How to NOT Win Friends and Influence People

I just received an email from a staffing agency we asked to help us fill a position on a contingency basis. Our third party recruiter is a bit perturbed with us because several candidates have been submitted (some good, some not) and we haven’t interviewed any of them. Also, there have been some debates internally around paying a FT placement fee vs. contracting. I’m doing my best to keep our TPR up to date and informed but hey, sometimes things don't go according to plan. That’s recruiting.

 

In an email questioning our math skills, wondering if we’ve communicated certain facts to the CIO, and then asking us to give the respect of an answer as to what went wrong, this business professional tells me (direct quote) “all in all, probably a full day's worth of productivity between myself and my team has now been thrown away”.

 

A full day? EIGHT WHOLE HOURS? How about this…cry me a river. Do you think you’re the only one that ever had a deal go wrong? Besides, if you’re connecting with viable candidates who can’t be found otherwise then how in the world is that wasted time? If this person and their team are building relationships with people in the tech industry how is that a waste of time?

 

Better question… how is berating me in an email (which can be printed, forwarded, shared, saved forever and ever) get you any closer to closing a deal?

 

Maybe this TPR didn’t realize how offensive the email was, or just didn’t care. Here’s the potential downside – I know people who are looking for recruiting help both as clients and really good candidates. My colleague (also on the receiving end of this diatribe) is pretty well connected too. We will NEVER refer anyone to this agency. It was an embarrassment to our profession and I’m sorry I ever suggested to my team we use this firm. There are so many things this kid needs to learn, including these tough truths about recruiting –

 

The pressure is intense – there will always be pressure to land clients, find candidates, close deals. Sometimes that pressure gets to us. When things don’t go as planned it can cause the most level headed among us to freak out. Jump up and down and swear all you want, but don’t put it in writing to your client.

It rarely goes according to plan – Listen, you’re dealing with personalities on every side of this business. Why do we act so shocked when something changes? To be more recruiting specific – we tell a hiring manager sure we’ll give it to an agency, fee is 20%. Ok, fine. Then it’s here’s the candidate, salary is $X and fee is $Y THEN the hiring manager isn’t feeling so good about that mythical 20% turning into hard numbers that hit his budget. Unless the candidate is a rockstar, the hiring manager might (prepare yourself) change his mind.

Far better to promise little, deliver big – Just tell me you’ll work on it, keep me informed on a semi-regular basis, and then quietly slip a superstar under my door. I will jump up and down in a good way. It’s the blowhards that are blathering on about their awesome process and epic connections that look like morons when they send me “ok” candidates. I am not impressed by your office address or who started your firm. I care that you find me what I can’t find myself.

It’s not the client’s job to make you look good – I don’t know how you’ve presented our position or what you’ve told your recruiters and candidates about your relationship with us. I don’t care. So if you’ve sold a bill of goods to someone on your end that you now can’t deliver, that is not my problem. Again, things don’t always go according to plan - and it’s not your client’s job to clean up any mess that these changes may have made for you.

You get to choose who you work for – 3rd party recruiters have this amazing advantage. You actually get to pick the companies you want to do business with. Unless you have a broad national contract or your boss makes you, then yes – you get to decide if you want to put forth any energy on our part. If there is something about me or my company you don’t like, then by all means move along. It’s possible to exit gracefully and save us both the frustration.

 

A satisfied client will pay an invoice. A happy client will give you repeat business (more invoices). Any thoughts on the client you rebuked? Here’s a hint – they aren’t writing you a check.

Views: 906

Comment by Brian K. Johnston on December 22, 2011 at 1:28pm

Amy, your ability to write this article, then "hit send" helps other people.  You could have NOT shared this story, and taken the "safe" (EGO) route, but this is exactly what the world needs, especially the recruiting biz. (TRUTH)

Amy Ala for President!

Brian-

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on December 22, 2011 at 1:35pm

@Brian I love it! I vote Sandra McCartt for Pres, I'll be her VP and we probably need to make Schultz Sec of Defense because we'll need it. :)

@Sandra I responded several times in my head and there were a few (ok a lot) of bad words in the first few responses. I have yet to type a response even though he stated very clearly that someone owed him the respect of an answer. Would love to hear your thoughts. :)

Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 22, 2011 at 2:21pm

If you do post the entire thing , post the second one he sent also.  I am embarassed for this kid.  If he worked for me i would jerk him up and ground him from the computer for a month or tell him that there is not much room for whiney babies  or demanding little green  narcissists in our industry.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 22, 2011 at 2:25pm

Believe me anybody who elects me to anything gets what they damn well deserve.  VP's get to do all the work and Shultz would have a full time job.  You have my permission to publish the response i wrote and sent you.  I think it might be helpful to actually publish his emails without name and company name.  Let experience people comment then send him a link to this post.  Instant training that he doesn't have the time or money to get in his lifetime.

Comment by Darryl Dioso on December 22, 2011 at 3:09pm

Darryl Dioso, Fourth Party Recruiter, Social Media Recruitment Expert Dabbler, Cold Caller (with manners), Completely Transparent, Agile, Iterative, Team Player Collaborative and waiting to Occupy the washroom. 

How's that for 2012?

