The days of a recruiter hoarding the contact details of the best passive candidates are long gone, destroyed by the accessibility of LinkedIn, Google, and a host of other online platforms. Today there is a growing feeling that hiring companies and recruiters are on level playing fields now.
For someone who has been in the recruitment game for 20+ years, it almost seems a bit scary to ask whether there really is a need for recruiters any more?
There’s no doubt that the recruitment game has changed and is due for further disruption in the years ahead. In fact, we’re quite proud to have contributed to some of that ourselves with our model of on-demand recruiting.
However, is it true that the role of a recruiter is headed for actual extinction? At what point does the fact that anyone and their dog can do a LinkedIn search or conduct a background check mean it’s time to just throw out the role (and expense!) of a recruiter altogether?
These questions hone on what it is that businesses really want to know: is there any value in spending cash on recruiters? Surely you – or someone on staff – could do that just as well as they can, right?
Don’t let the ease of accessing a person’s resume fool you. Just because you can walk into a food store and buy ingredients doesn’t make you a world-class chef. There’s a lot more to soufflé than buying eggs, and there’s a lot more to finding the right candidate than simply scouring resumes.
A professional, seasoned, and innovative recruiter will always find better candidates than you could find yourself, and the time they spend to get those results is worth at least their hourly rate. Here’s why:
1. They’re personally connected to the people you want ‘in’ with
What’s the best way to get a conversation with a potential candidate? (Hint: it’s not through LinkedIn’s InMail…) It’s by contacting them through people they know. And who knows the most people in a particular industry? A seasoned recruiter.
As a hiring manager, you can’t be expected to attend networking meetings for java engineers and events managers and sales people. After all, you’re flat out just going to your own meet ups … not to mention running your business! A recruiter properly connected to the industry will have strong connections, from both meetings and just simply from having placed a lot of people in a lot of companies throughout their career.
Recruiters are also aware of candidates who are thinking about moving on or candidates that are particularly attracted to your company’s mojo and might consider switching – much easier ‘sells’ than those you’ll find on a LinkedIn search.
2. They have quick access to loads of information
By databases, I don’t mean excel spreadsheets full of candidates’ names. That stuff is outdated. By databases I mean the sheer number of connections a recruiter has; connections they’ve already interviewed and established a rapport with.
A recruiter uses software (like LinkedIn Recruiter) worth tens of thousands of dollars in order to track the movements of hundreds of candidates in the industry. Can you match that sort of knowledge?
Can you pull out the names of 5 potential pre-screened candidates in a matter of minutes? A good recruiter will be able to do this as well as pick those candidates based on a potential match to your culture and organizational goals.
3. They know how to play the game
If you’ve ever sat in front of a blank LinkedIn message, trying to think about what to say to get the potential candidate to reply to you, you’re aware of why good recruiting is a developed skill. Writing a job description that attracts the type of candidate you want is a developed skill. Understanding the type of candidate you need and being able to spot them in an interview is a developed skill.
Good recruiting practices are developed over time and are worth the money you pay for them.
4. They’ve got faster and more accurate filtering mechanisms
Aside from the wondrousness of someone else combing through resumes on your behalf, there’s a lot to be said for the decision making that goes into weeding out candidates. The right recruiter knows what to look for in picking out the best and can navigate around impressive sounding terms to get to the bottom of a candidate’s potential.
Filtering is crucial throughout the process – not just at the resume stage. After working through the results of numerous hires across a long period of time, the more experienced and successful recruiters have a better idea of the true nature of a person and are able to see through the pretty white teeth of a potential misfit.
5. They’ve got that ‘salesy’ thing they do
One of my friends is known as the Candidate Whisperer. She’s got the skill of talking to people about their next career move and convincing them that it is with her client. A recruiter’s sales ability is as crucial as that of a real estate agent. The process of negotiating an agreement between two parties takes navigation and persuasion. It requires an ability to draw out common ground and smooth over worries and concerns.
Just as there’s thousands of dollars of value in a Real Estate transaction, there’s thousands of dollars worth of value in the ability of a recruiter to negotiate and sell on your behalf.
6. They’ve got the legal and process stuff down pat
When it comes to HR, there’s an absolute minefield of stuff that needs to be waded through and there’s not just one company that has ended up in court being sued by someone they didn’t even hire!
Having a recruiter you trust dot the Is and cross the Ts when bringing on a new person will eliminate tons of headaches and risk that you could do something totally, really wrong.
There’s no more reason to throw away recruiters than there is reason to throw away real estate agents. While access to information has been made easier by LinkedIn and other platforms, it doesn’t change the fact that presenting a wonderful candidate on a silver platter requires skills developed from experience and talent.
If you’ve decided you do now need a recruiter, here’s how to spot a good one.