Should Recruiters Work Through or Around HR? It’s Not Show Friends, It’s Show Business…

Kris Dunn Always Be Closing, Candidate Pool, Driving Productivity, Kris Dunn, Recruiting, Sourcing, Working With Recruiters

I’m a HR pro.  If you follow me over at the HR Capitalist, you probably get that.  I’m also a recruiter, because I think a huge part of any HR generalist’s job needs to be Talent Acquisition.  My opinion is that if you can’t recruit, you’re an administrator.  And administrators are pretty easy to replace – with outsourcing or with someone who will do it cheaper than you will.

Or maybe being an administrator is boring to me.  In any event, I recruit.

So, for any pure recruiters that read this blog (and we want ALL recruiters to read since this is a mashupMohr  of recruiting, HR and consulting – surely after three months we’ll all get together and sing "We are the World"….), here’s the way it works inside the head of this HR guy.  I want to fill as many of my open slots as I can by myself.  Two reasons for that.  First, I take pride in seeing a manageable time to fill and cost per hire.  That’s a big part of my job, and we’ve made great improvements, since I landed at my current company, with no drop in quality.

So, that’s the first reason.  And having outlined this, most recruiters would probably agree with the take of Jason Davis, of The Fordyce Letter, as to the wisdom of including people like me upfront, as recruiters try to get involved within companies.  From TFL and Davis:

"I was having an interesting conversation with a recruiter in Dallas last week about including HR instead (sic) trying to avoid it like the plague when working a deal.

His view was that his success is based on including HR and not trying to work around them. He feels that the recruiters who avoid HR end up having to include them anyways so why not reach out right from the beginning.

His opinion was that when HR realizes there is a recruiter who is clearly doing everything they can do in order to avoid them, it sets the stage for a play doomed to failure whereas when the recruiter starts off by involving HR in the process, things work out for the better.

I think most recruiters would disagree with the above."

As an HR pro, I’m not shocked or dismayed by that take.  It’s not show friends, it’s show business (thus the Bob Sugar picture with this post).  Maybe it’s even the right take to deal with the HR gate keepers of the world. 

But I’m not command and control as a HR pro.  Reason number two for why I want to fill as many of the spots by myself as I can?  Because out of the hundreds of jobs a year, when I am in a pinch for a specialized fill that I can’t do on my own, I want to be able to reach out to that special recruiter and say, "fill it for me, please – you’re exclusive for 45 days.  Just get it done."

The fact that I have filled everything else, on my own internally, means reduced push-back from a fiscal perspective within my company.

So, I like to fill them on my own.  That’s a pretty good reason to work around me.  But develop a relationship with me, and when I need it, it’s yours.  Would you take one billing a year (15K a year) from me and feel good that I would call you first every time I have that need?  Or do you want to run yourself ragged by trying to track down hiring managers and sell in that way? 

I understand either approach.  But it’s worth the time to point out the other way, if you are dealing with a progressive HR person who wants to be more than a gatekeeper.

PS – The Fordyce Letter is a pretty good read for anyone who recruits – even for HR folks like me.  Hat Tip to Harry Joiner for tipping me off to the resource….