What was you worst Recruiter/headhunter/executive search experience?

Michael Potters CEO/Managing Partner

March 1st, 2016

Alright, i know I'm opening myself and our industry up for a probably well deserved beating, but  why are so many in our industry viewed so negatively? Most I know or hang out with are not "used car salepeople or "bodysnatchers" as I have heard people referred to. So I want to know why we suck, with the hope that any of us on this board listen to the criticism and stay away from these practices. So have at it, I have thick skin!

Rob G

March 1st, 2016

your job is not to simply bury us with resumes.  Your job is to understand our business, our culture and our needs and deliver a limited number of the right, qualified candidates... with insight. 

Shingai Samudzi

March 1st, 2016

Recruiters don't "suck." Most I think just lack the requisite tools for properly identifying the "right fit" for a team, so they rely on industry buzzwords and algorithms with faulty assumptions to screen candidates. Part of that, though, falls

Chia-Lin Simmons Ex-Googler; Co-Founder / CEO RedHelicopter; Founder LookyLoo

March 1st, 2016

I think in general there are nice and not nice people in every industry. Recruiting is a numbers game. You want to place as many people as possible because that is how you make money. The bad recruiters that people talk about are unethical ones who tell you what they think you want to hear to place you as a candidate. Also for such a people business only a few really great recruiters give back to candidates in advice, connections etc unless they think they can get candidate placements from you as a hiring employer. A few really bad recruiters really make so many people disparaging about the industry. I find that there are a few I like and I tend to use them when I hire people because my experiences areally positive as a candidate. We should likely all share names of the good ones and extole their skills and services.

Vijay MD Founder Chefalytics, Co-owner Bite Catering Couture, Independent consultant (ex-McKinsey)

March 1st, 2016

A lot of recruiters don't do their research or use common sense.

It's generally not a good idea for a recruiter to not have read/ have open the linkedin profile of someone contacted. In a few minutes they should map what they are sourcing to desired position/ location/ salary / title expectations. It's generally disrespectful to pitch as a great opportunity (vs. looking for referrals) a position that would have been a lateral move 5-10 years ago.

Personal pet peeve is to dismiss work done as an individual contributor vs same work done less hands on as head of a team, but that's probably specific to me.

Industry pet peeve is the creation of "flying landbeast" requirements that have internal contradictions. Such as looking for someone with 5-10 years of experience in a technology 3 or 4 years old.  Or seeking someone wanting to punch up in a role smaller than the P&L they previously ran...etc, etc.

Michael Barnathan Adaptable, efficient, and motivated

March 1st, 2016

There are good recruiters and there are bad recruiters, like any other profession. The ones who don't understand the industries they're recruiting for, who ask for 15 years of AngularJS with a straight face, who cold call or email and don't bother to follow up on replies, or who try to drum up business by emailing the founder out of the blue with candidates under the *assumption* that I can't hire people myself are annoying. But I've also seen some really great ones who generated quality referrals and acted as partners for both the company and the candidate.

It's basically a sales position at the end of the day, and perhaps that's the root of the problem. But really good salespeople don't come across as sleazy either - when a great salesperson works magic on you, you generally tend to like the experience. So with recruiters.

Randar Puust Technical co-founder looking for a great idea to build

March 1st, 2016

I've been blessed with a number of great recruiters.  This applies to being the hiring manager and the one being recruited.

But I had one that stood out as being terrible.  He hired me as a manger in a company and I was forced to use him for a number of months before convincing the company he was a bad choice.  He was already on contract, so it took some work getting rid of him.  His rate was insanely low (I think around 1k for a successful hire), but I eventually convinced the company he wasn't worth it even at that cost. 

He just fired resumes to me with little to no screening, so I ended up doing all the filtering.  Almost every candidate who walked in said something bad about the initial meeting with him.  I remember when he introduced me to the opportunity, I asked him about the team, culture, etc.  What he told me was so far from the reality I uncovered at the first interview.  Things like "the average age of the company is quite old" while I found the team to be quite young when I walked in the door.  The worst thing he did was re-send a candidate I had already rejected.  All the guy did was slightly tweak his name "Phil" to "Philip" and he missed it.  I noticed the CV the moment it came across and checked my records.  Clearly he didn't have any kind of CRM or even Excel to keep track of candidates.

Just goes to show...often you get what you pay for.

Neil HereWeAre Want To find-close Business Online without competition Before They Google Search? We solve this problem 1(508)-481-8567

March 1st, 2016

A recruiter must know and understand the total in depth re the job they are trying to fill. That includes specific skills, the personality of the company, the customer types, the reason why the position is open and I mean the REAL reasons and what the real job actually is.

Then, make that great match, period. Never try to bend the person into going after a job that truly is not what they really want. Those who dont do that are essentially worthless for both their clients and the folks they try to put forth as candidates. Its not "throw a bunch of stuff on the wall and see what stick" and never should be.

David Still Founder of Start-ups, Entrepreneur, Financier and Advisor

March 1st, 2016

Letting the investor tell me (founder, ceo) which headhunter firm to engage - behind-the-scenes the investor total "owned aka influenced" the headhunter because, unknowingly, they used the same headhunter firm for every one of their investments.

Michael Potters CEO/Managing Partner

March 1st, 2016

Nicholas , Thank you for catching my obvious mistake, I would have caught it myself had a bothered to spell check. However my intentions are solid , I do want worse practices outed so myself and our industry try to raise our collective game just a bit. Again, nice catch on worst I have learned the true value of a Princeton education. Might I ask, what's a "peop"? My spell check came up with nothing.

John Millican Senior Associate at Business Psychology Group

March 2nd, 2016

This is a great question and I applaud you for asking it. Although I understand Nicholas's view the title is designed to elicit some constructive feedback for the industry which in my opinion doesn't do enough naval gazing.

In my 25 years in roles as a GM, Senior HR, Organisational Development and start up roles I've engaged well over a hundred or so Recruiters and Search Execs and I've found on balance if there is an opportunity to tick and flick a resume and make a quick fee it is almost always taken. When I'm paying 18%+ fee I want candidates that have been properly screened.

More specifically I often find the following:

  1. - no attempt to understand what drives high performance within the specific role and culture
  2. - when a evidenced based interview actually occurs (not a walk through the CV) recruiters ask competency based questionsthat just relate to the CV and hence not adding any value beyond that
  3. - candidate reporting and diagnostics against competencies occurs in less than 10% of who I've engaged. Most often it's a phone call that feels more like a sale pitch.
  4. - the vast majority of the time, reference checking is facilitated by a standard "one size fits all approach", not focusing on any issues the interview may have highlighted or the competencies that drive high performance.
  5. - lastly, there's little to no value during the on-boarding phase.

The industry suffers from terrible brand value, which in and of it's self offers a massive opportunity given it really doesn't take a lot to stand out from the mediocre