What all recruiters WANT to say to their dopey clients...

What all recruiters WANT to say to their clients, and should – but don’t!

For agency recruiters, it often feels like clients are toying with them these days.

It feels for all the world that some* Line Managers, Internal Recruiters and HR types have conspired to make life for recruiters as hellish as possible. Job briefs given out to 6 agents, ‘urgent’ orders postponed after weeks of work, interviews cancelled at a moments notice, and worst of all, sudden silence and no status updates at all.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I am no blind defender of 3rd party recruiters. I criticise our industry regularly and loudly, and I am appalled by the incompetence of many on the agency side. What is more, it’s also true that many of these internal folk are at the whim of ‘higher–ups,’ who move the goalposts frequently, but I have no doubt whatsoever that some on the client side are revelling in their petty ‘power’, and derive ghoulish satisfaction at seeing those ‘smug recruiters’ suffer. I get told this in Australia and New Zealand. I got told it in South Africa earlier this year, and only last month, I was told this same thing by a group of UK recruiters in London. It’s universal. Inexplicably, the worst amongst those seem to be ex-agency recruiters, now preening on the client side. But that is another blog.

And we might feel compelled to criticise slow-moving or vindictive clients for their actions, and the impact it has on us as recruiters, individually and corporately.

But, in fact all that is a sideshow to the main game.

Corporates, who jerk recruiters around, appear to be oblivious to the reality of who they are hurting and the actual damage they are doing.

Here is the thing

The people who are really suffering are candidates, and the real damage being done is to their own brands and reputations.

Oh yes, make no mistake. It stuns me that employers can be so blind. When you cancel a job on a recruiter at the last minute, who do you think suffers? It’s the candidate, who has already been on three interviews with your company, has been led to believe an offer is imminent, and is now tossed aside, usually without any explanation.

And when you brief a recruiter on your ‘urgent’ job, demand a rapidly assembled shortlist, and then sit on it for 8 weeks, do you realise it’s not just the recruiter you have sent on a costly and frustrating wild-goose chase? There are six candidates who have been briefed on that job, told it’s you hiring, and advised their resume is on your desk. And if, foolishly, you have given that order out to 6 recruiters, that could be 25 candidates waiting to hear back from you. Getting increasingly angry. At you.

And don’t for a moment think the recruiter, stuck in the middle, is going to take the rap for your behaviour. Why should they? The candidate will know it’s your actions that have caused the disappointment and frustration.

And trust me, candidates resent your actions. They vent their fury at your unprofessional, disrespectful behaviour, and they blog about it, and they spit your name out across social media.

They tell their friends and colleagues what a bunch of cowboys you are, and they refuse to be considered for future jobs at your company, and for all I know they stop using your products and services.

And you deserve it.

So, wake up, you line managers, HR dudes and internal recruitment teams.

Your personal and employer brands are being irreparably harmed by your bureaucratic inefficiency (at best), and arrogant disregard, at worst.

And when the market turns, and hiring heats up, as it will, your chickens will flock home to roost. The best talent, and the recruiters who represent them, will avoid you like the plague, leaving you to hire from the dregs, and fighting to rebuild your personal reputation.

Which will be… mud

* please note, I said ‘some’. Not all. Not even most. Some.


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About Greg Savage

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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56 Responses to What all recruiters WANT to say to their clients, and should – but don’t!

  1. Glen Tarrant August 20, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Yep, never a truer word spoken.
    The reality is most people don’t get the concept of “Recruitment as a Brand”. I work internal now in one of the most skill set short markets there is after 13 years with an agency. I preach the concept of Candidate Care and “Recruitment as a Brand”.
    Just so you are all aware, the internal recruitment function is normally held to ransom by hiring managers and the front line recruiters get it in the end………………………just saying.

