This blog has taken me two months to write. I have rewritten it three times and this makes the fourth attempt. The problem is that every time I put my thoughts on paper it looks self-serving and that is not my intention. So, I will start off by asking the reader to take me (as a third party recruiter) out of the equation and try to see the intent of this blog – which is making your company look great while recruiting new hires.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, let me give you two real examples of what doesn’t make your company look good to potential candidates:

1. An approved recruiting vendor for your company (a large manufacturing firm) has a contract person in place while trying to fill an international tax position. The approved vendor doesn’t want to work on it (making more money with the contract person in place) so they share it with another recruiting firm to work on it with the stipulation that the 2nd recruiting firm (2nd firm) will present all resumes to the approved vendor (1st firm) for presentation to the client. The second firm which is known for their medical recruiting, knows nothing about your company or the position, but has the job description, so they share the description with a third recruiting firm known for accounting, financial and tax recruiting. The third firm cannot get any information regarding the company, the department or the people in the department as the 2nd firm doesn’t want the 1st firm to know that they also “farmed” the search out to another recruiting firm. Who is representing your company to the marketplace and what are they communicating in this example? Better yet, will your position ever get filled?

2. Your company is in need of a ______ (fill in the blank) so you ask five (5) recruiters to find someone to fill the position. The position is important and very specialized and the demand for this type of person is high in the market. Plus you need them quickly – thus the 5 recruiters. Your parameters are so specific that there are only about a hundred people in the country that can fill your position and these 100 people get contacted by all of the recruiters you asked to help you. The prospects get email blasts, telephone calls, ads in their LinkedIn Groups everyday regarding your position from 5 different recruiters. The job description is posted everywhere by 5 different recruiters. You have looked at several resumes that are not even close to being qualified for the position, interviewed some close potentials and even made an offer, but that fell through because the recruiter failed to tell you (or didn’t know) that the candidate could not relocate. Six months go by and you still have not hired anyone. How does your company look in the eyes of the potential candidates for this position? Will your position be filled with the best candidate or one that is just good enough? How does this look for future open positions?

This sounds pretty harsh doesn’t it? These things really go on – I know from personal experience. As a company you are responsible for who represents you and how you are represented. Don’t screw up your reputation by using the wrong recruiters. Don’t let your in-house recruiters hurt your reputation by posting the job description all over the internet. Have some class – look like a winner – be particular – be special.

Pay attention to which recruiters you use – meet them first and be sure they are going to do what they promise they will do and that they can accomplish what they promise. Ask for a weekly up-date on how many people they contacted and an overview of what the responses were. These may help you re-define your parameters when and if necessary. You will also know the recruiter is actually doing their job.

Recruiter fees should never be a consideration – in the first example above the 1st firm quoted 20% on a position with a salary of $140,000, but the recruiting firm didn’t care because they had no intention of working on the search as they made more money on the contract person in place. What does it matter what fee they quoted – they never planned to do anything.

What does matter and is important is who is going to get the job done. Use one recruiter that will get the job done. Paying a recruiter 1/3 of the annual salary is far cheaper than having the position go unfilled for over six months or if the approved vendor makes sure that no qualified resumes get to the company and the position is never filled.

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Comment by Maisha Cannon on May 22, 2012 at 1:07am

Cora Mae,

Enjoyed your post. It illustrates how convoluted the process can become when not properly managed and planned.

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on May 22, 2012 at 6:46am

Thanks for your comments Maisha!

Comment by Julia Briggs on May 22, 2012 at 9:40am

Why oh why do companies hiring not take recruitment seriously.  If they did take it seriously and dedicated time and resource to it, all the other (HR) issues would fall into place.  So if they really spent time defining what they want, and then who would fill it - they have a greater chance of successful performance in the future.  Recruitment affects performance in ALL parts of an organisation.

And yet - it is shoved out to third parties on tight PSLs, completely outsourced to people who don't really care and don't have to stand or fall by their decisions - and even when the TP is good the hiring manager and HR/recruitment internally work hard to stop it succeeding by not getting back, missing interviews etc etc.

A complete overhaul required (I speak as a client, candidate, HR professional and ex headhunter).   So, what do we do?

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on May 22, 2012 at 10:16am


Julia, we fix it one company at a time!  Thanks for your comments - they are so true.

Comment by Christopher Perez on May 23, 2012 at 7:19am

I believe that these scenarios happen because of ignorance and an oversimplified client-side understanding of recruiters. Without applying any critical/analytical thought, it may make perfect sense to them to send forth swarms of recruiters. "We'll only pay for the one who gets it right, so there's no downside, right?" We all know the answer to that. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.

But there are nuances to the recruiting process and value proposition. They are not always immediately obvious. In fact, for me this is one of the aspects I enjoy the most about the profession. There are always opportunities to do some creative problem solving.

If, in my assessment, a client or prospect possesses the ability (or desire) to be educated, I will try doing so. There might be an opportunity to connect the dots for them and show them the peril in their current approach. If they ultimately prove themselves to be invincibly ignorant, then it's time to move on and wish them well. But do so quietly; you want your competitors to continue chasing their tails there for as long as possible.

Good post, Cora Mae.

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on May 23, 2012 at 8:27am


Christopher, yes very true insights into the problem.  I should add that it happens more with larger companies than with medium or smaller companies where they believe the cuilture fit is very important.  It should be a given that the candidate presented can do the job, the real test of a good recruiter is finding that person with also the cultural or leadership fit. 

Simply sending 50 resumes only shows that you are working like an advertisement on the internet and begs the question: 'Did you even talk to any of them between the time I gave you the assignment yesterday late afternoon and when you sent the 50 resumes at 5:00PM?'


Companies that put up with this get exactly what they pay for.  They go months without the position being filled or settle on the best resume some recruiter had in their database because the recruiters they use are too lazy to go out and really recruit and the company doesn't know any better.  Really?  The company doesn't know any better?  They are really content to "settle" for a new hire that isn't that good for them?  There goes the econmoy!


Thanks for your insights Christopher!




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