Why are a majority of recruiters not able to succeed in their 2nd recruitment job?

A LinkedIn discussion, Why are a majority of recruiters not able to succeed in their 2nd recruitment job, having performed reasonably well at their 1st? attracted hundreds of comments from fellow recruiters across the globe. This blog is a summarisation of what I think are the top 10 reasons. Credit however to recruiters who have found success in their second, third and are still recruiting………

1. Weak to begin with - More than likely they were weak to begin with. Got into the business during boom times, tapped into a hot vertical market and made a few placements. When the vertical dried up so did their commissions; so instead of rolling up their sleeves and pounding the phones, they changed companies. Easier to change locations than look in the mirror!

2. Bar set low - In a recruiter’s first job, the bar is generally set low. In their second however expectations are naturally higher and recruiters are not able to meet them. Many so called ‘recruiters’ are screeners / interviewers and get the processing down, but when asked to be strategic or consultative, it's a struggle.

3. Stopped cold calling - The reason recruiters don't last or fail in their second job is simple - they don’t want to cold call, pound the phone and do the grunt work to develop new clients. They have this notion that they’ve become ‘Account Managers’ or ‘Seniors’ when the reality is far from the truth.

4. Burn out - Not every recruiter has the shelf life to last long in the industry. Most recruiters quit their first job because they are burnt out and leave thinking the next company will be less stressful and demanding but alas, it isn’t so, and naturally their performance at company # 2 drops as they would have reached the end of their "Recruit by" date.

5. “I know it all” – This over confident mindset that a recruiter carries from their first to second job is the biggest killer in itself and prime reason for failure. Closing a few deals doesn't make you a successful recruiter.

6. Micro management – Recruiters who typically leave a micro managed environment to one that is more entrepreneurial or less structured often fail. With a year or two of success, these recruiters feel they have all the tools and relationships necessary to manage themselves. When in reality, it was perhaps the micro management that kept them on course.

7. Stopped learning - Market dynamics and demands keep changing and so do talent and methodologies. Once successful with a pattern, most recruiters just follow their previously tested methods and do not apply change, find new platform avenues or adapt to new dynamic trends hence, often fail in their next assignment. You never stop learning in recruitment.

8. Metrics – Moving from a heavily KPI driven environment to one that is not, sounds great on paper but rarely works, because the recruiter isn't able to manage their activity. Managed metrics especially in quality, time, cost and satisfaction are a key indicator of future performance and show exactly where recruiters need to tighten their game.

9. Lack of ability to adapt – The feeling is they did well before by doing it a certain way so why change it. Not realizing that each position and company is different and you need to adapt yourself to the culture and style of where you are. Moreover recruitment skills, the market, tools & technology are also ever changing hence you are on the high road to failure if you do not adapt or keep pace.

10. Left to their own - 1st time recruiters often perform well because they are trained, coached, given clear goals & targets etc. At their next employer they are often left to their own devices as they are normally paid more and are expected to "know what to do". I would squarely blame the second hiring manager / company for this recruiter’s failure.

Views: 699

Comment by Jeff Oliver on March 3, 2011 at 11:59am
If you have to micromanage a recruiter, then you have made a bad hire.  You do not micro manage good recruiters or sales people. 
Comment by Maureen Sharib on March 4, 2011 at 9:57am
I wonder what drives sourcers out of the business?  I think I'll ask THAT LinkedIn question!
Comment by Alban on March 8, 2011 at 5:34pm
From the responses I can tell it has really hit home with most of us. Thank you everyone for sharing your views and taking the time to acknowledge. The term ‘micro management’ seems to have the biggest effect on people and it’s obvious why – especially if you have a manager like CB Stallings had.


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