    • Greg Savage August 20, 2013 at 9:58 am #

      Glen, Laura, your point about the pressure you are under from “Upper management” and “hiring Managers” who move the goal posts on you are well made. Thank you. I touched on that in my blog but you have strongly pointed out that in many cases internal recruiters ARE aware of this issue and are trying to address it.. but sometimes have hands tied. Appreciate that input

  2. Laura August 20, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    As an internal coordinator I liaise with agencies on all roles and I have told upper management countless times that it is our brand and reputation that suffers every time the goal posts are moved on our recruiters. Internal processes and procedures can crumble at the slightest move from upper management, as well as pressures from clients or projects which are there one day and gone the next. I am as honest and transparent with my consultants as I can be, but sometimes I am the last to know that a job has been pulled. Trust me when I say the internals are suffering as well.

  3. Simone August 20, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Oh Greg.. you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head. Again.


  4. Neil August 20, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    The ex agency recruiter on the client side – some (not all!) are just like a reformed smoker…

  5. Mason August 20, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Greg, its a shame that some of these “clients” don’t realise they are shooting the messenger when they move the goal-posts in the ways you’ve discussed.
    As third party providers -recruiters have the ability (and have the desire) to strengthen our clients Employer Brands. These employers only strengthen the Recruitment Brand of our other clients turning other businesses into employers of choice. I find the job-seekers normally understand who is working for their best interests and move onto greener pastures.

  6. John Reynolds August 20, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Greg, along with previous comments on this process, you are right on the money. The sad thing is that flippant hiring managers then get to manage candidate interviews and feedback in the same, uncaring way.

  7. Samuel August 20, 2013 at 11:42 am #


    let me preface by saying have respect for the true internal professional as it is a tough job where they are inundated by ‘Us” the agency recruiter all wanting a piece of the pie. I work with a large number who a industry professional but for those of them who seek shelter because they can not perform else where your days are numbered.

    I can not count the number of agency recruiters I know that have gone internal because they lacked the grit and determination to “make it” on the agency side, they are the plodders, the procrastinators and the poor performers. Only to turn around and become the worst offenders. Trying to drive down fees, never returning calls and my personal favorite that job is on hold for now keep the candidate “warm” for us.

    In a world short on top talent how many agency recruiter do not head hunt out of companies who’s internal recruiter are not at least professionally courteous.

  8. Eva August 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Yesterday I was venting on my very private FB page regarding a similar situation to what you have described Greg. I then had an ex colleague/friend who has now crossed to the other side of internal recruitment felt it ‘funny’ that she could relate to my situation and she commented that she had an agency waiting for an offer/decision, she took his call and said she would call back with her decision in about 5 mins as something just came up and happily proceeded to reveal “I will call back when I want. Might have some lunch first, go for a walk, sit in the sun for a bit”. 2 hours later she updated on my status AGAIN with another comment saying “might go for a smoothie now, will call the agency later, when I feel like it, will make him wait a bit longer”. I was totally APPALLED and disgusted in her attitude. Tell me, what does this achieve??? It was a downright pathetic, smug and immature’ thing’ to do. I’m still cranky about it.

    • Greg Savage August 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      Thanks for this Eva, incredible story..it confirms my comment in the blog that some of these people are smug, petty and vindictive beyond belief. “Toying” with recruiters and candidates alike. I believe this type of behavior is NOT the norm, but its so disappointing that it happens at all

  9. Matt August 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    I believe ultimately a company, will get the Recruiter their commitment/attitude deserves.

  10. Lee August 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Good post and it does bring up an issue that is becoming far too common these days.

    I want to keep away from the internal vs external debate as that seems to fuel many a discussion and reminds me of a Dr Seus story about sneeches (stars vs no stars).

    The best recruiters in the market from my experience demonstrate a high level of professional courtesy, strong communication skills and an ability to build a strong rapport with their stakeholders and candidates. With a increasing amount of candidates expressing their disappointment about corporates not responding to their applications, providing limited feedback, and not really understanding the role they are recruiting I do wonder how much damage this does to a brand and a firms ability to secure the best talent in the market place.

