Do you ever wonder why it feels like your recruiter represents the candidate, when you're the one footing the bill?

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 is KPI-driven and based on numbers, with recruiters usually having to work on 10 roles to just to fill 1. This means they are 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 are 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 your competitors.

This means that your recruiting partners are 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.

Lack of quality and increased competition are only 2 factors in whole myriad of reasons why traditional recruitment is fatally flawed:


Almost all recruiting firms recruit only out of the Active Candidate market, only 18% of the total candidate market, through 3 traditional methods:

  1. Job Postings – Recruiters copy and paste your open job postings, banking on ‘information-asymmetry,’ tagging the candidate as theirs before they apply directly to you
  2. Emails / LinkedIn InMails – Sending ‘spammy’ mass emails to their database only results in about a 10% reply rate, leaving you with only 1.8% coverage
  3. Cold-calls – Cold Calling success rates are completely dictated by the skillset of the person making the call (IF) they even get a person on the phone. Most cold calls are made by rookies, and only result in a 1-2% success rate

Typical contingent and commission based recruiters work
on roles that will yield a higher return and not the hard-tofill
ones. On average they work 10 roles to fill 1.

Because of the competition with other firms (and HR) in
only a limited slice of the market, recruiters are
incentivized to present candidates as quickly as
possible without fully vetting them, so as not to lose
out on ‘candidate credit.’

Most IT recruiters are actually generalists, and have
very little experience working with the skillsets within
the SAP space.


  • Less candidate coverage – You are given limited access
    to the market, only looking at 18% at any given time
  • Poor candidate quality – The right people don’t know
    you are hiring, only the ones who need a job.
  • Lack of transparency – When presenting candidates,
    recruiters are incentivized to be not be transparent
    about candidate sources, leaving you without confidence
    a thorough, robust search has been completed on your
  • No warranties are made to the level of effort (or
    lack thereof), and usually search activity ends when
    some candidates are presented, and will not resume
    unless those candidates presented didn’t produce a
  • Emphasis on generating candidates only, and less of a
    role in selection results in less accountability, which
    results in a short, nominal guarantee. As soon you pay
    the fee, the recruiter is long gone.
  • The recruiter loses all leverage with the candidate in the
    offer process, because the candidate knows the vested
    interest is with him/her to accept an offer, otherwise
    another recruiter may earn the fee. This is why the
    recruiter represents the candidate, even though you re
    the one footing the bill.

“Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The Definition of Insanity, Albert Einstein

At this point, you face a fork in the road. You can continue doing what you’ve been doing, not taking ownership of your hiring and continually risking mis-hire after career-ending mis-hire, or you can take the bull by the horns and try something different.

Which is the more sane choice?

Fun Fact: Albert Einstein did not in fact say this as is commonly believed, but the meaning still
holds true!