May 4, 2021

Hire a Recruiter Not a Paperpusher


Episode Highlights

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The War on Talent (such a dumb phrase but I digress) now has a 2nd front. The demand for specialized skill sets has gotten so competitive in 2021 that quality recruiters themselves are becoming hard to find. Everybody’s hiring one.

Yet a lot of companies don’t realize just how difficult talent acquisition is. Those who haven’t lived it think it’s as simple as placing an Indeed ad and setting up some Zooms. So easy a caveman can do it.

Then they learn the hard way.

Jeff Smith and James Hornick talk about what it really takes to hire a recruiter (who can hire your team) in The 10 Minute Talent Rant, Episode 17, “Hire a Recruiter, Not a Paper Pusher”

Episode Transcript

The 10 Minute Talent Rant is live! I’m James Hornick joined by Jeff Smith and we are on the clock. The 10 Minute Talent Rant is our ongoing series, where we break down things that are broken in the talent acquisition and hiring space, maybe even pitch a solution or two. Before we dig into it, remember to subscribe to Hirewell’s YouTube channel and the Talent Insights podcast, where you can get all of our episodes.

This week’s topic: hire a recruiter, not a paper pusher. So let me lay some groundwork for this one. What do I mean by that? What are we even talking about here and why is this a topical thing? So I want to give everyone a little bit of color on the market and what it looks like in hiring right now.

So, I want to talk specifically about the market for recruiters. So what’s really sky- like tech developers has always been astronomically high demand but what we’re seeing right now is the demand for people who actually know how to hire people has gotten completely out of control. I’m going to compare this to 2019 just because 2020 is obviously not really relevant in comparison to anything.

But if you look at the first quarter of 2021, which we just finished versus the first quarter of 2019, we have a division that actually places recruiters. So that’s part of our core business. The amount of open recs and the amount of clients who has asked us to hire recruiters has doubled. Not a 10% increase, not a 25% increase, a 100% increase in the amount of places looking to hire recruiters, which is just absolutely crazy because January 2019, the market was doing really good also.

And it gives some other perspective too. Recruiters right behind developers is our number two most frequent position we fill. So it wasn’t like, this still a nominal, like a niche area where we don’t do a ton of work. This is a busy area for us and it’s literally doubled since the first quarter, two years ago.

It’s also important to talk about because I think small companies really don’t – people haven’t hired a recruiter before don’t really know what goes into it and they make a lot of mistakes the first time out, which really sets them back. So it’s one thing we’ll want to talk about, but the other side of it is that there are a lot of companies we talk to who still think it’s six months ago or nine months ago.

They still think everyone’s unemployed and everyone’s – it’s going to be easy to find people and there’s a complete disconnect right now with a lot of hiring managers out there who think times are still great when it’s actually the exact opposite. This is probably the hardest time to hire we’ve seen in years.

Yep. Before I kind of get into my thoughts on that, we say a lot about how the market’s hot. We want to make sure that anybody’s that’s listening, we understand that there are certain sectors that are still suffering from it. But by in large, this has been nuts. Look James, the COVID impact or the impact of the pandemic has had on the importance of good recruiters, a group of recruiters or good external partners has just been magnified, right?

It’s absolutely imperative that you find folks that – there are folks out there, there are recruiters out there that could have relied on inbound traffic, geographical kind of constraints where you have a good book of business, your scope of work wasn’t huge.

And all of those, again, the paper pusher mentality like that persona is just it’s exposed. Companies have access and candidates have access to job postings and opportunities that weren’t available to them even six months ago because smart companies have gotten wise and are casting at least in the US, a continental US effort to recruitment.

So the job that a candidate was fighting just to get in the Chicago-land area, they can now look at opportunities in the Bay area and Austin, in Idaho anywhere. So what that’s done is, it’s made it 10 times more competitive. Candidates are talking to four to five separate opportunities getting three to four offers

and unfortunately, the mediocre recruiters are kind of getting run through the ringer. And if you don’t have good relationship-building skills and you’re not getting to the crux of why people are making decisions, you’re going to lose. Let’s get into it. So real quick, what aspects, what does a good recruiter nowadays that can actually manage everything for you,

what do they need to have? Well, I’ll start by, the hill that you die on is the content creation, right? As a recruiter, as somebody who can go out and interact with their professional community in a variety of different mediums, I think you have to have great

researching skills and that’s kind of part and parcel with proficient administration skills. I know you’ve talked a lot about the perception of a good recruiter is just hey they go out and find great people. Well yeah, they do that, but they’re really, they’re highly organized and data specific whilst doing so.

