Dear Agency Recruiter …

… the last two candidates you have sent me are terrible! The agreement you sent me prior to engaging in this search requires me to pay you 25% of the individual’s first-year salary if I hire one of your presented candidates. In my case, that would be in the neighborhood of $17,000, which is a good sum of money.

I am feeling a little confused at the moment, as I was under the impression that you are to provide me the top 1% of talent available in the field of which I am seeking talent. Or, at least that is what you told me in your initial presentation of why we should use you.

Instead I opened both of the resumes you have sent me this morning, only to find the first individual, who has already applied to this position no less than eight times and we have already rejected, and the second individual has changed jobs more times in the past fiv years than runway models change outfits; am I to think this individual will stay with us any amount of time to learn our business and be a strong contributor?

When I signed up for this “executive search/recruiting” service, I was under the impression that you were going to bring me the best of the best, a game changer or an “A” player who can bring significant value and contributions to my business unit. But all I see here are average professionals and not the caliber that warrants me paying you $17,000.

I know it’s your business on how you operate, but I feel as if I need to share some suggestions for you and for what I really need in a search partner…

  • Executive search is a science that requires patience. You don’t have to fire me every resume in the city on day one of the position being open. Take your time and bring me your top 3-4 high quality individuals from which I can make a selection.
  • How do you know what I really need? All you asked for was a job description. You never once asked me what was/is important, what the key functions to be performed are, the type of individual that will fit in our group, why someone should take a job here, etc.
  • Quality means quality. If you are asking me to pay you 25% of one’s first-year salary, this person better be worth my investment.
  • Please follow up with me — after you sent me 20+ non-qualified resumes on day one, it was almost two weeks since I heard from you. I wasn’t sure if you were still engaged on my search or if I was to even expect another resume.
  • Don’t circumvent the process. We started working together on Day 1 and next thing I know you are pinging my boss with other candidates and topics. This makes me look bad.

Hope these few pointers help you in the future, but at this time we are going to take this search in house and handle it ourselves.

Good luck,

Mr. Hiring Manager

Morgan Hoogvelt currently serves as director, global talent acquisition for ESAB, a leading engineering company. Drawing on his expertise in human capital strategy, executive search, RPO, essential hiring practices, candidate sourcing, Internet recruiting, and social networking, he provides organizations targeted, best-of-class solutions, and employment branding strategies that help his clients meet the challenges of recruiting, technology, and retaining and rewarding top talent. He is also passionate about delivering excellent customer service and building positive, productive relationships. He can be contacted at


105 Comments on “Dear Agency Recruiter …

  1. Morgan, first off, I totally agree with the sentiment.

    Regarding the agency recruiter who sent you the two dud CVs – were they retained to fill your vacancy?

  2. Morgan, great article from the hiring manager’s point of view! I grind my teeth when I hear of what my “competition” gets away with when they provide substandard and inappropriate candidates, and the hiring manager / HR considers it part of doing business with third party recruiters. It would be ideal if all recruiters and hiring managers were made to read this article and sign off on it before starting a search! All the best, Mark

  3. Pissed off and for good reason. To make a quality hire, its important to understand the environment as well as the job. Team dynamics, speed of the environment, if its a technical role, does the candidate have the correct skill set to be productive today, as well as where the company is wanting to go. In simple terms, getting to know your client, and what is important to them.

  4. You know why I like this article? It’s short, to the point, and most points are received well. Best Brian-
    P.S. “20+ resumes is a day” I presume is an exaggeration.
    P.S.S. Steve Jobs, JFK, MLK, ALL circumvented the process.

  5. Dear Hiring Manager,

    Thanks for the candid e-mail. If we are going to build a long lasting relationship this dialog is necessary.

    I am not surprised by your reaction, I felt the same way when I sent these candidates to you.

    The problem we have is that you have had this position posted for six months and when it was not filled you reached out to multiple firms to assist you. After reviewing the JD, I relaized why it has not been filled. You are looking for “A” level players at “C” level compensation and benefits. I tried to call you to discuss but only got your voicemail. When I did not hear back from you I went to your manager to see if they could help. When that did not work, I sent you the resumes of the candidates I felt were the best fit based on the limited information you gave me. Yes, I asked if they had presented themselves and was told no, let’s face it, some candidates lie when they are frustrated and in need of a job. All I got back from you was we have this candidate in our database and is not in consideration. No reason why, just a curt e-mail. I followed this up with another phone call but have yet to hear back from you.
    I know you are busy but so are we. If you can’t invest 10 minutes to talk to me about what you are looking for then let me talk to the hiring manager, the person staring at the empty seat in the department. He/She is the one suffering not you and they are the one who knows what the need. I know your process is to send everything through HR then you ask the manager, who gets back to you, you then send me the information and then I hope nothing was lost in translation. Can you see why I like to talk to the hiring manager?
    In the end we are both on the same team, you need help and I can supply the help you need but we have to work together. I live and breath this stuff, I know the salaries of top talent, what skills are available and how long it will take to find them but you treat me as a commodity, one of multiple vendors your reached out to when you could not fill the job. My advice is to work with no more that 3 vendors that you trust and will listen to. If I am one of those vendors I will work with you to make you as sucessful as possible. If you want to keep using the shotgun approach then I chose not to work with you. I am good at what I do and want my clients to treat me as a partner, not as a commodity.

    Successful Agency Recruiter.

  6. Morgan: Very good. Here are some questions you need to be asking because, ultimately, the onus of quality candidates/hires lies with you.

    1. If the recruiter is slinging spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks, why do you work with him? Upon engaging the recruiter do you ask qualifying questions to determine if he actually knows how to recruit? For example, do you ask “When presenting our company what do you say to the candidate?” This will give you plenty of information including, “Have you ever heard of ABC company?” Unless the candidate is bold face lying the recruiter will not present a candidate that has been turned down by you 8 times.

    2. If the recruiter asks for nothing more that the job description and doesn’t truly delve into the other items you need for a successful hire, why do you work with him?

    3. If he sends you 20 resumes on the first day, why do you work with him? Any recruiter who slings resumes like this is NOT even bothering to call his candidates and present your opportunity. He’s sending resumes in hopes you’ll want to talk to 1 or 2, then calling the candidates of interest and then presenting the opportunity. This is NOT how recruiting is done. Again, why are you working with him?

    4. If you have a true partnership with your hiring managers that is working it wouldn’t be necessary for your managers to speak with the agency guy in question. In addition, if you’re doing your job effectively the other recruiter wouldn’t need to call the manager.

    5. As @MItch inquires, is the firm retained? Based on your comments I’ll assume they are contingent. I assert that the bulk of contingent recruiters recruit like you’ve described. Contingent recruiters who work in a “retained” fashion are few and far between. Remember, you get what you pay for. If you want quality you must pay for it. After all, I don’t imagine you’re working for free and getting paid by your company if and when you make a hire. Why should they?

    My intention is not to bash you but to bring up some points I think you should consider. I don’t want to see anyone pointing the finger at someone else. Remember that there are always 3 fingers pointed back at you in this case. We must always be accountable for our process and actions. Part of what I do for companies is put processes in place that work for companies, totally preventing what you’ve described and they work.

  7. I love this article. Funny and to the point.

    I also appreaciate @silcox comments as they are so valid. I was born and raised in the agency world so I understand it and for the most part agree.

    Sad reality? The age of providing the top 1% of talent to companiesis, for 90% of agencies, looong gone. Has been for years.

