R.I.P. Recruitment Search Agencies. Thank you for all your contributions but you will not be missed

Why would I write a post about the death of agencies when they are still active and a valued part of many companies budgets and recruitment process? That is a very insightful question and one the deserves a well outlined response.

First, on behalf of all the companies both small and large, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the thousands of valuable human capital assets provided over the years. Those assets have provided us with innovation and productivity that have helped carry us onto the next phase in our evolution. It is with a deep heart that we say goodbye.

We will miss the gift baskets around the holidays, the 30,000 dollar vouchers, the feeling that you were our best friend in the world, and the comfort of knowing that you know our business, roles and products. It was a warm feeling that still provides chills at night.

Now, is the part of the broadcast where we explain why the demise is near.

1.) A growing number of organizations are developing dedicated strategic sourcing teams to pipeline current and future talent needs. These individuals blend a balance of talent acquisition and marketing to develop processes around finding and attracting talent. Utilizing Boolean search string technology, developing and managing talent communities, adapting targeted email campaigns, CRM tool tracking, and cold calling, it is only a matter of time before the church bells chime and we mourn the passing of agency fees

2.) Internet connection tools powered by sites including Ping.fm allow us to brand out opportunities to thousands upon thousands of people within seconds. Just yesterday, Recently, a tweet with a URL description was sent through Pluggio.com and with the integration of Ping.fm, the tweet went to Flickr, Yahoo Profile, Google Buzz, Delicious, Yammer, Ning, Twitter, Facebook and Myspace and that was only the tip of the iceberg. Why Flickr and Delicious. Networking is no longer using professional communities as a way of finding talent. How many of us have Amazon or Barnes and Noble accounts and followers of our books lists. Talent can be found under many more rocks than ever before.

3.) Macros and schedulers are alive and well. Software like IMacro, Pluggio and Tweetdeck allow us to not only tweet and post jobs to Twitter and Linkedin but they allow us to schedule how often we post them.

4.) Cost effective partnerships – Tweetmyjobs tweets 1.2 million jobs per day and they have accounts that send by region and discipline. Oodle.com posts roles to over 100 sites including Myspace and Facebook for free. Twitres.com allows you to post resumes or jobs for free and re-tweet as often as you like.

5.) Talent Communities – Companies are taking advantage of LinkedIn Groups, Google Groups, Yahoo Groups and many others to build talent communities for networking and maintaining contact with potential future talent.

6.) As social media is making bringing the world closer together networking and referrals are a more valued asset.

7.) Many companies are building alumni talent communities and even offering referral bonuses

8.) Blogging, live chat and fan sites are allowing companies to talk to customers, vendors and candidates and educate them on culture, product/services and solicit information. As candidates become more involved, their sense of value will grow and thus their interest in the company.

9.) Mobile campaigns are taking the number communication media in the world and reaching out to the associates of tomorrow.

The evolution is here. As we step into a new age of cost effective operation, efficiencies of process are spurring out. To the victor, companies will rise again. To the search agencies, R.I.P.

The thoughts and recommendations in this article are my personal views. There is no employer or organization affiliation with the data or recommendations presented in this

Views: 1817

Comment by Slouch on October 18, 2010 at 1:29pm
I think sometimes the problem is when the recruiter does not see the true value in what it is they do and deliver. I've seen it a hundred times, the deal is made, the commission check comes in and the look of disbelief takes over the recruiters face. they can't believe they just got a huge check for making the placement. It's at that point where one might feel that this will not last forever. The client is going to wise up. In my opinion though, those commission checks validate that we as an industry do something that most people we see walking down the street cannot do. We solve real problems and for that the industry makes real money. Every time a recruiter lowers their fees based on a promise of multiple exclusive orders it validates their lack of understanding of how things really work in this industry.
Comment by Chaser on October 18, 2010 at 1:31pm
Agreed that this was great to stir it up, but that it is all...I don't believe (from visiting your LinkedIn profile) you have ever been an Agency recruiter? So not sure how you could make this statement/argument...Anyhow it was a fun read! ha
Comment by Chaser on October 18, 2010 at 1:32pm
And @Amos...hahaha!
Comment by Deanna O'Connell on October 18, 2010 at 1:33pm
What you are forgetting Mark is that companies hire 3rd party recruiters for our CONTACTS with our candidates. Our hiring managers simply do NOT have the time to screen hundreds of unqualified candidates that come through social media. They come to us so we can conduct a targeted search to those working for their top competitors. There is no accurate target in social media, it's simply a shot gun approach with your fingers crossed that it might hit someone worth talking to.

