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5 things for recruiters not to do.

5 things for recruiters not to doToday I’m having a short sharp rant. It’s where I get on my soapbox and talk about things that either irritate me or I believe passionately.  If you’re an agency recruiter – this one’s for you and this is the one which makes me question my love for the recruitment industry.

Everyone who knows me or has read any of my blogs knows that I’m passionate about both great recruitment and excellent recruiters and the value they add to all businesses.  Agency-side or client-side I don’t mind – both have equally valuable roles to play and equally tough jobs to do. Why both cannot seem to work well together is a bit beyond me but I had an inkling this week when I started dealing with some new recruiters.

Recruitment should not be hard.

It’s supposed to be win-win. The agency recruiter gets a reasonable fee and the in-house recruiters and/or HR get to look good having made a good placement for the client.

Instead we get:

  1. Don’t you know how important I am? So important that I’m going to tell you all about how to recruit and I’ll even put a call in to your client to argue. (I saw that one coming by the way).
  2. No I will not negotiate on my fees. At all. Because you don’t seem to realise what value we add. Even though in the same breath I told you the market was candidate rich and jobs to work on were hard to come by.
  3. Although I did offer you a better rate on the phone and then had to up it again in writing after (although I don’t want you knowing this) talking to my manager.  I made it clear I wasn’t budging. I know you have to agree because you’re in a hurry with the role. Hah!
  4. Within 2 minutes of telling you the market was rich in candidates I send 2 candidates over (they meet the brief to be fair) –I do love an easy fee.
  5. Don’t you realise how important these candidates are? They simply won’t be interested in meeting anyone except the CEO on first meeting. Yes I know one of them isn’t working.  Even so.

And so on. Sigh.

How keen do you think I am on building a long-term relationship with these recruiters? How hard do you think I’m working looking for other long-term talent sources?

Correct answers on a postcard.

My hot tips?

  1. Play the long game. One fee is not worth more than a five year relationship with the in-house recruiter batting on your side.
  2. Give something away to make your client feel you are interested and that you both are winning and giving.
  3. Don’t go behind people’s backs – not unless you say you are going to and do it charmingly.
  4. Tell the truth – so there is congruency in what you say
  5. Be nice. It’s not hard. And people will want to work with you again.

Recruitment is relatively simple, but not necessarily easy. It is all about people and relationships. Both ways; relationships with clients and candidates.

To earn your fees takes commitment to the relationship first and foremost.

And if you want more help on what to do either read The Professional Recruiter’s Handbook or check out my earlier blog – The 10 things to do to be a successful recruiter .


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We work with everyone involved in the wonderful world of recruitment; agency-side and in-house, with a particular interest in developing performance in all areas but especially for managers and leaders.