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 Kevin Cure on October 18, 2010 at 2:58pm
Great blog Maureen. Very good insight. Thanks for linking it.
Comment by Steven G. Davis on October 18, 2010 at 3:06pm
Hi Mark,
As most of the the commentary here, I go the same way! Having managed a Corporate team, can't say they even begin to come close to 3rd Party Recruiters. It is in sourcing, relationship building, Qualifying, and closing the deals that separate the two camps. Corporate recruiters, what incentives do they have, if they fill all their jobs they could be looking for work. There will always be a need for agencies to augment staff. It is a huge risk management cost savings in the end for Corporatations to use staffing agencies. If you truly analyze the cost per hire you will see that "us agencies" work off a slim margin. My greatest selling tool is to show my clients what their cost per hire is compared to what we do and it becomes very clear that it is worthy of engagement.
The only thing we are sure about is death and taxes. For now we can agree to disagree and if you can't fill that "hard to fill" job order, give me a call.
Comment by Donna Brewington White on October 18, 2010 at 3:41pm
Over the years, I have worked with some of the smartest clients on the planet and sometimes I do think that if only my clients had more of a marketing approach to hiring or if they were more proactive in building their pipelines or if they were more aggressive in leaving no stone unturned (and knew where all those stones were) -- and if their internal recruiting team saw themselves as business partners and had the business acumen to do so -- then perhaps they wouldn't need some aspects of my services. But only some.

Pam has already brought up the excellent point that much of what you've described is sourcing. Also, many of the capabilities described are still not accessible to most companies -- and small to medium sized companies still make up a large part of the client base for outside recruiting services.

As I think through this day and the tasks at hand -- negotiating a complex compensation package -- after providing market data to the client from my experience that caused them to revise their initial hiring range -- advising a nonprofit search committee on how to maintain the integrity of their recruiting process while still getting input from throughout the organization -- well, I'm not thinking what you've described puts my job in jeopardy.

However, I do believe that our industry is facing some degree of disruption and the ways that we package and price our services will need adjusting. A lot of firms have already begun to do this. We need to be on our toes. This is good. It's all about how we can best serve clients anyway -- right? Capitalism -- love it!

I could go on and on but will close with this: There have been times when an internal recruiting role has intrigued me and I have thought -- why not inquire about this. However it seems that there has been more concern about whether I've used an ATS than the fact that you can give me practically any job opening and I can find the right person to fill it. Any company with an internal staffing team that thinks like this is a potential client for my services as far as I am concerned.
Comment by Angela R. Furbee on October 18, 2010 at 4:14pm
Corporate recruiters will NEVER have the ability to get the connections we as third party recruiters get. Why would a candidate confidentially seeking another career opportunity contact every Tom, Dick and Harry corporate recruiter when they can speak with one specialty recruiter that could potentially line them up with several opportunities? Hiring managers know this. Hiring managers also know that they cannot get to the passive candidates. These people may not regularly be on Twitter, Yammer, Nang, Google Buzz, Delicious, aso, More than likely they will be a personal referral due to a prior job well done! I offer you a dare to find better candidates!
Comment by Scott Corwin on October 18, 2010 at 4:20pm
Catchy title, as some have pointed out. You are way off base from our client's point of view. With information overload our clients are crying for help now more than ever. FTS has not been this busy in years.
Comment by Tom Dimmick on October 18, 2010 at 4:43pm
The real value of recruiters is that our clients only need us when they need us. No FICA, FUI, SUTA or FUTA. No Obama Care. Just a 1099 at the end of the year. Internal recruiters are a great alternative when there is lots of hiring. They are an on-going cost and expensive when recruiting slows down.
Comment by Andy Gregory on October 18, 2010 at 6:07pm
Mark, Mark, Mark, C'mon brother - are you serious? Upon first read, I will admit I lost my mind on this post and yes, it stirred my recruiter emotions. Then somewhere between, "what a terrible shirt and the high road" I came to my third party recruiting senses. Thank you.

I won't list the numbers - I will just share in my ADD way.

It dawned on me your company laid a business friend of mine off in the last year, due to cutbacks - I guess in light of the $4.9 Billion(with a B) your company laid out to buy Hewitt Associates - some cost cutting needed to take place. Who needs recruiters? We just need people that know Boolean, can tweet, and understand micros.

