Dear Hiring Manager….

Dear Hiring Manager,

So, just to make sure I clearly understand you.

You consistently call our entire industry  ‘cowboys’, who add no value and who cannot, or will not, build relationships. You often warm to your theme by telling us we don’t understand your business or your briefs, fail to match appropriately, never provide insights, and do not invest time to understand the nuances of your company and your unique culture. You deride us as ‘resume shufflers’ and ‘phone-jockeys’, and you publically bemoan the lack of  ‘real consultants’, who are professional, and can act as trusted advisors.

I think I have got that now. Thanks for that.

But tell me this please…

If all that is true, why is it that you will not meet with us, even when you have a brief for us to work? Indeed, how can it be that you often won’t even spend time on the phone, but curtly tell us  ‘it’s all in the email I sent you?’ Why do you refuse to let us speak to the line-manager, who actually does understand the role being recruited, and why do you fail to respond to our requests for key extra details? Why do you tell us, ‘this is urgent’, then not respond to our shortlist of candidates, or even return calls? Why do you reject candidates that appear to meet the brief exactly, without explanation or feedback?  Even worse, why do you interview our candidates and then disrespect them (and us) by giving no feedback whatsoever?

And finally, when we do offer you advice on your brief, the market, the salary and a myriad of other insights that will help you secure the best candidate, why do you ignore that advice, or even more likely tell us, (and I paraphrase here, because you are always faultlessly polite)  “shut the fuck up and send me more CVs”

Who actually is the unprofessional one here do you think?


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Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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46 Responses to Dear Hiring Manager….

  1. John Lambert July 10, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    here here Greg, I bet that feels better to get it off your chest. Agree 100% but I think it’s more internal recruitment and HR that behave like this, not Line Managers. I reckon its because they are up against time constraints allo the time and are receiving 10-20 calls per day off pesky recruiters, 90% of whom aren’t going to take a proper brief anyway. The issue for them is how do they filter out the pro recruiters from the wanky sales guys

  2. Brad July 10, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Very good Greg… I needed that 🙂

  3. Denise Fanelli July 10, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Your assessment of bad client behavior is spot on. Have you ever “fired” a client? By this I mean telling them in the most polite and professional way possible not to waste your time because they are not giving you the tools to work with. The only thing I have occasionally tried is to ask to speak to the decision maker. It can help, but of course you risk implying that your contact person is ineffective.

  4. Liz Williams July 10, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Ouch John – I think you might find that internal recruiters and good HR people know the value of good recruiters far better than you give them credit for. Personally I have good relationships with a small number of recrutiers with whom I have spent extensive amounts of time to develop their knowledge of our organisation and culture so we can work in partnership to recruit the right people. My problem sits with line managers who have no knowledge or refuse to recognise just how tight the candidate market is right now and get upset when a candidate has accepted another job after they have dragged their feet and not made a decision for 4 weeks..

    • Greg Savage July 10, 2012 at 10:24 am #

      @John are right John, I have been a bit frustrated by some unhelpful client behavior lately..hence the mini-rant
      @Liz Willaims.. great points there Liz…we need to remember the difficult position some HR people are in… managing recruiters on one hand and line managers o the other

  5. Gino July 10, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Thank You Greg…Thats a great weight of my shoulders, I thought that was just happening to me..

  6. Eddie Knight July 10, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    I have great relationships with Line Managers as they feel the “pain” more than HR and In-house Recruiters. There are exceptions I am glad to say where the more “experienced HR and In-house Recruiters step aside and encourage us to liaise with the Line Managers to gain their input into the right profile of candidate. If HR want to make sure terms are correct that is cool and if you can find them yourself great – do it. But don’t stand in they way of your business making a critical hire because you want to justify your own position, its not fair to your employer or your colleague who needs a new hire to add value to his/her team.

  7. John July 10, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Last week I asked a “Know all” Partner of a firm to let me see the emailed contract BEFORE sending to the candidate incase there were any problems. The “client” ignored the request, sent the contract addressed to my candidate (male) but in a different name (female). This same Partner desperately wanted me to discount my fee ! So who is the Cowboy?