    Few companies understand, really understand, how to work with agencies and few agencies really care one way or another.

    It is an ongong issue and a marriage made in hell.

  8. This is less likely to happen using a good recruiter on a retained agreement.

    Contingency recruiters often don’t have the time to do a “true” search, because they don’t get paid unless a position is filled. They’re interested in numbers. The more sendouts, the more hires, and the more money in their pocket.

    That process will work for some employers, but to increase the chances of getting “A” talent, retained search is the way to go.

  9. I could not agree more with John. I have been in this business for 15 years and I shudder at some of the stories I hear about my competitors. Unfortunately ever since the boom of job boards, anyone can sign up for a monster, Dice, or whatever account, and hang a shingle as a recruiter. I also see high turnover in the recruiting field because of archaic training. Back in the day, I was told to make a 100 calls a day to pound the phones to be sucessful. Many recruiting companies still have this menality and it results in making us all look like a commodity. Our customers are much more sophisticated today and multiple phone calls only make you look desperate. Unfortunately, this is not going to change and it is up to Morgan to build the relationships with the best service providers and up to us to take our searches seriously and provide the value we promise.

  10. I get a kick out of corporate clients who prefer to work on contingency search. The deal is “tell you what, I’ll invest nothing, but I might pay you later. In the meantime, I expect you to commit your full attention to my needs.”

    Lacking a strong working relationship, an agency recruiter is likely to calculate the expected value of such an order and put forth a commensurate effort. If there are 3 other agencies working, it cuts the odds down to 1/3 of $17K, or $5667. Given a 50-50 shot at pleasing a hiring manager (without direct contact), the expected value reduces to $2833. And I’m being generous here.

    The failure lies in how you’ve structured the deal. If you want a commitment, you have to be willing to make one in return. Even an exclusive search on a contingent basis is a weak deal. The agency cannot control whether the hiring manager will make a viable offer, or if the job will be put on hold, or if someone is promoted from within. Nor can the client. When one party bears all the risk, its a bad deal.

  11. Amen to that! I can’t tell you how many of our clients have been much happier with somewhat longer searches that turn up high-value, truly qualified candidates. It’s always nice to see someone with the same sentiment. Sorry for your experience. Hope you find a better recruiter!

  12. Great blog and comments. It’s been stated already but I think this boils down to expectations – the client understanding what they are going to get when dealing with a contingent agency that recruits this way and an agency that doesn’t have the benefit (or interest) in “really” knowing what the client is looking for.

  13. Maureen, I agree with you when you said that “over-reliance on Internet “sourcing” is contributing to this problem. I have been a Sourcer for many years. My job was to look for passive Candidates that would be a fit for what the Client is looking and pre-screen them so the Recruiter would then call and talk to them further before they were presented. Things have changed as I worked for more companies, where it was all about making 100 calls a day and just throwing candidates at the Client mostly using Internet Sourcing. I don’t like to work that way.

  14. In the legal world “Ambulance Chasers” are considered a black stain on the profession filing law suits and getting paid contingent on a ruling in their client’s favor – but they typically pray on accident victims and take advantage of “litigation loopholes” in our legal system.

    In the recruiting world, “Candidate Chasers” are also paid on the success of their actions (a hire) and typically possess a poor reputation – but different from their ambulance chasing brethren, their efforts provide access to the 80% of the workforce that internal recruiting practices can’t attain using ads, referrals, etc. – critical to a companies overall success!

    How we have ever as an industry allowed the “contingent” payment model to fester for one of the most important business practices in industry is beyond imaginable…if every “quality” recruiting professional simply refused to work in this way – the quality of the only ones that would will become obvious to internal hiring authorities – the work that we do would given its due value – we would stop working for free – and fees would be less as efficiencies are realized – benefits for all!! (O.K. – so I like to dream a little… 🙂

  15. John K, Michael S.: Thanks for your valid points. However, please consider that although you prove your value to your clients that many clients paying contingency fees feel the same way about their value received.

    I appreciated my client’s confidence in me / our firm with their confidential “C”, “P” and “E” searches.

  16. Thanks for the great comments everyone. The search that was sent out was to a contingent agency and it was through a hiring manager. It was pushed to me once things didn’t seem to go right.

    Many comments have mentioned the differences between retained and contingent. While there are great contingent recruiters out there, @JP made a great comment, “The deal is “tell you what, I’ll invest nothing, but I might pay you later. In the meantime, I expect you to commit your full attention to my needs.”

    Is it possible or even keen to think the contingent model should go away to an all in retained model that way each party has equal risk in searches?

  17. If either party is not prepared to put skin in the game, the results are obvious. All the above comments are valid. When is corporate America going to realize that they need to invest in the human capital side of their business, rather than focusing on shareholder value. No matter how proficient recruiters become, we are somewhat limited by those we try to serve who don’t want to make the investment of time and money to build world class, market dominant companies.

  18. Preference: Exclusive contingency search for 2-4 weeks, then evaluate results to determine if both sides agree to continue exclusive arrangement.

    Some of the best clients also “pay” an upfront portion of the expected fee that is later deducted from the total upon succesful placement.

  19. Morgan there is no risk for the hiring company if the candidates presented are the exact opposite of the type of candidates that you received in your post…as long as the actionable hiring benchmarks are clearly defined, a “quality recruiting professional” will be able to deliver hire-able candidates (if there is a concern about meeting this objective they should be voiced so possible changes in the benchmarks can be made – if possible…if not the recruiter shouldn’t take the assignment…).

    As an external firm (retained only), we guarantee that these project goals are met and that a client will have enough candidates that meet these “on-target” benchmarks to make a hire – and if the first 3-4 candidates don’t bear fruit, we continue to provide candidates until a hire is made (its our risk to make sure we only provide top 20%ers). That is the type of Hiring Partnership that enables success.

    Finally, a clear benefit of a retained v. contingent approach is the cost savings of not having to build into a fee the work that you don’t get paid on…our flat fees for example are typically 25-50% less than the typical percentage of a salary…(not trying to give a commercial here, just illustrating a point about what a successful “professional” business relationship should look like…).

  20. KC – I would have to think there is a bit of risk, and I would venture to say some companies would not want to use a retained search firm as they are locked into the fee even if something happens with the search. Meaning, companies open and close reqs, change positions, promote internally, gain referrals, etc.

    So I would think that no matter the line of search, there is always some amount of risk involved.

  21. Really! Maybe this is because the hiring manager avoided calls for weeks at a time, then could not answer the question, Tell me, what 3 or 4 things would be the most important skills or experience that you would like to see in someone? That question prompted the I’ll send you a job description, I am busy and have to go. Before we got that far though, you told me when we began to discuss the service agreement that you paid on 15%, that you had dozens of top recruiters and they not only discounted they fees, but, gave you 6 months to pay. When you told me the position had been open for 9 months, I was rushed to the hospital because my jaw dropped hitting the desk. I am typing this instead of calling you because it is wired shut.

  22. @Tony V. – Really! Nice try and all though that does happen, it didn’t happen in this case. There were no calls that were avoided, there was no proper job order taken.

    So not in my case my friend.

  23. @ Michael: Very well said.
    @ Maureen: If companies were willing to pay for world-class sourcing like years, much agency work could be dispensed with.
    @ Morgan and Everybody: As a contract recruiter, I believe that contingency and retained recruiting is like a fine wine which should be imbibed only rarely, and for which there are no substitutes/discounts for the exceptional quality. Bottom line: you should only use a contingency/retained recruiter if you are prepared to pay 30-35% fees and commit to some of the agreements that Michael and some of the rest of you have mentioned. If they’re not willing to pay the amount and commit to the agreements, there are many more affordable options, but don’t expect those to get you the level of service that you’d get from a very experienced professional contingency or retained recruiter.



