January 23, 2023

Why does working with a recruiter feel so inconsistent?


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

A deep dive

Question from a contact last week: Why does working with a recruiter feel so inconsistent?

On the job seeking side, her experience was they’re all over you constantly. Or nowhere to be found.

On the hiring side, they’re either spot on with their candidates. Or they find 1-2 then flood your inbox with a bunch that aren’t even close.

There’s the obvious “some are just better than others.” But I’ll take it a few levels further:

👉It isn’t a recruiter’s job to find people jobs. It’s to help companies hire.

Doesn’t matter if it’s an internal or external recruiter. Their entire reason for being is hiring, not job seeking.

That does *not* mean recruiters aren’t motivated to help job seekers. There is no better way to gain future clients or pipeline future hires & referrals than building good will.

Pay it forward and good things happen. But time is limited. Hiring is the priority. 

👉Open jobs are limited. Even in great markets.

It’d be a recruiter’s dream to have a job for everyone. But for the majority of people at any moment in time: they got nothing.

Agency recruiters get access to the most critical openings at their clients. Internal recruiters get access to one.

It’s math. There’s no magic job wand they can waive to hook everyone up.

But I’ll throw shade where it’s due:

👉Some recruiter are absolutely sh*t at setting expectations.

Some are too junior. Some hate giving bad news. Some are pressured by their agencies to hit ridiculous numbers targets.

Too many job seekers have unrealistically high expectations. Too many recruiters aren’t able to reset them.

👉Recruitment technology is a pile.

We’re launching a new website with HubSpot. I’m learning about all the segmentation and automated features. Common CRM stuff. It’s all included. Mind blown!

Why? Because recruitment tech is terrible. It doesn’t support recruiters to work at scale.

There are no words to describe how far behind ATS systems really are. Workflows, triggers, and notifications should make ghosting impossible. But ATS systems typically don’t have these or orgs don’t have the budget & resources to set them up properly.

Individual recruiters create manual processes to trigger follow ups for hundreds and thousands of job seekers. It doesn’t work.

👉SLAs are often silly with no basis in reality.

On the hiring side now. The idea of setting metrics for submissions, time to fill, ratios, etc., all sounds amazing.

The problem is: they vary immensely from one opening to the next. Talent pools are different.  So are hiring requirements.

Whether it’s client expectations or internal agency playbooks (‘hit these numbers to succeed’): they tend to be uniform.

SLAs are not one size fits all. Each industry, level, and position will have different ratios.

Without that understanding? CYA behavior takes over. Numbers get fudged for activity sake. ‘Filler’ submissions go through the roof.

Quality over quantity should be the focus. But that’s not the reality much of the industry lives in.

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

More blogs from James Hornick

See all Talent Insights Blog entries....

Our Latest Featured Episode

Our Shows