  8. Deborah Musolff July 10, 2012 at 11:39 am #


  9. Janice M July 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    @ Eddie – thanks, I share the same experience
    Greg – yes, all it takes is just an unprofessional / idiotic client or a bully to spoil our day. “Frame up” compliments from the many clients who respect and appreciate our work – look at them when a bad client comes along, you will smile. And if it helps further, have a picture of a “toilet flushing” next to it, imagine you’ve just pressed the flush button and there goes the bad one! Get it out of your system asap 🙂

  10. Piper July 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    HI Greg – clearly someone got right up your nose. Not sure if this was the forum for a mini rant …behaviour is key…. neither the Hiring Manager/s ( nor yours am afraid to say) is enabling anyone is it? Enabling behaviour is what stands between a great partnership and one fraught with frustrations. If this ins’t a primary focus, then it needs to be. I am with Liz to some extent although feel if one is experiencing issues with Line Managers see this an opportunity to enable them by educating them on the things that you feel would most benefit them as well as you and other engagement opportunities. Knowledge is powerful – provide an education piece to help them develop better skills in this area. Agreeing to proper set of expectations for all parties right from the start ensures transparency and commitment and if reneged on should feel confident enough to call people on it and get back on track. Eddie you are right to a larger extent however feel the point has been missed about the part in which the HR/Internal Recruiter plays… it isn’t about justifying their jobs as much as it is abut the Internal recruiter is responsible for governance for ensuring they are enabling the process to occur that is optimizes the workflow and outcome how they choose to do this isn’t up for discussion that is the clients prerogative and therefore it’s your prerogative to either work with this and enable or not. If the agency isn’t working towards assisting this -the agency consultants are messing with in-house team and that is going to have consequences. I have worked in agencies and have heard of companies encouraging their consultants to bypass the HR/Internal Team go direct to the decision maker (Line Manager) and deal with the fall out later -may I suggest this would be a significant commercial error – you take HR/Internal Recruiter out of the loop, then it can’t come as any surprise why you are no longer on the PSA or being invited to tender and that is a guarantee – the Hiring Manager/Line Manager isn’t the overall decision maker when it comes to who sits on the PSA’s- the HR/Internal recruiters are the decision makers . I have worked on both sides of this fence and can say without a shadow of a doubt there are cowboys on both sides so less of the rants/complaints for they are nothing more than excuses really and more on the focus of enabling and if not successful in enabling your client then make a commercial decision – stand up and vote with your feet 🙂

    • Greg Savage July 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      @ Piper – totally agree with you that bypassing HR is an error. The right way is to develop a trusting relationship, so the HR person trusts the recruiter to liaise with the line, but keep HR entirely lopped in

      Note however, Piper, that my headings says “Some Hiring Managers”. Not all. Not even most. I appreciate your advice on “enabling behavior” and building partnerships but I am pretty sure 30 years as a recruiter with a degree of success has taught me how to do that. I am in fact targeting here a group of hiring managers who simply”don’t get it”. Sure many recruiter cause these issues themselves. You will note I do not let that type of recruiter off the hook here But today’s blog is designed to send a message to those individuals who use recruiters and treat them with disdain. And to provide moral support and a smile maybe to those recruiters who have been treated this way. Judging by the comments so far I think I may have succeeded

      Finally this “Not sure if this was the forum for a mini rant “

      That really made me chuckle. This is “The Savage Truth”. My blog, my voice, my opinions. What better possible forum?

  11. Veronica Phillips July 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Totally agree I have spent the last 6 months feeling the frustration ofrom this kind of treatment growing in my team. What is really scary is that it does appear to be almost ‘epidemic’ across industries at present. I believe it is somewhat about pressure on the in house teams in this economic climate, however what I really see is a very strong “lack of respect” and that perception is both historical and present with the “few” unprofessional operators that still give the industry a bad name + the belief by some young techno savvy internal HR Specialists – “We don’t really need you, so we therefore don’t need to respect you”. So once again your message over the past months of having to relook at what our value proposition is in an ever changing market, is validated – we have to be relevant from their perspective not ours!