  24. That’s the whole point here Keith. This firm represents itself as a “top notch” search group and they have many clients around the city. With the way they treated this particular search, I am not sure how they stay in business.

    I guess the broader point is that everyone participating in this discussion seems to “get it” when it comes to recruiting whether retained or contingent and understands that quality and proper process is the name of the game.

    Over the last few years since being in the business, I have seen the recruiting industry rival that of the stock jockey industry with all the people coming into the game to make quick and fast cash. But it doesn’t work that way.

  25. Morgan, let me know if you have any needs in transportation / logistics / supply chain / distribution. I am up for your challenge to prove I earn long lasting relationships with multiple placements. Be ready to play by the rules mentioned above.

  26. Morgan, all you need to do is identify those recruiters who you can trust to pay a certain amount of money upfront to and who can demonstrate their ability to run the assignment as well as you would do, if you had the time.

    It really shouldn’t be hard for a decent recruiter to commit to filling a job and providing an assignment report that details all of the work done on the assignment. Just needs the right SLA to be agreed.

    Statistically, talking to contingency recruiters is a huge waste of your time and their only real value is collective – and even that has to offset against the damage they do trampling all over your employer brand.

  27. What type of vetting process do internal recruiters use when agreeing to contract with 3rd parties? I would think a process to screen out those with these practices may be possible. I think as an industry, those of us in the 3rd party recruiting industry should also do a better job of screening the hiring managers as well to avoid wasting time with unmotivated parties.

  28. To probably better make my point, I should clarify. Your misgivings about Contingency Recruiters closely mirror some of the concerns that Contingency Recruiters have about working with Hiring Authorities and Internal Recruiters. There are good and bad in each and both groups need to do a much better job in selecting who they decide to work with.

  29. @Jon – if any of those needs come up and if there is permissions for use, I will call you first – you can count on that. I’ll stand ready to play by any rules we agree on.

    @Mitch – great points, I am learning a lot about time savings and your points are right on with my thoughts, thank you.

    @Tony V. – I don’t really think there is any type of vetting process that goes on to screen 3rd party agencies. I know for a fact within several departments of our company, if you call, more than likely you will get an order no matter who you are. Its always been easy pickens but that is changing.

    And secondly, you are right about concerns on the hiring manager front. Since I worked at an agency for a few years, I saw what you see and it frustrated me. I always worked with people who had the need, the urgency and were responsive. The ones who didn’t, I basically fired them and moved on.

  30. @ Morgan: A number of things-
    1) The firm offered lower than 25%; if they were willing to cut the price lower than 30%, what else were they willing to cut?
    2) It might have been a bad recruiter at an otherwise sterling firm.
    3) Did the client do due diligence aka, “back-door references” on this firm?
    4) Did the client and the firm discuss and sign a SLA (thanks, Mitch) to clarify mutual expectations and minimize miscommunication.


  31. JP said, “The deal is “tell you what, I’ll invest nothing, but I might pay you later. In the meantime, I expect you to commit your full attention to my needs.”

    Hmmm…. So, I guess all the companies out there that pay their salespeople on commission have got it all wrong and are living in the Dark Ages. Same goes for sports teams that have incentive clauses and executives who get stock options.

    Good points on both sides here, but arguing that a “pay for performance” model is broken or outdated is not one of them.

  32. I have a mutual expectations document that I have all the companies I am working with sign. If they don’t sign the agreement, I don’t work with them. The agreement specifies the arrangement from both parties perspective. If a prospective client company has any questions about how I perform, or the quality of service I offer, I am happy to provide them with a CEO, or VP level reference that I have had a long term relationship with, possibly spanning several companies, who will be willing to describe how our long term relationship has benefited them or the companies they have worked for.

    I have noticed that there have been comments about fees and also about contingency firms that I would like to address. In only looking at fees, the company is missing the boat. What they should be looking at is the ROI. If a company hires an individual for $100K and pays a 30% fee, from a simplistic standpoint, they have invested $130K. If I brought you an individual who consistantly generated a $1M in new business each and every year in their career, would the ROI in your opinion justify the fee? If I could lay down $130K and receive $1M, I wouldn’t be participating in this conversation, I would be cashing in.
    Secondly- while it is true that contingency firms only get paid for results, how motivated are retained firms to get results when they already have 2/3 of the fee? It really doesn’t matter whether the search is contingency or retained, what does matter is the communication, committment, cooperation and sense of urgency in getting the job done. If everyone in the process does not do due diligence, then everyone is at fault. I have primarily been a contingency recruiter for 30 years. I pride myself on the job I do and the service I provide to the companies I work with.

  33. @Dave: Your argument is flawed. Athletes, executives and sales people get a base salary (the ones I’ve worked with over the years get a healthy base salary in the 6 figures or more) + incentives. As a rule, contingent recruiters don’t.

  34. Morgan, I have been a recruiter for the last 17 years and I agree with Maureen 100%. This day and age more & more agencies are relying on the internet sourcing, while it is an excellent source for networking I can not see where a search firm… especially a retained search firm could or better yet would provide their clients with these candidates and I have worked for a couple of firms that were retained that did just that, and I am sorry but I do not agree with providing a client with candidates that they could just as easily find for themselves by searching on Monster or Careerbuilder…etc. No… when the client is paying top price for a candidate, especially upfront the firm should go after the “hidden candidate market” this is a candidate that is not actively seeking a new opportunity but may be open to one if was presented to him/her. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not suggesting that the candidates that are not working should not be considered, but I feel the search should not rely on finding those types of candidates from the beginning of the search process. Open your resources and utilize all of them until you find the client the top 5 candidates to choose from.

    Furthermore, I must add that if a recruiter seeking a relationship with me or my company did not ask the pertinent questions which I know would be necessary to fill my opening position, I would never have signed the contract in the first place. Because after all introducing yourself to a prospective client and sharing the time with them to find out about their business and how you could be a contributor to their continued success is the first step in building a mutually long-term beneficial relationship.

    Thanks for listening,
    Faith Bouchard

  35. I have worked in corporate recruiting for nearly a decade. Outside of surge support or executive search I try to use vendors as little as possible. When I find myself in a position where external help is imperative I go to one of two companies based on my needs. I have a long lasting, solid relationship with these two companies to the extent that the owners of both were invited to (and attended) my wedding. I trust them implicitly and vice versa. They work on the requirement with the confidence of exclusivity and I accept their submittals with the utmost confidence that they are “A players.” If you treat your vendors as true business partners they will reciprocate.

  36. Hi Morgan,
    If you were concerned about having a job rescinded, then you should not hire a firm to provide the service – its that simple. The change in recruitment services quality will be so noted that you will discipline your hiring mgmt to not do this…openings mostly have this happen because mgmt know that they can get away with it since you allow it by the choices of vendors you make.

    Hmmm…lets’s see, we need to upgrade our software to be more efficient – once the upgrade is underway is there a chance in hell of changing your mind and telling the IT service provider – never mind and not paying them? Of course not. That’s why they are sure the software is needed before contracting for it…

    It is the same with any service and hiring top 20% talent is the MOST important activity a company conducts – so why should there be a different standard for it – there shouldn’t – and your mgmt would change the way they play around with reqs if they took this to heart…its up to you!

