It seems nowadays that there's a new recruiting firm popping up just about every day. I can't tell you how many calls I get a week from firms that I have never heard of - and many times never hear of again. Although, yes, I am on the other side of the desk now, I am still a recruiter at heart. It is my bread and butter. It's what I was born to do - the thrill of the hunt and the power of the connection - at the core, I am and will always be, a recruiter.

This is why, when I speak to a recruiter that couldn't recruit their way out of a paper bag, yet they speak to me as though I am the one that is ignorant, it kind of gets under my skin. The true art of recruiting isn't about posting a job and sorting through resumes. Sure, that's ONE tactic that can be used. But the end result itself is about finding that perfect match, the professional kismet, and creating a meaningful connection between an employer and candidate - finding the right fit for BOTH parties - not simply putting a butt in a seat. It's about knowing your client - knowing what kind of person is going to fit not only on paper, but will have the chemistry in person and will fit within the organizations culture like a glove.

Is this an easy thing to do? Hell no it's not. That's why not everyone is able to do it, and personally, I don't think just anyone should be allowed to claim they are an expert in recruiting and the hiring process. There should be some sort of qualification, certification or vetting process required (not just from a job skills standpoint, but from a profession standpoint) before someone can recruit for a company.

Hiring is simply too important of an element to hand over to those unqualified to do it. Just making introductions, passing along paper, does not an artfully skilled recruiter make and the same goes for hiring decisions. Just because I like to argue a lot, and I am pretty persuasive doesn't mean that I should be allowed in a courtroom to provide legal counsel. Attorneys study for years to pass the bar, and then practice for years underneath senior partners before they ever SEE a courtroom. Doctors the same way. You don't just hand a medical student a scalpel and a patient and say, "here, have at it!"

In advertising alone, the entire creative industry has been diluted and degraded to the point many feel it's a joke -simply because the wrong people were hired for the jobs. Why? Because it's a dog-eat-dog world. Agencies trying to compete with the increasing digital demand were throwing money hand over fist at folks who were unqualified for the jobs - designers were offered creative director jobs, coordinators were offered director level positions - and now 3 years later, what do we have? A candidate pool of overpaid, under-qualified people getting jobs, and the folks that really know what they are doing are missing the boat. And that means the water is muddy as hell. The same goes with "customer service" if there is even such a thing anymore. The entire function has been bastardized due to bad recruiting, bad hiring and bad management. And these are just two examples...the thought alone at the extent of the damage that has been done makes me sad, and honestly a little scared.

Recruiters and hiring managers have a social responsibility to know what they are doing and to be held accountable for doing it. As a profession we should uphold integrity and the highest of standards. Not everyone is cut out for this. I know it, you know it, but unfortunately your clients necessarily, don't.

Views: 140

Comment by Darren Scotland on October 29, 2009 at 12:34pm
This is a great post.

It's reassuring to know there are recruiters out there who still have a passion for it and haven't either just landed in an industry they can't get out off, or are only interested making a quick buck (or pound sterling!).
Comment by Ragan Kellams on October 29, 2009 at 5:46pm
Thanks Darren - i just get a little wound up about this stuff. I want our industry to be valued and appreciated, and with no-talent-hacks out there making us all look like buffoons, it never truly will be.
Comment by Stephanie Huff on October 29, 2009 at 5:55pm
I am in the same boat. I was an executive recruiter for 3 years before I ventured over to the corporate side. I have so many agencies that think they can pull wool over my eyes now. I get called from new agencies several times a day. I know when they are bluffing. And I can pick out the really great recruiters out there that I enjoy patnering with and giving my business. Like you I am a head hunter at heart, no matter what position I hold moving forward. I only want to work with those agencies that know what it takes to stand out and bring qualified talent the right way.
Comment by Sharon Jimenez Meyers on October 29, 2009 at 7:40pm
Thank you, it is a great read. Too true, I agree, some ppl are in it for a quick buck and have no true passion for recruiting. You have to love what you do, be happy, be passionate, learn something new everyday!
Comment by Charles Van Heerden on October 30, 2009 at 3:11am
Hi Ragan, that is why very few recruiters are Gold recruiters (see my post). The core competency is assessment, not selling! I can't believe that "recruiters" can refer a candidate without having done a full and proper interview. Finding good talent that can grow with the business is what it is all about, not bums on seats.
Comment by Hassan Rizwan on October 30, 2009 at 5:24am
True Ragan. The point here is why do they actually make mistakes. I believe there must to be one or all of the three following reasons:
They dont act responsibly
They are not professional enough to understand the pulse of the recruiting system
They are satisfied with the assessments which are cheap an can help them hire sumeone AT LEAST.
Comment by Kathleen Smith on October 30, 2009 at 12:30pm
Thanks for this! it couldn't come at a better time. As things get a little more tougher -who thought it could get worse? - some unfortunate tactics are coming out by people who do not hold the same professional standards as others. Recruiting is a art form and a profession that many have a great passion for while others see it as a way to make a quick buck and move on. We are all in professionals or industries where acting honorably and with integrity is seen as the anomaly rather than the norm.
thanks again for the great post.
Comment by Christy DiVenere on October 30, 2009 at 12:45pm
AMEN! Well said and this is much appreciate to those of us who have honed our craft!
Comment by Barbara Goldman on October 30, 2009 at 2:28pm
I agree. We do not allow new recruiters to call companies in our firm. Only experienced recruiters are allowed to contact clients, or potential clients. But, in most recruiting firms, new recruiters are on the phone the first day marketing candidates to potential clients.

Until recruiting firms change the way that new recruiters are trained, we all look bad. I honestly don't know what the answer is. I was new too, once.

A good example of unprofessional conduct is what happened to us last month. One of our clients told us that they had twelve canidates to interview. IMPOSSIBLE. I knew it was impossible. Some recruiter had sent them resumes, without bothering to find out if the "candidates" were actually interested in the job.

Because this one recruiter dazzled our client, our client decided to wait, and go through every candidate before making a decision. It turns out that not one of the twelve actually wanted the job. So our candidate was hired. But, the wait was long, the process arduous, and our candidate felt like the last choice for the job. She did accept, but it was difficult because multiple offers came in during the wait, and the client ended up paying more for the candidate than they would have had the hire been quick.

With experience comes knowing. Knowing what the candidate wants, knowing why the candidate is changing jobs, and what amount of money will be accepted. Too many inexperienced people throw resumes around without knowing the candidates involved.

I love this business, but it isn't what people think it is. Resumes mean nothing without the ability to land the candidate. Thanks for the post.
Comment by Ross Clennett on October 30, 2009 at 4:45pm
Too many recruitment firms have made money in the past simply by posting a job on a job board and sorting through resumes and hoping the ones they refer are going to be good enough for a placement (and enough were). The skill of candidate assessment and judgment is fundamental to being a highly effective recruiter and very few recruiters are trained thoroughly enough in this skill before they are let loose on clients and prospective clients.


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