It’s a sad fact that the staffing and recruiting industry is broken. Every day, I talk to someone who has been burned by a firm. Their complaints range from firms that misrepresent or hide fees, to recruiters that simply never send any candidates, to firms that don’t communicate that they aren’t working an order.
Admittedly, there are a lot of bad staffing and recruiting firms out there. The good news is there are excellent ones, too. Finding the right recruiting partner can pay big dividends. Read on to learn the six most common misconceptions I hear about staffing and recruiting firms—and why it’s absolutely worth it to find a good one.
Myth 1: Working with a firm is too expensive; I can do the hiring myself.
While it may seem like hiring is something you can easily add to your plate, it always takes longer than you think. This is especially true in the current economy, where everyone is competing to hire the best talent. (These days, finding a qualified candidate is less than half the battle because he or she will have multiple other offers to consider alongside yours.) According to a 2016 study by Workable, it takes an average of 43 days to fill a position in the United States. That’s six weeks of reading resumes, conducting interviews, calling references, and more. Your time is better served on projects that are core to your business and harder to partner on.
Partnering with a staffing and recruiting firm will actually save your company time and money. (Though it goes without saying that if you’re always looking for the lowest cost partner, you may not get quality work from them.) While you go about business as usual, a good staffing and recruiting firm will scour resumes, interview potential candidates, and present only the most talented ones who have the right skill set and are a cultural fit with your organization. While you still make the final decision of who you will hire, a good partner can be your eyes and ears to get you through the bulk of the process. This saves you countless hours of work on top of your normal duties. And the cost-benefit increases even more when you need to scale up quickly.
Myth 2: It takes too long to get a recruiter up to speed.
There’s no way to get around investing some time to get a recruiter up to speed on your company, the role (or roles you’re hiring for), and what kind of candidates you think would be a good fit. But if you pick a firm that doesn’t specialize, you’ll only have to explain everything once. You’ll work with one team that understands your whole company, so you won’t get passed around to recruiters and have to keep explaining what you’re looking for in candidates. If you have a broad range of roles to hire, a firm that does not specialize is your best bet.
Myth 3: Contract work is only for admins.
In June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data for the first time on how many people in the United States are part of the gig economy. The report found that 16.5 million people are working in “contingent” or “alternative work arrangements,” including contract work and freelancing.
Every week, I meet professional people with amazing skills who want to work. They just can’t—or don’t want to—work a standard schedule of 40 of 50 hours a week. Maybe they are taking care of young children or an elderly parent; maybe they hate being chained to a desk for eight or 10 hours a day; or maybe they like the freedom of working with many different clients.
While these unique talents are available, the competition for talent in the current economy is more fierce than ever. Partner with a firm that can use its contracts and expertise to give you the best chance of finding everything from a project-based CFO to a part-time web developer. An added bonus is that contract work can be a win-win for both clients and candidates. Companies can see if an employee is a good fit for their organization, while contractors can try out a job and beef up their resume at the same time.
Myth 4: Staffing firms only hire contract employees.
There are plenty of staffing and recruiting firms that work with both contract and direct hire positions, including executive search. Good firms shine when hiring for these positions, as they use their networks and connections to find talent you may not be able to find on your own. Talented people in niche fields or high-level positions don’t usually find their next opportunity on a job board, so it’s up to a recruiter to find them.
It’s especially helpful to work with a firm that works with both contract and direct hires if you’re not sure which route you should take. Choose a firm that does both and you’ll have flexibility and an experienced partner to advise you on which path to go down.
Myth 5: Staffing firms just throw resumes at you.
A good staffing and recruiting firm should never do this. The whole point is for them to use their time, expertise, and resources to find top-tier candidates for you. Only once candidates have been through a rigorous process should they get presented to you, for you to choose the individual you’d like to hire.
Any recruiting firm worth its salt will only introduce you to candidates that are worth your time.
Myth 6: Recruiters only want to make a buck.
As is the case with any industry, there are bad seeds in the recruiting world. In my experience, good recruiters have three common characteristics:
- They know that filling roles isn’t a numbers game. Finding, recruiting, and placing top talent is both an art and a science, and good recruiters know it takes hard work to match candidates to the right opportunities.
- A good recruiter really cares about the people he or she is working with. Since work is a big part of everyone’s life, good recruiters feel a sense of personal fulfillment when they find the perfect solution to a hiring problem.
- A good recruiter is in this for the long haul. They know this is a relationship business, so the smart ones never burn their clients.
Feel free to expect more.
If you’ve been burned by a staffing and recruiting partner in the past, I’d encourage you to take another look. Like any business partner, when you find the right one, you can unlock tremendous opportunity.