In the recruiting world, you commonly find two recruiting structure models...recruiters own the requisitions, or recruiters own the candidates. Although it won't be hard for you to identify which side of the equation I fall on, let me go ahead and take the suspense out of it for you. I prefer the recruiters own the requisition side. Perhaps it's because that is how I was trained early on in my recruiting career, but for me - I think it goes deeper.
I currently work with a handful of people who have come up in their recruiting careers by owning candidates. They emphasized building relationships with the best of the best and keeping them "warm" until the perfect position came along and then they would submit that rock star candidate. Sometimes that was a quick process, but sometimes they would stay in contact with that candidate for more than a year trying to wait for just the right moment to submit them. These recruiters have done really well for themselves, and I can appreciate the commitment to finding the best of the best and winning their trust.
But here's where I see weaknesses in that strategy...
I believe you serve your clients in the most effective and efficient way possible. They have hired me to do a job - to fill open positions within their company. So, as a company, I want to do that as accurately and as timely as possible. My opinion is that a recruiting firm with shared information and resources makes it more powerful than one where some candidates are kept from the public view and only exposed when and if a recruiter decides they want to share that candidate with another team member so they can get a split of the fee collected. How frustrating would it be to work in a firm where you have an open job - you work hard on it for weeks - and eventually the company fills the job with someone else outside of your firm. Little did you know that the recruiter seated next to you had the perfect candidate for the job all along, but they didn't say a word about it because they were expecting another job to open soon where they were hoping to place this candidate.
Let me just ask....have you, as a company, serviced your customer in the best manner possible?
The problem with recruiters owning candidates is that it tends to put the recruiter's interest above that of the client and the candidate. The candidate certainly would prefer to have multiple looking for opportunities to place them, rather than just the efforts of one person. When you are unemployed and that mortgage is coming due...it's a stressful time!
Look, I get it. Recruiters - especially those who are commission only or contract recruiters - they want to know exactly who to call the moment they have a new opening. They have their hot list of rock stars from across the spectrum of skill sets. And this, no doubt, makes them a valued resource for companies who need their help. They have to make a living too. For someone working as a contract recruiter or a headhunter - I don't begrudge them at all for trying to own candidates. I would likely do the same. But when you work for a recruitment firm, the firm and its clients should be the priority.
We are transitioning as a firm. We have a mix of people from both ends of those strategies. The best path forward for us - as we continue to grow - is to have recruiters own requisitions and to have shared resources. It's an adjustment for some. But we are starting to see the value, and the potential, in making this our structure.
I'm interested in hearing other points of view on this topic. Feel free to drop me a note!