    It does seem a lot of effort goes into branding, career web sites, social media activity, and strategic sourcing but candidate care/service suffers (and it’s the 101 of recruitment). It’s not that hard to pick up a phone or respond to candidate is it? The dark arts of engagement, influencing, and advocacy are still relevant aren’t they? I wonder how much damage it does to all the bells and whistles firms have developed to source the right person?

    I guess over the time the real judges will be the candidates and each one of these candidates is a potential client (or now non-client) to a firm. For example, right now I am in the process of changing my banking relationship based on some of the recent behaviour I have experienced – I know that it does not represent a lot of business and it won’t change a thing to a firm that generates billions in profit but could you imagine if 1,000 disgruntled candidates did this? And the thing is even if I did not get work out of this firm I would not have changed banks – I am changing it due to the lack of professionalism I experienced.

    • Greg Savage August 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      Great comments Lee…thank you

    • Susie Rogers March 4, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      Thanks Greg…the very worst offenders are the ones who pretend that they are on your side…you know, the ones who get you to move heaven and earth for them at a moments notice or at the last minute when the wheels have fallen off their own efforts, and beg you to help them out, but always hold you at an arms distance while still assuring you all the time that they ‘value’ the relationships that they have with their partners, stalling for time while they regroup and fill the job internally or they magically find the ideal candidate. Thankfully not all clients a like this.

  11. Barbs August 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Thanks Greg, all too true, and I do feel that the hiring managers are often snowballed by company policies and they feel embarrassed about talking to the recruiter because they run out of excuses to tell us and we in turn run out of excuses for our candidates. A cultural difference in our country is not being able to say No to anyone, so I say to them you tell me the NO and I will communicate that to the candidate, but they invariably can’t say NO to me either, so we are all left hanging, mmmmmmmm…..

  12. Fiona August 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Glen, whole-heartedly agree with the comments made and clients are losing their favoured candidates through this behaviour. I know of a firm who was recruiting for their VP Marketing in North America and due to delayed decision-making and prolonged interview process he pulled out of the process as he couldn’t work with an organisation that dithered and delayed decisions so much! This is happening everywhere at all levels…and will damage employee branding.

  13. Tobias August 20, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Not to get wrapped up in semantics; but if a client give a brief out to 6 recruiters, and each of these recruiters speaks to 6 candidates about the role… how did you come to ’25’ candidates spoken to???
    Aside from that, good article!
    (For the record, its 36!)

    • Greg Savage August 20, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      hmm I don’t think I stipulated it was six candidates briefed PER recruiter did I Tobias…but that aside I don’t think arithmetic was really the main focus of this piece…

    • Huw August 21, 2013 at 1:01 am #

      If a client gives the brief to 6 recruiters then there are 6 recruiters who have not thought about the value the client puts on the recruitment process by using a ‘multi-supply’ approach. The warning signs are there – so what have these recruiters invested in developing the relationship in the first place to find themselves in this situation?

  14. Craig August 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Good article Greg, and super accurate for me too

  15. Nick Dobbs August 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Hi Greg

    Cracking post and I have enjoyed reading fellow correspondents’ comments.

    I think that there is more often than not a correlation between how corporate HR departments set out their recruitment stall online and ultimately how they behave towards recruitment professionals and candidates.

    Some HR personnel will claim that the size of the business necessitates lengthy prescriptive form filling in order to ensure that the right candidates are filtered for interview and political correctness legislation requirements are adhered to. In such cases, perceived efficiency is a byword for faceless and actually Corporate (In)Human Resources are doing more harm to their brand than they can possibly imagine. Why?

    Professionals want to join a company because they relate to a brand that values and recognises the contribution of all employees. If the recruitment process is aloof and treats people like a payroll number – that company may well be denying itself and its shareholders access to talent pools that refuse to engage based on how organisation present themselves. The Cruise industry is a classic case in point; an industry that waxes lyrical about the importance of customer service through human interaction and yet their online recruitment process is risible.

