I am Recruiting, and I do not suck.

Each day it seems another pundit, social media maven, blogger extraordinaire, conference speaker, or HR consultant takes the time and effort to publicly tell me I suck. In the last several months I’ve been bombarded with blog posts, mini movie trailers, Tweets, and various social media messages sounding the alarm as to how the entire function and profession of recruiting is broken and screwed up in the U.S. and the world over.
It took a while, but I’m here to tell them that they’re wrong. I do not suck. The sole reason it’s taken me this long is that my employer expects me to pay attention to hiring managers, candidates, and suppliers rather than to pseudo-experts that haven’t filled a job (or possibly haven’t held one!) since before Google went public. So instead of another blog post filled with unfounded personal opinion and void of any business metric or useful conclusion, I’ll use real data to tell you why I don’t suck.
My customer satisfaction scores clearly indicate that I do not suck. We measure customer (hiring manager) satisfaction and my customers consistently tell my management team that I do not suck. As a team, our scores are consistently over 90% overall satisfaction rating.
My new-hire satisfaction scores clearly indicate that I do not suck. We measure our new Associates satisfaction with our recruiting process and function and our new hires consistently tell me that I do not suck. As a team, our new hire satisfaction scores are consistently over 95% overall satisfaction rating.

My candidate satisfaction scores will indicate that I do not suck. I guarantee it. This is the newest satisfaction measurement for our team to implement, and our scores will begin in Q2 of this year. Again, I guarantee that these scores will prove that I do not suck.

I’m going to go out on a limb and state that a majority of my colleagues don’t suck either, and I excuse them for not taking the time to weigh in on this issue. I realize they’re busy taking care of hiring managers and candidates rather than worrying about klout scores, follower numbers, and traffic to their blog site.

To those of you that choose to tell others that an entire profession or corporate function sucks for no other reason than to draw attention to yourselves with sensationalist headlines and self-promoting social media stunts, go get someone hired. You, right now, become accountable for an entire hiring cycle. No excuses, no hashtags, no global platitudes, no more insufferable self-hype. If need be, find a local non-profit that needs recruiting help, and carry some personal accountability for once. And then, after you’ve worn your big-person pants for a few days, come back and tell all of Recruiting that they suck.
As for me, I'll continue to pay attention to those that really count for something; my hiring managers, my new employees, and my candidates.

Views: 731

Comment by Donna Welch Mast on April 5, 2011 at 10:44am

I'm a recruiter and have been for over 15 years - I don't "suck".  The industry is "sucking" because most recruiting agencies/staffing agencies don't train their associates to be recruiters - they train them to be on the phone all day, every day.  To go forward - never back therefore there is no relationship building - this is just my observation though.  I finally decided to work for myself so I don't have to "smile and dial" all day long.  Plus I never did do that - and, as successful as I am, I was always being critiqued for it....always.


Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on April 5, 2011 at 10:54am

I have thick skin

Comment by Craig Sweeney on April 5, 2011 at 10:58am

Prospect:  Tell me, how do you find people?  Recruiter: (Insert process here) Client: So, you poach people?  Translation: You suck!  Further Reflection:  Some Recruiters have a Used Car Salesman approach and some Physicians have horrible bed side manner.  I hear from more candidates that compliment my approach rather than clients that use us as a neccesary evil.

Comment by Doug Cohen on April 5, 2011 at 11:00am


I have heard this from others, but once I explain the behind the scenes issures, they claim to understand. But I agree with Franks commnet it is perception.

Comment by Edward Caliguiri on April 5, 2011 at 11:20am
I don't worry about our industry's reputation.  In fact, the general negative perception of recruiters makes a good recruiter stand out.  Let's face it -- we only really care about what our clients and candidates think about us -- and we have alot to do with that.  We can't worry about the public perception of our profession because we can't control it.  I'll just stick to being concerned about what my clients think of me.  Candidates will always work with us if we have good opportunities for them, so I'm not so concerned about them.
Comment by Chris Havrilla on April 5, 2011 at 11:22am

I agree with you Frank, the whole Recruiters Suck thing gets a little old and there does seem to be a constant barrage of messages like this all the time.  It is hard not to take it personally, especially if you take great pride in what you do and the impact we can make for a business and the life of each person we help place. 