  37. Social Media Guru – Spot ON!! Business model aside, if a true hiring partnership exists, magic can happen…if a vendor/buyer relationship exists, it can lead to frustration…

  38. @ Everybody: as there were subprime loans and subprime borrowers, so there are subprime clients and subprime recruiters. In an ideal world, everyone could pick and choose, but sometimes clients insist on the best and won’t pay for it and there are excellent recruiters who can’t always afford to be so selective in choosing their clientele. Because things aren’t always “cut and dried,” “neat and tidy,” “black or white”- this is why much of recruiting exists. One day you’re “down in the dumps,” next day you’re “riding piggyback on a rainbow”. Maybe you “coulda been a contender, you coulda been somebody, instead of a bum”. “Forget it, Morgan. It’s Recruitertown.”

    @ Maureen: You’re right, Mighty Mo- I meant “yours” not “years”….
    That makes sense, too. People have been telling me for a long time “Up years!” and I didn’t understand…


  39. @KC – wish everything is as “simple” as you say. In large companies, things change very fast and sometimes very slow.

    Until the human race is perfected, people will make dumb decisions, act to quickly, fail to long range plan, etc. And we all know that organizational change takes time, training and patience – it is not SIMPLE as you put it.

    If it was simple, everyone would be doing it.

  40. @Edward – spot on, ROI is where it all is – but most people/hiring managers see only within their department budgets and not long term or big picture – its an investment.

    @Everyone – thanks for the discussion and great points.

  41. Morgan – Certainly change mgmt is not simple and I apologize if your takeaway was the opposite – what I was trying to say is that if you decide the type of hiring partner to use – then the choice IS simple – pick speed, quality and cost regardless of business model …getting people to realize that hiring fees should be viewed the same way they do every other vendor they deal with is a challenge – no doubt…I would bet that most Clear Channel Sr. Mgrs pay vendor fees in their functional area (IT, Delivery, etc.) – it would be great if UPS only got paid upon delivery – but that’s not how it works…and hiring top 20% talent for a critical opening has a whole lot more value than if a package arrives on time! It’s a “sell” nonetheless…

    Here’s is a quick example of how it CAN work …in our business we only work with multi billion dollar companies (most are larger than Clear Channel), and they mostly have net 30 day payment terms. So years ago we built our deliverable around this 30 day time period with a guarantee that if we aren’t delivering as expected, a client can cancel up to the 30th day. If we are delivering as expected, then the client does nothing and Accts Payable begins processing our fee. Our flat fees are based on what we pay our staff for the same 30 day period (btw – its a lot less than a 25% fee!), and for every day past 30 days that we have to keep recruiting for the role, this cuts into our profits – it is our built in “Speed to Hire” metric…( The kicker is that we guarantee that you will get a hire – no matter how long it takes).

    Regardless of who you choose, using a company that stands behind their work as described above is the key. Sure, this is called retained – but in our model there is no financial exposure – and our goal is to grow with each client for the long term. I am very familiar that you have to gain a consensus and change mgmt isn’t simple – but if you pick hiring partners that work fast, cost less, and deliver top 20% quality candidates…that choice can have huge positive effects on the company – paying big career dividends for you…just a thought.

  42. Morgan, I’m not sure who you are but you’re okay in my book. As someone who has experience as an internal/corporate recruiter (both contract and as a perm employee), contingency recruiter and retained exec search recruiter, I can tell you that this is not a new topic. And while we can pretend it’s about benchmarks and communication models, etc. what it comes down to are the percentage of bad-apples in the contingency world who only care about the invoice. Money is king for them and they’ll treat clients as commodities. This is one of the reasons I had a very thorough vetting process for bringing new agencies onto my vendor list. I was prepared from my days of “slinging spaghetti” and I’m not naive to think that those guys aren’t still out there. Best of luck to you though. I hope you find some quality firms to work with. They’re out there.

  43. This is why the best agencies out there care less about volume and more about relationship driven models, and are usually the smaller shops. (I’ve spent time on both agency and corp sides, so I feel confident in stating this)

    What I don’t understand is why this agency was still engaged by your company when all they asked for was a job description. Did they come into your location, see the site, meet the team, etc? A lack of those (without an established relationship already) would trigger alarms for me.

    There is a responsibility on both sides to make sure that they vet the other, IMHO. Great post though, thank you.

  44. Some ‘spot on’ comments. I’ve been recruiting since the mid 90’s, and along with most of the other seasoned vet, have seen many changes.
    The past year has presented some challenges mainly in the area of competing with the internal HR recruiters who always ‘appear’ to be in a rush, overwhelmed to the point of recruiting for upwards of fifty open positions at a time, and make sure that YOU, understand their need to quality resumes based on ‘just the facts’ of a generic job description.
    Most recently I signed on with a global manufacturing company for two transportation related opportunities. Normally, this would be a ‘no brainer’. Recruit the old fashioned way, present a few quality candidates, the ones that don’t have time to even update their resume, but were referred to you as top notch talent.
    Again, generic feedback from both HR and the hiring manager- ‘not a fit’, need more specific transportation!
    When I suggested before going forward and wasting everyone’s time, that we have a ‘three way’ conversation to get some clarification, and specifics….I was told, we don’t have time for that- just keep them coming!
    Now, it could be me, but I’m going out on a limb to guess that HR is stock piling some good talent for free.
    Point made- After several attempts to get additional information, I’ve moved on…….wonder if they’ll notice!!

  45. Based on the comments from the ‘retained Brethren (Sisthren?), a highly successful / highly compensated contingency based recruiter / Headhunter will probably be the following:
    1. paid too much
    2. not effective to their clients (neither short or long term)
    3. does not have a true relationship with their clients (not a true partner)
    4. does not anticipate the clients need
    5. not successful if / when the hired candidate is recruited before a 2-4 week time frame (taking a longer time to find the “best fit / top 20%, etc.” means the candidate is more valuable?)

  46. @Sung – thanks for your comments and you are spot on with the # of bad apples in the industry. When I first got out of the service my first position was in financial sales, wow a greedy industry and now our economy is in the trouble we are in. I see the same bad apples chasing invoices in recruiting which is sad to see as this is a business where one can make a great living yes, but at the same time really have an impact on a person’s life and also on a company.

    @Rita – I know where you are coming from and have been there myself. For me, in that situation, I would give the breakup call and as you said, would wonder if they even noticed I was not in the picture anymore…

    @Peter – also spot on my friend, the responsibility lays on all sides, not just one. And I agree, relationship driven models go further than the transaction based ones.

    @Jon – pretty strong generalizations you have gathered.

  47. Interesting comments in this discussion. I am a 42 yr veteran of recruiting industry. I have done retained and contingency.

    @Michael- I assume your response back is just an example of what MAY have happened and you were not the recruiter that Morgan was talking about. I have seen those scenarios many times in my career.It does happen.

    @Phyllis- You are right on about too many internet only recruiters. You must call passive candidates that didn’t even know they were looking for opportunities(until I called them and enticed them to just take a look) and they didn’t have a resume posted anywhere and were not looking at the boards. That’s recruiting! You refer to making 100 calls in a day as a negative. This is a contact sport. You make have to make 100 calls to connect with 10 or more.If Recruiter A contacts 5 people per day and Recruiter B contacts 15 the odds are that B will get more candidates. There is quality to be found in quantity.The successful recruiters I have seen ($400k-$800k in revenues)embrace this concept. That’s what members of the Pinnacle Society do.

