Do you ever wonder why it feels like your recruiter represents the candidate, even though you’re the one footing the bill?

“Every damn candidate they send me looks the same.”

“Why aren’t I seeing top performers?”

“I haven’t heard from my recruiter in 2 weeks. Do they have any more candidates?”

“Why do I keep getting the same candidates from different recruiters?”

“Why didn’t my recruiter disclose that red-flag?”

“Wait! Why’s the recruiter representing the candidate? I’m paying the F#&%ing bill!”

To paraphrase the immortal one:

“If you’re havin’ candidate problems, I feel bad for you, son / I got 99 problems, but a recruiter ain’t one…”

You see, the problem isn’t the recruiter. The entire framework is flawed and benefits no one.

The framework within which external recruitment agencies work is fundamentally flawed.

The traditional contingency model is based on volume and speed, while lacking in quality. It’s KPI-driven and based on metrics, with recruiters usually having to work on 10 roles to just to fill 1. This means, in essence, they’re working for free 90% of the time.

This model encourages recruiters to act more like candidate brokers rather than recruiting agents working for their clients. They’re incentivized to gather the best candidates they can easily get (usually active candidates), and market them to as many companies as possible to try to earn a fee, including their clients’ competitors.

One of the dirty secrets that recruiters won’t tell you is that they’re sending your potential hires to the companies you compete with, causing unnecessary bidding wars and potentially meaning you having to start the whole search process again.

We are all trained to do this!

Here’s how it really works… Contingency recruiters don’t typically recruit in the passive candidate marketplace, because they only close 10-20% of job orders they work on, meaning they can’t afford to do a true deep dive on every search.

This results in the candidates you receive from them, on average, being more active than passive (recruited) candidates. These are candidates who are actively seeking a new position, either because they are unemployed, under-performing in their current role, or have a life event that’s forcing their job search.

(Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being an active candidate, but one must realize they’re active for a reason).

In other words, they’re applying for every job posting they can find, many of which are contingency recruiter job postings (copy / pastes of boilerplate job descriptions with the client name removed).

You can see this if you do a little digging and find a company posting a job, and then within 2-3 days multiple recruiting agencies post up the SAME JOB on the SAME JOB BOARDS. They’re counting on information asymmetry to make a placement.

Here’s where it gets bad. When a contingency recruiter secures an active candidate from a job posting, they now view that person not as a candidate for their client, but as a lead to a potential sale.

That contingency recruiter, whom you may have a great relationship with, and who told you that their candidate was a “slam-dunk”…that they’re “all-in”…will submit that candidate to as many other clients as possible, even to your direct competitors.

Why? Because every recruiting trainer tells them to. It’s called the Rule of Three: submit three candidates to three clients to maximize the odds of a placement. While the numbers don’t play out exactly like that, I’m sure you get the point.

When you have no skin in the game, because you throw your opening to multiple contingency recruiters, you create a scenario whereby those recruiters have zero obligation to you.

This is because you were never an actual client. Until money changes hands, regardless of what a contingency recruiter will tell you in an attempt to get a job order up on the board, there is no real client-recruiter relationship, and that recruiter will submit your best candidates to as many companies as possible.

Why wouldn’t they? It would be unfair and unrealistic to expect anything otherwise.

Like Beyonce so famously said in the song, “Single Ladies:”

“If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it!”

It’s not the recruiter. Don’t expect monogamy unless you’re willing to give it in return.

If you want to de-risk your hire, and maximize your odds of not only identifying and attracting, but actually landing a Rockstar candidate the best time you have a business-critical role, make sure you work with an engaged / retained recruiter you trust. By putting even a small portion of the fee down up-front, you are effectively locking that recruiter in, obligating them to actually do a deep-dive into the passive candidate marketplace.

They’re also much better trained in transforming your opening from a boring job description to a ‘no-brainer’ Employer Value Proposition, and will also usually include a Right-of-First-Refusal clause right into their agreement, stipulating that they will not send your candidates to any other clients during the term of your search.

Otherwise, all you’re doing is the equivalent giving your taxes to 5 accountants, and telling them all to compete with each other and do your taxes for free. You’ll pay the one that finishes the job first.

Kinda scary when you think about it like that…

Bottom-line, if you want a Rockstar hire, work with a Rockstar recruiter and show them the love. They’ll work their butt off for you, and they’ll be committed because you put a ring on it…