My clients are too busy WORKING to waste their time conducting a broad-brushed search like the ones mentioned in your article. That's why they pay fees. We go after the passive market. Any candidate you are referring to is part of the active market. We get paid to pick up the phone and reach out to those passive candidates who are too busy doing their jobs to be online applying to jobs via social media.

Good luck with that predicition, because that's all it is.
Comment by Jessica Nicholas on October 18, 2010 at 1:35pm
I'll agree that the title was outlandish enough to catch my attention, but after reading through, I'm not convinced this is true any more than I was before reading it.

Yes, all companies want to eliminate fees from partners. But agency recruiters are being hired for a lot of reasons other commentors already named, like candidate management, closing and just plain getting around the sketchiness of having your own HR staff calling into your competitor's offices. Sourcing is just one of the pieces.

Let's just that I'll admit we don't get hired much by under-utilized, bored HR Managers. But how many of those do you know? In the meantime, I help them with their recruiting on an as-needed basis so they can focus on strategic HR initiatives. If they don't need me for awhile, they keep their money and I help someone else. It's pretty much a win-win.
Comment by Amos on October 18, 2010 at 1:45pm
This is the problem with corporate recruiters who only see a win/lose outcome and not a win/win solution for the COMPANY- how does talent you find compare by avg to the bottom line vs the avg a third party agency will headhunt for you? try to validate that with social media, blogerspher, twitter whatever...you dont have the time, probably because you leave the office at 5:01...the move towards fully integrated technically savvy in house recruiters is happening but we are a long way off...especially in places where HR owns the recruitment process and you - yes you Mark cant touch the competitors talent pool direct – or is your policy different?
Comment by Jim Damico on October 18, 2010 at 1:46pm
I agree with the bulk of the comments above. The skill set of sourcing vs. closing is very different. There are tons of great tools that make sourcing easier, and empowering the masses to source. However, there is no equivalent tool around closing.

Additionally, there are always needs for confidential searches. Business's benefit from strong third party partnerships to manage those difficult searches.

Where I will disagree is in assuming that internal recruitment groups aren't always closers and aren't always under variable comp. That's simply as idiotic as saying that all agencies are dying. I've been on both sides of the desk, and I've always trained my staff to be closers. They have a metric around turndowns. 1 is a warning, 2 is termination. My internal recruiters have always pre-closed, managed objections and done final close. Additionally, my top performing teams have been under variable comp based not only on production, but also on rookie churn, and quality of hire.

Granted that's a tiny sliver of internal teams that operate that way, but it is growing, and I think that's good for the recruiting discipline in toto.
Comment by Mitch Sullivan on October 18, 2010 at 1:51pm
Yep, definitely a tabloidesque headline.

Having said that I agree with much of the sentiment and am personally a huge advocate of companies building their own internal recruitment functions - preferably ones that are not governed by HR.

However, my experience here in the UK is that companies are not yet ready to effect the demise of 3rd party recruiters (at least not the talented ones) because they are not yet taking recruitment seriously enough to attract the best talent out of the agency sector by paying them enough.

Too many internal recruitment departments are making the mistake that the recruitment agency hacks made in the boom times - namely that if you advertise often enough the best people will come. They won't.
Comment by Shari Steinhaus on October 18, 2010 at 1:56pm
Yes, I agree that there are companies out there who hire a significant amount of new talent each year that are bringing in hiring teams to dedicate to their hiring needs. However, that is not the case for all organizations. There are smaller organizations that cannot justify hiring a sourcing staff but would rather utilize a 3rd party recruiter that has their hands in the pulse of the market and work with a STRONG referral base. Social media is a large part of my sourcing mix. But, I agree with others, these are just names. It is turning them into qualified candidates and closing that matters. As we all know many companies (including some sourcing teams) don’t have the man hours to put into what 3rd party recruiters spend time doing…sourcing, screening, working referrals, networking, interviewing, maintaining relationships and closing. Not to mention the time we put into staying on top of the candidate throughout the interview process. I have been told by prospective clients that they have an internal recruiter taking care of their hiring. The majority of the time, my candidates I have that are interested in them have never been in contact nor seen a post by this internal recruiter. I always find that somewhat humorous because it is always the same story. If these internal sourcing teams are just relying on social media, they are clearly missing a lot of good qualified candidates. I appreciate your thoughts but I can’t see 3rd party recruitment ever going away.
Comment by Maureen Sharib on October 18, 2010 at 2:29pm
Uhhh...reminds me of something I wrote awhile ago from a sourcer's perspective.


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