We’re all familiar with the suited snakes that spend every 8-to-10-hour workday calling to convince us to leave our current, steady jobs for nothing more than a few bucks more and criminally bad insurance. With that said then, why do recruiters even exist?
At the surface, it’s easy to imagine that the company that’s actually hiring could accomplish everything that a recruiter supposedly does. If the company is looking to get a new employee and a person is looking to be that employee, then why do we need some middleman to come in and complicate everything?
Let’s take a look at how that would really play out: say a company is looking to hire a software developer in the greater Orlando area. Out of the 2.6 million-ish people there, it’s no stretch to suppose that at least one of them would be qualified for the job.
Companies aren’t just looking for any candidate, of course. Depending on the position, they need someone with experience in specific technologies. We’ll say that this position needs someone with experience in Angular, C#, and AWS. Out of the 2.6-ish million, how many do you think would meet that?
Try 117, according to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool. The pool is still pretty good, though. We only need to get the one. But out of that 117, how many of them actually need a new job? My exact keyword search was Angular AND C# AND AWS NOT recruiter NOT director.
In my experience, that’s going to be 7-15% of them, depending on the current job market and how much you are offering. That number goes to 80% if you offer enough money. Now we’ve only got anywhere from 8 to 17 people to pick from. We just need one out of them, of course, but the pickings are starting to get a little slim.
That’s assuming that all (or any) of them are even employable. Just because they list it on their resume doesn’t mean they can program their way out of a paper bag. With numbers this low you can see that the search would probably need to be expanded state-wide or even across the country.
So the process would start over, with the added trouble of convincing someone to relocate to boot. This goes on and on at the cost of time that most companies simply do not have.
And this is where the appeal of a recruiting company comes in. They could probably reach out to 60-80% of the entire talent pool, and I would be willing to bet that they could do it in less than a week. Businesses whose main focus is not recruiting would have a very hard time matching this speed. When a company is looking at limited prospects and a lengthy process, it makes sense for them to outsource to a service that promises to deliver qualified candidates fast. It is, for this reason, I have always maintained that technical recruiters are marketing organizations, and not exactly technical ones.
Most people in the industry have witnessed recruiters put the value on speed over quality. They frequently turn over people who don’t actually know how to do the job and leave everyone unhappy. If companies invested the time and allocated resources to create real recruiting methods and in-house screening processes, then recruiters would lose their entire industry. But until that happens, we need to keep our skills sharp, learn to play the game, learn to negotiate, and learn that we are the prize.