External Recruiters: Are you a "salesperson", a "consultant", or both?

The big question I'm really interested in is this: What's in the best interests of the candidate and client... a consultative approach, or a sales approach?

After all... the "better" recruiters in our industry always focus on the big "close". For these recruiters, every aspect of their work resolves around "closing"... And that's why they feel we're working in a "sales" role.

However, do you know for certain that the role you are working on is the best possible opportunity for your candidate in the market place right now, or do you simply just care about getting them into the only job you have available for them in order to make a commission? After all, if you don't place them, one of your competitors will… right?

And what about the client… are you certain that the candidate you have on interview with them is the best possible candidate for the role right now? Or, as with the candidate, do you simply just care about making the placement so that you can get your commission? After all, as long as they stay in that role past the rebate period, you're home and dry… right?

Are there any recruiters out there who will advise a candidate not to go forward in the interview process, as you both know this isn't the right role for them, and will ultimately leave them feeling unhappy after a few months?

Equally: Are there any recruiters who would recommend that a client goes no further with one of your candidates, as deep down you know that they are only going for the job because they simply have to get away from their existing employer (for example)… and they'll then jump ship again when a better role comes along?

I feel that the answers to the questions I've posed above will vary greatly depending on whether you are an Independent Recruiter, running your own business, and truly care about your reputation in your market; in comparison to the recruiters at the large corporate agencies who are under constant pressure to hit KPI's. To those corporate recruiters: does your team leader / manager really care about whether or not the role you just filled was in the best interests of both the candidate and client? Or, do they simply want to see the figures on the board so that they in turn can look good to their boss?

Where do your morals lie? Are you an ethical recruiter – or is it all just about the money?

Anyone dare to give an honest response?

Sean O'Donoghue
The Independent Recruiting Group

Views: 839

Comment by Tyler Warren Cant on December 2, 2011 at 11:42am

Great article and very good question! I have been a Senior Accounting & Finance Recruiter for almost 5 years now and I consider myself a very moral and ethical recruiter. When I do a placement the most important piece of the placement in my mind is that it is a great fit for both the client and the candidate. To me it's all about putting together a great match. There is no better feeling than knowing that you helped both the candidate and the client at the same time.

I might not be the biggest biller in this business in my city however I have an extremely low fall-off rate (very close to 0). Over the 5 years in this business most of my candidates that I have placed are still with the company I placed them and have been promoted more than once! This is a stat or KPI that I'm very proud of and frankly I do like to brag about. ;)

Comment by lisa rokusek on December 3, 2011 at 12:08pm

Why are you you positing this as an either/or situation? I think you have created a false dichotomy that is not just misleading it is actually harmful to those engaged in our business.  Once again a person engaged in selling - a salesperson, is targeted as something dirty, something to be looked down upon.  I disagree and I do so vehemently.  I am a salesperson yet I do so with the best interests of both the he candidates I represent and the companies I serve always in mind.

Yet, am very focused on the close - it is how I feed my family and pay my mortgage. If I weren't focused on getting paid, I'd be in a heap of trouble. The concept of closing deals is never far from my mind - it influences the business I take on, the candidates with whom I choose to spend time and also where I put my focus.  There is nothing unethical about that.

Perhaps you meant to call into question the tactics and/or ethics of those engaged in shortsighted, sloppy activities that serve the best interests of neither the candidate or the client.  However, that is not the post you wrote.  Not only did you miss that mark there, you managed to paint with a pretty wide brush when questioning the motive and ethics of folks working in larger firms and contrasting them with those working independently - another false dichotomy. I've known fantastic independent recruiters and I have known snakes in the grass who work alone - same goes for those working inside firms. Sweeping generalizations are very unhelpful.  Language matters - especially in recruiting.


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