  48. The Average Recruiter Salary |

    Average Recruiter Income
    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups recruiters in the job category of employment, recruitment and placement specialists. The BLS reports that workers in the field earned an average annual income of $54,530 in May 2009, which translates to an average hourly wage of $26.21. The median income of workers in the occupation was $46,200. This means half of workers earned more than $46,200 and half earned less.

    Income Range
    The BLS states that educational requirements of recruiters can vary greatly from one company and position to another and that college graduates tend to have better job opportunities. BLS data show that the top 10 percent of employment, recruitment and placement specialists earned $87,060 or more in May 2009 while the bottom 10 percent of income earners in the field made $28,370 or less. Half of workers in the occupation earned between $35,430 and $64,380.

    In a nutshell: the median comp for all recruiters in 2009 was $23.10/hr, and only 10% of recruiters earned more than $43.50/hr. I have said that the work recruiters should do should be paid $50+/hr. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions….

    Keith “Not in the Bottom 10%” Halperin

  49. @Keith – I can agree with your data perhaps in a corporate setting. But it is not accurate for what a good agency recruiter can earn.

    I can agree with you that I think in house recruiters needed to be compensated higher if they fall in these lower pay bands. I will tell you however, that I have seen on several occasions where companies do recognize recruiter pay. Going back a couple articles I wrote ago, my good friend Herb is around $35/hr. But I will say paying a corporate recruiter $50+/hr is a bit high in most companies.

  50. @ Morgan: Thanks. These didn’t differentiate between corporate and agency. Also, it doesn’t really matter to me what the top 1% CAN earn, I want to know what the remaining 99% DO earn.

    I agree with you: a great deal of what recruiters are paid to do (both in corporate and agency settings) is worth a lot less than $50/hr. My point is that companies are inefficient paying recruiters $24-$35/hr to do work that shouldn’t be done to begin with (no-sourced), is tedious and can be automated (no-sourced), or is low-touch and can be sent away (out-sourced), for $11/hr or less. The people who work as recruiters should be paid the $50+/hr to close, advise, mentor, streamline procedures, build relationships, act as an onsite Project Manager for virtual resources, etc.- stuff that you need a pro to do. If most recruiters are doing this and are making a median of $23/hr, they’re way UNDERPAID, and if they’re doing the $11/hr stuff, they’re way OVERPAID (and their jobs are at risk).


  51. @ Keith and Morgan- The #’s you are referring to are mixed with Corporate (in house) recruiters as well as agency, I assume. One of the reasons agency recruiters make more is that many times they have to work both sides of the desk. Recruit and business development. In house folks don’t have to market for business, it is built in. And is one of the compelling reasons recruiters go in house(that and a Higher base).We have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a good client, therefore We have to be all the things you mentioned in your last post and some. Some of my recruiters have made $150K- $270K. But they make a lot of calls and influence a lot of folks. On this side you eat what you kill and if you want to eat well you have to hunt often.

  52. Morgan, your “Dear Agency Recruiter” note has obviously stirred the pot for a number of people on both sides of the hiring fence. Pot stirring is a good thing at times especially when it opens the door for communication and learning.
    My question for you Morgan, is who is on your list to call when suddenly find that you are without a job because your position has suddenly been eliminated or outsourced or your boss decided they didn’t like you any more? Might there be a recruiter on that list? Might you hope that you are the 1% that they talk to their clients about?

  53. Connie – GREAT QUESTION!!!! I cant say how long I have been waiting for someone to ask me that question. Not that I am in the market for a new role, but isn’t this part of the relationship building process as well?

    When I ran a desk – I knew all my clients/hiring managers well and also knew what opportunities they would want to hear about so I can search for them if they were in the market as well or to even keep them aware of new roles to enhance their careers. I receive cold calls all day long from HR recruiters and not one has ever asked, “What about yourself?” Everyone is too busy trying to sell me something. And this is exactly the point of my article.

    So to answer your question, and let me be clear that I am not looking for another opportunity – No, there is no recruiter who I may call if I suddenly found myself in a pinch. No one has taken the time to find out what is important to me, perhaps find a personality that works with me or our culture…all these calls are positioned as buy, buy, buy.

  54. Now that it is clear that you are not looking for a new job, is it okay if I ask you a question? What do you wish that your company would do for you that they are not doing?

  55. @Steve: Well said. Some recruiters can and do make lots of money, and I say good for them. Most don’t and won’t.

    @Connie: you raised an interesting point. What percentage of people (either active or passive) are contacted by contingency or retained agencies for a realistic position?
    (I’m contacted all the time by agency personnel who clearly haven’t read my resume before they contact me.)


  56. Morgan, feel free to drop me a line with your contact info. I’d be more than happy to learn more about the specifics of what would intrigue you in terms of your career growth . Cheers.

  57. Excellent article all with very valid points.

    I am a believer in building a relationship with a client when I recruit. The recruiter needs to understand the culture of the company they are working for or else it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Good communication and timely feedback makes short work of many recruiting issues.

    My theory is that we have become too reliant on instant messaging and email in business and the art of conversation/communication has been taken for granted leaving the message lost in the medium.

  58. Great post,

    There will always be those that try it on, but those Recruiters, and firms that employ them, are finding it harder and harder to trade in this ever increasingly competitive market.

    Having been on both sides of the fence I too am amazed at what some Recruiters get away with. I made a significant fee with what can only be described as 100% luck in my first month as a Recruiter – it happens.

    In a professional capacity I meet many Recruiters and I can honestly say it’s much better now than 5 years ago.

  59. Dear Hiring Manager,
    I’m sorry to hear this familiar blame game however I’m a bit suprised that you appointed a Search Consultant without making the proper checks.
    Although I agree with the sentiment, I disagree with all your poorly made points:
    1. Search is an Art not Science. Anyone can find candidates, it’s the delivery that’s the skill.
    2. Job functions, type of person and reasons to join should be in a Job Description. The mind-boggles as to what’s in yours if it doesn’t cover the above.
    3. 25% of salary is a drop in the ocean compared to the potential lapse cost of not hiring the right candidate.
    4. The only conceivable reasons a Recruitment Consultant wouldn’t follow up are (a) you do not reply ever or (b) they’re dead.
    5. It’s not me making you look bad in front of your boss!

    There’s a difference between people who understand and those that just repeat phrases they’ve heard.

    Best Regards

  60. As in any, I say ANY, profession, you can plot its members’ skill level on a bell curve. Most are generally good at what they do, and you find decreasing numbers as you migrate to the left and right of the graph.

    That said, here’s an interesting exchange I had with a “left side” recruiter yesterday (bear in mind that my profession is recruiting):

    RECRUITER: Greetings, my name is XXXX and I’m a Recruiter at XXXX, LLC. You’ve received this email because the skills in your resume matched our search criteria for a Communication Lead in our database. It is possible that you may not be best suited for this particular position, but we have multiple positions available in all areas and levels of IT where you may be interested and better suited. (job description followed).

    ME (out of frustration from receiving too many of these spammy messages): Absolutely interested. Call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

    RECRUITER: Do you think you could send me an updated resume? The one I have is from 2006.

    ME: Oh, then I wonder how you thought I was qualified? What in my resume gave you that impression?

    RECRUITER: We send an e-mail merge to candidates who match a keyword search in our database. I’m assuming if you responded that you think you are qualified. (Note: By “our database”, he really means Careerbuilder)

    ME: I’m nowhere near qualified, and you and your colleagues never read resumes. That means what you do is spam people.

