Why recruiting agencies often disappoint

Hiring twenty accountants to complete your tax returns

I was talking to a CEO the other day. He wants to hire 1-2 Account Executives ASAP.

He asked me "my sales advisor says I should sign on lots of contingent recruiters (no win, no fee) œand see what I get through the door"

It's a curious way to approach the problem.

Imagine hiring 20 sales advisors to build your outbound sequences, with the person who gets the job done fastest, getting paid

Or hiring 20 accountants to do your tax returns, again, with the fastest accountant being the only one who gets paid.

Is this a good way to incentivize quality?

Especially when the immediate side effect is bad for your calendar (you're hiring a recruiter to save you from wasting time on bad interviews, as opposed to adding bad interviews to your calendar)

Why recruiting agencies often disappoint

You might have worked with recruiting agencies before

In this instance I'm talking from a hiring managers view - not as a candidate

The odds are, this wasn't a positive experience

Industry benchmarks for contingent search firms (those are the searches that are "no win, no fee") have a success rate of about 20%.

For every 5 searches, only one is complete.

Why is this?

It's a combination of things:

1) There is no commitment from the company that is hiring, so often recruiters work on roles that are often not important (and often get killed at the last minute)

2) Recruiters only have a finite amount of time and energy, and so they prioritize the 20-30% of searches that are easiest to fill.

3) Every search that is deemed "too hard" simply gets ignored.

4) Your search probably fell into the too hard basket.

The too hard basket

  1. Looking for a niche skillset
  2. Looking in a defined geography
  3. Paying below market
  4. At a company that no-one has ever heard of

If you are looking at this list and think "nope, none of these are true for me"

You might be able to see success

But as I mentioned earlier,

There's a reason that only one in five contingent searches close

What changes when you pay an upfront fee?

A contingent firm is working on behalf of the candidate. The goal is to send that candidate into as many opportunities as you can, as quickly as you can, in the hope that one of the the interviews works out.

Not the right background? Ehh.. who cares!

We need to get our interview numbers up!

At my last company, we started contingent, and then moved to requiring an upfront fee with any client we bought on.

I remember compiling the numbers for the year before, and the year of making that change.

Our client list halved.

But our number of placements went up.

And our number of placements per client went through the roof.

This is a win for everyone - the candidate, the client, and for the recruiter.

We were less frazzled. We had time to actually do research. We could focus on getting fewer, higher quality candidates in the door.

If that sounds like a better way to grow your team, book a time, and we can talk about working together

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