Recently I asked my CFOs just one question: “What’s your biggest beef when working with recruiters?” With space to vent, the responses were interesting and contained very few surprises.
Before we talk about survey specifics, let’s make sure we are on the same page about third party recruiters. First, there are two kinds: contingency and retained.
Retained recruiters work on a—retained—basis and are paid by the company regardless of whether or not they make a placement. The typical retained recruiter has a very close relationship with his clients and therefore, has the ability to be an excellent advocate for very accomplished executives who fit the kind of talent parameters he is being paid to find. Translation: you want these folks in your network.
Contingency recruiters are paid only if they make a placement and that candidate works out for a period of some time (like 90 days). These recruiters may or may not have a close relationship with the company, they may or may not have some specific requisitions, and they may or may not be the kind of recruiters with whom you want to work. Make sure you interview these recruiters before you agree to work with them.
And finally, it’s important to understand the (perhaps) subtle difference between what recruiters actually do and what executives sometimes believe or wish they do. Recruiters work for, and are paid by, a company to find the perfect candidate who matches every single mandate issued by his client. They are in the business of finding the right person for a position, not jobs for people.
Now that we are on the same page about who they are and what they do, let’s look at specifics.
That’s not who I am!
One of the biggest complaints from CFOs —on both the hiring and candidate side of the table—was recruiters not understanding the company, the position, or the candidate’s true strengths.
Is the breakdown in communication really unavoidable? While we can’t do much about the line of communication between decision-makers, HR and recruiters, you can be crystal clear about who you are, what your strengths are, and what your value proposition is. The more well-branded and visible, the more likely you will attract the right recruiters with the right opportunities.
Is it too much for finance executives to expect professional courtesy?
Another very clear irritant was being treated with little or no respect, which included a lack of responsiveness. It feels much like a hurry-up-and-then-wait-forever scenario for many of the respondents, with the recruiter being MIA for long periods of time.
Maybe this has happened to you. A recruiter calls, you talk, you’re interested in the opportunity, you fire off your resume... and then, nothing. No one calls, no one writes, and no one returns your messages.
Or this: the position appears to be a good fit and the recruiter sends you off to the interview. It goes great, you’re pumped and psyched, and then, nothing. The recruiter is completely unresponsive.
It is true that if you aren’t the right fit the recruiter makes no commission off of continuing to talk with you, but it is shortsighted on his part and leads to the next contentious issue.
Feedback about what went wrong.
It’s part of the unresponsiveness executives feel from recruiters, but on a deeper, more personal level. The answer to the question, “what went wrong?”
I believe there are two key issues. First, the candidate isn’t clear about his own strengths and positioning, and second, the relationship with the recruiter wasn’t built in advance of the opportunity.
When you are very clear about your brand, your value and your positioning, figuring out what went wrong is much easier ... because often it’s a mutual decision.
Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach. Reach Cindy at Cindy@CFO-Coach.com, 813-655-0658, or at www.CFO-Coach.com. All rights reserved.