  12. Bob Sharpe July 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Greg, I’m normally not much for rants, but this one was really, truly enjoyable. It brought a smile to my face Thank you. And @Janice, great advice! I do this and it works! Thank you all for the wonderful idea exchange.

  13. Lisa July 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Ahh…this is a great reminder to everyone that we (as vendors) need to stand up for ourselves, and if truly called for, respond to the bad client they should rather “shut the (beep) up and stop wasting your time!” No one should have to endure such treatments from another. Unfortunately people with poor character do exist and they are like bad relationships, so get the hell out early before it’s too late! Fire the clients that don’t respect you, your time, your team, so you can redirect your energy on to the good clients who really need you. Cheers mate! 🙂

  14. Janette July 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    Greg this really hits a chord with myself and my team. We all had a chuckle of course, and then had quite an animated discussion about our various clients and how they either do, or do not, need a copy of this letter.
    The majority of us have one or two clients that need this sort of “talking to” but as you say, only a few.

    It is that few however, that we find at industry events, on forums and blogs, sprouting either uneducated/uninformed or even entirely fictitious rhetoric about recruitment agencies and how we are collectively ‘the devil’.

    This sort of behaviour is part of the reason why we are constantly fighting what feels like an uphill battle to explain, not only to new or potential clients, but even existing clients, what it is that we do, and why our services add value to their businesses.

    As always, it is much easier, far more dramatic, and perhaps makes people feel more powerful to be shouting about devil recruiters, than it is to talk about how good an agency relationship can be.

    If we could just get HR/Internal recruiters, and even some line managers to understand that we are not trying to steal their job, not trying to skirt their systems or processes etc. that we are just trying to facilitate the best possible outcome for our candidates and our clients (which in turn is the right outcome for us) then perhaps I would have less grey hair!.

    Unfortunately our clients end up being their own ‘road blocks’ much of the time, worrying too much about the process and not enough about the end result.

    Recruitment – not for the faint hearted! 🙂

    Thanks for a great blog as always Greg.

    • JohnB October 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      You are spot on.
      Especially ” Unfortunately our clients end up being their own ‘road blocks’ much of the time, worrying too much about the process and not enough about the end result.”

  15. Jenny July 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Good on you Greg, controversy begets attention/response and hopefully action. Doesn’t really matter, does it? Wind up the recruiter, wind up the HR, wind up the CEO for hiring HR, wind up the line manager and I am sure I have seen you wind up candidates too. Keep at it, narrowly avoiding the Ramsey recipe of unmitigated abuse…

    Going into business, any business, leaves us open to abuse. As a late starter in recruitment (16 years ago) with a background in Insolvency Accounting which attracted more than its fair share of unhappy stakeholders, I can tell a few anecdotes which would reflect badly on clients at CEO level, Line Mgr level, HR level and even receptionist level. I can tell stories about bad recruiters, too. Awful candidates.

    Worst of all? Job applicant who becomes disrespectful HR who becomes recruiter, who fails, goes back to job applicant, becomes self employed recruiter, fails, goes back to being HR person, is abusive to other recruiters (‘I know where you are coming from, you are all full of c*&p…’) Lovely.

    Solution? It’s all about people. Remember your studies about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? (You did study, right? You are professional, so you are qualified or did private study, right?) Just work out where each person is in relation to you and have some compassion, some understanding, some empathy. People are not born with horns, or even with wings. We are just people doing the best we can at each level of our development.

    Oh all right then, some people are just c%#ts.

  16. Julia Briggs July 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    I have done all 3 – headhunter, internal recruiter, hiring manager. And worked really hard in each role to be good at what I do. The hardest role is the internal recruiter of course as you are let down by the hiring manager and the agency (hiring managers hate ‘HR’).

