Monday, October 20, 2008

How Many Recruiters Should I Have Working For Me?

From time to time candidates actually ask this question. I do have a simple answer that I generally respond with. And actually it isn't really an answer, but rather a question. It is, how many primary care physicians do you have? Or the other one I use is when you are marketing your home, how many realtors do you use? And finally, I sometimes use my infamous sports agent analogy - how many agents does a professional athlete need? Of course, I use these rhetorical questions to make my point.

The reality with job recruiting though is how many opinions do you need in order to feel comfortable? Some people feel that they need to hear what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. Does that make sense?

To be honest, I’m not as much into making sense to everyone as I am into making dollars. I've learned that there is no sufficient answer to most questions that would suffice all parties. So in short, I am short, with people who just cant understand the simplicity of using one great, professional, successful recruiter/recruiting agency.

So for those who I was, in the past, short with in my answer to your question, I wanted to elaborate ever so slightly. Honestly I just wanted something I could point people to when they ask so that I am 1) not having to repeat the same answer all the time and 2) not perceived as some pompous jerk.

In today's market you really only need one recruiter who is going to help you land that next opportunity. I have decided to actually blog a few more upcoming articles to support why you want one solid recruiter. What you need to do as a candidate is to do your due diligence to make sure that the recruiter/firm you are using is a creditable recruiter/firm.

  • Make sure that the company/recruiting firm is not someone trying to create this image of being something they are not. Ask for a list of some of their existing clients and check into them. Ask for client references.

  • Make sure it’s not someone with a home address listed as their corporate office. I am not saying that you can't be a good recruiter out of your home. The fact is, you can. But if the recruiting agency you are using is a one-person operation - it begs the question of how can they do everything by themselves. Good recruiting takes a team marketing effort and team strategy by and large.

  • Check with your state to ensure that they are indeed a licensed business with proper licenses and the legal ability to actually do business in that state.

  • Make sure that they have proper insurance coverages to protect themselves and you.

  • Verify their professional claims listed in their company bio and personal bios. For example, if a company says they have been recruiting for 15 years, verify it.

  • Make sure that their website uses the latest technology and not some totally created by some over-the-weekend website builder. You may ask why on this one. Why would that matter. In short, because it shows their investment back into their own business. It can be a signal of their business's success or longevity.

  • Find out how long some of their staff has been with the agency. Having a staff or recruiters that have been with the company for years is a strong signal of a successful firm.
All of these things are easy to seek and find out thanks to the Internet.

The best advice I could give you when working with a recruiter is to be open and honest and make sure that the claims they make can be backed up. Remember that the cream always rises to the top and the sludge always sinks to the bottom.


Heather Ali, Healthcare Job Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather J. Ali, SLP, CLA said...

You make a great point, but in the recruiting industry too many company owners contribute to the downfall of their own agencies. Poor management is often the reason behind recruiter attrition (which is a human resources term-you may want to look it up.) Some family-owned recruiting companies perhaps run by a husband and wife will often hire a recruiter, let him or her build a large amount of business, and then fire that recruiter the day or week that everything closes and invoices just to keep all the money for themselves.

Sometimes, these small mom and pop operations may have even lucked into gathering their business capital by running MLM schemes such as Amway or riding the coattails of one successful spouse who may have had, let's say, an IT consulting firm, and made enough money to start a recruiting firm so the other spouse (who isn't very good at holding a job) could run it and have something to do besides cook.

This person, now running a recruiting agency without a clue or any professional certifications, training or qualifications, begins to think he or she knows everything. When a fantastic recruiter comes along who does have proper certifications, formal training in recruiting and best practices, etc, and is hired to work for the small self-taught mom and pop firm, it incites a lot of jealousy on behalf of the owners and other recruiters; especially if the recruiter is quite young, much more attractive than anyone else in the company, and phenomenal at what he or she does.

Many times, these mom and pop agencies will preach about being the best and holding high standards, but in reality, they are not walking the talk. I know of one particular firm like this who actually kept a very large (20/30k-ish range) payment from a client company knowing that the payment was a duplicate payment and was paid twice by mistake. Did they return the money to their client like an ethical, honest business would? No way. This same company lies to clients and candidates all day long by playing games such as "the take away" and posting fake jobs and fake verticals on their websites.

The great recruiters out there are the ones who are bold and confident enough in their abilities to step out and set themselves apart from the mom and pop type of "pseudo-recruiter" by working for themselves. Their levels of service to both clients and candidates are impeccable. As for websites, perhaps the home recruiter cuts corners on overhead so he or she can save her clients as much money as possible by not charging ridiculous, extortionary fees. For instance, one website I recently visited that is hosted via a popular small business service runs circles around the website of a local mom and pop agency that has a full-time computer guy updating it and stalking people online all day.

I agree that clients and candidates alike should investigate the recruiter's references, especially in cases when a recruiter is so young to be so accomplished. For example, there could be a recruiter in her early thirties who started serving on Boards and conducting Board work at the age of 17 because her mother was a socialite and publisher of multi-state magazines and newspapers, as well as the President of several Boards. And her father was and still is a hospital technology executive, which exposed her to a world most peers her age would never have experienced.