Next, you will be happy to know I connected with a former client today (the #1 firm in their space) - see I say reconnected because they went the way that you suggest for a time. Get this - client sends me 3 assignments, answers a subsequent email from me in the next hour with some follow-up questions and a list of the 63 companies she wants me to target. Imagine that.

Stop posting your contempt for recruiters and get back to developing your revolutionary formula for finding good people. Judging from your start, you need to retool.

I will give you credit for one thing - identifying your company as a "Source" for good talent for us in the recruiting world as apparently you will never call yourself a client.

P.S. Now go change your own oil cause I know you do that too and then suggest to your Legal Department that Legal Zoom could save a ton.
Comment by Jenn Francine on October 18, 2010 at 7:27pm
The title of this post made me click and read it. Great job for that. Agreed with many of the members that have commented as well. I used to be in the corporate world and am now on the agency side. Definitely not anytime in the future near or far will agencies or 3rd party recruiters be dead. As agencies we are all evolving. You are pulling in a ton of "noise" from those sites. The key is hires and how you filter. Recruiting is and always will be about building relationships and networking. You can pull in 10 million candidates and still not find the right culture fit for that hiring manager. I oversee Digital Recruiting and my responsibility is innovation and deploying tools for recruiters that are the 3rd party in which you are talking about. We definitely use social media to attract candidates, but we also position our recruiters for relevancy networking and connection. Social media and the use of it is followed by a conversation vs. a transaction. What you are talking about are all things you have done to automate transactions, which is great, but what about the conversation? Who has that? Who is talented enough to have candid conversations with the candidates? There are "sourcers" that are bottom level that just know how to post on active social mediums and there are "recruiters" that are top level that connect with candidates in their mediums, create a conversation and convert them into a true candidate for your organization. Social is not about automation. It's about connecting with individuals and building relationships in their network(s) of choice. I would tred lightly on sending out jobs to a million and ten places without the individualization when using social. The risk that you will run is candidates will stop connecting with you within networks and that's where 3rd parties can help out. Connect in mediums for purpose and not just funneling noise into the network. Agencies have specialists like me now that can help clients like you with your overall digital recruiting strategy. We get it and we have it completely integrated with ROI and the relevance of certain social activities. Even though you can push jobs everywhere it still boils down to the fundamentals of recruiting and that people, connections and relationships can never be automated. Recruiting/Human Capital is not a commodity and all is not created equal when it comes to agency or corporate recruiters.

Again, great post for discussion!
Comment by Jonathan Hart-Smith on October 18, 2010 at 7:43pm
This is very interesting to read. It sounds though like you have seen the process as just firing out an ad and expecting talented highly sought after people to beat a path to your door. If only were that easy!  Who / how are you going to weed out the good from the bad if there are so many applicants? If you have time to speak to them all that's great. 

I am pleased to see that things like Twitter are working for you though and I am a big believer in using modern technology but when we are ALL doing it it then becomes a challenge for the job seeker to screen out the noise. 

I think that because of these issues alone my job is safe.  People will always want to feel valued and commoditizing them will not work for long. So recruiters acting as ambassadors for our clients and coaching and helping candidates will always add more value than a few lines of text even if they are 140 characters.
Comment by Paul Alfred on October 18, 2010 at 8:05pm
Ok Mark ... As a techie in my earlier years... I am gonna lay down my Old School Recruiter brain... Let’s make this interesting ... Alot of my peers do make one major point about this Billion dollar industry we thrive in: This is a People to People business ... I will quote Jenn who said earlier "connections and relationships can never be automated." Human Connections let me emphasize .
The evolution is here ... Yes ... I agree ... But only a handful of companies are adopting the Web 2.0 Technologies in a way that make sense on ROI and it has to be tied carefully to the strategy of bringing in xThird Party Recruiters into a strong Internal Recruitment team and allowing them to build effective recruitment teams around these veterans- along with a strategy in place to utilize the SM tools that compliment the killer recruiter’s talent.
I have worked with companies that have accomplished this where I sit in more from a consulting perspective. But as some of my peers so aggressively and accurately point out until companies understand first that this is a (Human) Relationship business (Technical relationships can only be automated to a point) the need for Third Party Agency Recruiters will still remain.
You need to also realize that Recruiters are early adopters of online technologies to enhance their own businesses ... I remember when companies like Monster (Headhunter.net for example ) was free and Id get emails to post jobs for free which I did back in the mid to late 90’s...
I will end with this to my Recruitment peers – Let’s not turn a blind eye to this evolving Social Media world... There is an impact ... We need to embrace it wisely...


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