    Hiring managers actually don’t understand the pain as they have never done the rec job, internal recruiters do tend to understand better. And hiring managers can be arrogant and completely uninformed. Try and get them to do a decent job and person spec for instance. And even when you work really hard to be a good client the rec agency can be absolute rubbish. Out of 100 agency recruiters 2 are any good and I follow them, not the agency.

    Recruitment is an industry that attracts ‘wide boys’ – partly because of the contingency model, partly because you don’t need any experience to be a recruiter. I know of a young man in the UK who is going to be a ‘headhunter’ straight from university (his parents have connections) and he has never ever done any paid work, as his allowance is sufficient. He’s not even worked in a supermarket.

    Ultimately, clients should care – listen to candidate feedback about the agency, look at the results and bin bad ones. And good recruiters should do vice versa. Eventually the ‘talent’ we are always talking about will only work with good agencies, who only work with good clients.

    And don’t forget, there are some really bad candidates out there as well!

  17. Nikki Eales July 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    Oh so true !!!!!!!

  18. Frank Lee July 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Well done Greg

    You are clearly on the “money”. Many TA’s and HR today are more about self-preservation. They left our industry and presented corporates with a ‘great cost cutting opportunity’ – that is; cut the recruiter out and I will do it for you.

    All the lies, disrespect and deceit stems from there. They have to protect their jobs by restricting access of better candidates from the external recruiter . So if they have a shortlist their self-serving methods are vindicated and hidden. The poor line manager, like a mushroom, is kept in the dark about the talent avaliable and they innocently select from this compromised shortlist.

    The external recruiter is then only used when they can’t fill the role after months and they can’t play this deceitfull game anymore. Then we are used and at the mercy of this limited communication, you so clearly refer to. Of course we are restricted from Line, they don’t want line to find out.

    These dishonest TA’s and HR should be ‘smoked out’ of these companies.

    Time for CEO’s and Line Managers to realise they have been ‘hoodwinked’ . No longer is recruitment about finding the best person for the job, it is about TA’s filling as many roles as possible to justify their existance – poor Corporate Australia’s productivity

  19. Christine July 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    I really LOVE this… thank you! Especially in the part where all is urgent except giving feedback back which would actually help to fine tune and ultimately fill the vacancy !
    well done!

  20. Piper July 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    Greg you are right it’s the Savage Truth – appreciate the forum to express the truth! So here it is … As you also pointed out you don’t let some recruiters off the hook for their poor choices does that make you exempt because this is your blog, your opinions and your savage truth? IF you dish it… kind of feel you have to be open to taking it too- just saying :-). Did note the heading, have read the reviews, wasn’t denoting how to suck eggs, believe in experience without arrogance, being present to needs, enabling and taking responsibility for choices, not interested in blaming and shaming, respect people who have guts and integrity, believe in keeping it simple and making it excellent. My intention is to put out there to your wider audience a perspective… one that will enable more to leverage with in managing challenges in this industry of people . Will add though simply don’t understand why waste blog time…. ” to send a message to those individuals who use recruiters and treat them with disdain” Clients /vendors don’t have to “get it ” they can do what they want and so can we all 🙂 …. this is low lying “frot” fruit stuff – as a SME I look to your valued insights. This particular blog … it was an excuse for a good old fashioned rant….ain’t that the savage truth of it and heck have a rant keeping in mind who looks to you as a SME:-) Jenny you made me laugh out loud -made some salient points got to the savage truth of it. LOL Just a teensy wind up Mr Savage just having a bit of fun…”Ultimately clients should care” – “should have/could haves” language of expectation and demands in my experience people (much less clients) don’t respond being told what they “should do”. ” cause and reaction” “you get out what you put in” ….are we really going to try pointing the finger to the client /hiring managers etc – have a closer look at how many fingers are point back at you. Mirrors…used metaphorically here… great way to gain insight, see the challenge /issue as an opportunity to makes some adjustments that will support and add value that will create trust and give you the working relationships we so desire…there is no right /wrong good or bad just choices… create and enable the choice/s that will have the best outcome for you, client/Hiring Manager and candidate. 🙂

  21. Charles July 11, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    Love it Greg, this made my morning today and I had a right old chuckle. My team didn’t quite get it as they are still rookies in the scheme of things but its right on the money.

