March 15, 2023

No One Understands Recruiting But Recruiters, Volume 3


Episode Highlights

Everything Is Head Hunting


Non-Recruiters Don't Understand Just How Much Time This Takes


Bear Markets ≠ Easier Recruiting


Changing A Job Title Won't Fix A Failing Search


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And just like that, a trilogy happened. We’re right up there with The Lord of the Rings (the first ones), Star Wars (the first ones) and Creed (the movies, not the band.)

Except we’re covering all the common misunderstandings normies have about the recruiting industry. (Instead of something cool like intergalactic civil wars or boxing.)

Back by popular demand – again – is the most popular ongoing series within our ongoing series. 

Jeff Smith and James Hornick proudly present The 10 Minute Talent Rant, Episode 61 “No One Understands Recruiting But Recruiters, Volume 3”

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. Probably not today. Nope. Before we dig in, all of our content could be found at

This week’s topic, episode 61 “No one understands recruiting but recruiters, volume three”. Our best, our classic segment back for its third round. This segment within a segment. I had all kinds of like trilogy jokes, you know what I mean? Like this is like the- is this the return to the Jedi? But then I realize this isn’t going to be a trilogy. This is is going to be like a Harry Potter series where, or James Bond,

it just keeps going. There’s no real, yeah. Just, yeah. If we- look, if we Jedi this that’s a good barometer. Yeah. Return of the Jedi is solid. Then we’ll make some crappy prequels and- yeah, well let’s not talk about those. All right, then. All right. So how we do this, there’s a variety of things that seems like no one really understands about recruiters.

So we’re partially playing to the base of recruiters who are dealing with the same struggles, but maybe this solution is just bringing some, you know, bringing a little bit of insight to those who are hiring managers or in HR or executives or people who aren’t actually in the weeds and recruiting.

Just to let them know, maybe your perceptions are a little bit off- or job seekers, anyways. Totally. I’ll lead us off here. Number one, everything is head hunting in our world. In the real world of recruiting, everything is head hunting. Now, I bring this up because there’s a question I get on literally every single new client call.

Everyone, every time, and it’s always, “How do you find your candidates?” Now that’s not the real question. Tell me about your Rolodex. Yeah, that’s not real- the real question is, “Are you just posting jobs forwarding me the resumes and hoping one of these clowns actually fits” because that’s what every other recruiting firm does and you’re just hoping and praying you’re getting a bunch of money without putting any effort in.

That’s the real question. Which I would say is the- it’s a almost perception within perception because there is that tie that binds it, says like they’re all just posting and then doing that, which is totally untrue. Yeah. The problem is there’s two percep-

the first perception is that some people think you can simply, all you have to do is post a job and you get the jobs filled. And then there’s the second perception, is that they believe that a lot of recruiting firms, frankly a lot of recruiters do this, but they believe even still the good recruiting firms are just posting jobs

and sending them whoever, and they’re trying to vet that part out to see are you actually doing anything? But nipping the first one on the bud. Is that true? In recruiting everything is head hunting. It’s posting jobs. It’s a little bit, it’s like a minuscule amount of the strategy. We do post the jobs.

Yes. You will see your job posted. Yeah. We might find someone from that posting. Yeah. But that’s like less than 5% of the actual like fills who make from like an actual job posting. Because what we’re going to get into in a second here is everything takes a lot of effort to create an ideal candidate profile,

targeted in your specific sector skillset, you know, whatever’s going to make a candidate, people you’ve hired previously, fit your company in the role? What’s been key success factors? There’s a lot that goes into it. Not to mention the whole messaging aspect of like how you want to go to market and present yourself.

Like it’s incredible time consuming work and it’s truly head hunting is what actually needs to be done and any good recruiter knows this and it’s not just comes down to posting jobs. Because I still remember when I first got into this industry, people thought the monster was gonna put recruiting firms out of business, which looking back, is the most ridiculous thing ever.

