Recruiters to Focus on Your Positions
Many executives complain that their important open positions are
either ignored by recruiters or pushed down to junior staff who
don't understand the requirements and send unsuitable
candidates. They are frustrated and perplexed at how to attract
the time and attention of experienced recruiters who can source
the high quality candidates they desperately need to move their
To understand how to motivate recruiters, it is important to
first consider the
daily conflict most face. Experienced recruiters do
not suffer from a lack of open positions to work on, they mainly
suffer from a lack of QUALIFED job openings on which to focus
Some hiring managers seem to throw requirements in large numbers
to their recruiters under the assumption that
more is naturally better. Since there is no initial cost or risk
to the hiring manager, they have nothing to lose -- or so they
Recruiters are under a lot of pressure
to meet demanding metrics such as fill-rate, time-to-hire,
offer-acceptance ratio, cost-per-hire and so on. It should be
obvious that, in order not to lose their jobs or go broke, they
can only focus their time on job requirements that have
a reasonable probability of being filled.
Recruiters in most organizations
complain that many of the "open" positions assigned to them by
clients (internal or external) are not open at all but are
better categorized under titles such as the following:
1. Positions that might become open in the future but aren't
actually open now.
2. Positions the client sincerely wants to hire but their
interview process is so long and convoluted that they usually
lose candidates they want to hire.
3. Positions that have been passed down to junior HR people to fill
but who lack the skills or motivation to do so.
4. Positions the client has already filled but forgot to tell us.
5. Positions the client doesn't have hiring authority for but
will try to get it if we find the right candidate.
6. Positions that don't exist but the client needs resumes to
create a bid document.
7. Positions that don't exist but the client wants to benchmark
his internal talent.
8. Positions the hiring manager has discarded but no one has
Recruiters naturally become discouraged when they feel their
time and efforts are being wasted, or at least not respected.
How to Captivate Recruiters
There are 2 main methods to capture
the focus of experienced recruiters who can fill job orders
successfully. The first is rather easy while the second is more
Pay for Their Attention
People with many years of successful
experience in a profession generally expect to be paid for their
services. Doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers and so on all
expect to be paid for their time and expertise whether you
decide to use their advice or not. Senior executive search
professionals work in a similar manner. If a hiring manager
wants devoted focus of an experienced executive recruiter for
his or her open positions, it is easiest to sign an exclusive
search agreement and pay the up-front retainer required.
Provide What They Want
The nature of recruiting is such
that it is highly stressful with appallingly severe highs and
lows. This is naturally so since career decisions are among the
most important of people's lives and loaded with all of our
strongest emotions: fear, greed, ego, impulsiveness, etc.
Anything that improves the predictability of the recruiting
process will naturally capture the attention of recruiters.
Assessing Job Openings
There are 4 main methods used by
experienced recruiting professionals to assess the quality of
job requirements and decide where to focus their time.
managers reasonably feel that the more sources of candidates
they use, the greater the probability the right person will be
found. They instruct their HR department to post the positions
online and promote them to staff through the candidate referral
program. The job requirements are then sent off to a half dozen
"preferred" recruiting vendors. Hiring Managers also call their
friends to see if they know anybody and may even spend some time
intentions work well for filling junior positions but it is the
road to ruin for management roles. There will typically
be a small number of suitable candidates for senior roles in most
industries. In Asia, they will also be extremely concerned about
confidentiality, the perceived importance of the positions and
the seniority of the people they interact with. It is impossible to
meet any of these requirements when a stampede of people are
involved in the search. High-quality candidates will simply
decline participation -- although desperate and unemployed
candidates will eagerly take their place.
recruiters naturally place high value on open positions assigned
to them on an exclusive basis and much less on those open to general
Access to Decision-Makers
engagement led by the hiring manager who the successful
candidate will report to is always considered more positively
than one led by even the most competent recruiter from the HR
department. Unhindered access to senior decision-makers is
always a significant indicator of how important an open position
is to an organization and how it will be treated by an
past experience with the employer will be a strong consideration for
determining how valuable the recruiter's services are to the
hiring manager and how their work will be treated.
for junior and even many middle level positions, urgency is
generally considered a good attribute since the more urgent the
requirement, the more responsive and flexible will be the hiring
manager. The problem is that it is also an easy attribute to
fake. Today, most job openings are labelled as "urgent" by
employers who worry they won't get attention otherwise.
significantly, urgency can be a double-edge sword when it comes
to executive search assignments. Experienced executive
recruiters are often cautious of organizations that have too
much urgency with senior positions. It may indicate poor
internal processes if urgent positions result from high
turnover, bad succession planning, endless restructurings and
similar reasons. The obvious risk to a recruiter is that their
"critically urgent" search assignment can just as easily become
a quagmire of hurry-up-and-wait scheduling, changing job
requirements, failed hires and candidates that lose trust in
future opportunities from the recruiter.
It is true that
urgent job openings are always preferred to those that no one
seems to care about. But what is most preferred are positions
that are considered important and systems are in place to
attract and retain suitable candidates.
Hiring managers who improve the quality of their job orders by
addressing the above 4 criteria will no longer find themselves
feeling ignored and having to beg for candidates. Over time a
relationship develops such that the recruiter becomes an
extension of the organization and a valuable lifetime asset to the hiring