    Greg – time to get back on your lecture circuit and re-educate the corporate world on how to include recruitment as part of a Company’s brand strategy. I’ll carry your bags mate!

    • Greg Savage August 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      Cheers Nick, thanks for the input. Interesting what you say about the cruise industry…
      As far as speaking tours go -well I am doing my bit. Six cities in Australia and NZ in October,( http://tinyurl.com/lg47uo2 ) several in the UK in November, and Singapore and South Africa next year (to be confirmed). So I am spreading the good word where I can…

  16. Stan August 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Wow Greg, no holding back there. But we dont expect that from you.

    So I am ex agency, now internal. I’m wasnt a poor performer, sure an average one who sucked at BD, however have a strength in relationship management that saw me succeed. At least im self aware, unlike some other folks out there. Based on this and on advice from a manager I moved internal, where I believe I have succeeded, but still have room to grow and learn.

    Like you I am saddened by the way in which recruitment, not just internal recruitment teams currently service stakeholders. Both client and candidate.

    From an internal perspective it comes down to a real lack of education and training of both recruiters and managers. This in turn has lead to a failing in many areas with which you have identified, and it is a long slow process to bring along the business on the journey towards recruitment nirvana. I and many others I know are working towards better ‘fit for business’ practices which will lead to better experiences for all. It’s slow going when hard $ numbers cant be attributed to measure ROI. And yes, there are all sorts of models out there which prove something, but not really as its not specific to a particular company and most times operations just FOB it off as HR trying to justify its existence.

    The same thing can be said the vast majority of agency suppliers in the market with which you have previously blogged about. Representing clients without approval to candidates, without fully understanding not just the brief, but the culture and values of the client. I’m sure that damages our brand just as much. Then there’s the candidate who lies to the agency and the employer in relation to representation, tarnishing everyone. Life in recruitment is nothing short of being dynamic.

    Sure we deserve the spray, but how about some acknowledgment of those trying to make a difference. It will take time.

    • Greg Savage August 20, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

      Thoughtful comments Stan, thank you, for taking the time to contribute. And yes, certainly there are many excellent internal recruiters doing a good job under trying circumstances, indeed most.

  17. Meryl August 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    Great article Greg,

    It never ceases to amaze me that some of these HR people just don’t “get it” that the candidate they are messing with today could be their boss in two years time !

    I am experiencing this now with a company merger and the HR person’s life is being made unbearable !

    I just don’t think that the concept of PR backlash even crosses the mind of a lot of HR people.

  18. Carl Lovelock August 20, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Greg, yet another excellent piece.

    I’ve just relocated back to the UK after having spent 15 years in Australia. I’m actively in the market looking for a suitable role and for the first time in a long time I am experiencing what it feels like to be the candidate.

    As a result I can confirm that even some internal recruiters that are recruiting for their own agency can struggle to meet the most basic of expectations. I’ve experienced breathtaking incompetence! The level of ‘service’ their clients and candidates experience every day doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Of course the upside is it has made it easy for me to screen out those agencies that I have no interest in being associated with.

    But how they fail to see the damage they do to their brand and reputation is beyond me…

  19. Twila Huber August 21, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    Greg’s style, message and insights into a recruitment industry under pressure, are both confronting and inspiring. With passion, Greg pulls apart what we shrug off as ‘candidate care’, ‘margin’, ‘business development’ or ‘tough times’. And he refuels the fire that industry leaders are using to drive growth, value and profitability into this new era of recruitment. NPA Worldwide is a cooperative of 400 specialist owner-managed recruitment businesses around the world. Greg Savage spoke at our Sydney NPA conference, attended by 100 agency owners and consultants from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Asia and the US.