Right. I guess without going on this one for too long, I think it’s unfortunate that a lot of contingent firms say yes to any company out there knowing full well- which is why we don’t want to work contingent. Yeah. Knowing full well, they’re not going to put any effort. They’re just going to post jobs, see what comes in and send those things over,

and then if they don’t, none of that pans out, they just ghost. And it’s a perception we have to deal with, which is why we’re always kind of butting up against this question every single time we take new client call. Totally. So number two, I mean, you segued it already, but it’s like this is damn time consuming- recruiting. It’s

multi-stepped. It’s cumbersome. You said it, you know, once upon a time 20 years ago, some guy came up to you and said that Monster was going to destroy the recruiting industry, which is hilarious. Yeah. Monster. There’s people who are listening right now “What is Monster?” Yeah. It’s Indeed before Indeed, but worse.

Yeah. So I think that those folks said those things though without understanding the amount of steps involved in the vetting process of a full life cycle of a recruiting effort, let alone just the little stuff before a candidate’s even shown to a hiring manager, be it external or internal. There’s just a lot of time involved in it.

There’s a lot, there’s been countless instances of X, Y, Z product or company or dooming recruiting and it always ends in the same place, every single time. We perform a super labor intensive job that, sorry not sorry, a lot of folks are not built to do, nor is there a software that’s going to completely displace. Fact ,technology can enable it but

30 to 45 minute screen, administering an ATS, hunting down the candidates for times, hunting down the hiring managers for times, writing job ads for go-to-market strategy. The list piles up. We don’t want to toot our horns too much, but invariably, all of this time is also what you’re paying. The only way you can automate the entire recruitment process, is if you had actual AI, not bullshit chat GPT AI, but a true thinking AI. Like it has to actually, it has to be like a literal hologram. It would have to be able to think through an entire- like a person. Anyways. I like- you fit Star Wars in there.

That was amazing. Yeah, I know. Yeah, like C3PO could be a recruiter, anyways. Next one, number three. Soft job markets do not mean hiring is any easier at all. Recruiters understand this. There’s more unemployed- actually right now it’s a soft market and there’s not more unemployed people.

But in a normal soft market, in a bear market, there is more unemployed people. And yes, people who are unemployed are easier to hire. But when you’re talking about trying to convince someone to leave their job to come work for your company, it’s 100% harder in a bear market, in a soft job market. It’s trendy to say things like, “It’s not about the money, it’s about the opportunity”

but let’s be honest, like that’s a bull market thing. When times are great, when everyone’s killing it, people feel a little more open to taking a risk, to chasing their dreams, to going after like some cool new sexy company doing something, sounds a little bit out there. What’s the worst that can happen?


When the market is melting down, when there’s, SaaS is getting crushed right now. Crypto’s getting crushed right now. Regional banks are getting crushed right now. There’s a lot of sec- it’s terrifying if you’re working at these places. It’s really going to be really hard to convince anybody to leave a job

they feel safe and stable in. Even if they’re not a stable and there is that kind of bias that wherever you are now is you’re better off, which isn’t always the case. But it’s still really, really hard. People are less risk averse. They’re less likely to make a move. And it really comes down to you have to pay, like you’re not going to be able to get people to like bounce without showing them- the risk, reward benefit has to be there. If they feel there’s more risk, even if there isn’t, there has to be more reward there. And it’s not easier to hire unless you pay. With this one, it’s literally the exact opposite of what you think is the solution. Exactly. That’s the takeaway. All right, so next one.

No matter how highly you think of your company, very few someones are dying to work for you specifically. So I’ll take a step back. Recruiters, we’ve already established, needs to sell the living hell out of your jobs, especially in tight markets, which we are still in a tight market. Yes, we have all these labor statistics.

It’s tight, just fact. So there’s a few things that are at play here. Number one, just the difference between job description and go to market strategy. Hiring managers, founders, everyone thinks that, okay, we’re not seeing what we want to see. It goes back almost to the job posting thing too. Like, “Oh we’re just going to find our person from a job posting”.

You think by just changing the job description up or the title of the role, like all of a sudden magically the candidate fairy is going to sprinkle candidates everywhere. It’s not. SEO’s going to work, the keyword word, it’s all going to pop. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. These two things are completely different.

Like the job description- yes. You will hit on some of those things, especially if it’s like a core G&A function, you post a marketing manager in an S&B company, like you’re going to get some low-hanging fruit that’s going to apply, that’s going to be applicable. The latter, which is the strategy, is more important because it can move the conversation in your favor.

