Rebuilding the Image of the Recruiting Industry

Original Article Here

To say I’m an outsider to the recruiting industry is very much an understatement

At the time this post was written I was entering my 4th month as Marketing Manager for Stride & Associates. I was excited to take the job because I saw a lot of potential to get in there and get my
hands dirty which is something that really appeals to any marketing
person. I must confess I didn’t know much about recruiting firms except
the negative stigma that accompanied it. When I considered using a
marketing recruitment firm out of college a few years back, my college
advisors told me to be careful. Ironically enough, the only advice those
advisors did give me in a dismal job market was “have you heard of LinkedIn?”

Needless to say my alma-mater won’t be receiving donations any time soon.

The point is that something happened along the way which gave this industry I now find myself employed in some sort of negative overtone. So naturally I asked the President of our company Matt Milano, a man with decades of experience who has proven to be an expert in the field and quite frankly a guy I have a ton of respect for. He
was pretty blunt with me, “years ago, the industry didn’t rely so much
on relationships, it was more about volume. “ Basically saying that
repeat business was rare, and people often times felt slighted through
failed transactions, and because things were going so well no one was
thinking about the unthinkable.

Fast forward to 2006 and unthinkable happened.

Now we find ourselves amidst the recovery from the deepest economic and job “depression” since essentially World War Two, and because of that the market has drastically changed for recruiting firms. The firms
who weathered the storm from the last few years now have to deal with an
understandably cautious group of people from both the candidate side as
well as the hiring manager side. But the question now becomes: How do
we re-build the bridges the industry may have burned years ago?

To me the answer is not just putting a priority on customer service, but celebrating it. I’ve always took a “mom and pop” approach to the companies I’ve worked for. People now a day’s seem turned off by big
business; the fear that they will never be able to get anyone on the
phone or have their emails returned is a concern that especially plagues
the recruitment industry.

It’s important to be aware of the stigma of your industry and act accordingly.

I get the feeling that one of the impacts from the recession has been the way it’s forced recruitment companies to form into a relationship-heavy business. Not to necessarily say that it wasn’t one
before, but with more candidates and fewer businesses hiring, you really
have to make sure who you presentd to a hiring manager is a sure-fire
slam dunk, or else you’ve lost all credibility as a recruiter and a

With that said, one of the first projects I did was to create a system of video testimonials from candidates and hiring managers my company worked with all over the country. The videos feature our clients’ initial thoughts about
recruiters as an industry standard, and how our recruiters
surpassed their expectations by building relationships with them.
Despite being only about a month in, the videos seem to have achieved a
great level of success, our Youtube channels have thousands of views
and it also further encourages our recruiters to build closer
relationships with their candidates and hiring managers in the hopes
that they eventually would do a testimonial and crediting them
specifically for landing them their dream job.

It always puzzled me how an industry that helps get people jobs and builds companies can have such a negative association to it. I think it’s our responsibility as marketing execs/recruiters to change the
culture of the business and build the trust back up for

So I ask you out there, what are you doing to help better brand/market your recruitment company?

Comment below.

Views: 242

Comment by Sandra McCartt on November 23, 2010 at 4:41pm
Let me suggest a research project for you. Take your resume in hand. Go to 20 or 25 recruiting firms as a candidate. You will know immediately why our industry has the reputation it does and why it probably won't be any different in years to come. If that doesn't paint a clear enough picture call 20 internal recruiters, hiring managers, or HR directors and ask them to tell you about two or three horrible experiences they have had with recruiters.

You may find that although relationship building is an important factor in successful recruiting and it always has been, the main reason our industry has the reputation it does is because of all the slime balls, idiots and just plain stupid people who are hired by firms, given a telephone and told to make 100 cold calls a day. Push like used car salespeople, hard close ,make every effort to go around HR to hiring managers then bill outrageous amounts with no guarantees or refuse to honor a guarantee. Not to mention lying to candidates and clients about jobs and people.

While i admire your commitment to try and improve our image, many of us have been trying since the dawn of time to overcome the sleaze in our industry. As long as all it takes to be a recruiter is a computer and a telephone and say you are one, the good ones will survive and develop a consistant good relationship with both candidates and clients but probably 50% of people who call themselves recruiters should not be, when they fade out another crop springs forth from the ooze. You may be tilting at windmills. :)
Comment by Justin Miller on November 23, 2010 at 5:07pm

Thanks for the comment. I guess I'm glad to see my post may have struck a nerve and quite frankly I agree with everything you said. However one thing I can say is since coming to my current company it has been job #1 to ingrain in our recruiters that if they screw around and do stuff like you listed above it's counter productive and essentially costs them money.

Because my company is nationwide it gets hard to police what our recruiters do but I do know that when the economy imploded we took a long hard look in the mirror and realized there is a certain investment in running a relationship driven business and I have to say we are having some of our best months doing so.

I think social media has been huge in transforming our image for the better and it allows us to broadcast the positive side to our business. We'll never be able to place everyone or get everyone the hottest candidate but there's no reason why those people cant walk away without a sour taste in their mouth.

Do I think the whole industry can change? No, of course not. But I do think that if they see companies like ours being successful while they sit around looking for candidates/hiring managers it may force them to re-examine their practices.

What I mostly care about is my company, and that we're maintaining our commitment to service.
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on November 24, 2010 at 10:31am
It is an interesting industry


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