  22. Jason S July 11, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    It is amazing how a blog about hiring managers/clients lack of interaction gets taken back to HR/Internal recruiters are the problem. I am beginning to think that external recruiters spend more time justifying there own positions by complaining and whinging about internal recruiters doing “justifying their positins” than actually getting on with the job of being a vendor to your client. Do any of you even understand why companies utilise internal recruitment or HR as an interaction point for the businesses recruitment requirements? Listening to all the external recruiters it is purely to cause you grief in your “professional” careers, or to stop you making money or something equally ridiculous as that. Do you people actually think that a company (client) goes, you know what I am not doing anything important today so I think I might go out of my way to make some processes that will only affect Mr Recruiter, to upset him and make his job harder, just for shits and giggles? Recruitment through HR and Internal recruitment is not only for the company’s (client) best interests but also for the agencies best interests if used properly by BOTH groups there should never be a fee fight, never be an issue with “I got the candidate to you first” etc. I will not accept referrals from agencies until I get signed T&C’s, do you know how many agencies i) ask why that is imoprtant if they are just sedning through a candidate for me to look at or ii) try to go around me as an internal recrutier to the hiring manager because it is obviously too hard to have a commercial agreement inplace. AND these are reputable recruiters, NOT cowboys of the industry. External recruiters keep demanding for hiring managers and companies in general, their clients, to repsect the way they do business. How about agencies actually start doing the same of your clients, respect how they do business. There needs to be alot more respect of the internal process of an organisation from external recruiters, alot more respect for the abilities of those doing internal recruitment and HR and finally if you don’t want to be tarnished with the same brush as all recruitment agencies then sure as hell don’t do the same thing back to clients and internals when you decide to whinge because a business has put a process in place that you don’t like.
    Oh and I was a successful agency recruiter who has now gone to find more of a challenge as an internal recruiter, so I think I have some idea what I am talking about.

    • Greg Savage July 11, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Fair points Jason, eloquently expressed. This is NOT a one way problem. In many cases recruiters must shoulder most of the blame. There is room for improvement on all sides, I imagine

    • JohnB October 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      Jason S – Process is put in place when times are tough. What most HR and CFO’s seem to have forgotten of late, is that great talent is scarce. They are still bench marking using seriously out of date data whilst trying to drive down salaries using what a “street walker” may take if offered the job!

      I am all for terms of business in place first, but I have just met a client who was my candidate before I placed him at said client, now he wants to know my process step by step on how I work too! To see if I add value…
      First I check my database then I do this then I do that and then this, FFS…. Trust me I know how this works after 18 years in the business.
      Guess what this is all coming through on email and not a phone call!

      BTW we dont want to spend all day moaning about Internal (Gen Y) super social media savvy 20 year old. What we want is for companies to stop making the process of a pretty simple transaction really complicated, its not if you are any good!

  23. Piper July 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Nice Jason. Seeking out what one can influence – in changing the perspective from blame to getting on with the on with job of leadership to enable and empower those one works with and the pragmatism to know which organisations/people to align with. The difference being a game player and game changer.

  24. Jenny July 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Poor Jason, angry man, I feel your frustration. The reason that so many so called professional recruiters continue to want to ‘just pop you the CV’ is that so many clients demand ‘just pop me the CV.’ In a tough market it takes a lot of hide to say to a client, ‘no, I am not going to do that until you sign my T & Cs; let’s both be up-front and professional about this.’ Man, even real estate agents won’t bring a prospective buyer around until you have signed the T & Cs. You would think that after all these decades of fee fights and being ripped off by clients we would all insist on this basic business step. But the lure of just one more perm fee seems to outweigh the risk. After all a majority of clients will do the right thing and pay for a service, even if ‘service’ is pushing the description a bit.