  20. Brian Kevin Johnston August 21, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    Overall, How People Treat One Another Has Declined In Recent Years… ONLY Work And Socialize With People Who Appreciate And Respect You, And The Product Or Services You Offer…. If You Don’t You Can Then, ONLY Blame Yourself… SUPERB Article! Blessings To ALL…

  21. Brad August 21, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Heres the thing though Greg… I, like many professional recruiters do take it on the chin when the internal recruiter or HR contact (for some reason or another) pulls the order or delays the hire. You absolutely nailed it by saying that the clients brand is ultimately tarnished and it has astounded me for years that the client doesnt see this – or do they?

    I take personal responsibility for my candidates and until they are in front of my client they are in full care of my personal and professional brand and I for one will not let the incompetence of the few ruin what I’ve tried so hard to build. On saying that I also take strides to protect the clients brand and that is one of the core tasks in my role as the “middle man”. To protect all parties and make everyone look good… which I (we) do – day in, day out.

    Another good article Greg.

  22. Navid August 21, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Great Post Greg (Saying this almost feels cliche since all of your posts are great).

    In terms of internal recruitment, some of my best relationships are with ex-agents who are now internal. We perfectly understand how we want to work with each other and the key in our relationship is respect and integrity.

    The flip side of this is ex-agency recruiters who have gone internal and now see this as a position of “power”. It is almost as if they want to seek revenge on agency recruiters.

    The truth is that internal/HR positions (or agency recruiters for that matter), do not automatically translate to “power”. You are there to do a job and part of this job is to scan the market for recruiters and headhunters who have relationship with good candidates. Some internal recruiters forget this and unfortunately both their company and themselves will suffer.

    Without naming any names I know of many, many internal recruiters (ex-agents) who were made redundant from their job because the candidates they hired failed the company miserably over time and yet they were still holding their stubborn position of “I know best”

  23. RM August 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Very interesting topic and one that I really think needs to be on HRs agenda more. I mainly work on PSAs in a very niche sector of financial services. I have found that in couple of clients the HR team is to young / inexperienced to have the gravitas / business acumen / common manners to deal with the situation.

    Time and time again I have head hunted candidates and they say to me “I will not work for that company, I interviewed directly with them and they didn’t give me feedback, I left them messages and never heard back.”

    The problems I have are mainly from younger HR / internal recruiters. They don’t seem to understand service or that someone is actually applying for a job to better their life. Everything is in-personal to them, manners are gone.

    Only recently I had a young HR person give me no feedback about why they would not see a perfectly qualified candidate for a role with the excuse that the only feedback was that the Manager said “no”. When I asked why HR got a bit shirty and gave a bit of attitude that is all they had and I should deal with feedback to candidates… I asked the HR person if they could PLEASE get a reason for me and they would not.

    So, someone senior in HR, why is it that so often recruitment is given to these youngsters who are so inefficient? Certainly hiring the best people is key to business success? Is recruitment that horrible on the list of tasks that you pawn it off to the most junior person?

    At the end of the day though, I suppose that client with a bad reputation does need a recruiter to find people for them even more…. hey!

  24. Erin Woods August 22, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Very well said Greg – I almost stood and applauded after I read your piece. Excellent!

  25. Naveed Khan August 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    This is so true. Good courageous work 🙂 I hope this gets better.


  26. Abbi Vermey August 28, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    Love your comments Greg. I agree that at times, line managers are the key contributors as to why internal recruiters can’t get timely feedback. To me, this just highlights that some internal recruiters aren’t able to build relationships with key managers in their organisation. As an agency recruiter, building relationships is our number one strength, internal recruiters should let us do this and stop blocking us. Maybe then our candidates would get the feedback they deserve? I’m definitely up for the challenge!

  27. HR Talent Community September 17, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    It sounds brutal out there Greg – this could make for an entertaining, yet serious & valuable debate at The HR Talent Community in 2014. 🙂 Even a panel debate, with god forbid, a HR type on the other side. Stay in touch.

