Help Us - Help You: How to Work with a Recruiter

Recently, there have been several articles on the recruiting industry asking: "What makes a good recruiter?", "What differentiates one recruiting firm from another?", "Do Recruiters all say the same things?" and, my favorite article posted two weeks ago, "A Recruiter’s Jerry Maguire Moment".

First and foremost, I am a huge Jerry Maguire fan as I not only loved the movie, but had the very same thing happen to me a few years before the movie came out. I distinctly remember the feelings of deep betrayal much like Jerry did when he was fired and lost all of his clients. Thank goodness I wasn’t fired, but I had many clients lured away years ago because I simply trusted in the wrong recruiters. Oh yes, there surely are good and bad recruiters and recruiting firms out there, but, like anything – perform due diligence, spend the time preparing and meeting enough recruiters, rely on your gut instincts and sound judgment, and you’ll end up working with a small handful of very successful and talented recruiters.

Let’s be honest and admit that we don’t graduate college wanting to be a Recruiter – it just doesn’t work out that way. There are no coffee mugs with "Recruiter "on them (which still secretly irks me) but I am very proud that I am a recruiter and in the recruiting industry. I can tell you first hand that the recruiting industry is a rough and tumble market to navigate through and we are often disliked for what we do.

As stated in the Jerry Maguire article – we spend our days getting people jobs, negotiating salaries and benefits, and essentially fulfilling a real and true service to the public. We can be the crucial lifeline that someone needs to take care of their family, but do we care? Is it us, or our careless manner that really turns those candidates, those people, even those parents off? What has recruiting become? If you read the complaints, criticisms, and critiques, it’s less about the business and more and more about the recruiters treating the candidates and clients like commodities rather than people. Has it really become about the bottom line?

Credit Image: City of Marietta, GA via Flickr

I believe not, as I know that Recruiters are really good people. It isn’t an accident that these people have found themselves in this profession. It takes dedication, drive, insight, and a very sharp instinct for people. And believe me after spending twenty-seven years in the industry; it’s tough to be that good with people day in and day out if you don’t really care. You can’t fake it –at least not for long. I work with these people every day and we pour our heart and soul into what we do.

Over the past twenty five years I have seen the recruiting industry change dramatically and become a much more commoditized process. Sadly, it has become about the bottom line but not because of us. Many of our former large clients are now managed by VMS (Vendor Management Service) companies that supposedly help them streamline their processes and manage their costs. Back in the day, VMS companies simply remained behind the scenes to manage compliance issues and the inordinate amount of paperwork that is needed and generated in Human Resources. But due to tighter margins and greater financial rewards these VMS companies saw an opportunity and entered into the staffing arena.

Between these firms entering into the market, and the industry itself going through a massive change from smaller boutique firms to large international corporations seeking very small margins, things have changed a great deal. Small margins equate to lack of direct recruitment which leads to resume slinging; essentially forcing recruitment companies to throw a specific number of resumes at any and all job orders within 24 hours, lest they be beaten by the 50 or more competitors these job orders are blasted out to on a daily basis. All of these resumes now end up in a portal oftentimes reviewed by one entry level HR assistant who has many other priorities and duties.

Sadly, most mid-sized firms like The McIntyre Group no longer participate in these VMS programs. We don’t generally work successfully through a portal process either. We recognize and understand that hiring requires a keen eye for talent, long hours of diligent recruiting, and someone who is thoroughly trained and immersed in our business. We still care and still have a choice.

I used to think years ago that I wanted to be the biggest. Now I realize if I were, I’d be walking out with just the fish…

*A special thanks to the recruiter who wrote "A Recruiter’s Jerry Maguire Moment" and glad to know that there are a few more of us out there doing the good work!

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