We have all had the call, “Hey Joe, my name is Bob Smith. I am a recruiter for Acme Widgets. We found your profile on LinkedIn and I was wonder if you could take a few minutes out of your work day to discuss the prospect of working for the leading manufacturer of widgets in the US.” As with most timing in life, these calls will ring you before the first cup of coffee hits your lips or during a busy meeting. Needless to say, most recruiting targets are not prepared for a cold call. Other candidates have posted their resumes online and are just hoping the fish will bite. Given the mysterious nature of these strangers that we call head hunters, there are many misconceptions about the recruiting industry. Here is an inside look at the top 5 myths concerning the art of recruiting.
Not all recruiters jump out the window during a recession
Given the current economic backdrop it seems pertinent to discuss how the recession affects recruiters. When most people consider an economic downturn the last thing they think about is hiring. Following this logic most outsiders would assume recruiters go into a complete panic when the economy hits the fritz. The reality of the situation is much more complex. Internal recruiters that work within organizations which normally have ongoing hiring needs are put in a precarious position. Most companies looking to trim cost will single out recruiters for the first cutbacks. External, third party recruiters can actually benefit from these cutbacks. As companies reduce their internal hiring expertise certain critical positions can crop up that require talent acquisition skills. Companies forced to make limited hires after trimming their recruiting department will turn to third party recruiting companies to fill the void. This shift to outsourcing provides some measure of job security to a large portion of the industry.
The industry actually has many pros
No doubt about it, recruiting is a sales job. Recruiters are constantly pitching. If the recruiter is working on a recruitment outsourcing contract they are pitching the company they represent to a potential candidate. If a recruiter is working on a strictly commission basis, they may be selling a rock star candidate to multiple companies. This unique nature of recruiting can force recruiters to fall back into cliché sales tactics during the hiring process. As a candidate, if you get that used car salesman feeling in the pit of your stomach during a recruiting call, you are not alone. Despite the aggressive nature of the industry, many recruiters are seasoned professional. Contract recruiters can make upwards of 20% of a candidates first year salary for any successful placements. These high commissions mean that an effective recruiter can pull down a yearly income higher than most VP level positions they place. Given the financial implications, there is a significant amount of incentive for recruiters to be as polished as possible.
Recruiters just add extra pork to the hiring process
If you ask most internal HR people about the difficulties of hiring you will probably get the same answer. Recruiters are a critical part of the hiring process for many companies. This rule of thumb is particularly true for tech recruiters. Hiring for technical positions requires an understanding of very specific skill sets. A technical recruiter needs to understand coding expertise, be able to dissect pertinent background experience and also find a candidate that is a good cultural fit for a company. Most HR people are required to focus on managing benefits and boosting employee retention. These job requirements leave little time to develop a deep understanding of the myriad of technology expertise available on the market. Recruiters can significantly improve a hiring program by pushing process and hunting down the best match for any open positions.
It’s all about the commission
Believe it or not, recruiters have priorities beyond their commission checks. Compensation is about catches and balances. Over the years, companies have learned that it is important to hedge the large commissions paid out for new placements with specific securities concerning the candidate. Standard recruiting contracts require that a candidate must stay with a company for at least 90 days before the commission payment are guaranteed to the recruiter who has placed the candidate. These contractual agreements force recruiters to explicitly target candidates that they believe will be a long-term fit for the company. These guarantees also provide recruiter with incentive to develop an understanding of a company’s corporate culture to help find the best candidate match for the organization.
Recruiters are not living in the Stone Age
Recruiting is a juggling act. Each position will see multiple candidates interview for the role and each candidate is at a different stage in the process. This logistical nightmare is multiplied with each open position. Historically, recruiters have attempted to wrestle control and organize their process with giant trails of paper, graffiti covered calendars, waist deep email inboxes and spreadsheets so complex they make the Moon Landing look a bit easier. While the industry was once notorious for organizational flaws, these issues are expected when managing multiple candidates, hiring managers and interviews schedules. Fortunately, most of the recruiting industry has crawled out of the primordial ooze of spreadsheets and emails. Many professional recruiters now rely on industry specific, web-based recruiting software to help manage applicant flow and streamline collaboration between all of the decision makers. When properly used, these organizational tools can seriously increase hiring efficiencies across the board, allowing recruiters to spend more time looking for the perfect candidates.
Most people only have fleeting experiences with the recruiting industry. These short interactions lead to a variety of misconceptions and negative feelings associates with the recruiting process. Many misconceptions about recruiting are a direct result of the necessary sales oriented nature of the process. Ultimately, if outsiders were able to peak under the hood they would likely see a different story. On the whole, today’s recruiters represent talented professionals with a unique skill set to help companies fill mission critical roles and provides candidates with a good match for their careers needs. Recruiter provide the most cost effective solution for many companies hiring needs and with modern technology they can also provide a much needed organizational boost to the hiring process. So next time you get that call, think twice. It may be the best opportunity you’ve had in a long time.