Fast Track Recruitment

Why can’t recruitment agencies recruit for themselves?

Posted by Mitch on 6th November 2014


This isn’t a universal truth because I know of a few that are pretty good at hiring their own staff – either because they put a lot of effort into it or because they’re good at assessing candidates and don’t like making hopeful punts.

But those rarities aside, most agencies struggle to hire their own staff because the vast majority of them don’t sell or deliver actual recruitment services.

So when they need to implement an end-to-end process to bring onboard new staff themselves, they don’t know what to do, because they’ve had no practice.

So instead, they revert to what they do know, which is candidate trading.

That’s where the R2Rs come in..


By Charles on Thursday, 06 November 2014

Ok so a few points on this…

1) I think rec2rec has an unfair rep in the market- it is one of the few markets where you can genuinely be consultative with your candidates as it is so candidate driven. Most strong, experienced candidates will get multiple interviews and offers and so you can actually advise on where you think they are best suited. However due to the scarcity of these candidates it can also lead to a very spray and pray approach with candidates being mailshotted out to 30 companies without understanding what they want.

2) Your favorite topic- the sideways move- is what all agencies seem to want. They have an IT into Ecom desk? They want an someone who is doing exactly that.

3) Agencies struggle to differentiate themselves. I worked with two of three agencies who really stood out in that they had a defined culture, knew what value it added and could sell it in interviews. These were always the best clients to work with. Most others were good agencies but could not articulate why a candidate should join them over any other agency.

4) Agencies can be very inward looking. Almost all agencies I spoke to said their commission was best in the market (it wasn’t), that they had the biggest client base (they didn’t) and that their incentives were amazing (they weren’t). The amount of people who would talk about the fact they had lunch clubs, holiday incentives etc as if that was unique to them was a bit staggering.

By Mitch on Thursday, 06 November 2014

Thanks for your input Charles, much appreciated.

Points 2) 3) and 4) fit my experiences too.

I slightly disagree with your 1st point if only because most of the R2Rs I’ve seen hadn’t worked as recruiters themselves - or if they had, it was less than a years experience.

The least skilled will invariably flock to those areas where there is huge candidate scarcity because they don’t have to sell or assess anything or anyone.

By Charles on Thursday, 06 November 2014

Thanks for the response Mitch- can’t say I agree though. Maybe a discussion for another time.

By Stacy Rollinger on Thursday, 06 November 2014

I’ve been on both sides of the recruiting world and agency recruiters do work within a very different environment than corporate recruiters.  I think agency recruiters are hard to find because there is already a lack of qualified recruiters who go into recruiting as a profession.  Then, add in the fact that experienced and qualified recruiters who could fill an agency role aren’t willing to take a step backward into a base plus commission role.  Further, agency work involves getting a candidate interested whereas on the corporate side of recruiting, you have candidates who genuinely want to work for your organization.

By Mitch on Friday, 07 November 2014

Hi Stacy.

When you say experienced and qualified recruiters taking a step backwards, do you mean inhouse recruiters going back to the agency world?

By Jon Reed on Tuesday, 11 November 2014

So, if I decide to go back to agency/external recruitment I will be taking a step backwards? I certainly don’t think that’s the case. The attitude that being an internal recruiter is aspirational to all agency side is just rubbish. There are plenty of crap internal/corporate recruiters out there that think running a first past the post PSL is making direct hires. Don’t for a second think that direct applicants all want to work for you. Trust me, they have probably applied to everyone because most just want a job.

By Mitch on Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Jon, you’d only be making a backward step if you joined an agency doing contingency.

I met a R2R the other day whose work is 70%v retained.

So, it is possible, especially for someone as good as you.

By Stacy on Tuesday, 11 November 2014

It appears I’ve offended some out there- allow me to clarify!  I meant taking a step back in ‘pay’ initially for the base salary because I’ve heard this from corporate recruiters who would like to work on the agency side, but can’t afford to because it would take time to build up their commission structure.  So, perhaps agencies should generally consider offering higher than a 30k base, I’m sure the best ones already do.

By Jon Reed on Friday, 21 November 2014

No offence taken, I was having a bad day. Again. Are there really Internal Recruiters on less that 30k? with or without bonus I would say that they are administrators. Do companies really expect to get a recruiter for less that 30k? Christ, I live in a bubble.

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