With 20 years IT recruitment experience in both Ireland and
Australia, and most recently, 15 years running niche job boards, I
feel I have seen two sides of this very tricky story. So based on
feedback from both sides this is how I see it.
Please feel free to pass on to any clients that may sometimes doubt
the level of work you do for them or think using a job board will
save them money.
Companies that get real value from our job boards are small
companies (SME's) who don't have the budget to use a recruiter in
the first place. Yes, we do have big companies advertising on our job boards but we find they are not as savvy as a recruiter in how to use them best.
The bigger companies that use job boards to save money typically
miss the quality candidate and that’s why they should also use a good
recruiter - to catch that exact candidate that slips through their overloaded HR system.
Basically what I hear from some employers is that they feel very
frustrated with their experience with recruiters for various reasons.
Some common gripes heard are;
“High fees for very little work done”
“The hire left within 3 months and a day outside the guarantee
“They just send any old CV’s and didn’t understand our business or
what we were looking for at all.” To mention a few.
Although from my previous experience as a recruiter, the fault lies
as much with the client in not being selective enough in picking a good
experienced and niche recruiter who knows what they are talking about. They select a Toyota and expect it to perform like a BMW! They then put all recruiter's as the same category.
From the recruiters point of view, they get very little “face time”
with the client so they can't get a handle on what exact type of
person the client wants. Clients can be vague about salaries, job
descriptions don’t match the actual job, skills required change as
the process moves forward, and after much work, the role goes on
hold or client won’t give feedback on CV’s sent.
It can all become very frustrating for a recruiter (who only gets paid
on placements) when all their hard work is in vain & when it
happens 3 or 4 times a month, it can be very tough to have to pick
yourself up off the floor and start again.
What Work Does a Recruiter Actually Do?
They post the job on multiple job boards so the market is covered
100%. This saves the employer the cost and admin of advertising
the job themselves as well as a lot of time on scanning/screening
100’s of irrelevant CV’s.
• The amount of calls a recruiter has to handle per job can be huge,
especially in this climate. (This is also why job seekers have a bug
bear with recruiters. They can’t return calls to everyone, just not
enough time in the day.)
• They use their own database of contacts to see if anyone knows
someone suitable that might be worth a call, ie headhunt. If they
are a niche recruiter for say, IT, then this is where the real value of
their service comes into play, as employers will never ring a passive
• They use their own network to find possible matches for their
client, they arrange interviews, prep the candidate so he doesn't
waste the clients time.
• They make sure their clients job remains top of the candidates
choice when he/she may have 2-3 offers on the table. Again, a very
valuable and under rated service.
Remember, Recruiters are looking for good quality candidates all
day every day – that’s all they do, that’s their job. They usually
work in a high pressure environment and will handle about 10-15
jobs per month. From this, they will place 2-3 candidates with total
fees/billing averaging between 10-15K per month, of which they will
take home a 1/3 as total salary package including base salary and
Contrary to popular opinion by employers, this job is a very tough
job. The recruiters appear calm, but are paddling like mad beneath
the surface to keep a lot of plates in the air. The average salary for
a recruiter is between 40-50K. Very good recruiters can earn
They put in long hours and usually have excellent people skills, very
good business acumen (they are dealing with many different types
of business, even within a specific sector) and human nature being
what it is, need good negotiating skills to convince both the unsure
employer and the hesitant candidate that the match is right - this is
a very rare combination of skills so not everyone is cut out to be a
recruiter. Only the best survive after 12 months.
As An Employer How Should I Engage a Good Recruiter?
If recruitment budgets allow, then ring and ask friends/ colleagues
within your industry for a recommendation of a good recruiter.
Good Recruitment Consultants are professional business people who
know the business of recruitment so treat them with respect.
Select 2/3 and ask them for a meeting. Spend time telling them
about the company, the role, why someone would want to join your
company and what career prospects there are. More importantly,
how you see the process moving forward.
Be honest. Is there usually a 4 month process within your
company? If there are other decision makers in the process, let
them know. Is there a chance the job might be pulled? You are
working together so treat them as a partner. Yes they want their
fee, but they will be able to work better on your behalf if they have
all relevant information.
Agree fees, terms and conditions and time frames. Once you have
completed the hiring process and are happy with the outcome and
the recruiter, hold onto him/her – a good recruiter is worth their
weight in gold. Get them back into the office every 6 months for a
coffee. They are your eyes and ears of what’s going on the market.
Who knows, you may even become a candidate one day:)
Yes, the recruitment process doesn’t go smoothly every time but
like your local restaurant, the experience can be hit and miss.
Niall Kelly - Director
+353 1 236 6636 / +353 86 818 1212 (mobile)