    • Greg Savage September 17, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      Thanks HR..actually I think some debate, collaboration and sharing of ideas on this would be fantastic. I am being serious. There is a lot of misunderstanding and distrust between “HR” and recruiters that could be improved with dialogue…

  28. Peter Ricci September 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    An excellent article Greg.

    May I offer another perspective ?

    Whilst there certainly are many clients and internal recruiters that, generally, muddy the water, perhaps we need to look to ourselves sometimes.

    Have our customer really bought into us ? Have we managed expectations effectively and got their buy-in ?

    I would suggest that a lack of basic skills amongst recruiters at the front-end of the process can be a contributor to such behaviours as well.

    Just a thought 😉

    • Greg Savage September 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

      There is no doubt at all that what you say is true in many cases Peter. Thanks for the comment…Greg

      • Peter Ricci September 17, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

        Also, if recruiters (agency side) have set their stall out correctly and client side are behaving irrationally and unprofessionally, then why not just walk away. Take them off their “preferred customer list” !

        Customers always remind us that there are plenty of agencies out there, as a veiled threat if we dare question anything…..well there are plenty of customers out there too.

        There is no shame in saying “no” to business. It is quite cathartic actually, and bizarrely ends up being more productive because you focus your efforts on the good customers, those deserving of your expertise and really have needs.

        Of course this will not be of relevance to recruiters that measure themselves by how many jobs they have on, rather than how many they fill.

        Have a great day. I am.

    • David Lawrence November 7, 2013 at 8:09 am #

      Peter, I’d also add that even where a relationship is there and you have supplied there is challenges to get the client to see the value of building on that relationship by having face time with the. I’m seeing it with our industry in Telecoms across EMEA and that’s even with clients you have delivered for

  29. Don Knobis September 26, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    I am a candidate, with over 20 years of experience. I don’t think it is just the recruiters messing up jobs, they simply don’t get the important details that the candidates needs to know before applying.
    Either they get it wrong or don’t care, with ads like: Must be certified in windows, Linux, Unix, Mac, Server 2008r2, PM, Cisco, AD, A+, MCSE, MCD, ITIL, TCIP/IP, CCNA, Java, J2EEE, C#, C++, adobe, HTML5, OOP, Desktop, Laptops, Microsoft Office 365, Excel, Life Cycle, F#, Cobalt and exceptional customer service skills.
    Above is a .5 million dollar skill set. That is what it cost to get certified in all of those things. If the recruiter calls you and says the job pays $17.50 an hour…for a month if they like you it will go to a permanent position. Seriously!!!
    Or, ads that read like (paraphrasing). Must have experience in corporate Windows 7, and support ISOpop, lan16, IOCOMM and Verizon cell phones, for 5000+ worldwide employees. That employer needs to hire back the last guy in the job.
    Most 3rd party software is easy to use and takes about 2 days to master it. (Read the manual). But when you get into name brand products that take months to figure out how to turn it on is a problem. I have never seen any IT person walk into a new company and figure out a worldwide cisco network in a matter of minutes or hours or days especially with multiple different OS’s.
    If the recruiters know the business they are in, they will get the details in the ads, which some are: Must be CCNA certified. Local candidates only, will pay up to 5000 for relocation or relocate on a loan. Let’s face it, jobs are about money.
    Here is a list of questions that will make me hang up:
    • Don’t ask a candidate why do you want to relocate….it’s a job!!!
    • Don’t ask a candidate what are you expecting to get paid…as much as possible. My student loans are $900 per month. Just tell them what the job pays or better yet go to CareerBuilder and look at what that job pays.
    • Don’t ask for references from 3 or 5 people: that is the reason why we have background checks. The really worst part is with recruiters, they ask for references, background checks, credit checks, and call everyone you’ve ever work for, for a job, and just disappear I had one background company ask me for my tax returns from 1990.
    This work is not easy, and it is expensive to get the knowledge to do the job which usually starts at about 10,000 per certification.
    Recruiters, you are the HR dept. for the company you contracted, that is how the candidate sees it. If stuff falls apart then tell the candidate that up front.