    A trap for young players is where you are dealing with a client you have done good (meaning respectful, mutually beneficial) business with in the past, but you are working with a new hiring manager. (In other contexts, replace that with ‘a new HR person.’) You discuss the job, send through some candidates, they interview, etc and offer the role. THEN they say, ‘oh we now only pay 12%. Take it or leave it.’ They have had your T & Cs for years and haven’t questioned it before and you say so. ‘Oh that was my predecessor – you are dealing with me now.’ Last time I looked at a legal text book my contract for services was with the company – a separate legal entity. But my relationship is with this person so that’s where my problem lies unless I want to sue for the rest of the fee.

    Yes, I know the answer. Sack the client. But I don’t want to sack the client, I just want to sack this person. Like Julia following the good recruiters, I want to ‘unlike’ certain client representatives.

  25. Aaron Dodd July 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Greg…good points. I think many recruiters seem to forget they don’t HAVE to work with these fools. They can always find other professional clients they CAN work with and create value for, If a recruiter chooses to work with poor hiring managers it will ultimately reflect negatively on them, so why do it?? Find good clients, understand their business, create value, work exclusively and ideally on retainers. It’s not rocket science.

  26. od_optimist July 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    It’s a broken system.

    When I was recruiting, either when I was manager, or in HR, I used recruitment agencies, in the main, because I was too busy to do a job that I would prefer to do myself. I usually provided a specific brief, and often received candidates that didn’t match the brief, ie they weren’t available immediately, they wanted 10k more than we were offering etc. . I was bombarded with calls, emails, newsletters, promotions etc despite being clear with the recruiters, that I saw their role in the recruitment as a transaction – I wanted a purely transactional relationship because I felt this was the only way I could manage based on previous experiences. There were always nuggets of gold in this, but they were few and far between.

    There is big money to be made from organisations outsourcing what I believe is one of their most important functions and this is where it goes wrong. I have no doubt that there are many recruiters who genuinely just want to do the right thing, but there are more out there that are the 20 second view of a CV types wondering how much they’re going to make from a “deal”. It’s someone’s life and an organisation’s most precious resource, it shouldn’t boil down to commission and subjectivity.

    I dipped my toe in the recruitment market early last year – responses from recruiters when I submitted CV- zero, when I initiated contact – returned calls, two, requirements for ID checks without meeting me – 4, etc. When I sent my CV to employers, 100% response. They were interested in me whilst recruiters wouldn’t even return a call for me attempting to introduce myself. It’s all about the people? I think not.

    Greg, if I replay your paragraph from my experience and perspective, it will be like holidng up a mirror:
    “why is it that you will not meet with us, even when you have a brief to fill that I may fit and you don’t know me? Indeed, how can it be that you often won’t even spend time on the phone, but curtly tell us ‘it’s all in the email I sent you?’ Why do you refuse to let us speak to the line-manager, who actually does understand the role being recruited, and why do you fail to respond to our requests for key extra details? Why do you tell us, ‘this is urgent’, then not respond to submission of an adapted CV’s that have had lengthy preparation, and ignore polite follow up phone calls? Why do you reject candidates that appear to meet the brief exactly, without explanation or feedback? Even worse, why do you interview me and then disrespect me by giving no feedback whatsoever?”

    Unfortunately job hunters do have to work with “these fools”. There is no choice and this appears anecdotally to be the more usual experience.

    There is something fundamentally broken, and I wish I had the answer here. I feel certain you believe in what you do and adhere to high standards of integrity. I wonder if the way forward is for organisations to outsource some of the transactional aspects of recruitment, and for experienced recruiters to take on more of a consultancy/trainer/interim role like other aspects of HR. Working with organisations to build their capability.

    I’m going to give a shout out to the one and only recruiter who I met with, who took the time to get to know me, give me some input into my CV and respond to emails. I give you Matt Brooks, BetterPlaced HR – UK. He represents his industry well, and I have heard good things from other people about him.

