February 28, 2023

The dirty truth of broad based recruiting SLAs


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

One of these things is not like the other

Everyone likes to get their way. But if someone says yes to absolutely anything, alarm bells should be going off in your head.

In recruiting, that’s taking on every search. Accepting every requirement. Being cool with every salary range.

And even saying ‘yes’ to every SLA. Or KPI. Or whatever acronym you prefer.

Hiring companies fall into a trap: they base their expectations of a search off previous experience. But if they’re looking for outside help, something is different. They either don’t have the expertise or bandwidth for whatever new thing is on their plate, at this moment in time.

Maybe filling account execs is no problem, but product managers are a struggle. Or they can fill a software engineer role or two, but not a dozen. Or hire in NYC, but Lincoln, NE is outside their geographic focus.

Based on past experience, they want to see X resumes, conduct Y interviews, shortlist Z candidates, and do it within (I’ve run out of alphabet here) days.

But they’re in a classic “one of these things is not like the other” situation.

So when they talk to an external (undoubtedly contingent) firm, they mentioned their expected KPIs and get a “sure thing, we can make that work” response.

Because…there’s no downside to working contingent. When you don’t have skin in the game, the worst case scenario is you don’t fill that position you weren’t going to fill anyway. And find a new client.

The downside for the hiring company is really clear though: remember that time you got 26 submissions from 1 firm and the position still wasn’t filled?

This. This is what happened.

When the focus is on one-size fits all SLAs, resumes are blasted your way like the Fed prints money. <insert Jay Powell brrrrrr meme here>

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be accountability. But you have to remember.

👉Every search is different.

👉Every SLA needs to be different.

👉You need a recruiting partner who can tell you ‘no’ occasionally so you can get to an actually useful ‘yes.’

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

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