    RECRUITER: (no reply)

  61. First of all the contract stated “…if I hire…”.
    That means it was a contingency recruiting agreement.
    Contingency is not “Executive Search” as Executive Search (as later the process is referred to) would have required monies upfront before even commencing the search.

    In this case the “Client” (term loosely applied as there was no relationship unless a hire took place) got exactly what they “Paid for”. “0”

  62. Lively discussion!
    @Richard C.-Is it possible that you sent them a resume in response to a posting in 2006? Many times a candidate sends out multiple resumes to “cover all the bases” and doesn’t remember who all they sent it to. I have submitted a candidate before who told me they had never submitted to a specific client,(I always ask) only to have the client say they already have it from(date).
    My firm has been in business for 38 yr and we have 150K candidates in OUR database. We do key word searches and sometimes find folks who are “close” to qualified. But they now have more experience and may be qualified. It is worth a call or an email to explore.

    We post our positions to some niche job boards but we don’t mine the resume databases because too many others do. Our client can do that. We reach out to passive candidates that our client will not have access to. That’s recruiting.
    Did you really think you could post a resume for the world to see and not be “spamed” or communicated with?

    @Frank- You are paying attention. I missed the “if I hire”.
    Good points. But what is “Executive Search”. The best search firms who work contingency(We do both)Use the exact same processes that the ES folks do. And we do mgmt and Director level positions in healthcare.

  63. @steveodell – I would never have sent my resume to an IT consulting firm. Furthermore, at no time did my resume ever reflect that I’m qualified to be a Communications Lead. It’s clear they used the word “communications” as a keyword, but the only time that word shows up in my resume is within the name of one of my past employers.

    Certainly, I’m aware that a resume posted in a database is a potential target for spammers, but what does that have to do with anything. Anyone who posts a resume (or a job), has a reasonable expectation that respondents will be legitimate.

    In any event, my purpose for sharing the incident was to provide a recent, real-life example of the topic…that there are so-called recruiters who shouldn’t be categorized as such.

  64. Just wondering if anyone but me has noticed that Morgan Hoogvelt, the author of this note “Dear Agency Recruiter” is not a hiring manager? He’s an internal recruiter. Tee hee, pretty funny Morgan.

  65. @Richard C- Understand and appreciate your sharing “the other side of the story” from a real life experience. As folks have been saying, there are good and bad apples in every profession.
    The Applicant tracking systems that many firms use are not perfect. Keyword search is often a place to start. A good recruiter has to qualify. But often that individual can offer a referral to help a friend or unhappy coworker.

  66. @DeDe – thanks for the comment.

    @Favid Palmer (or David?) – Not sure what recruiting world you live in, but from my point of view – your points are way off the mark:

    1. Search is an Art not Science. Anyone can find candidates, it’s the delivery that’s the skill.

    NO WAY, not anyone can find candidates, there is something called knowledge, skill and ability. Lots of people try and lots fail. While delivery is also key as you pointed out, finding them first is half the battle.

    2. Job functions, type of person and reasons to join should be in a Job Description. The mind-boggles as to what’s in yours if it doesn’t cover the above.

    NO WAY – most people/hiring managers/companies/recruiters don’t even know how to write a proper job description in the first place. Then, what about all the things you cant factor into the job description like fit, personality, etc. Great recruiters don’t recruit off job descriptions.

    3. 25% of salary is a drop in the ocean compared to the potential lapse cost of not hiring the right candidate.

    WHAT? 25% of any salary is not a drop in the ocean, or at least not in this economy. While there is cost benefit, asking anyone to spend that amount of money deserves more value in return from a recruiter. It’s all about ROI.

    4. The only conceivable reasons a Recruitment Consultant wouldn’t follow up are (a) you do not reply ever or (b) they’re dead.

    SPEECHLESS on this point. If you are actively interviewing candidates on a daily basis, ask them one day how many recruiters don’t return their calls/emails and so forth. This is where the good recruiters separate themselves from the others.

    5. It’s not me making you look bad in front of your boss!

    WRONG – it is YOU making me look bad when you are trying to call over and around me instead of dealing with me.

  67. I am not so sure that much useful has come from anything posted here except to vent frustration that Internal Recruiters have with External Recruiters and vice versa. I suppose that the internet is designed to promote such discussion, but, it was obvious to me early on that Morgan had a recent bad experience that he was dealing with. It is safe to say that internal recruiters have their share of horror stories and that external recruiters often feel that the Internal Recruiters hinder the process. The key to success is not complaining about it but by learning how to deal with the inconvenience.

  68. @steveodell – Like you, I’ve been in the recruiting profession for many years, so I fully understand the nature of asking for referrals. Still, you keep those requests in context. Even a cursory look at my resume would have revealed that the odds of my knowing a qualified person for the position in question are no better than selecting a name in a phone book with eyes closed.

    The recruiter ADMITTED to having simply done a “mail merge”, meaning there was no review to see if the people being contacted would be in a reasonable position to help.

    That is inexcusable and indefensible, and it contributes to giving the profession a black mark.

  69. Absolutely great point Tony…I would add that the entire hiring process is inefficient and has been since the advent of the resume back in the 1950’s…the majority of our systems are antiquated that only access a very small percentage of the talent marketplace (its debatable but most agree its less than 25% – BLS says 14%…). Pretty much all of our new technological “systems” are methods to process or attract a bigger % of those actively seeking employment, kind of adding band aids to a severed artery…

    Most companies use External Agencies for less than 10% of their hiring needs. Tony is right, although more than inconvenience, its still just 10% of hiring. Some would argue that its the most vital 10% – and I would certainly agree – and that is why communicating as partners instead of vendors is so vital to success.

  70. @Richard C- When we do a database search there may be as many as 200+ “potential” candidates.Do you pull it up and review everyone? One of the keys to success is maximizing your time.
    Sometimes it makes sense to “reach out” by email vs calling. However, I am all about calling. That’s where we do our best work.
    @Tony- You make a valid point re us vs them. I will rarely take on a search unless we have a conversation with the hiring mgr. I can work with HR or internals if I know exactly what I am looking for and why the 1st one I sent didn’t qualify.
    @ Morgan- David make a good point about “finding” candidates but can you “deliver” them to the client. The most value from a good recruiter is being able to get them to actually come to work for you. Our value is in
    1. Convincing them to at least check it out, test the water. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose but a little time to talk to them over the phone. But it could be a life changing experience.
    2. Salary negotiations- I have seen many a deal explode over a few thousand $. The client thinks the candidate is being greedy, the candidate thinks the client is low balling them. you have to have a reality check on both sides sometimes.
    3. Counteroffers- In our world it happens almost every time.
    I prepare them for that so they know what to expect and they don’t get the big head and think there value is NOW worth more.
    $. On boarding- We have a process that is step by step to be sure they do not take a counter, have given notice, have applied for licensing,real estate issues if relocating, etc
    We all have hired someone that decide at a later date not to make the change.Therefore I get my client also involved in the onboarding process.Too many bad things can happen after acceptance.

    That’s the value we bring to the table.

  71. @steveodell- I never reach out to a resume contact unless and until I review it for applicability. Another key to success is developing and nurturing a stellar reputation. I’m glad you’re successful with your approach, but it’s one I’ll never employ.

  72. @Morgan.
    It would be easier to have a discussion if you didn’t change the goal-posts to suit your arguement. Point 3: I said 25% is a drop in the ocean compared to the lapse cost. I did not say 25% is a drop in the ocean.
    Point 4 is about Recruiters getting back to Clients not about them getting back to Candidates! Your on the wrong page!
    You sound like an 11 year old kid whose Dad’s in recruitment and you’ve picked up some of the chatter without knowing what it means.