  27. Rhiannon Sawle July 12, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    I try to fulfill the ‘consultant’ part of my job title in these situations. If the recruitment process is falling down at some stage, the client needs to know that they are missing out on potential talent. That they are wasting time interviewing or taking calls about unsuitable candidates in order to save a relatively small amount of time discussing their needs thoroughly. That they are creating a bad impression of their company by not giving honest, prompt feedback. That if you could tell everything about a candidate from just their CV, my work day would be a lot shorter!

    If problems like this are consistently arising, and they fail to respond to any attempts to smooth the problems out, then it’s simply not worth my time, or my reputation. I don’t want to send a high calibre candidate to a client that will mess them around… chances are I’m the one that will end up with egg on my face!

  28. Dave July 12, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Well, here is a comment from a totally different perspective – a candidate.
    Over the last 12 months I contacted a number of recruitment firms, most simply wanted me to email a CV to them. 2 of them got me in for an ‘interview’, which consisted of filling in forms for them with absolutely no discussion. The 3rd got me in and we actually talked about what I was looking for in terms of an employer (yes this was not just an employer getting an employee it was also about me picking the company I wanted to work for as well).
    Of all the recruitment firms I contacted only the last kept in regular touch and lined me up with the job that I wanted, in a company that I wanted to work for.

    Too many recruitment firms simply look at candidates as ‘cannon fodder’, is it any wonder employers get jaded as well?.

    • Greg Savage July 12, 2012 at 9:03 am #

      Great input Dave. What you write is sadly very common. Our industry has much improving to do in this regard. Best Greg

  29. Jason July 13, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Both yourself and a number of others here make some very good and valid points with which I agree wholehartedly. Like most things no one party is to balme and each must carry some of the responsibility – other than perhaps the candiadte who is for the most part the victim here

    As a former recruiter whose work was 90% retained, (I now manage an in-house team) I had the luxury of working for the most part with clients who because they were paying up front were engaged in and committed to the process. The sad reality in my humble opinion is that the recruitment industry for a number of reasons has as a whole allowed themselves to become viewed as a comodity where the client believes (incorrectly) that what they are paying for is a “body in a seat” – incorrect what they are actuclly paying for is the skills, knowledge and expertise (IP) of the recruiter. With the exception of “ambulance chasing” injury and Estate agents (both often described in the same terms as many recruiters) what other professional service charges on a success only basis – Doctors? – No, Accountants? – No, Lawyers? – No, Engineers? – No – the list goes on. But as I say the recruitment industry has allowed this to happen to themselves through low barriers to entry, poor training of new consultants (many who then go inhouse and can not understand the value of retained work as they were never taught it in agency land).

    For their part, the client often does not see value in somthing that is “free” (the time expended by the recruiter) and the whole show becomes a race “to the bottom of the pot”

    I could go into a rant about some of teh unethical practises I have witnessed on both sides of the fence but that would not achieve anything – bottom line is both the clients and the recruiters have to tidy house – the question is who starts the process?

  30. DC July 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Hi Greg,

    Great topic and not wanting to sound like I am being negative here but you forgot to mention: approaching and at times hiring our candidates without complying to pre agreed terms. Some might even say unprofessional conduct towards agency introductions and staff.

    I would also like to add, most recruitment managers I know are ex recruitment agency staff so maybe we should take a look about how the people we recruit as agents are trained and treated in the first place. More focus on service, training and development rather than profit me thinks? Cream always rise to the top!

  31. Frank Lee July 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm #


    You were so clear as to what you were addressing in this post, I quote your comment;

    “why is it that you will not meet with us, even when you have a brief for us to work? Indeed, how can it be that you often won’t even spend time on the phone, but curtly tell us ‘it’s all in the email I sent you?’ Why do you refuse to let us speak to the line-manager, who actually does understand the role being recruited, and why do you fail to respond to our requests for key extra details?”

