The best recruiting compliment I ever got was from an HR Director who told me that I ranked number two in placements at his company, but that when he did a regression analysis of the placements between myself and his number one, he dismissed the number one. The reason was that while the other recruiter placed more people, most of them were gone within a year. Mine just stayed. He reasoned that either the other recruiter didn’t understand their culture or that he was recruiting his placements out to put them somewhere else.
I thought that the analysis he conducted was great. He actually wanted to know how well his recruiters were doing on a qualitative basis. He was looking to see who did the best job of recruiting for his company.
Sadly, most companies are only interested in filling the leaking job bucket. Get the candidates in as fast as possible and make the placement - to hell with longevity or any other measure of quality. If a candidate is unhappy and leaves too quickly there are only three causes. Sometimes, candidates do make mistakes. However, generally, when an employee leaves quickly, either the job was not as advertised by the company or the recruiter put the wrong person into the job. If it was the company’s fault, shame on them; if it is the recruiter’s fault, shame on the headhunter.
Companies should analyze their recruiters’ performance. They should check submissions and see how many actually result in interviews and how many of those interviews result in candidates being passed on to further interviews. They should also know the ratio between submissions and placements. I know my percentages. I understand the ratio of send-outs to placements. I can even do that by agency to determine how I am doing with any particular client. (I once used this information to decide not to recruit for a company. In that instance, I had a recruiter who handled that client; she sent 90+ candidates to place only 3 people in twelve months; she was a good recruiter and I thought that this ratio was insane. I decided that the agency was too fussy and that it was not worth our time to recruit for them.)
Personally, I still send out very few candidates because I listen to my job specs carefully and know the corporate cultures of the companies I recruit for so that I can match culture to candidate. This works for some clients and not for others. Clients who just want volume should not use me.
There are many recruiters who are merely what I call “senders”. They pepper their clients with résumés, often unsolicited and without matching jobs. They do this because they are playing the percentages and hoping for someone to get interviewed. I have posted about this recently, “Many Companies Fail To See The Best Candidates”. When a client tells me they already have a résumé, I almost inevitably know which of my competitors sent it. If a company is seeing many candidates from a particular recruiter but is not passing them on to the next level of hiring, either the recruiter does not get the culture or doesn’t understand the job specs - or the client failed to give accurate and complete specs to the recruiter.
I recognize that an out of work candidate, especially if they are a long time unemployed, simply wants to be “sent”. I just can’t do that to my clients who are, after all, the people who pay me. I also recognize that there are many client companies who would prefer volume. I never do well with them; it just goes against my grain.
I welcome my candidates to evaluate my performance and I beg my clients to do the same.