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Is Your Recruiter Clueless? Are You Causing It?

By Jenn Steele - Aug. 3, 2014
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Have you ever been talking to a recruiter only to realize that they actually don’t know how a technical reporting relationship works? Or what the difference is between finance and accounting?

Recruiters can be insulated as all hell. Sometimes it’s the recruiter’s fault. Other times it’s the hiring manager’s fault (i.e., look in the mirror). Either way, this staggering around half blind & bumping into candidates is bad for business. In fact, it’s bad for the reputation of recruitment as a whole.

Are you working with a clueless recruiter? Or are you inadvertently making your recruiter look clueless? Here are some signs that you’re either working with—or causing—stupidity.

4 Signs You’re Working with a Clueless Recruiter

1. They Do It the Same Way Every Time

It’s almost unbelievable how many recruiters go through the same ho-hum recipe for each role they need to fill regardless of the skills needed or level of the position. Last we checked, recruitment wasn’t baking (and you even need to vary baking by humidity and temperature). Your recruiter should match creative roles with creative hiring techniques, use technical platforms for technical roles, and make sure the process matches your company culture. Each role type requires a different approach, and a non-clueless recruiter will know this.

2. They Go with Their Gut Feel

Is your recruiter just swingin’ from the hip when it ‘feels right’? Psychometric test here, reference check there, group interview for this one. Is there any reason why they’re choosing to use those techniques for this particular role? Maybe it used to be okay for a recruiter to just go with what they thought was best, but that doesn’t cut it anymore. There are statistics out there that will tell you which methods actually work. Make sure your recruiter uses the methods that work for your company, and if they don’t know what will work, make sure they know (and use) the research.

3. They Ignore the Competition

It’s so great that they’re just so full steam ahead that they ‘barely have time to breathe let alone check out what your competitors are doing’.  It’s so great because in no time at all you’ll lose candidate after candidate as the competitors your recruiter was happily ignoring steam past you with a competitive advantage they didn’t see coming. What methods are your competitors using? What are they offering their clients? Why would someone stay with you or switch over? Your recruiter needs to know these things.

4. They LOOOOOOVE the “Latest Fad”

Does your recruiter let the latest trends overtake their common sense? Being aware of the latest thinking is totally different from jumping in feet first and becoming a walking radio advertisement for ‘Google’s Analytical Approach’. Well, that was last month – this month is ‘Online psychoanalytic testing’ and probably next month they’ll be all about ‘NLP Interviewing Techniques’. Do you have whiplash yet? There’s never One Amazing All Round Bonanza Solution. Getting all hyped up over the latest fad is a sign that your recruiter cares more about the trends than about your company.

 4 Signs You’re Making Your Recruiter Clueless

1. You Don’t Track Quality

Okay, maybe I’m crazy but if you’re a hiring manager, don’t you want to know whether your recruiter is worth all the money you’re paying them? How do you do this? Keep metrics. You don’t have to go all big data on this. At the very least, track the time until position fill, quality of skills, longevity, and culture fit of each candidate against each recruiter over a period of time.

2. You’re Too Busy

Typical chicken before the egg problem; you’re too busy to check resumes, schedule interviews or take a proper look at the job description. You know what happens when you don’t do these things? You get busier. Because the person you hired sucks (assuming you can hire at all). And you were ‘too busy’ to notice it in the probationary or trial. So now you have to hire someone else, clean up after them, or moan about how expensive it will be to get rid of them.

Hiring people into your department or business is the most crucial thing you will ever do for the success of your organization.  You are never too busy to make sure it’s right.

3. Your Position Descriptions Are Lethal Weapons…

…because they could bore someone to death. I know writing a position description is a lot like filling out online profiles; it’s painful having to describe your own company or team in a way that quality candidates will actually be attracted to the idea of working there. You know what happens when you spend a couple of extra hours crafting an interesting position description? High quality candidates may actually be attracted to the idea of working at your company. Who knew?

4. You Insist on an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) when It Doesn’t Make Sense

Automated resume ranking, pre-screening questions, and a host of other ‘intelligent’ methods are built into many an ATS and have made recruiters lazy while distancing humans from the very human hiring process. While in some cases they’re necessary, it’s clear a lot of recruiters are using the systems to cut down on workload rather than boost quality of results. Use an ATS when it will actually help you get to the best candidate; not when it will help you get home to watch the latest Game of Thrones episode (although that’s almost a decent excuse. Hodor.).

* * *

If your recruiter seems clueless, take a moment before you fire them and go find another one to make sure you’re not causing it. Once you determine that you’re definitely not the cause, dump the clueless recruiter and find one who will help get you the top candidates you need.


Jenn Steele

Jen Steele is a dynamic, results-driven leader with over two decades of experience in the technology and marketing industries. As the CEO of KissMetrics, Jen is responsible for driving the company's strategic direction, growth, and overall success. Before joining KissMetrics, Jen held various leadership roles in sales, marketing, and operations across several high-growth SaaS companies. One of her notable achievements was her tenure at Recruitloop. Under her leadership, Recruitloop experienced exponential growth in revenue and customer acquisition, establishing the company as a market leader in the recruitment industry.

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