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 Andy Young on January 17, 2012 at 10:17am

In answer to Bill's point, if I really don't think I can fill a role I'll let the client know. And because I specialise rather than a generalist recruiter, I tend to know very early in the process if we can genuinely help or not.

Comment by bill josephson on January 17, 2012 at 10:28am

Andy, I appreciate your answer.  You're right.  I try to do the same.  The issue is ability to specialize within a discipline, or being on the preferred vendor list with 5-6 companies working on their different positions in servicing that client.

If you work a discipline, have some clients, and they all go cold you meet resistance developing new clientele.   The other has pitfalls as well.  Good topic for another thread in these challenging economic times

Comment by Andy Young on January 17, 2012 at 10:34am

Agreed Bill. Look forward to sharing some thinking at another time. All the best, A

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on January 17, 2012 at 10:39am
@Bill I totally agree. It's the corp recruiter's job to shine a light on those flaws and make sure the TPR knows what they're getting into. Anything less is unfair and setting your TPR partner up to fail. One of the reasons I didn't like internals when I was on that side of the desk.
Comment by Craig Watson on January 18, 2012 at 6:22am

@Amy Great Post..... Althoughhhhh  I recently interviewed an ex-agency recruiter, who is now working corporate and wants back into agency.  Her observation is that the team she is in now (all ex-agency) is like a bunch of 'reformed smokers' - referring to agency recruiters as 'sharks in suits' and the like...... I think it's a little like when we become parents we often forget what it was like being a kid...... Never forget your childhood...  I just re-read what I have written and it's a load of old tosh! Meh, I'll post it anyway!

Comment by bill josephson on January 18, 2012 at 8:19am

I believe the questions going forward are the relevance of TPR's in the marketplace IF, through technology, all employees are Internet visible, and is the overrall poor quality of fillable jobs TPR's seem to be receiving from Corporate Recruiters symptomatic of a temporary poor jobs creating economy or permanent due to technology/offshore outsourcing?

Amy, from what she stated, is being consistent with other Corporate Receuiters I work with.  They share the marginal or impossible to fill positions as there's something wrong with it that doesn't add up or they'd fill it, themselves.  Difficult for a TPR to earn a living working on marginal/impossible to fill jobs.  Sure, you can tell Amy "no."  But the risk is the likelihood of losing all opportunities doing business with Amy as she'll turn elsewhere.  Because of a dearth of clients with both a fillable and an urgent to fill position necessitating using a recruiter a TRP starts thinking twice about turning Amy's position down or entertains the idea of working on a high risk of failing position.

The analogy.......that woman at the bar who isn't attractive at 10 PM starts to look better at 2 AM.  So do you approach her at 2, or determine tomorrow's another day with potentially better opportunities?

Comment by Barry Frydman on January 18, 2012 at 9:15am

I say approach her.

Who knows she may even be a Internal Recruiter with real opps.

Comment by Travis Yeager on January 18, 2012 at 9:46am

I've only been at this a short time but have found that I deal best with hiring managers. In the technical space they seem the best qualified to give me the skinny on exactly what they would like to see.

I'm not certain but I'd imagine it depends on who makes the decision to go third party as to whether you will find a seamless and mutually beneficial process. I can say that immediately upon entering this field, the struggle between corp & third party was evident.

I believe as a third party, I can do things that a corp recruiter cannot because they are obviously bound by the rules and policies or their company. (I'm not saying shady practices or anything and I'm not saying that corp recruiters are without talent!

( I always have to look things over so as not to blow up my inbox by inadvertently peeing in someone else' sandbox!)

As a corp recruiter do you call on passive candidates in other companies? I would imagine not as your plates are full of other things and your company may indeed frown upon the practice.

I try to make a point on the front end to understand current processes in a company while also showing them a streamlined process for those one-off, tough assignments. Give me a real need coupled with cooperation, shorten the hiring process to a week as its tough to keep a really excited candidate really excited and I'll give you your next hire.

Is that too much to ask? LOL.... 

Sandra summed it up well and I enjoyed the pic.

Thanks Amy

Comment by bill josephson on January 18, 2012 at 9:56am

Travis, you're correct.  The key is for how long will you be able to sustain that managerial relationship maximizing success before someone/something impedes upon it?   The longer you can sustain it, the better. 

But it can be tenuous as at any given time the relationship equation can be changed through company policy, HR interference, personnel change, a blown up candidate/interview experience deteriorating the relationship, etc.....

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on January 18, 2012 at 10:10am

Travis - excellent point - there are certainly competitors (1 at least) that we can't directly source from... so you're absolutely right that in some instances corporate recruiters can find themselves handcuffed in ways that TPRs are not. 

I know my experience is not the norm, but my company does treat recruiting very differently from other mid-sized companies. We functionally report to HR, but are NOT HR. Our entire focus is pipeline generation, sourcing, recruiting, interviewing... once they're hired we're out of the process. We don't deal with benefits or anything HR related. That's a separate function. We have 5 full time recruiters and a coordinator - most of our reqs are easily handled. We are also very close with our hiring managers. I attend more meetings with them than HR! On the other hand, you find a company that has 1 overworked recruiter, or maybe no recruiter at all, just harried HR staff that doesn't focus on recruiting and there's your client. 


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