What drives me nuts about recruiting agencies claims (how they claim they can work as a better partner)

Over the last several years I’ve heard all the sales “pitches” as told to me by my industry comrades. They all sound very similar, so I’ll separate the sales pitches in to these three areas.

“We’re Different.” Almost every agency says they have a special/unique process for reviewing resumes, sourcing candidates, and access to candidates that sets them apart from their competitors. From my experience I’ve not really seen the impact of their “unique” process in the candidates they’ve submitted. Additionally, most agencies don’t appear to have a thorough understanding of their competition. At some point in almost every vendor meeting someone says that they don’t push paper like “everyone else.” I would encourage recruiters to have a much more in-depth understanding of the competitive landscape before they make such broad sweeping indictments of their competitors.

“We Build Relationships.” Every recruiter I’ve ever sat down with has said they build meaningful relationships with managers and they “get” our business unlike any other recruiter in town. As a result they tell me they have the ability to make a cultural fit for our organization. To this statement I like to ask: “Give me an example as to how you screen for cultural fit.” I’ve been underwhelmed by all responses to this point.

“We Have a Proprietary Database.” I’ve heard this one a million times. Recruiter ABC has a database of millions of qualified/ interested candidates at their beck and call to fill contract needs. I don’t doubt they have a long list of former contractors they’ve placed, but in my experience most contractors don’t feel the same level of loyalty to their recruiting agency. Most contractors are more interested in the type of work, the end client, and compensation. And before you rebuke, I will concede there are notable exceptions to this point, but overall, it’s correct.

Overall my experience is that candidate screening is indeed not that different; that recruiting agencies do not have a special candidate database (why, then do I get the same candidate submitted by different recruiters all the time?); and your partnership with me is not that strong. In fact, too many recruiters treat me as someone to work around than to work with.

Here are a couple of suggestions to determine if they are truly an engaging recruiting professional.

Have them explain their recruiting process in detail: In the end, isn’t the employer hiring a recruiting partner to do something they aren’t/can’t do internally? It drives me nuts to see agencies post client requisitions on job boards alone and call that recruiting. This is NOT a value-added partnership. I can purchase a Monster, or Indeed posting and screen the candidates who apply. Really push your recruiter to talk in depth about their recruiting process. The responses are truly varied. It’s important that you select a recruiter based on the depth of their recruiting process.

What actually makes you different? In 15 seconds tell me why you are a truly different partner (without emphasizing any of the three items I mentioned above) and why I would be insane NOT to work with you as a recruiting partner. Give me a truly compelling case. If you can’t, then you aren’t any different than the other 10 agencies seeking new clients.

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