Get Off The Vendor List. Right Now. I Mean It.

I’m starting to notice something. A lot of the complaining about internal recruiters comes from TPRs trying to work with large companies where they’re trapped by or redirected to the dreaded vendor list. You know the ones – Fortune 500 Company, hundreds of positions, and you’ve got junior HR chickie saying you have to be on a list with 40 of your closest friends before you can submit a candidate. Never mind that your guy is perfect for the job. Forget that the VP of Whatever is your best friend and really wants to interview your candidate. Nope, there are rules. And a list.


So you’re told to go sit in the corner, wait for a Talent Acquisition Specialist (or whatever we’re calling them these days) to send you an ATS generated email with a job description written by HR and a sprinkle of Legal. You are then instructed to submit your candidate (resume only please, no cover letters will be accepted) and you are not allowed to phone into the company for any kind of a status update. You are to hurry up and wait while keeping your candidate warm and engaged just in case the so-called internal recruiter wants to phone screen him or her 3 weeks later.


When did we decide this was recruiting?


I have no problem with large corporations. I’m sure this has nothing to do with me being rejected for a recruiting gig at a large corporation because back then I didn’t have any “corporate experience” (My response to that was “I’ve recruited for hundreds of corporations, how about you?” but I digress). I’m still left wondering why on earth any third party recruiter would want to work with companies who put this sort of price tag on their opportunity. It’s like recruiting has become a never ending season of The Bachelor – go through a bunch of dates (which bear no resemblance to any date I’ve ever been on) to try to get a rose – if you get enough roses you’ll last till the end and might get a proposal. Most of us have seen how long THOSE relationships last!


Of course not all large companies are created equal. Some genuinely want a better partnership with their vendors- um, I mean partners. I talked to a corporate recruiter recently who was looking at how to scale back the agencies they worked with so they could get BETTER SERVICE. So it’s not impossible.


What’s a recruiter to do while you’re waiting for that guy to call you? Easy – find better targets. When you’re looking for companies who will benefit from your service (recruiting is a service, never forget that), ask yourself these simple questions –

1. Are they small enough to need me? Bona fide job openings, too much work for HR or internals to keep up with.

2. Are they big enough to pay my fee? Full fee for full service, as my friend Luke Collard put it.

3. Do they want an actual staffing partner? Don’t be one of these dumb twits on reality TV standing around waiting for a rose. Find companies that want a relationship – not an inbox full of resumes.

Views: 1648

Comment by Dan Hunter on February 20, 2012 at 5:50am

Couldn't agree more amy, ive been wasting my time with one of these giants for the best part of a year.  So glad i ditched them, one placement was 127 days from submission to offer... Turnover has already tripled as im working on realistic roles to realistic time frames and most of all, im respected.  Not treated like scum that is 'lucky to work with them'.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 20, 2012 at 6:51pm

I have to laugh everytime is see some recruiter bragging about having recruited for Microsoft.  Yeah buddy, you and 50000 other pitiful souls called contract recruiters.  Damn, get a real job.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on February 20, 2012 at 6:56pm

@Sandra sad but true!!! every agency in town as an "agreement" with Microsoft and Amazon isn't far behind them. Seattle recruiting - gotta love it. :)

Comment by Peter Kenny on February 20, 2012 at 7:25pm


To paraphrase: "You're known by the quality of the enemies you've made"


You're known by the large corporations that lay helplessly prostrate at your feet. Recruited into submission. Your quick, under-the-radar forays into their seemingly endless morass of marketable human detritus to find that rare pearl that some VC startup thinks is worth a fee. Your endless assault on those large, cumbersome, slow-witted herds of human averageness who pride themselves on being the new norm when, in actuality, new Norm is a fat guy over in purchasing.


Wll, I admit, it might be a little over the top, get the idea........

Comment by Raman Ramamurthy on February 23, 2012 at 8:51am

Yes, this is true. The procedures of getting empanelled with major corporations are getting difficult. Many a time, the best recruiter does not get a fair chance to compete with others

Comment by Christopher Poreda on February 23, 2012 at 10:15am

Preferred Vendor Lists:  As a former auditor they serve only two purposes; to prevent fraud (the head of accounts payable sets up a company run by their 3 year old son and pays $100K a year) and to take advantage of bulk discounts.  That's it.  If you hear you need to be on their preferred vendor list, you're not preferred...move on.


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