January 9, 2023

How do crappy recruiting firms stay in business?


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Garbage in, garbage out

Why do parts of the recruiting industry still have bad reputations?

Because people have bad experiences working with them.

Why do people have bad experiences working with them?

Because they have awful processes and standards.

Why do crappy agencies have awful processes and standards?

Because some companies still hire them. So they still make money and have no reason to change.

Why do some companies keep hiring these clowns?

That’s where it gets a little more complex: non-strategic TA teams hire non-strategic agencies.

Take the most extreme example: the large company, RFP driven, VMS enabled vendor list model. (Yuck.) Makes a dozen firms compete against each other for the lowest possible price.

It all sounds very capitalistic and cost-efficient on the surface. Until you see how it plays out: you get everyone’s worst possible effort.

No time to vet because speed matters. Lowest rate wins so cost of resource and recruiter delivery is driven down. And the feedback sucks because there’s limited access to the hiring managers anyway.

The truth is: high skill recruiters want nothing to do with this model. They have better things to spend their time on. So they’re out.

Who takes it on? The boiler rooms. Hire out of school. Train very little. Lots of money at the top when there’s little spent at the bottom.

But this isn’t just a ‘big company’ phenomenon. Orgs of any size who take the tactical, cost-avoidance, “engage agencies but try to not actually use them” approach to recruiting fuel this dumpster fire.

When you don’t make commitments, you don’t get best efforts. You don’t get high service levels. You don’t get the best recruiters representing you in the market.

Next time you wonder “how the hell does this firm stay in business?” look no further than the orgs who keep them there.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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