    Popular thread though.
    David or Favid..whatever!

  73. Been with ERE since the beginning: Same discussion, different year.

    Both sides have their issues, both sides are adamant in believing the other side needs to be taken behind the toolshed and beaten to an inch of their miserable job description.

    In the end, both have succeeded in convincing potential employees that asses and elbows are indistinguishable from each other.

    Can’t we all just get along?

  74. Right you are, Steve. But…it’s not a bad thing to revisit the issue from time to time, just to remind everyone about the things we each face.

  75. @Favid – coming from someone who can’t spell their own name right, I don’t take your comments to serious.

    Communication is communication and if one can’t get back to candidates, they can’t get back to clients. It’s both ways, unless you need me to spell every single scenario out for you.

    And fortunately, my boss doesn’t hire 11 year old kids into a position like this. I think I know what I am talking about and when I was recruiting my numbers spoke for themselves.

    Since you seem to know it all, why don’t you just go make some cold calls.

  76. If you are 11 years old, can tell me about a company with a need and tell me who the decisions makers are, I’ll talk to you. 🙂

  77. @Steve O – Good point Steve and I understand the value’s brought that you point out. I do believe that a lot of value lays in being able to find and locate individuals as well and that they are of all equal importance.

    A great recruiter will be well versed in all these areas. Typically when I hire a recruiter, I want to know how creative they are and how they can think out of the box – so I give them a fake position and then have them build me a recruiting plan around it. Some of the plans have been bad, some have been average, but then there are some that have blown me away and showed me things I didn’t even think of.

    To me, its a total value picture.

  78. @ Richard- Thank you. I do feel very blessed to be able to build a class organization and survive the many downturns in the economy.We are told by outsiders that our firm does have a good reputation.
    Have you ever sent an email to someone you had never talked to or could not get on the phone and once done realized they were not a “prospect”? Sorry to say I have. Email is a great way to communicate certain things and be a time saver. But it is still a phone business. I have to go I have some recruiting calls to make. 🙂

  79. @steve – I’m not talking about isolated instances where you take the shot without the benefit of having full information. I’m talking about systematic spamming where available information is right there, but ignored.

    I’m not saying that’s what you do, but if it is then I simply can’t agree with it.

  80. @ Morgan: With respect, I disagree with you about the “finding” part.
    Sourcing is a highly valuable part of the recruiting process. At the same time, the vast majority of potentially viable candidates can be found by resources that cost $6.25/hr or less (I used to say $11/hr or less, but I’ve found some additional quality lower-cost resources). If they can’t find the people you need, then you can get the world-class pros like Maureen, Shally, Irena, Glenn to get you a list for $40+/name. It’s not something a recruiter should need to spend a great deal of time doing, unless they’re really a world-class sourcer and not a recruiter.



  81. @Richard- No offense taken here.Good points!

    To all- It is obvious that many of us are passionate about what we do and how we do it. But I am always open to learn and change. That’s how we grow. I am a 4 time president of our local association and current Board member. Also on Board for Texas Assoc for many years. Several times a year we bring in some of the great minds/speakers in the industry with new techniques and ideas. Old dogs can learn new tricks. 🙂

  82. To all- I wasn’t just beating my chest but failed to make the main point of all that. The association I am referring to is MAPC(Metroplex Assoc of Personnel Consultants) It posts scheduled meetings. Come and visit us sometime, you may learn something.:)

  83. @Keith – agree to disagree, but that is an integral part of being a superstar full cycle recruiter. As to your recent points and blog on recruiter pay, this is what separates your $50/hr recruiters from the others.

    And I would like to see a real world case study to see you bring in a $6.25/hr resource who can source and find candidates the way a higher level professional can. I doubt it will be at the same level.

    Say what you want but I need and want the full package. Besides, the hunt is where a lot of the fun is.

  84. I am sorry to you the writer of this orginal letter. Why should you recieve resumes from people that have had many jobs over years.

    I will give you a good example with which you should mull over and reconsider speaking with the applicants instead of just tossing them to the no hire file you posses.

    A person can serve their country in the military, get out and raise their children yet within a marriage to a military member. So, good jobs have to be given up when that active duty member is moved to yet another base. That spouse has to start over. And there could be times when that spouse is told not to work by the military member, but to stay home and care for home.

    Maybe that ex-military member had a lot of responsibilities in the military and working as a cashier, being stuck in one small space with no upward mobility capabilities caused the person to desire more job satisfaction.

    Possibly helping build stores and work customer service was good, but the desire to be more was not taken seriously.

    Even with the above possibilities mentioned, least we forget that oft times divorce happens and somebody must start their life completely all over.

    That in having to do so, there are jobs more than you desire on an applicants resume. Although you notice that, you just toss them into the don’t want pile.

    Personally, I was active duty for ten years, as an E-% at one time I wore two jobs – one my own and rank correctly, the other was for the rank of an E-7 9 level. I ran a whole bunch production within a Squadron Section Commanders office and as the Administration Manager for the Command Section having 7 suboffices with two personnel in each office under me.
    At my 10 year mark, being married military to military and being overseas, it was decided I would get out of the military to raise our children. Thus, many jobs began stacking up on my resume. Then sixteen years later, I found myself divorced, with a track record of working in sales. I am older now, my physical body cannot continue to unload trucks nor to load customers’ vehicles with the purchases of 20 bags of 40 pounds worth of manure. I have had college, received a degree, cant afford to pay the tuition – thus I have no proof of handing somebody a copy of my degree. I earned it though, gained a 3.71 GPA in a medical field, Magna Cum Laud also. But I have been stuck in peoples not to hire list due to too many jobs on my resume.

    So what have I done? I signed up with a staffing agency. Whew, went for clerical positions, was sent to telemarket outcalling positions…thats not my personality. Got sent to factory work as a labor worker, about 15 months later I was having to have both hands operated on from over working my arms and hands which caused carpul tunnel syndrom and trigger finger in two fingers.

    My desire, get back into the office work. Problem, nobody wants to hire somebody that is rusty in computers but yet would be a good loyal employee. An empoyee that wouldnt steal from the company, one that has no trouble with the law ever in their life, can pass a drug test at the drop of a hat and any time.

    So, ladies and gentlemen, before you toss that resume into that no hire file you keep, move away from that internet and really look at the resume in your hand.

    Without a job, I like many others, can loose my house which would put me on the street homeless. I have nobody to turn to for help, but yet being a good person I have no real job. Working through a staffing agency has shown me a few things…regular employees tend to treat staffing hires as disposable commodities and if they dont like you can have you remove immediately.

    So, now – will all of you sitting in the position of hiring somebody – please take the time and really read that resume.

    (On a personal note, some of the letter above could really use spell check considing some of the letters grammer.)

    Thank you for your time.

  85. @Morgan. Thanks. ISTM that a good/great recruiter gets quality people hired quickly and affordably, and where they come from is secondary. If I can get the vast majority of candidates for $6.25/hr and the vast majority of the remainder for $40+/name, why shouldn’t I leave it to the sourcing professionals to do, so I can concentrate on the other aspects of the hiring process that can’t be done this way?

