No. Not interested. We don’t use recruiters. We’ve got it handled. We don’t pay those rates. Or my personal favorite…simple, elegant, powerful… Silence.
I don’t care who you are or what you do, unless you’re my 5-year-old boy, hearing “no” over and over again is going to have an effect.
And if that’s not painful enough, having somebody categorically refuse to respond to you is going to make you question why people think you’re so terrible.
Don’t worry though, you’re not…unless you are…but for the sake of this blog post, we’re going to assume that you’re a perfectly wonderful human being.
Thankfully, business is business and it’s rarely personal. The truth is the problem has much more to do with preconceived ideas of who you are or what you do (or what you want) as opposed to how terrible of a human being may or may not be! Welcome to the life and death of an Agency Recruiter.
The push and pull of agency recruiters and the cautious skepticism of hiring managers is a tale as old as recruitment itself. Because of this, I thought I’d take a moment to write something that may as well be titled, “Dear Client…let me explain”. Or “No wait…. it’s not what you think”.
Now I can only speak from my own experience and the way I choose to do business, but I know that I’m not an anomaly…in business at least.
For me what’s important is that when I, as an agency recruiter, begin to engage in business development, I take a step back and gather all the facts prior to picking up that phone or sending that email.
Now this will fly in the face of certain Agency leaders who spew the “dialing for dollars” mantra like bible verses, but I’m steadfast in my preference to invest in the homework and ask questions before we even “meet”.
Questions like, who are you as a potential client? Are you a fit for me and am I a fit for you? What can I tell that you need? Who is your competition? What growth opportunities, projects, trends and/or challenges can I suss out about your company or industry prior to interrupting your workday with my dulcet tones on the other end of your phone?
But why go through all the effort?
As a recruiter aren’t I supposed to be all things to all people? I say no. I go through this exercise because I’m not everybody’s cup of tea any more than you are, and by doing some early legwork, I get a chance to identify what I can offer.
So maybe I reach out because I have the ideal candidate that is looking for a new challenge. Maybe I’m deeply connected to a specific industry or niche market. Whatever the reason, knowledge is power.
Plus, on the other side of that coin, by doing some early homework I might identify that what you need is over my head or out of my area of expertise. Perhaps my “way” won’t be collaborative with yours. I would argue that its best to know these things now rather than finding out after the fact when we’re both in a committed and loving relationship only to realize, to our disgust, one of us snores and the other chews with their mouth open.
If you’re a hardened salesperson, you may have read this and thought to yourself; “Well he’s just giving up before he gets started” …not true. You see, what I’ve actually done is identify where I fit with you.
More importantly, what I’ve also done is identify who in my team fits with you. I have the luxury of having a savvy team of pros behind me that are strong where I’m weak, and visa-versa.
Not only does this ensure that you as a client get the best we can give, it allows me an opportunity to learn, to build a reputation built on trust and best practices, and ultimately, give you the best bang for your buck.
Lord Baden Powell, the founding father of the Scouting movement, once said to youth, “Be wise in the use of your resources” …and I’ve used that quote successfully in every industry I’ve ever worked.
So why does any of this matter? It matters because recruitment, much like any industry, is always changing.
The methodology changes.
The psychology changes.
The economic climate.
It all changes and it’s all dependent on whether you, as a hiring manager, choose to give that recruiter the 5 minutes to actually speak with you.
If you do, you may be able to find out everything you need to know, as long as you’re willing to listen. That is, if you’re looking for something different.
If, as a hiring manager, all you care about is the rate, then there are a thousand agencies vying for your business that will be glad to slash and burn and pitch their own under the bus…and there are some damn fine recruiters working in that landscape, so we won’t take anything away from them.
But if you’re looking for somebody who is going to buy-in and become part of the solution, to actually consult with you…well then your window narrows drastically.
Recruitment, and agency recruitment in particular, is a complex dance and you need to know when it’s time to lead and when it’s time to follow. Ultimately, it’s about trust and if you don’t trust your Agency… you’re dancing with the wrong one.
Written by Geoff Simpson, Business Development/Recruitment Consultant – Northern BC