Let’s face it: There are some professions that, once mentioned, immediately elicit a negative response. Unfortunately, recruiters sometimes fall into that category. However, like every other profession with a bad rap, great ones do exist out there.

ESG explores the negative stereotypes and sets the record straight about the ‘good guys’ that really do shine in their much-maligned profession.

Why the Bad Rap?

There are unsavory stories out there from client companies or job-seekers who have dealt with the unresponsive recruiter, the rude recruiter, the shady recruiter, and so on.

Consider the factors that shape the recruiter’s working environment. Many are compensated only when a successful placement is complete, with the standard being a minimum of two placements per month. To maximize the chances of finding a quality candidate, some recruiters or agencies make it strictly a numbers game and throw their net far and wide to catch the most candidates. Then throw in a market saturated with recruiters, which equates to great formula for poor service. Client companies are inundated with calls from recruiters, or they have a preferred supplier list (PSL) of agencies from which they source their candidates.

Because of these factors, some recruiters approach the competition too aggressively and without regard. The climate is such that the bulk of recruiters are trying to edge their way in first so they can offer up their candidate(s) and make that buck. The problem occurs when the recruiters sacrifice quality for haste. In order to secure their compensation, a candidate is placed just to fill a position, with little consideration of their actual qualifications, goals, or disposition. As such, everyone loses out in this scenario: The client company is frustrated that the candidate can’t perform up to par; the candidate is frustrated that they were set up to fail; and even the recruiter will soon learn that they’ve ignited the flame burning the bridge between themselves and the client company, who might be less inclined to use that recruiter the next time around.

This isn’t an excuse for bad manners, but these are the elements contributing to the perfect storm of a poor recruiter relationship. However, not all recruiters play the game like this, and it’s important to determine the difference early on to prevent you from wasting your time, money, and opportunities.

What Do I Look For in a Recruiter?

For both employers and job-seekers alike, ESG highly recommends the use of an industry-specific recruiter over a generic one. An industry-specific recruiter is obviously more in tune with current trends in your field, nuanced demands, and the breadth of requirements necessary to match a candidate successfully. Further, an industry-specific recruiter with a Territory Manager that is specific to your region has an even better connection to the community, and a deeper understanding of how your industry is shaping the future of the community and vice versa.

Additionally, a good industry-specific recruiter will take time to get to know the job-seeker, and also will have developed relationships with established companies from learning each company’s culture, philosophies, goals, and so on. This benefits both the employer and the job-seeker, as the recruiter is more familiar with the caliber of candidate best suited for their client companies.

It is in the best interest of a recruiter to perform good work, as it strengthens their connections to client companies and helps ensure return business for the future. While overly-aggressive recruiters may think it’s a waste of time to ‘get to know’ their prospects, this investment truly pays off in the long run for everyone involved.

How Do You Determine a Bad Egg from a Good One?

Even if you or your company has never used a recruiter, or has used one unsuccessfully, you can still determine whether you want to pursue a relationship with a new recruiter or not. First of all, turn the interviewing process on them. As a job-seekers or employers, find out with which companies they regularly engage, how many candidates they’ve successfully placed, what their strategies are for either seeking qualified candidates or for pitching qualified candidates, and so on. A trusted recruiter will be open, honest, and communicative with their prospects, and not attempt to skirt around an answer. Along with being communicative, they are also responsive and will not leave their prospects hanging or in limbo.

A good recruiter will also practice discretion in placing their candidates. While recruiters rely at least in part for compensation from their placements, a reliable recruiter acts with integrity and will not place a candidate if they recognize it is not the right match.

Find One Good Egg and Keep Them Close

There’s a common misconception that working with multiple recruiters simultaneously is the best way to receive results. Companies wrongly assume they should send out lists of open positions, and some job-seekers may use various recruiters as well. In fact, this can ultimately do more damage than good to both the position search itself, the candidate, and the company.

For the company, having multiple recruiters working on the same job order(s) can cause chaos for the hiring team, and muddles the candidate pool due to poor representation of the company and/or position. It also suggests a sense of desperation, and a lack of effort to vet third parties who are now partnered to represent the company. Not only does this further add to a poor reflection upon the company, but it can also trigger a chain reaction ultimately creating those same sour conditions we discussed earlier in the blog. With multiple recruiters vying for their opportunity to complete a placement, they rush to submit any old candidate, bogging down your hiring team with unsuitable candidates who won’t be hired in the end. All of this just delays the process to effectively and efficiently fill a position.

While recruiting is indeed a large industry, when dealing with individual people or companies, it becomes a much smaller entity. Looking at a specific location and a reasonable radius of opportunity, the pool becomes quite small for qualified, well-fitting candidates to fill a position at your company. A strategic and targeted approach is crucial, especially for passive candidates. An industry-specific recruiter known for delivering a polished representation of companies is ideal. Often times, there is only one attempt to sell these particular candidates on remaining open-minded to make a wise career move. When your company uses the wrong recruiter or multiple recruiters calling on the same candidate, you may scare away a potentially important asset.

Similarly, job-seekers who enlist multiple recruiters may do themselves a disservice as well, if different recruiters are attempting to solicit the same employer(s). Again, confusion may occur with the hiring departments if one candidate is represented more than once. Individuals also need to recognize the long-term benefit in building a relationship with one trusted recruiter. Recruiters are not only befitting for active candidates, but they are an essential asset to have while gainfully employed as well. They offer great and objective counsel regarding strategic career moves, either with a current employer or helping to consider other opportunities down the line. Developing a professional relationship with a recruiter also helps better place the candidate, as they’ll begin to recognize certain dispositional attributes that may fit better with a particular company’s culture.

The Takeaway Is…

Find a recruiting partner that is an extension of you as a job-seeker or as a company. This is someone who knows your industry, has local market relationships, and upholds a good reputation (be sure to check references). This industry-specific recruiter is someone with whom you can build a trusted relationship, have open and objective conversations, who represents you well, and strategizes short-term and long-term goals, whether you are the candidate or the hiring manager for a company.

Don’t waste time with the wrong recruiting firms; this will inevitably waste valuable time and money.

For more extensive tips on getting to know your recruiter, visit our previous blog, How Well Do You Know Your Recruiter?

Electrical Search Group is an industry-specific recruiter in the field of commercial and industrial electrical construction. We invite you to explore our other blogs, our website, or reach out to us by visiting our contact page.