Three Reasons Good Recruiters are Good at Recruiting

I was reminded this past week that recruiting is very hard.

No, it’s not hard to post a job on your careers page and wait for a resume that you won’t screen and just pass along to the hiring manager. That’s not hard.

Recruiting is hard when it comes down to finding talent that really doesn’t want to be found and has no desire to go to work for your bad culture and crappy manager who turns over people constantly – that’s when recruiting is hard!

What separates good recruiting from bad recruiting

I think there are three big differences that separate good recruiting from bad recruiting. They are:

  1. Good recruiters have the ability to change your mind about an opportunity before money is even discussed. Bad recruiters lead with the money. Good recruiters believe in their organizations, believe in the position, and believe in the hiring manager as a great leader. Then they make you a believer!
  2. Good recruiters know your rejections before you know them and address them as such. Relocation is probably the toughest one that comes to mind, next to relocation and a spouse who doesn’t want to relocate (that’s like kryptonite to a recruiter!). Getting someone to relocate for a new position, new company – when they are a great talent with a great organization – takes a recruiter with an exceptional ability to connect the dots for the candidates. This becomes the “this is why you need to be here, right now” kind of moment that great recruiters come up with instead of just hanging up the phone and calling someone else.
  3. Good recruiters know how to dig and love to get dirty. Let’s face it: mining the Monster database isn’t recruiting. I can easily find a $10/hr administrative type who can do that and they’ll actually be more engaged doing it! Good recruiters love the search. Yeah, it can be frustrating and heartbreaking, but when you uncover that hidden gem, it very much is worth the work!

Why good recruiting is invaluable

The last four or five years have given us an environment where newer recruiters just coming into the industry didn’t have to be good – they just had to be present. Being present isn’t a qualification, necessarily, to becoming a good recruiter. High unemployment and a low number of jobs available gives you an abundance of candidates, and usually qualified candidates as well.

This doesn’t make you a good recruiter; it makes you a good screener. In many industries, we are now seeing the value of good recruiters come back as certain job markets are opening up in a big way and candidates, even bad ones, are no longer advertising themselves as available.

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Good recruiting is invaluable to a good HR shop – and bad recruiting is the quickest way for your HR shop to lose credibility with your leadership. So, what can you do? Don’t allow bad recruiting to live in your barn!

Good recruiting is hard, and it shouldn’t look easy and it doesn’t work 40 hours per week, 8 to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday. But, bad recruiting is betting on the fact that you don’t know the difference, or, you are to lazy to do anything about it.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


10 Comments on “Three Reasons Good Recruiters are Good at Recruiting

  1. Great article, Tim. I find it’s very difficult to explain why good recruiting is so difficult and what it takes to be a good recruiter. You’ve tapped it well; thank you.

  2. Great article. Tarek, you couldn’t be more accurate in your assesment. In the United States, there is a saturation of poor recruiters and that means competent professionals are very often spending the early phases of all relationships overcoming the objections of prospects instead of having to deliver top quality resources.

  3. Interesting read – it caught my eye as Ram (above) commented, and I’ve worked with Ram. As a regular (short-term contract) client of recruiters, the best recruiters I have worked with are the honest ones. Not those that wish to take 33% and be unable to disclose their figures, whilst failing to realise that when the office drink, they talk money – but those recruiters who can either be up-front about their cut, or who can understand the contractor’s potential and sell that to a client who, more often than not, does not wish to pay a fair price.

  4. Bad recruiters think that money isn’t important. Bad recruiters assume you’ll move for any position, no matter where it is and no matter how negative the new destination might be. Recruiters overrate themselves (especially when they dismiss family concerns).

  5. Tim: Very interesting assessment. Overall it’s right on target, but when I read between the lines there are a couple of items that need to be looked at more closely.
    1. Your first point is accurate, but what concerns me is the fact that many recruiters (corporate and agency) will sell candidates on the opportunity merely because they have to fill a position or because they need a fee. It’s tantamount to a bait and switch. It happens frequently.
    2. You say “Good recruiters know your rejections…” Don’t you mean “objections”?Yes, good recruiters need to know/anticipate objections in advance, but the damn well better know how to ask questions and ferret out further objections.
    Thanks again for a thoughtful article.

  6. Tarek: Your comments are wonderful and your candor about the difficulty in selecting a good recruiter is refreshing.

    You are correct that no recruiter can find every candidate. However, the great recruiters use a number of tools to uncover the greatest number of candidates. For example, I spend a significant amount of my time sourcing and I employ a sourcer. The sourcing she does is very different from the sourcing I do. We rarely ever overlap finding the same prospects. My sourcing techniques date back to the olden days before the internet. No recruiter that has only been working since the internet knows what we “pre internet” types know…unless someone has taught them, which is uncommon.

    On your second point about all the agencies in your area that professionally promote themselves, you need to be accountable for interviewing them in depth, and hopefully you are doing this. If you need assistance in how to do this I’d be happy to give you a bit of free advice to help guide you.

    On your third point, I couldn’t agree more. I worked for an agency for nine years before going out on my own. I wouldn’t recommend many of the people I used to work with. That’s the best thing about being a very small boutique firm. We only accept searches where we have a true, committed partnership with a client and if I’m confident that the search can be successfully completed in a timely manner. We demand a lot of up-front time from our clients in order to get or not get this confidence. I also use techniques I’ve developed over 20+ years in my profession that minimize the chances of hiring the wrong person. I can also give you some advice in this area if you’d like.

  7. I like this post as whilst it offers three good reasons for recruiters success, the article doesn’t pretend that those reasons are exclusive.

  8. I just want to add that companies with great brand equity can get away with bad recruiting. If people think the company is a wonderful one to work for (and the pay is right) then talent simply falls into one’s lap.

    Thanks for sharing this (and keep writing).



  9. Great recruiters need to be solutions based to their client and to their candidate. They need to understand the hart of the client’s business and they need to have a hart when dealing with candidates. Ultimately your candidate should become your client if you know how to balance the scales of service excellence.

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