I can't tell you how many times I want to fire off a response but then I realize if I did, I would be doing the same thing they are -- making just another generalization that is supposed to cover a whole group of people as if we all think, act, and work the same way.  This is the problem with generalizations and stereotyping -- it completely ignores that fact that every human being is different.  We are not jobs, we are people. 

Like Jerry, I am not in the business of polishing the general reputation of our profession.  I can't --  but what I can do is work hard to take care of my candidates and clients, and be a mentor to my team and colleagues.

Comment by Liz Baker on April 5, 2011 at 11:46am
I agree with Frank. The very nature of our job is going to leave a lot of the candidates and potential candidates we deal with dis-satisfied, no matter what we do. In every profession there are good apples and bad. The best compliment I get is when a candidate tells me that they have had bad experiences with recruiters and I have helped change their mind about them. I am also tired of hearing how much recruiters suck. I have even had one candidate call us pimps. If I go the Dr and have a bad experience I am rational enough to realize that was just a bad Dr. and that not all Dr's are like that. I would hope that the candidates I deal with are intelligent enough to come to that same conclusion about recruiters.
Comment by Frank Zupan on April 5, 2011 at 12:12pm
Steve-Great insight. Do we (intentionally or unintentionally) permit candidates who unsuccessfully exit our hiring process carry those negative beliefs? BTW-Love the “Account Manger”, one of these days we’ll write a book…

Jerry- I’m also not hearing the “Recruiting sucks” noise in my day-to-day business, so I’m left to wonder about the motivations of pseudo-experts that are “wailing at the wall”.

Jason-Thanks for your comments. I fundamentally disagree with the premise of “perception is reality”, but that’s a whole different philosophical conversation.

Suresh-Great point regarding common survey results on “most trusted” professions. I need to look further at some of those. The challenge of having the jobseekers best interest is that the jobseekers name isn’t on the paycheck, if you know what I mean.

Rayanne-Girl, you live here at RBC, you know there’s a ”like” button. Go ahead, press that button…:)

Donna-Thanks for joining the conversation and great point on training. Doesn’t it seem ridiculous that more agencies and staffing firms aren’t pouring $$ into recruiting training? Isn’t the entire business model dependent on delivering the right candidate at the right time? Seems there would be more focus in this area.

CB-Hilarious! Thanks.

Craig-Thanks, and it’s clear you’re building trusted (rather than transactional) relationships with your candidates.

Doug-Thanks for your comments!

Edward-Thanks for joining the discussion. Do you measure client and candidate satisfaction? Would you find any value in doing this? Just curious.

Chris-Thanks so much for contributing. I have a lot of respect for your opinions in this area. I’d love to have an in-depth discussion on the “we are not jobs, we are people” statement. And I’m quite proud both you and Jerry refrained from using the “can’t polish a turd” line :)

Liz-Thank for commenting. When I hear negative comments from candidates or clients, I take them seriously. It just seems like a cottage industry has sprung up surrounding the whole subject of everything that’s wrong with recruiting.
Comment by Marc Rodriguez on April 5, 2011 at 12:39pm

Frank, thanks for the post! You just helped me actualize my new morning mantra --- I'm going to empower myself and repeat every morning "I am Recruiting, and I do not suck!" Maybe we can revive that old Helen Reddy song and change the lyrics ;o)

Now if we could only get all those Pseudo - Recruiters to adopt the opposite -- I am NOT Recruiting, and I DO suck!

Comment by Valentino Martinez on April 5, 2011 at 12:47pm


We feel your pain. 

Is it a bother?  Yes.  Will it ever change? Never--because as long as there are suckies, bad apples and paying for the sins of your brothers and sisters in the trade happening, the beat goes on.  Is any industry, discipline or entity immune to not sucking at some point in time?  No.

So get back to working hard at what you do best because there is always someone who notices and will stop to compare notes about what is good, bad or very bad about our profession. 

As for us--the recruiters in the trenches..."Ours is not to reason why.  Ours is to do and die"...my adjustment of a famous couple of lines in the poem Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson

"..."Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


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