Our guest blogger is Pam Robison of J. Gifford Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. J. Gifford Inc. is a small, quality conscious firm providing highly individualized recruiting services to clients on a local, regional, national and international basis. The firm’s recruiting activities are focused on professional, technical and managerial placement, as well as contractor and international staffing for clients. Pam is the Director of the US Midwest Region for the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.
Recently, while visiting a popular employment website, I came across a rant by a person who was fed up with recruiters. I’ve heard this kind of complaint before but I find most non-industry people are fairly naïve about the recruiting process. Nevertheless, I read on, and learned that this person had experienced what I call “the black hole syndrome.” He’d been actively recruited, had gone on a face-to-face interview with the potential employer, and then never heard back from ANYONE. The recruiter simply went silent and the candidate was left to simmer in a dark void of silence and wonder how things went so wrong. That’s bad enough, but what happened next made me cringe. In rebuttal, a professional recruiter took this person to task by spelling out in vivid detail how, “Recruiters do not work for the candidate, they work for the employer.” The recruiter’s tone came across as condescending at best, and disrespectful at worst. As you might guess, the discussion pretty much went down hill from there. It was obvious by the number of heated responses that many of the readers had similar experiences with “professional” recruiters. Sadly, at least in this instance, this one recruiter’s rebuttal somehow became the face of all recruiters. As they say, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.
I’ve been a third party professional recruiter for 16 years. I’d like to think I’m one of the good guys but I have to admit, these comments caused me to reflect on my own practices. While it’s true that my client pays the fee, I’m fully aware my success in this business is dependent on the caliber of candidates I recruit. In order to set myself apart from recruiters who are “dialing for dollars,” I build relationships with candidates. I’m not just collecting a resume so that I can throw it against the client’s wall to see if it will stick. When I initiate contact with a candidate, I set clear expectations with regards to my recruiting process. I stress that it is imperative to maintain good two-way communication throughout the entire process. And I follow through.
When I work with a candidate, I am planting seeds. While a candidate ultimately may not be selected for a position, he/she could be just right for a different role. I’m honored when a candidate appreciates my efforts on their behalf and wants to maintain contact for future opportunities. That’s when I know I’ve done my job well. Furthermore, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered a candidate who has gone on to become a hiring manager. By treating them well in the past, I’ve proven myself as possessing the kind of integrity and follow through they’re looking for in a recruiting partner. As a result of this commitment, and following through over time, many of my previous candidates are now my clients. When a seed is planted and well cultivated, it has the real potential of bearing fruit in the future.