    Some internal recruiters in commenting to your post are clearly ‘defending by attacking’. They know you are right, but there is no way they will admit to it. Every external recruiter, including the good ones, reading this post would agree that this is the way they are mostly treated, especially in the last few years

    Since the GFC, a large portion of internal recruiters, fashionably called TA’s, are behaving exactly the way you describe. This is because they have gained a disproportionate power to exclude external recruiters as they offer a ‘cheap alternative’ They publically boost that they more than halfed their reliance on external recruiters. The disrespect you describe is clearly from this and their misuse of power

    Their focus is to achieve their KPI’s, to fill the vacancies on their own, anyway possible, to justify their existance, often to the detriment of Line Managers and Company Owners – ‘Getting the best man for the job’ is certainly not their priority.

    I justify this, as with any recruitment company, no internal team can have the full reach of the market. They are just another recruitment company working in-house for one client.

    The question that needs to asked by decision makers who were convinced to go this route:-

    How much money are internal recruiters truely saving their company, in comparison to the delays in filling roles on their own, the diverse and mulitple costs of running large internal recruiter teams and the longer term costs of employing sub-optimal staff due to compromised short-lists.

    When corporate productivity starts to lower or when business opportunities are lost to competitors or when positions stay open too long, Corporate Australia will soon ‘cotton on’ to this self serving behavior.

  32. Jenny July 16, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Frank Lee you have moved us from line managers to internal recruiters but there is truth in your observations about the internal recruitment person/team trying to meet their KPIs at the expense of the company’s best way forward. This problem is not with the individual, but with their KPIs, surely? The irony is that the individual is often also responsible for input into the writing of the KPIs in the first place but the responsibility lies with the business owner.

    In the spirit of true trust and respect for my ability to contribute, one of my HR clients shared with me not just the current needs but the financial goals of the company which we were able to break down to the number of people they would require in a skill short market. We had a great plan in place to make up their talent shortfall and grow the team for future growth.

    I suggested that we needed to work with other recruiters to accelerate the hiring process. The sooner they had these people in place the sooner they would meet their fnancial goals.

    To introduce what we were doing, HR hosted a ‘meet the company’ evening. Of course, the CEO came. With wine in hand, he said to me, and a group of hand-picked professional recruiters: ‘You know we don’t need you people. We have top people queuing to come and work for our company. Our brand attracts more people than we can hire and it is just a matter of sorting through the dross.’

    The response I would have liked to have made? ‘Gee, is that the time? Must be going…’

    Funnily enough the whole campaign unravelled, the HR leader left… the company maintained its needs-hiring gap and failed to take on more people. THEN – the CEO left to head up another large company! THEN – he left there. Well well.

  33. Antonia July 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi Greg, it was for this reason that we created the Hiring Manager instruction vignette series! We are getting great interest from Recruiters who are ‘onselling’ it to their clients- a soft way to educate Hiring Managers on how to (and how not to) recruit! A few clips can be seen at
    Good to see you speak your mind!

  34. Anthea March 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Hi Greg, a good read as always. I would have to say, on a number of occassions, the Hiring Managers have failed to provide the internal recruiter the brief/feedback in the first place. So the internal recruiter, is probably too embarrassed to say to the agency, “I just don’t know”. I think communication is the problem 99% of the time, whether it is hiring manager to internal or internal to agency and could possibly make life better for every one if we just learnt to communicate!

  35. GB March 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    You can all have this one for free 😉 ‘Never knowingly waste time on timewasters’ Simple.

  36. Kevin Hayes October 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Hey Greg, we all know what that feels like, we are building a video collaboration tool which doubles up as a digital record of communication threads. Bringing the debrief and screening process into a shared collaboration platform to I hope create an environment where Recruiters / HR & line can share the accountability of the feedback & the decision to interview in a controlled but transparent. Leaving the recruiter with more time to focus on managing the process. Do you have any thoughts on Video Collaboration and to what extent its over all impact will be on the recruitment market from remote globalise professional recruitment teams to speed and cost of deliverables?

  37. SH June 2, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    Best advice I’ve been given, “good professionals make it look easy thus the expectation it is easy”. Good recruitment professionals are few and far between but are worth their weight in gold, it’s not personal rather professional the bad one ruin it for the rest IMHO.

  38. Jen June 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    Great article and that’s a great depiction of what really goes on but any thoughts on how we can change that???

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