Agency Recruiters Are Pirates

Guest Contributorby John Fleischauer | Posted | Talent Acquisition

Agency Recruiters Are Pirates

Third-party and agency recruiters contact me a lot. In fact, they contact me just about every day. And most of them have one thing in common: they suck. This may sound overly harsh but hear me out.

Agency recruiters are sales people at heart. They tell candidates that they care about them and that their job is to "help them find their dream job."

Guess what?

An agency recruiter's job is to find candidates for a job - a specific job. They are (for the most part) financially motivated with little passion for their craft. I should know. I started my career in the agency business.

I sold my share of ketchup popsicles to ladies in white gloves. I loved the fact that I could close. I loved the fact that I could ring the bell. I loved the fact that all I had to do to make more money was to get more people to "sign on the line that is dotted."

I became quite the card player thanks to my experience in the agency world. It's amazing how quickly an agency recruiter can become an expert at reading people and situations if you just pay attention.

Ditching the pirate method for the ATP method to recruiting

I left the agency business for many reasons. At the heart of my decision was the fact that I found myself selling false hope to my candidates and I hated myself because of it.

I now have a new perspective which I have dubbed ATP and I've never been happier personally or professionally as a result.

A - Authenticity

I am who I am and I'm proud of it. I'm loud, I can be obnoxious and I'm most certainly opinionated. I don't pretend to be something that I'm not and I certainly don't try to build instant rapport with my audience by using the archaic mimicking method that countless sales people use every day. I'm not an engineer and I will never play one on TV.

T - Transparency

The way I see it, my job is not to close people. In fact, I refuse to close people. My job is to provide my audience with the information they need to make the best career decision for themselves.

Is Halogen the right company for a candidate? That's not my decision to make. If my audience wants to know what life is like at Halogen, they can join our Talent Community on LinkedIn and engage with our employees, ask questions and find out for themselves.

P - Passion

I absolutely love what I do and everyone I work with knows it. Everyone who meets me in person or engages with me online knows it. I eat enthusiasm sandwiches for lunch and I have a smile on my face when I chew. If a day comes where I lose that spark, lose that drive, lose that passion, I'll break up with my job in a heartbeat.

Do agency recruiters really have a candidate's best interests in mind?

I'm not suggesting that my recruiting methods are the best out there. Nor am I suggesting that I'm the outlier in a sea full of pirates. I'm suggesting organizations consider these two questions when hiring an agency recruiter:

Does this person understand our culture and the candidates we're looking for? Will s/he have the candidates best interest in mind, or will their efforts be all about a pay check?

At Halogen, we occasionally find ourselves in a situation where we need a hand from a third-party recruiting firm to help us fill a job. It's not commonplace, but it happens.

As Halogen's Talent Attraction Manager, part of my job is to choose and vet which vendor we work with. To me, that means ensuring we pick a dance partner that will provide candidates with the same world-class experience that we strive to offer.

For the most part, this mentality has yielded positive results. The agents that have dropped the ball, however... well let's just say they're sailing the seven seas without the Halogen halo hanging from their mast.

Agency recruiters are pirates... but that's okay. We all saw the Disney trilogy and in the end Captain Jack wasn't such a bad guy.

Your turn: Have you had any experiences with agency recruiters - either positive or negative? Share them in the comments section below.

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