In an effort to find top candidates to interview for a position some hiring managers think it best to hire a half dozen or even more recruiters to scour the planet. They think they will have more candidates to interview in less time than if they worked with just one recruiter.
Years ago I was involved in just such a situation when a sales manager called me asking if I could find him a PhD Dairy Nutritionist for their animal feed supplement company. He mentioned that he’s highly selective and had 10 other recruiters currently looking for candidates. I didn’t want to be the 11th and politely told him so, thanking him for his call.
Several months later I received a call from that company’s CEO, to invite me to come in and meet, together with his leadership team. He wanted to see if I could offer advice on how they could improve their recruiting efforts. The position I had been called about months earlier had still not been filled. Those 11 recruiters had been working on this search now for 8 months, with the company interviewing 7 candidates, all to no avail.
We talked about this for a couple of hours, with me explaining how unproductive it is to have multiple recruiters working on a search. They had no idea how the process worked on my end and how it should work on theirs. They placed me on retainer, with me asking them a lot of questions regarding their needs, this specific position and what they saw as missing in the 7 candidates they’d already interviewed.
With this information I was able to find some much better candidates, filling the position within 2 months. This person went on to work for the company very successfully.
This was an example of quality over quantity. With 10 recruiters working on the same search, they had no incentive to put all their focus, time and effort into this one search. They were passive about it and therefore didn’t get the results that were needed. Being on retainer, I could put everything I had into finding them just the right candidates, and ultimately one so outstanding that an offer was made.
Next time you have a critical search assignment, with a position you want filled yesterday, and only the best will do, hire one specialized recruiting firm to get the job done, someone you trust implicitly. Give them an exclusive so they can put all they have into finding you just the right candidates. As long as they’re performing, let them continue on with their exclusive until the position is filled.
(For more information about maximizing the benefits of working with a recruiter, download a copy of Dan Simmons’ e-Book, Hunting the Headhunter: Your Guide to Debunking Myths, Cutting Costs, and Changing the Way You Play the Recruitment Game.)