Dead recruiter walking

Dead recruiter walking

Recently I highlighted a new breed of recruiter who will thrive as technology and shifting customer attitudes disrupt the recruiting world like never before. I called these guys ‘drinkers’, although I later realised what I really meant was DRINKAE’s

But what about the profile of the redundant recruiter? The one who has not adapted to the reinvention of everything. What are the habits, behaviors and attitudes of a recruiting dinosaur, resisting evolution? Or worse, an antediluvian recruiter, who does not voice disagreement, but just avoids or ignores any new tactic or advice.

This breed of recruiter is everywhere. I call them OINCs, which has no porcine connotation, but stands for ‘Only In Name Consultants’. They have “Consultant” on their business card, but they provide zero consultation, and indeed would not understand the concept.

Now this may be a bit uncomfortable because you may recognise yourself. Or your staff. Or your colleagues. But that’s OK… there is just time to adapt. Maybe.

Here are some OINC characteristics and behaviors. Seek them out and hunt them down and eliminate them. Or else you and your company are like that prisoner on death row, waiting for the inevitable. You will be a ‘Dead Recruiter Walking’.

  • OINCs hide behind email. They avoid real life conversations. They attach shortlists to email and wait for the client to respond. They brief candidates about jobs via email. They even bicker with their colleagues via email.
  • OINCs only focus on ‘active’ candidates. In fact, to an OINC, a person is only a ‘candidate’ if that person ‘applies’ to them. OINCs don’t network, headhunt, source, seduce or seek out talent. They wait for it to come. And soon that will be a very lonely wait indeed.
  • OINCS are often Job Board addicts. Their knee-jerk reaction to a new order – is to run an Ad. Why not? It’s “what we have always done”, after all.
  • OINCs are world champion net-surfers. Typing and mousing and clicking away. Doing what, God only knows, but they are ‘screen-facing’ all day long. Usually to look busy without doing any actual work. Better they ‘people-faced’ a bit more.
  • OINCS are experts at the time-honoured recruiter practice of ‘spray and pray’. Using email, ‘let me get this resume out everywhere!’ And maybe I will let the candidate know later too…
  • OINCs love meetings. The longer the better. And if we can discuss internal administration and process for most of that time, even better. Because admin and process is not threatening. Like calling a client for example.
  • Woven into the DNA of an OINC is lack of initiative. Worse than that actually. OINCs won’t think of a fresh new, risky, heart pumping way to do anything. They will also actively resist any ideas on that front.
  • OINC are squarely ‘Social-media-phobes’ happy to opine that social media is ‘trivial’. Or they embrace social loudly, only to waste time clicking through Facebook, or posting inane tweets all day.  That is NOT social recruiting.
  • OINCs resist change, wherever and whenever they can. They are always looking backwards, scoff at training sessions, and maintain excel spreadsheets of candidates or hard-copy résumés in their bottom drawers.
  • OINCs like to dismiss success by newcomers with fresh ideas, as ‘luck’, and complain that new technology, designed to help them become more efficient, merely  ‘gives them more admin to do’.

If this sounds like you, or where you work, wake up!

If the rate of change externally exceeds the rate of change internally, you are a dead recruiter walking.


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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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9 Responses to Dead recruiter walking

  1. Navid February 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    It rings very true because I have actually seen people who have all or some of the above characteristics in recruitment. Unfortunately they are many of them.

    It may sound a bit controversial to say this, but you will find a lot of people that fall in the categories above are the account managers who are commissioned by the recruitment company to man all their “preferred supplier panels”

    It is a model that has worked very successfully for large recruitment companies. Offer a cheap(er) placement fee, boast about the millions of candidates on your database, score a client and become their “specialist preferred supplier” then place one of your OINCs (or a number of them for that matter) to man that account.

    Unfortunately this model has survived because clients have nurtured and nourished it for many years and I suspect for as long as the term “preferred supplier” in it’s current format is around, so will OINCs.

  2. Paul Ridley February 11, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    I enjoyed reading the post as I always do, but I feel a gut wrenching in my stomach whenever I read posts by recruiters who seem to live in a different world from me. Maybe it is the companies I have worked for or the market I work in but I cant go out and meet my candidates or clients face to face every time I take a job from them (unless you can convince my boss to put me on a plane or let me drive a 6 hour round trip).