So it’s still dependent on the recruiter selling the opportunity. But the passive talent’s going to be interested in like, okay, what are you actually doing versus matching requirements? Two, every other company’s selling it the exact same way you are. So the enthusiasm, the gusto, all that stuff that you bring into conversation,

Sally’s heard it a hundred times right before it. Yeah. Another reason why you shouldn’t let chat GPT write your copy because they’re writing the exact same copy for every other firm out there. Right. We didn’t need AI to do that for us, but as humans we were doing that already for some inexplicable reason.

But I digress. All right, what do you got next? All right. Recruiting is- and hear me out. Recruiting is quickly turning into the gig economy. And this is something that I think two years ago, this is not something recruiters knew that everyone else knew, but I think it’s something that they’re figuring out real fast right now.

Mm-hmm. So the quick backdrop if- I’ll tell my personal story for a second. Yeah. I started my career in tech sales. First two years out of school, wasn’t- I was 21 when I graduated. Wasn’t particularly good at it yet. And I had like two instances where I sold something really proud of myself where it just didn’t work.

There’s no worse feeling than actually doing your job and then the client’s still getting screwed because like the company I worked for made a crap product. Now I went into recruiting because what I loved is that you do your own fulfillment. If you learn how to sell and how to manage accounts and how to actually do the recruiting,

you are a hundred percent self-sufficient. You have career stability, not job stability, but career stability. If your company goes out of business tomorrow, you are fully self-sufficient to be able to earn a living for yourself, not have to worry about it. There’s other challenges along the way, such as candidates that can just reject the job, like products that can say no, as they like to say. But here’s the thing,

I said it’s career stability, but it’s not job stability. Internally, if you’re an internal recruiter, and this is what everyone’s figuring out really quick in the past three to four years now, you are tied not to a company doing well profitability wise, but to growth. Everyone else in the company’s tied to profitability.

As long as the company’s making money, they’re fine, but not you the recruiter. Company has to grow or it has to suck and be losing people constantly. Reason why I say this is that, no one wants to put themselves through- like every time you’re in a company that stops growing, you’re going to get cut. And that happened twice now.

It happened during Covid. That happened in 2022, 2023. You realize that no one wants to be like- tying yourself to a single company’s hiring is absolutely insane and every recruiter knows it now. Now I am not, when I say it’s turning into a gig economy, I’m not saying that it’s going to be like Uber. But I’m saying it doesn’t matter if it’s solo

gigging it like that, if you work for an RPO firm, if you’re working for an agency, if you’re working contract recruiting internal, everyone’s realizing that you have to tie your livelihood to more than just one company. You have to have multiple clients. You have to set yourself up in a way where all of a sudden if one company just says, “No, we’re not doing this anymore”

you’re not unemployed for the next three to six months because it’s just- for the people who that’s happened to twice since 2020, it’s absolutely killer and there’s no way, like everyone who that’s happened to is realizing they have to find another way to make things, to make ends meet and to move their career forward.

Yeah. Tying your commodity to A.) one place, when you have candidates that would be applicable to hundreds of thousands of companies, is insane. Yeah. And I think, yeah, to your point, a lot of people are figuring it out. All right, last- candidates, please stop sending your resumes to people. i.e recruiters, us,

you don’t know with messages, like, “Find me a job” or “Let me know what you have for me”. I have some more notes here. I’m not even going to say anything else on it. It’s pretty- it’s not personal. It’s borderline abrupt. Make it a relationship-based conversation. Make it- give some sort of mutual benefit to the conversation.

I promise you there will be 5,000 other candidates that will put forth extra effort to it, and that’s why your solicitation is falling on deaf ears. Yeah. It’s funny- when we started this we’re like, do we even have enough to film 10 minutes today and we’re at 13 and a half. Okay, we are short on clock.

That’s a wrap for this week. Thanks again for tuning in The 10 Minute Talent Rant, part of the Talent Insights series which is always available for replay on as well as YouTube, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and Amazon. Jeff, thanks again as always. Everyone out there, see you soon.

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