What is important to an agency recruiter?

I moved away from agency recruiting 7 years ago. Why you might ask? Could I not hang or make the placements? Was I not able to bring in new clients? How about - Could you not close?

Answer: I was always a top performer and brought in so much potential business at the last agency I worked for that it positioned them for purchase. So this not it... not performance based.

I woke up one morning and asked myself why am I doing this? What do I really want to achieve? And I began listing out what was important.

The first agency job I had was with a small admin shop in downtown Chicago. The owner had been in the game since the 50's. When I first started, I sat down with him and he asked me a simple question: What is recruiting? After a few guesses, he put me out of my misery and said "Sales". Its just that simple. And it is true to this day. Recruiting is just sales. Different aspects have different nuances, but it is all the same core skill. Talk to people and convince them to consider your bill of goods (job, person, company, etc).

But one morning in 2006 I was driving to work and I got a call on my cell from someone I had placed in a very high level position a month before. It was a Director of Pharmacy role with a Hospital Network. I made a really big commission on it and had cashed that check right away. 

The call started out rough. The person on the other end was upset because he found out that the recruiter he was working with did not present him for another role in the same area that was a mile from is home. Instead, he was now driving across Dallas every day. I told him I would check into it and get back to him. But I did not need to. Fact was that yes we had the other role also, but it was a second priority role because it was a lower commission. Turns out he was friends with the guy who got the other job and the talked. Not too hard to figure out that both came from my company and the were hired around the same time. Simple math that adds up to someone getting shorted.

I have to admit that I liked the bigger check and the fact that the client was happy, but I realized something that day... Its about the people. Its not about the money or the client. I also realized that I had not seen anything from my work over the last few years except a decent paycheck and making someone else a whole lot of money. Yeah I get the whole it costs a lot to keep the lights on, but its really not about the money. 

From that moment, I knew I had to change directions. I needed to be contributing more than just to someones wealth. There had to be more to recruiting then a check. I moved into corporate and have never looked back. Seeing people grow with your company is very rewarding. Its nice to know that you are effecting others lives and see the results.

So I ask you, what is important to you? Is it just about making money? Is it just about putting people in the position that pays you the most, or in the position that is their best situation? I handle the vendors now with my current company. I still talk to a lot of agencies who are fishing for business. Its funny how the game has not changed. I laugh sometimes when I hear their pitch. I saw your post and I have the perfect person for you. Or we are the best at what we do. Or something similar.

My first question is always the same. What is most important to you? If you have a great candidate and two jobs, do you send them to both and let them have options or do you send them to the one that pays the most to you? I respect the ones who say its hard to get their recruiters to work on something that does not pay as much, although it is not the best rebuttal to rate negotiations. 

Does a candidate deserve the best options for themselves? Do you have a moral obligation to let them have a real decision? How does your boss direct you in this situation? A moral compass is not always at hand. It also might not be needed. Each person is different.

I get that there are limits and judgement calls some times, but do you reach out with openings when you get them or when they are all you have to work on? 

Views: 173

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 5, 2013 at 5:06pm

Thanks Chuck. ISTM that many 3PRs go to corporate, and some corporate recruiters also do contingency work at times, but I don't see many corporate recruiters leaving to become 3PRs. (T that only means I haven't seen it.) What's your experience with that?




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