There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings in the employment marketplace regarding search consultants (also known as recruiters). One of those misunderstandings involves what exactly it is that they do for their clients.
Now, I’ve covered this topic before at a certain level and I want to go deeper with this article. That’s because the value that recruiters bring to the hiring process is both tangible and intangible. As I’ve stated on many occasions, there are two main reasons why organizations hire search consultants.
The first reason is talent, plain and simple. Companies want to know who the best candidates are in the market, and they want those candidates to work for them. The second reason is confidentiality. Companies want to hire the most talented candidates in a confidential fashion. In other words, they don’t want anybody to know what they’re doing, especially their competition.
However, HOW recruiters provide the most talented candidates in the marketplace in a confidential fashion is what truly matters. And it’s at the heart of both the value that search consultants provide and this article.
When you do NOT pay a recruiter
Before we thoroughly discuss the heart of what a company pays a recruiter to do, let’s take a look at what companies do NOT pay a recruiter to do. And when I say that, I mean what they should not pay a recruiter to do. (If an organization is paying a recruiter to do any of the things I’m about to discuss, they should stop working with that recruiter immediately.)
Below are three things for which an organization does not pay a recruiter:
#1—Sending a “slush pile” of resumes.
This is also known as the “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” method. Companies should not pay recruiters to send a bunch of resumes in the hopes that maybe one of them is a good fit. There is absolutely no value in doing that.
#2—Sourcing candidates from a shallow talent pool.
The talent pool is enormous. In fact, it’s represented by every single person working in the profession. So when an organization hires a recruiter, that organization is looking for talent at the deep end of the pool. Why? Because company officials can already fish at the shallow end. They don’t need a search consultant for that.
#3—Presenting candidates who have not been qualified.
Not only do companies want candidates from the deep end of the talent pool, but they also want candidates who are thoroughly qualified and genuinely interested in the opportunity. That means the search consultant must speak with the candidates before presenting them. There’s no reason for the company to pay somebody to not speak to candidates.
None of these three things encompass the real value that a search consultant brings to the hiring process. Now let’s shift gears and examine what that real value is and why organizations are willing to pay recruiters for it.
A case study in value
To help illustrate this value, I’m going to relay a case study that I’ve used before. In this case study, it appeared as though I made a placement in three business days. In actuality, it took much longer than that.
On Thursday, I reached out to a candidate about an employment opportunity. On Friday, the candidate had a face-to-face interview that involved air travel to another city halfway across the United States. (After the phone interview, my candidate was on a plane. I don’t even think he had time to go home to get a bag.) On Friday, he interviewed. By Monday, he had an offer, which he accepted. On Tuesday, he resigned from his current position.
From Thursday to Monday were three business days. However, the placement actually started years earlier, when I first met the candidate. Since that time, I had talked with the candidate on numerous occasions. We had discussed his career, what he wanted in his career, and what kind of opportunity would prompt him to make a move.
So when my client hired me to fill the opening, I knew exactly who to speak with about it. My client did not hire me just to identify a great candidate. They hired me to convince a great candidate to consider their opportunity and apply for it. That’s what I did. And fortunately, since I’d known the person for years, it took almost no time at all to hire them.
Paying for the power of persuasion
That case study, in an accelerated nutshell, shows why organizations hire search consultants. What they’re paying for is influence. They’re paying for a recruiter’s ability to persuade people to consider an opportunity they either:
- Did not know even existed before the recruiter presented it.
- Did not consider applying for the position even if they did know it existed.
The reality of the marketplace is that the best candidates are usually passive candidates. That means they are not even looking for another opportunity. Somebody has to make them aware of the opportunity and then they must persuade them to consider it. Just presenting the opportunity is not enough. Persuasion is an integral part of hiring, especially when it comes to hiring top talent.
When you hire a recruiter, THIS is what you’re paying for!
You’re not paying for a stack of resumes. You’re not paying for a bunch of unqualified candidates. You’re paying for a recruiter’s ability to the following important things:
- Find the best candidates.
- Present your opportunity to them.
- Persuade them to consider the opportunity.
- Convince them that your opportunity is the next best step for their career.
- Land them in the position
Essentially, you’re paying for the power of persuasion. Persuasion is a skill. It’s also something that can take time, depending upon the candidate and the circumstances involved. So when it comes to deciding whether or not to engage a search consultant to help fill an important position, you should ask yourself two important questions:
- Do we have not only the ability to find the top candidates, but also the ability to persuade and convince them to consider our opportunity?
- Do we have the time to identify, persuade, and convince the top candidates?
If the answers to these questions is “No,” then engaging a search consultant is best and most strategic move to make. When you want to hire the best talent, the ability to persuade and convince is critical to your success.
When you hire a recruiter, you pay for that ability. And the return that you receive on your investment are the best candidates in the marketplace.
We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of organizations. If this is something you would like to explore further, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.