandra! ;-)

It makes me laugh (read "groan") when you see agency recruiters moaning about in-house and in-house moaning about agency when neither have spent any time on the other side of the fence.

Only those that have worked in both environments for at least 6 months (approx) each can truly appreciate the challenges and perspectives of both parties.

Amy, what makes your post a great read is that its from the perspective of someone who's served time in both fields and can offer a truly balanced, objective view.  Cheers

Comment by Barry Frydman on January 14, 2012 at 10:25am

No question a corporate recruiter doesn't have to find new clients, has some level of job security, gets credit for filling jobs they had nothing to do with (ie filled 60 jobs in a year), earns enough to be lower middle class, and is given respect without earning it.

It's a tough buisness but at least I get to eat what I kill, work on the opportunities that interest me, and my income potential is several times that of an internal recruiter makes.

In my six years as an independent recruiter I've yet to run into even ONE internal recruiter has helped me make a commission. Typically they ask me to work for peanuts then tell me to call back in 6 months when they will be reviewing their vendors. Needless to say I don't like them.

Comment by Barry Frydman on January 14, 2012 at 10:27am

Anyone feel like commenting on:


The Real Reasons Why Headhunters Hate Corporate Recruiters

Comment by bill josephson on January 14, 2012 at 10:28am

The roles are parallel but not the same.  The motivations aren't always the same

TRP recruiters only get paid when they successfully place someone at a company.  No one cares more about the hiring process and filling a job than a TPR.
Corporate Recruiters get paid for doing whatever the company wants them to do, meaning knowingly or unknowingly potentially wasting a TPR's time with an unfillable or non urgent job.  They may just want to provide candidate coverage making themselves look good for a req they're not sure is urgent to fill.  They may not tell you what the pitfalls are.  They may be storing resumes for a future need they're not sure they can find people for.

In other words, they're in a position where they can use TPR's, whereas TPR's are dependent on Corporate recruiters protecting their time.

Different motivations.


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2022   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service