Editor’s Corner

Same Fordyce Letter – more easily readable format. For years, readers have wondered why we didn’t put a Table of Contents on the front page of each issue so you can see what’s inside at a glance. Well, now you have it. After many months in the making, this is the new TFL – easier to read, easier to use and even more information available for you. Hope you like it.

“Somewhere, there’s a village missing their idiot.” That’s the remark of a reader who just received a 13-page “Search Firm Information” questionnaire. Judging by the number of these things we’ve received from readers nationwide, it appears that there are a lot of villages missing their idiots.

In the most recent instance, our reader received a call from a VP requesting his assistance for a very senior level position. Shortly thereafter, he received a phone call and an email from some HR recruiter telling him his firm needed to be “vetted” and that no candidates already referred (or about to be referred) to hiring managers would be considered until and unless the questionnaire passed muster.

I received flak from a few readers about my last month’s assertion that I loathed government. So be it! My mind has not been changed. It’s the governmental bureaucratic nonsense foisted upon everybody that angers me. Same goes for HR, the ultimate bureaucrats in the corporate world. This questionnaire (and others like it) is the result of such idiocy. I can certainly understand the need to know with whom you’re dealing, but some of the queries defy comprehension.

Some of the less invasive questions are for information such as:

– Placements made during the last year (title and company)
– Record of assignments for past three years (by specialty/ industry/discipline/
function areas)
– Research capabilities (internal and outsourced)
– Time commitments to fill job
– How many current searches (and for whom)
– Off-limits companies
– Fee structure
– Expense-reimbursement process
– Search methodology
– Guarantees
– Complete bios of every firm member
– Record of any lawsuits/arbitrations ever filed against your firm (complete details required)
– P & L statements for past three years

We covered this topic a year or so ago, but it appears that the list of goofy requirements continues to grow. I strongly suspect that every time HR folks get together in one of their many annual meetings and conventions, they discuss ways they can put more speed bumps on the road to recruiter success. The more bizarre, the better. Cutting fees, extending guarantees and off-limits proscriptions and prohibitions and more severe bans on our ability to communicate with the real hiring authorities.

The reader who sent the most recent example did what I would have done. He turned them down, telling me that’s why God gave him a middle finger.

Others have come back to inquisitive employers with a list of their own “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine” questions, starting with these:

– How many recruiters will be on your preferred list?
– Who decides?
– What percentage of professional hires comes through recruiters?
– What is the average fee paid to recruiters during the past year?
– What is the average fee percentage paid to recruiters during the past year?
– How many professional openings were filled through recruiters during the last year?
– How many professional openings were filled through other sources during the last year? Details.
– How many were hired directly by the hiring manager?
– How many disputes did you have with recruiters during the last year?
– What is your policy regarding candidate source recognition?
– Do you allow direct access to hiring managers?
– What is your professional employee retention rate?
– What is your average time-to-fill?

One told us that, to date, he has never received his questionnaire back but knows a lot of recruiters who are on these “preferred” lists who have never made a dime. Being invited to the prom doesn’t mean you’ll be asked to dance.

Article Continues Below

The Fordyce Forum has shaped up beyond my wildest expectations – a gathering of premier players to discuss the advanced strategies to move them from where they are to where they want to be. A faculty composed of big billers (many million-dollar producers) is second to none and is viewed as the most significant conference of the year. If you haven’t made your reservations yet, you have a few days to do so through www. fordyceforum.com. A partial list of attending firms is shown, but they are being added on an hourly basis.

After almost a decade on hiatus from speaking engagements, I will be there personally. As the conference chairman, I’ll be kicking off the conference at 5 p.m. on June 12 with an hour’s worth of war stories, anecdotes, and silly stuff I’ve encountered in my five decades in and around this business – and I’ll be available during the Welcome Reception from 6 to 8 p.m. to shake your hand and put a face to the names of all of you with whom I have interfaced by phone and email over these many years.

Although there won’t be much free time during the days of the conference, we’ll be treating attendees to lunch during the conference and will have networking receptions for a couple of hours every night to further personally discuss whatever you have on your minds.

It’ll be great and I’m really looking forward to these opportunities. I hope to see you then. This is the one you don’t want to miss.

A reader wrote to tell me that she had sent a candidate to ABC company for an interview. The HR interviewer told the candidate that there was no match with ABC, but he had a buddy at XYZ company who had been looking for someone like him, and he called his friend and set up an interview. Guess what? He got hired at XYZ. She asked if there was anything she could do to collect a fee for this bootleg referral?

Others have had similar experiences. Lost cause? Maybe not! Attorney Jeff Allen gives us all some hope with this month’s Placements & The Law column.

Paul Hawkinson is the editor of The Fordyce Letter, a publication for third-party recruiters that's part of ERE Media. He entered the personnel consulting industry in the late 1950's and began publishing for the industry in the 1970's. During his tenure as a practitioner, he personally billed over $5 million in both contingency and retainer assignments. He formed the Kimberly Organization and purchased The Fordyce Letter in 1980.

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