Ask Barb: Should I Hire an Experienced Recruiter?

Dear Barb:

I want to hire, but I know my experienced recruiters will throw a fit if I throw a rookie into the mix. I thought about hiring an experienced recruiter who would bring a book of business with them, but then I worry about being sued of they have a non-compete.

How do I get my experienced people to give a new person a chance to succeed? My people know how to sell but they are all about themselves, not about helping someone else succeed. Every time I mention hiring I just get complaint after complaint. They are all convinced that a new person costs them money.

Do you hire experienced recruiters?

Bob P., Memphis, TN

Dear Bob:

I do not hire experienced recruiters. I hire successful sales people and then teach them our profession. If someone is willing to leave another owner and bring their clients and candidates, you have basically hired a thief. In the future, when they leave your firm they will do the same to you.

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The easiest way to integrate Sr. and Jr. Recruiters is to have your rookies start on the recruiting side of the placement process, not client development. If they begin to attract top talent for your senior recruiters, they will see the value in these new hires.

You can’t rely on a Big Biller to coach, mentor, or train. They are too selfish and successful to be bothered helping someone else. It is often an average producer who makes the best mentor. If you don’t have time to train, go to which can show you how to take training off your desk.

Stress the “What’s In It For Them” when you hire a new person and if possible involve them in the hiring process so you obtain their buy-in early.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email


4 Comments on “Ask Barb: Should I Hire an Experienced Recruiter?

  1. I disagree with Barb – not all seasoned recruiters are “thiefs”. I truly believe we seasoned recruiters are excellent mentors and have been through the cut throat biz knowing that it is also enjoyable to see a rookie succeed in a business you are passionate about. A true leader is a mentor and I would hire an experienced recruiter vs someone never done it – they have no idea how difficult it can be or how rewarding it can be if you are dedicated. Non-competes are always going to be there….respect them but don’t not hire someone good because of them.

  2. Well I have been in the business for over twenty years and have to disagree with Barb completely. If the company is treating their recruiters right, very little chance of them jumping ship.

    The reason why I think Barb and others like her pick a rookie is cost. They can generally get some good sales people to work for next to nothing at the start, which is better for the bottomline.

    I spent a sometime working for a well known national retail staffing company and they would hire young people for next to nothing, I would train them, fire more than half and send any clients they got to corporate, which means nobody got commission on the ongoing billing.

    What a deal for them and they gave me the same reason barb did, up until I got to be friends with the Vice President, then the story changed.

  3. I think the word thief is strong as well. I think that you can hire an experienced recruiter without necessarily requiring that they bring their book of business. The only clients in question are going to be those that the company they work for are currently doing business with. If the recruiter cannot create new business, you don’t really have a top performer anyway. I have had success with rookies and experienced recruiters. What you have to focus on is their skill set and ability to succeed. Forget the opinion of the rest of the team on this one. They will find issue either way. When the responsibility is yours you do as you would do for any other position;.you recruit the all star candidate! Competition is very healthy in the search world.

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