Reports of the death of the recruiter are greatly exaggerated

I have been a recruiter for almost 20 years, the bulk of which has been on the external agency side. I have worked for agencies of all shapes and sizes. The big firm churn and burn, let's bring in 20 new recruiters and hopefully 2 will make it at least 6 months, style. The small 5 person shop run by the big producer who assumed he would, of course, be a strong manager and yet his firm has 100% turnover every year because he isn't, in fact, a good manager. I'm sure most of you can relate. The one common thread with these stylistically challenged models is that both have been around since humans realized there was a market for making an introduction and that if you have 5 people making those introductions working for you, it would be advantageous. You could go play golf anytime your heart desired and still make money! These models also are set up to completely screw the people who do the actual work with terribly unfair commission structures and compensation plans. They take advantage of rookie recruiters and business developers naiveté about the industry and their value in it. The reason there ends up being so much turnover is that the longer one is in this business the clearer these discrepancies become. Most recruiters either end up going it alone or moving onto the corporate side where they are no longer compensated based on production and untenable "goals" that are always just out of reach. Even worse, very talented people leave the industry entirely with a horrible taste in their mouths and an overall hatred of the business and those involved. If I have to read one more angry blog post about how horrible the recruiting business is or why the industry is "doomed" I might throw up. 

What I find interesting is that no one has bothered to try an improve this model in any way. No one has realized the incredible value that can be derived by empowering people, not by taking advantage of them. The only improvements that seem to be coming down the pike are technical fixes that aim to completely eliminate the middleman through algorithms and "AI" which will somehow replace the recruiter entirely. Now we can hire "predictively" and target people without anyone being involved. The mousetrap has finally been perfected! Color me skeptical. I am of the belief that nothing can replace the value of a real, human, relationship. We are still more likely to trust the word of someone we can touch, see and smell. There are no shortcuts. We still see the value of trust and honestly in someone we are going to have to see at the kids school play or at the club on Sunday. There is and will always be a personalized introduction to be made and a handshake promise that this is "the guy" you have been looking for. In my experience, companies will gladly pay for the right person and the quickest, most effective way to that result is the relationship based introduction. 

The question is: How do we leverage this need AND treat each other with respect for the social wealth everyone brings to the table? What needs to be created is a single platform where anyone and everyone is a recruiter. A place where trust can be established, relationships formed and introductions made to help everyone involved get what they need. There are too many open jobs that do not get filled because the person trying to fill them doesn't have the bandwidth or resources to make it happen. There are too many recruiters who do not work on jobs that are deemed un-fillable for one reason or another. There is a way to get everyone involved and solve these problems. I am currently doing my part to make this platform a reality. It's going to take some time but I know it can be done. Feel free to take a look at my site, and sign up. It's free. Connect. Chat. Close.

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Comment by Maurice Robertson on November 30, 2016 at 3:10pm

hey Josh.. nice post and I'm picking up what you are putting down.. the main reason there is such turn around is its a HARD business, 100% commission sales barely 5% of the population can and/or is willing to "pay the price".. hence a lot go corporate.. easier then looking at a goose egg and in the mirror every month..

Comment by Jackye Clayton on November 30, 2016 at 3:12pm

"There are no shortcuts." Boom! Micdrop!

Comment by Dan Midwinter on December 1, 2016 at 7:03am

Hi Joshua.

I like your article.  Thanks for that.  But I think there are still lots of examples of companies operating ethically and treating there staff with respect within recruitment.

I believe I am one of them.  Just as you don't think AI can relace a person, I am not convinced a platform can replace a good, ethical, well organised company co-ordinating a strong team working together.

Dan Midwinter


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