This question is something that’s been nagging me lately. And the question is for both sides of the equation, both job seekers and employers. This is also just about external recruiters. Internal recruiters at companies aren’t really part of this entry.
Let’s start from the employer’s view. What does the recruiter bring other than a flurry of resumes? The recruiter really doesn’t care about the well being of your company nor do they usually take the time to get to know enough about your organization to find the proper fit people wise. Some even try to force you to follow their process instead of yours (Boylston Group anyone?) In my experience with recruiters I have heard them me outright lies about why a person was late, lie about what is in their contract and forget to screen resumes properly before sending them to us. Shall I go on? Most don’t even proofread the resumes they send us for spelling and grammer mistakes. Most aren’t technical enough (even though they are technical recruiters) to understand the most basic things about the technologies we work with to know what’s applicable for our organization and what’s not. They send resumes that are too long for the experience level of the candidate (the 9 page resume for a 6 year career is evidence of that). And for this we’re supposed to pay them somewhere between 15 and 25% of the person’s first year salary? It’s almost as bad as when you use a real estate broker and/or realtor. The recruiter only gets paid when you hire someone so of course they’re going to throw everything at you to see what sticks. It doesn’t cost them anything to flood you with resumes.
So again, why use them? From an employment seeker (aka me) I guess the only reason might be is if they bring me a company I didn’t find on my own or when my network isn’t producing any leads that are appealing at the time. That’s their value add at the moment. I’m really surprised that job sites haven’t gotten better at filling these gaps. Most are just nothing more than glorified classifieds so I suppose that’s one reason. Small to medium sized companies don’t want to bother with the full time expense of a recruiter or don’t have enough jobs to fill to justify one either. I’m not sure why they don’t just use a contract recruiter, though.
The real rub here from an employer’s standoint is that if you actually have a company that is fun to work at and your workers really enjoy it they would probably actually bring in friends and old co-workers they liked working with. Something to think about if none of your engineers are referring people. Actions speak louder than words.