Recruiting a Recruiter: Like a Waitress Serving a Waitress?

A post on Recruiting Blogs by Rebecca Sargeant sparked my thoughts on this topic: (

Waaaay back in my college days, I was a waitress at a well known chain restaurant. It was a fun job and I loved serving the customers and giving them great service (of course, I loved the tips, too!). Since that experience, I have found myself critical of servers when I am dining out. How long do they take to greet our table? Do they get the order right? Are they friendly? Helpful? Responsive? I know it's a hard job, but I also know that treating the customer well equates to a good tip and repeat customers. The same holds true in recruiting (ok, maybe not the tip part!

I was recently recruited twice in the same week. In the first case, the recruiter was the owner of a boutique recruitment firm. He wanted me to come work for his company and, as the owner, was able to answer all of my questions. He kept me informed of the process and showed true interest in me as a candidate. I interviewed and was extended an offer.

In the second case, the recruiter was a 3rd party recruiter. He, too, kept me informed of the process and did a great job keeping in touch. However, that's where the similarity and the good experience ended. Other than telling me the company name, he could not tell much about the company itself (and, what he did tell me was wrong). He did not interview me at all; he simply gave me a two line description of the job and asked if I was interested in it. When I asked about the people that I would be interviewing with, he couldn't tell me what their role is and, when asked, told me to ask them myself!

When interview time came, he did not prep me for the interview. When he told me that the company would be extending an offer, he didn't know if they would contact me directly or go through him!

Ok, so, as a recruiter myself, I'm probably more critical of the experience and the process than most, but, really? I mean, really!?!?!?!

This experience forced me to look at my own process and the relationship that I have with my candidates.

Do I keep the candidate informed during the process?

Do I KNOW the process myself?

Am I responsive?

Do I know sufficiently enough about the company to describe it to a candidate and answer basic questions?

Do I know enough about the interviewers" at the company, what their roles are and how their positions are related to the one the candidate is interviewing for?

Do I thoroughly prep the candidate for the interview(s)?

Do I follow up with both the client and the candidate after the interview(s)?

Candidates, like customers in a restaurant, expect good service. They expect the recruiter (server) to be knowledgeable, responsive and helpful. And, if treated well, will refer others to you and your company. If the service is bad, they will tell others that, too.

In the end, I chose to join the second company. Granted, if it were not for the recruiter introducing me to the company, I would not have an offer, but, would I dine at his restaurant again or encourage others to visit? No, not at all.

Views: 183

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on August 2, 2010 at 2:58pm
I guess much depends on the level of intimacy you have managed to develop with the company. Few contingency recruiters have that with many clients.

I think what is more relevant is that the recruiter develops a good level of customer service with the client, as it is them that is paying. Good candidates are much easier to find that good clients.
Comment by Ben McGrath on August 2, 2010 at 3:14pm

Thanks for the article. We are currently seeking a recruiter(s) for our firm. When we have done it in the past, I believe that I have followed all of your suggestions and am the go to person, for all the info about our company.
Hopefully by following your suggestions and sticking to what we ahve done successfully in the past we can attract the right talent for our business.

All the best,
Ben McGrath
Comment by Preet Mroke on August 2, 2010 at 4:12pm
Good topic for a post, but it definitely needs more exploring and better examples (you are comparing apples to oranges in your post). Being recruited by an owner (boutique firm) vs. being recruited by an employee (3rd party recruiter) are two VERY different experiences and should be expected as such. Your own perspective plays a significant part as you treat an owner with more deference than you do a employee.
Comment by Susan J Wojtkowski on August 2, 2010 at 5:04pm

Thanks for the comments. Comparing the owner to the recruiter was not my intention..,.(which is why I dedicated only a few sentences to the first experience). My intention was to compare the experience with the recruiter to good customer service and am I providing the same level of service to my candidates. Which is what I strive to do!!! Thanks, again...I think it's a good, healthy discussion.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 2, 2010 at 11:50pm
Point well made Susan. Even a blind pig sometimes finds an acorn.


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