Turn Over Every Rock? Or Take A Shot?

Does your talent acquisition partner turn over every rock? Are they capable? Are you giving them the opportunity to do so?

When companies create a competitive “race”  between recruiting firms, they often believe this creates positive competition, which is possible to some extent. Many firms will prioritize and will “take shots” at the project instead of controlling and mastering the project. They are evaluating the risk vs. the reward. In contingency & non-exclusive, the risk falls completely on the shoulders of the recruiter.

Let’s use an example. Let’s say ABS Recruiting Firm works a retained, exclusive search for a Marketing Director in Boston for a client company.

  • ABC runs an impressive, pristine, process including deep research, getting to the top 120 people that are possibly qualified,
  • They narrow it down to the top 65 people to hold conversations with. From there, between screening out and “No Thank You” responses, they narrow it down to 6 but based on the client’s specs and requests, they present the top 4 people.
  • ABC is also confident they covered the entire market. If a good candidate slipped through the cracks, it was an outlier.
  • They also noticed that 2 of the 4 people that they are presenting, are people they got to in unconventional ways. These were folks who don’t respond to cold calls or e-blasts on LinkedIn. They only responded because there were messages that were customized specifically for them. They were able to take the time to craft customized messages and remain persistent to get after the entire market.

What if that same project was given to ABC Recruiting Company and 2 other firms at the same time?

Could all 3 firms afford to put in that same depth? Or will they all fight over the low-lying fruit then move on?

If you want the best results from a recruiting partner, you need to stop looking at candidates and resumes as being possessed by (owned by) certain recruiters.

Misconception: All recruiters have different candidates and I will get different people from each so spreading it out will give me better results

We live in an age of technology and we all have access to the same or at least similar information. If the recruiting firm is well connected, they should have access to the entire bell curve. It is just more challenging and time consuming to not only get to all the people and but to convince them to hold a meaningful conversation with the recruiter and then to be able to sell them on why your opportunity could be a step up in their career. The very best firms would prefer to put in this work but are only willing to do this “top shelf” type of work if they have a low risk proposition.

There are many companies that believe they are getting the best result from competition/non-exclusivity. They don’t know what they don’t know. They are getting competitive results from just the tip of iceberg because they don’t understand that there is value in what lies beneath the surface.

Misconception: Having multiple firms working on it, will create urgency so I will get all the best candidates.

It may create urgency, but it creates a speed race for each recruiter to have a decent shot, then they will most likely move on. They can’t afford to clear their desk for it.

It reminds me of a movie from the 80’s with Robert Di Niro called Midnight Run. Di Niro’s character is one of the best bounty hunters out there, but his client is antsy to get results, so he hires a rival bounty hunter as well. The chaos that ensues is enough to make this dramatic enough for Hollywood. Decent movie by the way!

If you want a thorough search and to find the absolute best, I suggest you hold them accountable to very specific goals and dedicate your time, energy and company to that headhunter (or bounty hunter if that is your thing).

Again, this goes back to what you want from your recruiting partner. You should ask yourself the questions I raised earlier about what goals you are after and what role you want our recruiter to play: Vendor or Partner?

The saying goes “there is a lid for every pot” and a solution for every problem (well…. most problems). The challenge with performing the depth option and providing exclusivity is, this only works if that firm, more so that specific recruiter, is one of the best in your industry and fully understands this top shelf approach. That skill is not a dime a dozen. This is someone you should have been referred to or who can provide these types of references and prove a history of accomplishing these types of searches. Otherwise, you will be trying to squeeze partner value out of your vendor. You may be disappointed. Be careful with who you choose and specific about the results you seek.