    • mb November 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      I would be grateful merely to encounter a recruiter who speaks passable English and who has a sixth-grader’s command of U.S. geography.

  30. Balasubramaniam October 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Your observation is accurate.

    This is the bane of the Recruitment Profession itself!

    I have been a Agency Recruiter and a Corporate Recruitment Leader. I have been on both sides of the table.

    Its a professional hazard and we have to live with it.Of course it costs nothing for an Organisation (need not pay till the the selected candidate joins) to share an open requirement.

  31. David Lawrence November 7, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    I didn’t have a chance to submit a comment earlier but Greg is spot on with this. In Europe I’m seeing a great number of ex agency recruiters going internal and not seeing the value of the relationship with their agency partners (unless it’s their old mates of course and what might be in it for them). In fact the smart ones (like agency businesses with Rec2Rec) should be building great relationships with agencies; inviting them in and ensuring that the candidate interview process is tight as possible within the remit of the business. In recent weeks we have had a number of “urgent roles” which have gone cold with no feedback and as Greg says the candidate suffers; the morale of the recruiter goes down and the brand of their business suffers as well as all the other candidates the shortlisted one tells about the shoddy process. There is worse to come; the internal recruitment team who want to do everything via email. I’m writing a blog on this and will share with you Greg; I have a £100 bet with a member of my team to see if this one placement (our last I feel with this client) will be done via email (client side, not candidate) The world has gone mad!

  32. Balasubramaniam January 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Dear Greg,

    Very Valid point. Having run a Search Firm and Lead Talent Acquisition teams, I have personally taken this up with Business Leaders and Hiring Managers…some part of it cannot be avoided considering changing Business Conditions……

  33. Dave Reed June 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    nice arrangement of words

    • Greg Savage June 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

      Nice one Dave..talk about ‘damning with faint praise”…..

  34. PB June 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    A savagely professional article for calling out on the unprofessional, downright insane people that are sadists. Here’s from all the candidates: go get a life if you don’t understand other people’s bread and butter [who knows if you’ll also pay for being mean in this lifetime, karma always comes back], Corporates = aka incompetent, insecure hallucinators!!! Why is there not a governing body for these evaders yet, they waste peoples’ resources and time and effort………time is ripe to put a leash on them, those hungry for power Corporates and we don’t even need their values, cultural write-ups since they are unethical anyways and hire bullies and retain them too but harass brilliant candidates just because they jumped ships from their very unethical environments. Drive them out this time – start a governing body.

  35. Peter Ricci August 21, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    Excellent, and bruising article Greg.

    It had to be said.

    A few points if I may ?

    Firstly, why would anybody work with a company that puts a role out beyond two agencies. I won’t.

    Secondly, I don’t go looking for these type of relationships, so don’t suffer the pain.

    Thirdly, if one of my relationships goes down that path ? First time they will drop down my priority list, get to taste a bit of their own medicine…there is no third time !

    Fourthly, and finally, we are measured on FILLING jobs, not getting jobs on. Always judge and prioritise each and every relationship on that metric and you won’t go far wrong.

  36. Dorothy Dalton July 6, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    Hi Greg – excellent points. But another problem is also the structure of the industry.

    Recruiters should stop working on contingency and first past the post. I’m not sure how many other sectors work on this basis. It’s like only being willing to pay for soap powder if your whites become really white. Where else does this happen?

    In my very lengthy experience in executive search, most hiring problems occur on the client side during the search and even after the start date where many successful candidates are not even onboarded properly.

    With such high overheads to meet, many recruiting companies don’t invest in hiring enough of the right people and giving the necessary training.

    That’s before factoring in that in many geographies anyone with a LinkedIn account and a laptop can call themselves a recruiter, with no barriers to entry such as you find in accounting for example.

    All this is about trying to cut costs and poor planning on all sides. It’s a flawed formula.

  37. carole August 1, 2015 at 12:43 am #

    very well said


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