Yeah, it’s a very much – you have to have a data-focused approach, a research focus approach, but also a sales ability, like everything you’re working on nowadays in the circles that we kind of operate in, the behind the office worker dorks space, call it something, it’s all headhunting. Like everything is headhunting now, you know what I mean?

The ability to like the hardest time positions and it doesn’t mean – I’m not saying that you have to hire an external firm but your internal people have to be really good at seeking people down if that’s the route you choose to go. And it’s just really hard to find that.

I think a lot of people realize when you’re talking about someone who is a proficient administrator, as someone who can build relationships, someone who’s a great researcher or someone who’s got great storytelling abilities, someone who has great sales ability, like that’s a lot of things in one person.

So I mean, it’s possible you can kind of divide these things up among a team but you just need to know these are the different aspects you need to have. Otherwise, you’re kind of stuck in that hole where when you have gaps, that’s when you’re really focused, hoping people find you, which is not a really good way to go about building a team.

You made a great point. It’s very difficult to find all of those skills in one individual, let alone three. And when you’re only finding two to three of them in one person, you’re invariably going to have to hire somebody else internally or you’re going to have to create larger partnerships externally, which costs a lot of money.

Yeah. Look, I mean good recruiters change the game, right? Conversely, bad recruiters are incredibly destructive, not only for your brand but at the worst scenarios, they’re not showing a good cross-section of the market. So a hiring manager ends up feeling like they’ve kicked over every rock

when in reality they’ve only seen maybe 10 to 15% of the market and they make one-two many mis-hires, right? Yeah. I think that on that, when you talk about the destructive aspect, I mean, you can go to LinkedIn, everyone’s got a nightmare story with a recruiter of a bad experience they had but you have to realize they usually forget who the recruiter was.

They remember who the company was and that’s why this is also important too. If you don’t get this right, you don’t get someone who’s sophisticated enough to kind of do a good job of this, you’re definitely putting a bad perception of your own organization out there in the market.

So I guess on top of that, it’s almost funny like the amount of times we’ve had clients who are companies we know who end up in sourcing, but didn’t do a good job building out their internal team. Then they end up coming back to us just for the same types of fills anyway. So the amount that you waste monetarily if you were hoping to build out a kick ass internal team, you’re still paying that team no matter what and then you’re going back outside kind of externally.

So anyway. What’s up with fixes? I want to make sure we kind of get to that. We do have some good takeaway points here. Yeah I mean, first, recruiters can come from a variety of places. I’ve worked in organizations prior to Hirewell where you can go and find a really proficient dynamic recruiter in other parts of the company.

So like a business development representative, an outside salesperson, even somebody operationally that has done a really good job of building relationships between different groups within a company, like those are the types of skills that you want to look for. Somebody who can project manage well.

Well nobody grows up and says, I want to be a recruiter one day, right? Yeah. I think you need to also, if this is your first time out and you’ve got ambitious goals, you need to come to terms with the fact that like you’re head of TA needs to be really experienced. It’s going to be more expensive than you probably thought it would be. The total cost of hiring shocks everyone the first time out but it costs you more if you don’t get that leader position

right. If you go cheap, it’s just going to hurt you more in the long run. Totally. And then our final shameless plug, right, is we do this and we do it well. So our on-demand recruiting is – you’re not going out, you’re not picking up somebody off the street and putting them into your recruiting seat.

Our folks that sit into these seats are qualified, they’ve worked with us for a number of years. You know that they come with our backing and like I said, they have all of the ingredients that we spoke about earlier that makes not only a good recruiter, but somebody that can ramp up fast. We are short on time clock.

So that’s a wrap for the week. Thanks for tuning into the 10 Minute Talent Rant, part of the Talent Insights series, which is always available for replay on the Hirewell YouTube channel as well as the Talent Insights podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Amazon. Jeff, thanks as always. Everyone out there we’ll see you soon!

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