    I work in healthcare, as such my clients are clinicians, practicing clinicians who see patients all day everyday as well as manage teams and recruit, talking to them on the phone is my preferred way to do business but it is not always possible. In healthcare you work in candidate short markets, there are literally 4000 candidates in my market. Word of mouth and networking is a major part of my work, I cannot go around actively headhunting staff from another community health services as they will one day be my client, how does that work?? Running an ad is part of the process, every job you get should be advertised.

    I agree with some of the points, consultants need to consult, they need to know the market and advise applicants on the best course of action for them. I agree that recruiters should not blanket clients with resumes, targeting clients to match the requirements of the applicant and the service requirements is the best way to go, this also promotes long term relationships which is what you need to do in healthcare to be successful.

    I pretty much agree with everything in the bottom part of the blog relating to change etc but social media I still do not understand… how does it help, I use it as a tool but only in conjunction with hardcore phone work and lists, my applicants cant even carry a phone in a hospital and generally only use Linked In sporadically.

    Sometimes when I read these blogs I think that people forget that there are so many other markets in recruitment and that some recruiters cover areas half the size of Australia with an applicant living in a town of 500 who don’t always have a signal on their phone or even internet.

    Yes we need to acknowledge social media and new ways of recruiting but the tried and tested ways of recruiting work and they should not be forgotten, recruitment is a simple process that is all about forming long lasting relationships and calling lots and lots of candidates and clients.

    I may be old school but it works, the dinosaur lives.

  3. Paul February 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    I was thinking I am bound to have a little dinosaur DNA left in me after 20 years in recruitment. Praying that it would be similar to a bird, direct descendant but shows very few characteristics as opposed to a crocodile, who lets face it still looks like a dinosaur today.
    Happily, I seem to be evolving nicely, hopefully Darwin and Mr Savage will be pleased.

    Good ariticle, sad thing is the dinosaurs probably wont read it, as its a blog, and that would be crazy talk from the cyber Gods.

  4. Matt February 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    I absolutely embrace this article! I find so many recruiters offer zero service or market knowledge and often steer their candidates to positions outside of their search parameters. I find companies idea that they must have sales people on the floor has risen to a larger headcount of recruiters who often don’t receive relevant training or education…they progress to become Oincs!

    Paul I am also from a Healthcare background and still actively networked…a CV no one else has is still the most relevant and sifting through adverts or database (regardless of where candidates live) will not deliver this.

    Great read and a good wake up for me as a recruiter to stay ahead of the herd.

  5. RM February 13, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    Very true but as Paul points out not all points will not apply to all the verticals we recruit in.

    Paul I recruit in an even smaller market than you. There are about 1500 candidates in the market and I do exceptionally well through aligning with half the employers and head hunting from the other half. You need direct sourcing to be a part of your tactic.

    I think that number one for survival in these times has to be focussing on a very candidate short market where clients will pay for candidates and internal teams can not meet the hiring needs. Number two is making contact with new candidates, your clients do not know, and introducing them to job opportunities – the rest are peripheral skills and in some markets different techniques will work – you have to know what works best in your market and put your energy into it – 100%. Also various different candidate identification and farming techniques may all yield results so get involved in everything that works.

    Any suggestions on how to engage those Gen Y ones that are increasing in value but so difficult to deal with?

  6. Pierre Coupet February 14, 2014 at 2:49 am #

    Right on cue, Greg! To build upon your analogy, “dead recruiter walking” will bring to an employer “dead candidate walking.”

    Therefore, you are the perfect evangelist for bringing to corporate HR’s attention the need to know a candidate’s Virtual Organization Aptitude Score prior to bringing them on board – just in case they happen to have a “dead recruiter walking” within their midst.

    As well, the entire Corporate HR staff could also benefit from that “Virtual Organization Aptitude Assessment.” They would then be in a better position to know whether or not they are dealing with a “dead recruiter walking.”

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Madeline Danielle March 28, 2014 at 3:01 am #

    I watched Matrix last night again and I couldn’t help but think about Smith’s interview with Neo when you described the recruiter with the hard-copy résumés in their bottom drawers. I don’t think reminding the OINCs about Gestapo would help much, but we could tell them that “reality is a thing of the past” and give them a hint regarding the usefulness and elegance of having a document on the PC. Or we could print your article and hand them in the offices.


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