Recruiter Smoke and Fluff: 3 Signs That it’s Time to Look Elsewhere

SurferRecruiters need to be swift to change, sharp on their feet, researching who’s who, and surfing employer hiring waves like a pro at next year’s Quiksilver.

You can’t have a rapidly changing globalised economy and ever faster communications without an impact on employment and jobs, right? You would therefore expect the recruitment industry to be one of the earliest to evolve industries on the planet.

Just last week I listened to a young man gloating about how his agency scans their database of over 100,000 candidates before selecting 1,000 for initial assessment before selecting a provisional group of 100, of which, they interview around half. What in-house database of 100,000 job seekers is that? How old are those files anyways?

What about the technology tools recruiters aren’t using?

One of the biggest investments recruiting firms should be making is in social media technology. While the costs of software are at a historical all time low, the rising costs are in the labour associated with building and maintaining an online technical brand. Without that there virtually are no candidates to back fill the 68.3% retirement vacancy rate that is about to catapult BC Interior employers into a panicked hiring frenzy.

Sign #1 The in-house database. It’s just so eighties.

For starters an in-house database in 2014 isn’t in-house — it’s in the cloud. And it isn’t a database. In today’s world it’s called Google, or whatever other search engine you prefer.

It’s hard for anyone to lie about skills and achievements online without someone calling them on it. It’s far easier for job seekers to ‘enhance’ their skills and experience when submitting a resume to individual employers.

A talent pool is only as good as the speed with which it is importing live feeds from social media. Yet many recruiters boast about the size of their database prominently displaying their numbers when in reality it’s a fading badge of honour.

ASK THIS: Tell me about your recruiting process.

Sign #2 You’re not sure who your recruiter is building a relationship with.

Beware the bigger recruitment agencies who by the very nature of their business model (obsessively tracking candidate send-outs to interviews to ‘placement’ ratios) they have more people and hence can hit higher volumes of placements. And what does that mean? Junior staff actually do all the heavy lifting / candidate sourcing. The big billers spend their time looking for the fast paying hole in your operation that you need to fill asap. They can hardly be expected to have time to be building relationships with anyone.

A recruiter who is serious about building a relationship with you, and that’s what the good ones do, they will learn everything they can about your operation so that they can be looking out for you, and tipping you off about great potential hires all the time.

ASK THIS: How do you find people? Will I be your first call when you find a superstar?


Sign #3 You’ve forgotten what your recruiter’s voice sounds like.

Honestly, doesn’t anyone pick up the phone anymore? Email and social media make it all too easy to avoid talking on the phone and, heaven forbid, face-to-face. This is especially true for GenY’s who can text and email to heights my generation never would have dreamed of. Is that how today’s recruiters expect to build a relationship with you and to partner with you hiring people who are going to build and grow your business?

ASK THIS: What happens next? How do you see this partnership working?


If your recruiter is using mediocre or outdated tools and techniques, ask yourself if the risk of losing out on top hires is worth the risk. It may be time to consider options.


Learn more about us and what’s behind hiring right people.

Barbara Ashton is the President and Founder of Ashton & Associates Recruiting.

Ashton & Associates Recruiting… Placing Powerful People. Every Time.


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This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link to Google.