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: 1625

Comment by Raphael Fang on February 17, 2012 at 12:44pm

I have completed some vendor applications before, but I have never heard anything back from any of them before.  I usually just move on to another prospect that value human interaction and wants to develop real working relation by getting to know me and what I can do for them.  

Comment by Dan Burkart on February 17, 2012 at 1:39pm

It's not easy being a Corporate Recruiter, being bombarded by the agencies with their candidates. How can they have the best candidate when there in no understanding of the requirement?

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on February 17, 2012 at 2:08pm

Raphael - precisely. There's certainly a place (and need) for high volume contingent staffing help, and I understand especially for large companies the need to keep some kind of process in place for control. I get it. I think the agencies working with those types of agreements owe it to their candidates as well to let them know the depth of the relationship. You might have to say "I'll submit you and we'll have to wait and see". Not fun, but necessary.


Dan - I'm lucky to have pretty good relationships with a handful of key partner firms. Best candidate VS 1st available/qualified candidate - that's a whole 'nother blog post right there!

Comment by Nicole Sawyer on February 17, 2012 at 2:38pm


Comment by Peter Kenny on February 17, 2012 at 3:02pm


I've been a headhunter since 1973 and I agree with you wholeheartedly. Maybe even more. Corporations exist for only one reason - to support headhunters - one way or another.


The recruiter is often the bottom rung of the HR ladder. They take a green pea off a college campus or promote an 'administrative assistant' and make a recruiter out of them. They take two of the least qualified people on the planet when it comes to evaluating the talents or abilities of their betters and they make them the gatekeepers. If they ever DO become adequate, they get promoted into benefits or compensation or made into some type of 'generalist'. Personally, I take that as an act of war.


One of the aspects of headhunting that I have always found attractive is the ability to exact revenge for real or imagined slights. Headhunters were made for the vendetta. And, although I have had excellent relationships with some large corporations over the years, most corporations suck beyonfd belief.


I am old now but, I'm never going to die. The reason for that is that I enjoy being a thorn in the side or the burr under the saddle of innumerable corporate weenies and twits.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on February 17, 2012 at 3:45pm

Peter - thanks for the comment :) If I ever get "promoted" into benefits or compensation I'll know I'm being punished for something. ha!

Comment by Scott Corwin on February 17, 2012 at 7:25pm

Well done as always Amy. Although I'd prefer that the rest of the industry waist their time while my company continue to work directly with clients, not black holes. Then again anyone reading your posts is already a cut above. We should really try and find a way to get accreditation (that even the public would acknowledged) for individuals in our profession that are a cut above.  Good House keeping stamp of approval type of thing.  Different subject I know... Have a great weekend all!

Comment by Brian K. Johnston on February 18, 2012 at 8:11am

Bingo! Amen! Bravo!

Comment by Dina Harding on February 18, 2012 at 11:21pm

Well stated, Amy, and so true!  Great job reinforcing what recruiters need to hear.

Comment by Leigh Cosgrove on February 20, 2012 at 4:47am

So true. Great post Amy.


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