Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Beware of “Contract Recruiters”!

As a Contract Recruiter with 26 years of professional recruitment experience, it has come to my attention that the term “Contract Recruiter” is being widely overused.

When you are hiring a “Contract Recruiter”, what are your expectations?

Do you expect a professional recruiter with many years of experience? Are you expecting someone who knows how to effectively recruit for your firm, despite your firm’s warts (if any)? Do you expect someone who can come into your business and examine your recruitment processes and suggest improvements to help you be more effective in your own efforts? Are you looking for someone who, while working with your hiring managers, may suggest ways to help them improve their interviewing and selection skills? Do you expect a professional who can look at your website and your recruitment marketing and suggest more effective ways to spend that budget? Are you looking for someone who can help you deliver candidates at the offer that you previously were not able to recruit? Are you truly seeking someone who has worked in a best of class recruitment effort and knows ways to help you improve?

Or are you looking for a temp?

Let’s face it. Few people with less than 10 years of seasoning in any field know what “best of class” really is – even if they have worked in it. Maybe I should say especially if they have worked in a “best of class” environment.

If someone has only worked in a “best of class” environment that implies that they have never worked where there were major problems with a recruiting effort. They know what their environment was. They may know your environment needs improvement. If they have never had to work through the corporate politics and never had to solve those problems, how will they help you solve yours?

A true Contract Recruiter has over 10 years of Contract Recruitment experience. Please note that I did not say “Corporate Recruiter” or “Agency Recruiter” experience.

Corporate Recruiters are the recruitment foundation for your firm. If they are strong recruiters, your recruiting function will be strong. If they are weak recruiters, your recruiting function will be weak. It is a simple equation that actually mirrors other functions in a business. Depending on the company, the Corporate Recruiter may not have the ability to influence the executive level to make changes in the recruitment process. They may have the recruitment ability or knowledge, it simply is that the “Prophet rarely gets Respect at home”. How many of you have felt that frustration?

A Contract Recruiter who has the seasoning that only years of experience brings, can sit down with the executives and confidently suggest improvements and the benefits they bring by showing the results at their other clients. Remember, some companies really do recruit very well. Could they improve in some areas? Absolutely! That is the basis for continuous improvement in all business processes. The seasoned Contract Recruiter has been in many environments and has seen many ways of doing things – some good and some bad. This helps us quantify your processes and determine which ones need improvement. Then we can confidently make improvement recommendations.

Many “Agency Recruiters” are absolutely wonderful recruiters. I count many great Agency Recruiters among my friends. They tend to be lone wolves (may work in offices with other recruiters) and focus on an industry, some focus only on a position (like physician recruiters, for instance). They know from working with companies who is responsive and who needs improvement but rarely do they see the company from working on the inside. Don’t get me wrong. A great Agency Recruiter is worth every single cent they make. They went out and earned it. In the process, they also made positive impacts on their clients by introducing candidates they otherwise may not have seen.

Do you hear the “but” coming? The Agency Recruiters may not have dealt with the internal politics in a company. Their efforts may have been impacted by those politics but rarely have they had to successfully work through those politics. They typically have not been involved in internal recruitment process improvement and recruitment marketing. Sometimes, but rarely have they had the opportunity to influence a CEO’s decision on a recruitment process or candidate (unless they were involved in a true executive search for the client). An experienced Contract Recruiter has the confidence and experience to approach the CEO or CFO and “whisper in their ear”.

At one time I read in the Fordyce Letter that less than one percent of all third party recruiters last in this industry over ten years. If a person is one of the few people who have worked in this industry ten years, they have some special talents.

The seasoned Contract Recruiter may help you promote the improvements that both of you know are needed while they are recruiting Impact Performers for you. Remember the prophet? They are viewed as the prophet coming from the outside. Therefore they may be able to influence people who may not otherwise listen to you. If we bring up the credit too soon, the executive’s eyes may glaze over. Hey, once all of us get the improvement in place, we will be happy to give you credit because that also reflects back on us.

A recruiter with one to five years of experience working through temporary agencies is a temp. Just as the temps who work as bookkeepers or as production supervisors. There is nothing wrong with them other than their lack of experience. Possibly the Temp Agencies need for them to sound “experienced” in order to sell their services.

Now do you really believe that the temp can help you reach your recruiting goals? If so, you should hire them.

If not, you should contact a well respected recruiter with a wealth of experience who is also connected to a network of seasoned Contract Recruiters. Questions? Feel free to contact me.