One way I immediately know I’m talking to someone who has no idea how to hire:
They can’t fill a position. They’re using a bunch of contingent firms already. And their “big idea” is to keep adding more.
Usually paired with a “well that’s how we’ve always done it.”
👉Obligatory fake quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein, who never actually said this. But that’s another rant entirely.
It’s the classic year 2000 recruiting playbook:
1. Hire a big internal team.
2. Throw anything they can’t fill to a dozen agencies.
3. Hope and pray it works out. Add more firms if it doesn’t.
4. Shrug your shoulders as positions stay open for 6-12 months.
To be fair: I see less and less firms going this route. Most places realized how futile and inefficient it is.
But let’s review anyway:
👉If your internal team can’t fill it. And your external firms can’t fill it. There’s a reason for that…
Effective hiring isn’t about making purple squirrel unicorn requirements. Then finding 1 of the 10 people in the world who actually checks every box.
The old world had one sided comms. Hiring managers or execs made a requirement. Recruiters went after it. A basis in reality? Optional.
Companies who get it done in the modern age have a two way process. Real time market conditions are communicated back. Adjustments to the scope are made. Positions are filled.
👉Contingent firms literally say yes to any rec. “Testing” the rec is part of the contingent model. If your sh*t is totally unrealistic, they bounce.✌️
When there’s no buy in, there’s no downside. It’s easy to take on a search when you can get lucky and get a fat fee. Or walk away when it’s impossible.
And that gets compounded when multiple firms are involved. They all know it. They’re talking to the same people. Word gets around quickly. And they peace the f*ck out when they realize it.
There’s a LOT of better solutions here:
✅Build a two way rapport with the hiring team to adjust requirements.
✅Hire more specialized recruiters internally.
✅Retain an external firm who actually know the domain and listen to their advice.
✅Use a more specialized OnDemand internal recruiter if those needs are ongoing.
✅Get leadership involved in the talent attraction process.
Undoubtedly a lot more, I’m just spitballing here.
In short: if you catch yourself saying “this is how we’ve always done it” and you’re still struggling, recognize how insane that is.