Comment by Bill Schultz on December 22, 2011 at 4:11pm

I'll vote for anyone who sends me $105

Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 22, 2011 at 5:17pm

@Bill that made me laugh outloud.  FYI you old whore.  You and i sponsored two kids in the "Shop with a Cop" Christmas program.  The Deputies take a kid who comes from a single parent struggling home shopping.  They get to spend 200.00 dollars each to buy gifts for their brothers and sisters, mom and other family members like grandma who live in their home with 100 of it.  They use the other hundred to buy something they want.  They did about 40 kids this year.  It was interesting that many of them wanted a coat and shoes first then spent the rest of theirs  on a toy of some kind.  One of our kids that we sponsored said he wanted a hoodie and tennis shoes.  When that was done he said he really didn't need a toy but his  little sister needed a coat and shoes as well as toys so he spent the rest that was for him on the coat and shoes for sister.  The deputy who was with him was so touched by it he called me to tell me what a neat kid this was.  Guess who the hell bought those kids about 10 toys that the deputy told him came from Santa.  You and i did bubba.  And an outdated computer has been refurbed by my geek, loaded with computer games and delivered to their mom for Christmas morning.

Kids, animals and old people .  I got a note from one of the animal groups i work with.  They did a helping Srs with shots and food for their pets.  My note said, can you help Emily age 66 with shots and food for her cat.  I sent my pal back a note and said" Sure, do you think anybody would take on Sandra age 70 with 7 horses, 4 dogs and 6 cats."  She wrote back and siad, "I don't think i would ask, somebody might come get you as one of those dotty old women with too many animals." 

I know when i have been one upped and when to shut up.  Sometimes it's fun to be "Geezer Bait".

Comment by Bill Schultz on December 22, 2011 at 9:24pm

Sandra- you are a gentle woman and a scholar.  And a fine example for the recruiter of today and tomorrow.  

Happy Holidays to you and your family and to the horses, dogs, cats and zebras.  

May you live a long, fruitful life.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 23, 2011 at 2:11pm

Thank you Bill,it's those zebras that complicate things. 

somebody asked me what i thought was the one most important thing to be a good recruiter.  My take is "a good memory".  The fact that you never forget a thing reinforces that i am right.  I hope this youngster that Amy is trying to educate with this post will remember his first job rec that went down the tubes and learn something from it.  I'd like to jerk this one up and get him off the road to perdition.  It concerns me that i see and hear more of our younger recruiters demanding "respect" rather than earning it

 

Trust me when i tellyou that having already lived a long life there is certainly some low hanging fruit.  :)

 

A warm and safe holiday to all.  Denver looks like a Chistmas Card today.  One more trip to the airport and our whole group is in.  I managed to have to go through a full body pat down due to a Christmas bow in my hair.  They did laugh when i said don't worry about it this is the most action i have had in several years.  Life is too short not to laugh at ourselves.  I sat next to a young airman on his way home to see his kids for Christmas from his airbase in New Mexico.  He hauled my carryon as well as a huge shopping bag full of hats off the plane and all the way to luggage pickup.  I handed him a hundred and said ,"Tell your kids Santa appreciates your service to our country."  Don't forget these kids that are out there away from their families wearing the uniform for not much money , it's tough duty.

Comment by Bill Ward on December 27, 2011 at 6:30pm

The pressure is intense – there will always be pressure to land clients, find candidates, close deals. Sometimes that pressure gets to us. When things don’t go as planned it can cause the most level headed among us to freak out. Jump up and down and swear all you want, but don’t put it in writing to your client.

(The pressure is intense, but handle client related issues professionally without taking it personally. Makes sense.)

It rarely goes according to plan – Listen, you’re dealing with personalities on every side of this business. Why do we act so shocked when something changes? To be more recruiting specific – we tell a hiring manager sure we’ll give it to an agency, fee is 20%. Ok, fine. Then it’s here’s the candidate, salary is $X and fee is $Y THEN the hiring manager isn’t feeling so good about that mythical 20% turning into hard numbers that hit his budget. Unless the candidate is a rockstar, the hiring manager might (prepare yourself) change his mind.

(So in essence, your hiring manager is a flake. He can't seem to get it through his or her head that recruiters actually get paid money. This is where the recruiter and the hiring manager actually have to agree on what a "rockstar" actually looks like in terms of relatable professional accomplishments. This goes a long way in avoiding the dreaded, I'll know it when I see it hiring approach

Far better to promise little, deliver big – Just tell me you’ll work on it, keep me informed on a semi-regular basis, and then quietly slip a superstar under my door. I will jump up and down in a good way. It’s the blowhards that are blathering on about their awesome process and epic connections that look like morons when they send me “ok” candidates. I am not impressed by your office address or who started your firm. I care that you find me what I can’t find myself.

(Results speak louder than words agreed. So how does a recruiting firm that's never worked with you present their capabilities in such as way that will make you want to give them an opportunity to support your hiring initiatives when needed?)

It’s not the client’s job to make you look good – I don’t know how you’ve presented our position or what you’ve told your recruiters and candidates about your relationship with us. I don’t care. So if you’ve sold a bill of goods to someone on your end that you now can’t deliver, that is not my problem. Again, things don’t always go according to plan - and it’s not your client’s job to clean up any mess that these changes may have made for you.

(The contingency hacks you refer to are actually representing your company in the marketplace. You technically hired them. If they shoot their mouths off and look like used car salesman to candidates, that's a direct reflection on your organization as you have authorized these recruiters to work on behalf of you and your organization. Maybe you should care and be accountable for ensuring that the story recruiters are telling potential candidates is compelling and accurate for the sake of everyone involved.)

You get to choose who you work for – 3rd party recruiters have this amazing advantage. You actually get to pick the companies you want to do business with. Unless you have a broad national contract or your boss makes you, then yes – you get to decide if you want to put forth any energy on our part. If there is something about me or my company you don’t like, then by all means move along. It’s possible to exit gracefully and save us both the frustration.

(Again, you or your department have allowed this TPR to submit resumes. There has to be some level of commitment in terms of timely, constructive feedback. Your attitude of take or leave it is what's really wrong with the whole internal/external recruiting relationship. You act as though your TPRs are a bunch of sales goons trying to use any tacti

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