At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. My recommendation to all seekers and clients out there is to find someone with whom you're comfortable, who doesn't bad-mouth, slander, and libel others (because they'll do it to you, too) and trust your own instincts.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the recruiting business is who they pretend to be. Some are nothing more than Amway groupies who lucked out and faked their way into the business.

NumberOneRecruiter said...

Wow. I was a little bit confused in trying to follow this post, but nonetheless felt compelled to comment.

Honesty and Trust in a Recruiter and/or Recruitment Firm

I just wanted to share some of my thoughts being in the staffing industry for almost ten years.

There are many recruiters in the industry that have good reputations and others that, quit simply, don’t.

I believe there are many reasons for that, but I believe the most important attribute to be honesty and trust.

Honesty and trust are the major components to any relationship though. Isn't it?:

Husband and wife, parents and children, boss and employee, recruiter and candidate, recruiter and client, friend to friend. Ultimately it is all the same.

Again, that common thread is how we all conduct ourselves. And that includes both at work and at home. Do we follow that Golden Rule of: “Do unto others as they should do unto you”?

The bottom line is “You reap what you sow”.

I happen to work for a company where the standards are always held at the highest level and that doing the right thing always outweighs anything including personal gain or monetary reward. Those high standards have paved a pathway to our firm's success. We have over 600 clients we work with and thousands of candidates. We have many true (not made up) testimonials from real (not made up) clients and candidates showcasing this.

Doing the right thing is not always easy or popular. What is of most importance is doing what is true, honest, and ethical. I have seen many things over the years of recruiting where my boss has told candidates not to take a job because he felt that it was truly not the right opportunity for the candidate. It was the honest thing to do. It is what he did. It is in our company's ethical guidelines and hence, what we all do.

Certainly in these instances a decent fee would have been collected. But not at the expense of the candidate’s best interest. Believe me, and it is pretty easy to ascertain.. it takes a special person to make that right decision and these special people are hard to come by these days. But in the interest of being an honest person and growing a successful recruiting firm - it is a must.

I am fortunate to be working for that type of husband and wife owned recruiting firm who honestly knows right from wrong, and will always tell you the truth whether it is uplifting or whether it hurts your feelings.

It is about standing up for what is right. So for those who are looking for a recruiter or recruitment firm to work with, that is what I would be looking for. And test that by asking for honest and accurate credentials and testimonials. Do not make the mistake of simply agreeing to work with just any recruiter or recruiting firm.

I, again, have been fortunate to have worked with a company who upholds those high values and I hope you have the same or seek the same.


Bryant Madore
JTL Services, Inc.

Anonymous said...

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30

Anonymous said...

You first have to define peace. Obviously, in the world, peace means alot of different things to a lot of different people.

With regard to the initial post here, the company I work for does a full background check on all recruiters we hire. I just feel like we live in a world where we should know right upfront who we are dealing or working with to represent our firm, our candidates and our clients. There is too much at risk not to quite honestly.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Quick comments however.

When you do a background check on an individual, the best thing to do is to do it by (SSN) social security number. If you do not have access to that, you should also make sure that you have the individual's maiden name if applicable.

A search without a SSN on someone that let's say, was recently married and now has a new last name that you are searching may not provide all of the results. That is the key.

There are many reputable and fairly inexpensive places online to do background checks. One of the better ones is

Good luck.

NumberOneRecruiter said...

Heather makes some great comments in her initial post. Some, actually many recruiting firms do have a high rate of attrition which can be caused by a multitude of reasons. Some do not survive past their first few years due to items she suggests and of course several other more realistic business reasons.

Couple of quick points about JTL Services. JTL has been in business for over a decade, and in fact still has three of the same recruiters from when the doors were first opened. JTL has actual and legitimate testimonials from people in some of the largest corporations in the country. Testimonials from real people that can be contacted at real organizations. I mention this because it seems to be a growing issue within the Internet world where people create websites with false testimonials. It's just too easy to do these days. Hence so many of the good points in previous posts leading towards promoting proper due diligence in making decisions about who you employ.

At JTL Services, Inc., have been fortunate to keep recruiter attrition to an unheard of ratio and have been very fortunate to have had consistent growth over the years. That can be attributed to the guidelines and principles the company deploys and stands by. Principles that quite frankly, many would not consider nor know how to consider. As Bryant stated in his post, some decisions in running the business are not easy to make. Ultimately it is more than the revenue that is part of the succuss formula. Without having quality candidates and clients that you work hard for and make the right decisions for, you cannot grow, nor continue for too long.

Again, you dont stay in business if you cannot adhere to common core of ethical principles. You dont get the opportunity to work with some of the country's largest corporations and over 600 companies nationwide without realistically understanding how to run and grow a business and to work with others - including staff, clients, candidates, etc.

Anonymous said...

WOW, lots of misleading information has been written here. I suppose when you have a blog you are open to comments like this but like the writer says the proof is in the pudding. Over 10 years of being in business employing people JTL has had to fire only 2 people! I would say that is pretty incredible, and there is never any monetary benefit to firing someone.