As a recruiter, I've learned there's no "right" or "wrong" way to
do things, only ways that will or won't work.
For example, I strongly believe in building solid relationships with
candidates. My experience has shown that the deeper your insight into
your candidates' skills, motivations and career interests, the more
effectively you'll be able to match them with compatible jobs -- and as
a result, make more placements.
But does this strategy apply to all recruiters? Apparently not.
According to some recruiters I know, candidates are merely commodities
waiting to be gathered up and distributed as quickly as possible, and
that any attempt to understand them as people is a complete waste of
While I may not agree with the recruiters' viewpoint professionally (or
philosophically), how can I argue with their version of reality?
The Value of Literacy
The more I look at other recruiters' business models, the more I begin
to see many different sides of the same coin.
Unfortunately, there's no wide-ranging curriculum that covers every
possible approach to the business of recruiting; or for that matter, a
standardized test that measures our recruiting literacy. That means if
we ever get stuck in a rut -- or our business model begins to fail -- we
stand the risk of falling behind.
To catch up, we either work more fervently (while hoping for a different
result); or we try to invent a new approach, entirely from scratch.
A Matter of Context
Take a look at your current business model. If all your methods work,
great. If not, consider alternative strategies as a means to improve
your performance. But bear in mind that change never comes easily,
especially when challenging long-held beliefs.
Here are a few examples of radically opposing perspectives, all of which
are valid, depending on your context.
High Value vs. High Volume. Do you offer a
boutique-type consulting service or an assembly line of interchangeable
candidates? Micro-niche recruiters who work with higher-level candidates
will emphasize their value, while agency recruiters who serve a local
market, work in teams and have access to a large, homogeneous database
usually take the high volume approach.
Persuading vs. Screening. You can either "educate" your
candidates and actively work to control their behavior or listen to them
carefully and try to predict their behavior. The method you choose will
often make or break a placement, particularly when it comes to defeating
a counteroffer attempt.
Submitting Resumes vs. Presenting Candidates. Most
recruiters will submit resumes, cross their fingers and pray their
candidates will be asked to interview. A different approach is to
present candidates verbally
with the objective of scheduling an interview. Which approach works best
Active vs. Passive Deal-Making. Do you close both the
candidate and the employer before an offer is presented? Or, do you
"float" the employer's letter of offer, and wait for your candidate to
decide? By taking an activist approach, you can exert more control and
mitigate your risk.
"Job" vs. "Agent" Recruiting Script. Many recruiters
pitch a specific job as a way to attract fresh candidates. Others use
the "agent" approach (as in, "I'll be your agent in the job market").
Depending on your candidate population, your approach will be highly
effective (or fizzle like a wet firecracker).
Switching your strategy, tactics or recruiting identity is never easy. I
know, because I've found it necessary to change my approach several
different times during my career. Had I been more literate -- and kept
an open mind -- I would have saved time and made a lot more money.