    Also, the $6.25/hr sourcers clearly can’t compete with the $40+/name, world-class Maureens, Irinas, Shally, Glenns, (and perhaps ‘yous’) of the sourcing world. The thing is: most hires don’t require world-class sourcing. According to Gerry Crispin’s march 2011 report ( only 5% of responding companies’ hires came from direct sourcing, and I’d being will to say that much of that could be done by the $6.25/hr folks. Even if it required ALL world-class sourcing, a very big company might need a few FT world-class sourcers as they may need a /few world-class executive recruiters, but most everything else could be handled outside the company much more cost-effectively than is currently be done…


    Keith “Who Does a Lot of Sourcing” Halperin

  86. @Morgan. Thanks. ISTM that a good/great recruiter gets quality people hired quickly and affordably, and where they come from is secondary. If I can get the vast majority of candidates for $6.25/hr and the vast majority of the remainder for $40+/name, why shouldn’t I leave it to the professionals to do, so I can concentrate on the other aspects of the hiring process that can’t be done this way?
    Also, the $6.25/hr sourcers clearly can’t compete with the $40+/name, world-class Maureens, Irinas, Shally, Glenns, (and perhaps ‘yous’) of the sourcing world. The thing is: most hires don’t require world-class sourcing. According to Gerry Crispin’s march 2011 report ( only 5% of responding companies’ hires came from direct sourcing, and I’d being will to say that much of that could be done by the $6.25/hr folks. Even if it required ALL world-class sourcing, a very big company might need a few FT world-class sourcers as they may need a /few world-class executive recruiters, but most everything else could be handled outside the company much more cost-effectively than is currently be done…

    Keith “Who Does a Lot of Sourcing” Halperin

  87. Did not the hiring manager validate the agencies claims? having trusted the agency to perform why are there no benchmarks/checks that can judge the candidates suitability according to the standards of candidates that are in the market?
    The letter does’nt stack up. It claims to have been a “search” yet no mention of 1st stage research fees! This is a contingency agency situation that has been ill conceived and badly managed. It reflects poorly on whoever wrote this.

  88. Having read the subsequent posts this guy Morgan Hoogvelt worries me. To begin with he talks about his $17,000 fee as if has already paid it and not had value for money in return. No money however has changed hands so the fact that he “would have paid” $17,000 shock horror is totally irrelevant.
    This post is more about Mr Morgan than it is about recruitment practices. He is clearly “put out” that a hiring manager has gone direct to an agency.
    This happens all the time and more often than not the internal recruiter will do whatever he can to “spike” the placement to prove that nothing can get done without his approval. A self fulfilling activity.

  89. And another thing Morgan – recruitment IS Scientific as well as emotional. Had you understood how “search” works you would understand why.

  90. I suspect the ‘Dear Agency Recruiter’ has been written as a metaphor for some general complaints Morgan has about recruitment agencies.

    I suspect this is a case of the packaging getting in the way of the product.

  91. @Arthur – thanks for your comments even though they are quite ignorant and meaningless. Furthermore, I am glad I worry you and I should…especially if you are one of these agency recruiters who churn and burn resumes. And with your ignorant comments, sounds as if you are in that category.

    This post is not about me, think about it (Ignorant comment). How would I benefit other than to be the recipient of 100 cold calls from other recruiters offering their services and everyone telling me how great they are and how they can solve my problems? Nor am I an internal recruiter trying to spike a fee as you propose (one more ignorant comment).

    This happened to be a real life situation that I was tasked to get involved in, and when investigating the matter, these are the details I found and therefore, wrote this post. I wrote this article to the sub-par recruiters out there telling them to get their acts together.

    This is not a retained vs. contingency, corporate vs. agency or any other war you or anyone want to imagine. This article is based on a real life scenario that many parties had a hand in. And yes, some of the hiring managers made errors and didnt do things right on their ends. But, I made it a point to provide some advice and tips for those who want to be better recruiters.

    And to another ignorant comment of yours, I fully know and understand how search works. If you would have taken the time to know me, my background or even who I am – you would have found that out.

    What you proved here in your (3)ignorant comments, is that you like the poor recruiters who I wrote this article to fail to do your research, fail to know who your audience is and fail to have attention to detail.

  92. @Keith – thanks for the comments and feedback.

    @Ellen – thanks for your recent comment and first also let me thank you for your service to our country. I too have been in a similar position as yourself as I am a veteran with 8 years service. I found myself in the same place you are when I first exited military service.

    Your point of telling all of us on here to take a minute and really read the resume is a well noted point. I personally do try and take the time to read each resume and look over skill sets.

    The things you have to understand when working with a recruiter or search firm from a candidate perspective, is that not all active, passive, employed or unemployed seekers are qualified to work with a recruiter of any sort. That’s right, I said qualified.

    Recruiters earn their living by bringing the absolute best talent to their clients, that is what they are paid to do. Best talent is defined by what the particular client’s needs are and how each client defines it. Some clients define it by tenure, skill set, education, company size, industry, personality, etc.

    My advice to you would be to find a recruiter who will take the time to listen to your story and to help you out. Even if perhaps they feel that you are not “placeable”, that they will provide you some coaching or advice on how to become “placeable” and land the career you want.

  93. So in other words Morgan I am right. One of the things that skilled interviewers do is to look behind what is presented to them, and even a low level recruiter like myself can sometimes grasp this concept. There is a “righteous” presumption about what you say revealed by the fact that you choose to say it in public. Your post reveals more about you than it does about dodgy recruitment agencies – anyway back to spamming.

  94. And Morgan recruiters are paid to get the most suitable worker for the job at the time. Only headhunters are tasked with finding the best.

  95. Part of the challenge of working with contingency firms is that knowing they might be in competition with other firms they try to get there firstest with the mostest. Unfortunately, because of the desire to win the date stamp battle with their competitors some firms sacrifice quality for speed of response.

  96. Thank you Morgan, I received a response and really was not expecting one.
    My largest problem with agencies (as the one I work through) we become just a body to fill a position. The company I am currently under has two sides of their house as I put it. One side is office and professional where the other side is factory labor. I started in the office side and somehow ended up being in the labor side. Two years later, the office side has nothing for me.
    I stay under that company because by changing companies yet again puts another company on my resume. I search every where I can try in seeking a job, and catch much gruff from friends due to not going for holiday work – also another job on the resume. More jobs on that resume means the faster I go into the not hire file.
    It can be a vicious circle. A freshly graduated high schooler with low grades, no work ethics built yet, no clue of how they can actually make things better, one that is still dating and wanting to start a family – those inexperienced workers will be hired over myself and many others – we are older, have brains, work ethics, not out looking to marry and make life wonderful – many of us find the physical labor which we could do is no longer what our physical bodies will allow us to do. Bodies age, lifting a 40 pound bag of manure becomes a struggle. So the desire to work, to life a full life, means one needs to return to the office skills which they knew in the past. But where we older are possibly rusty on the computer, the young high school graduate is sharp as nails on a computer. Yet, many of us women out here in the real world were once married and supported our husbands to reach the level of work skills which they aquired, have found ourselves with out that marriage we worked so long and hard on only to find that the world of employment agencies and hire authorities find us “unplacable”.
    Vicious circle.
    But, Thank You dearly Morgan for talking with me.

  97. @Ellen- I suggest you find work where ever you can with whichever agency you can. It sounds as if you are looking at contract positions vs permanent/direct hire positions. Most companies/agencies will realize that folks do that from time to time. You don’t need to list EVERY assignment on your resume. You can lump the short stay positions together and say “Various contract/part time assignments” and some times say “such as” and you may list some companies. Most will understand and won’t view as as a negative. Good luck on your search.

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