Why External Recruiters Have a Reputation Problem….

Kris Dunn Compensation/Cash Money, Kris Dunn, Recruiting, Total Rewards, Working With Recruiters

This kid wants to intern for Seth Godin.  To heck with that, I want to intern for Harry Joiner…

The Marketing Headhunter speaks the truth:

"Do recruiters have a bad reputation?  In my experience, "YES" — and one of the mainRecruiter  reasons is that the contingency recruiting business pays recruiters $1,000-2,000/month draw versus straight commission.  That’s a run rate of $12-24K per year with NO benefits — even though a new recruiter who does not close a deal in his first three months on the job at a well-run agency is fired.

The result is that most contingency recruiters are incredibly transactional in their approach to developing candidate relationships: They are "incentivized" to pick the lowest hanging fruit they can find, taking any search assignment a client will give them regardless of how it aligns with their own expertise.  Candidates suffer the consequences on the front end of this process, while the tail end of the recruiting process is fraught with serious conflicts of interest.  For example, asking your recruiter if you should accept his client’s job offer is like asking a barber if you need a haircut."

First up, let me offer up this.  I’m a HR pro at this juncture in my career, but maybe a recruiter later on – who knows?  I know a lot of recruiters who are very good, are relationship-based and have my best interests at heart.  Additionally, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you have a blog, are actively blogging at a contributor site, your willingness to be part of the conversation suggests to me that you are part of the solution, not part of a reputation problem.  Even if you cold call and try to fill the funnel the traditional way. 

Harry’s key word is "transactional".  If you have to cram numbers to survive, the entry level recruiter with limited experience likely has to spend 3-4 years in the cycle Harry describes before they’re established enough to do it the right way.

The result is a lot of cold calling and entry-level recruiters recycling resumes they found off of Monster.  Which hurts the field in the reputation game.  Wouldn’t it be great if entry-level recruiters could have a blended role doing several things for a company, and the fact that their role was blended allowed them to grow their networks and do it the right way?

I’m thinking if I ever go into third-party recruiting, it would have to be part of a career portfolio, with me doing several other things to pay the bills.  That way I could walk away from bad situations without wondering how I was going to pay the rent.

I wish some of the recruiters who call me randomly had the same luxury… 

Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.