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Why do we need recruiters? Perspective.

I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of commentary lately about the state of hiring and recruiting. Is there a talent shortage or not? Are companies hiring, why or why not? Do we outsource recruiting or build it in-house?

There seems to be a lot more questions than answers, but I do have one for you. Why do we need recruiters, specifically outsourced recruiters today? One word: perspective.

Here’s where it came from. I was listening to the Bill Kutik internet radio show and his interview with Peter Cappelli, noted author, Wharton professor, and well-known workforce trends expert. During the interview, Cappelli noted how things have changed since the ‘80s and through the ‘90s with respect to recruiting. One of the big things that hit me in his comments was something he said about how internal recruiters, those employed internally by companies in droves during the late ‘90s, used to provide some perspective to hiring managers.

For example, an internal recruiter might say to a hiring manager:

“Listen, this job description doesn’t tell me anything about the requirements of the job. I can’t recruit with this.”

“The rate you want to pay isn’t going to get you the talent you want. The market is paying way above that. Don’t expect to get any viable candidates if that’s the rate you are going to pay.”

“A person with all of those exact attributes doesn’t exist. If that’s what you expect you won’t find anyone and this job will remain open forever.”

That’s the kind of perspective that a real recruiting partner can bring. And the point was, that today, since much of the recruiting is done outside of the organization, the hiring manager expects “service”, not perspective.

So my sense is that much of the stagnation in hiring today is that hiring managers aren’t getting this kind of feedback and perspective, and truly expect outsourced recruiters and staffing firms to find the exact impossible-to-find candidate or get someone at a bargain rate.

Thus, my response when customers ask why they would want to outsource recruiting to a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) firm or allow staffing company recruiters to speak to hiring managers, I respond with one word: Perspective.

They should bring the perspective of the industry they service, the skills they specialize in or the process for sourcing, recruiting and qualifying the candidates you need. They should advise on timing, rates and availability. And if they can’t bring that perspective or aren’t honest with you about the realities of sourcing and recruiting in today’s world, then they may not be the right recruiting resources for you.

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