Have You Ever Applied To ____?

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Information Technology is one of those Industries that at times, requires some highly specialized individuals with hard to find skill sets.  From a recruiter’s standpoint, these positions can cause some major headaches, which is why many organizations will look to outside agencies that specialize in finding IT talent.  Not only are these agencies able to tap into their network, but can devote the time needed to source and qualify candidates; precious time that some HR professionals aren’t able to devote.  I have been recruiting for 7 years and have placed both contract and direct hire positions and have a strong understanding of the relationships and interactions that take place between organizations and outside agencies.   After reading blog entry from hushrecruiter.com entitled, “I’ll Take Doors One AND Two (uh…NOOO)”, it struck me and I felt I should give my opinion on how to handle some issues that surround corporate recruiters interacting with external agencies. 

Dr. Reed Crooter (conveniently sounds similar to Recruiter) wrote, “Many times, these discussions involve us telling the external recruiter that if they send us someone and they are already in our database (Applicant Tracking System), we won’t be paying a fee for them. Why pay a fee for someone who’s already in your system?”  I understand from a cost perspective that Dr. Crooter is trying to save money.  I have some concerns with his statement.  First off, as an external recruiter I simply cannot view your database.  Where is my safety net when it comes to submitting candidates?  Because I can’t see your database, how can I be reassured that this person is actually in your system?  If they are, why am I the first to contact them?  It has to be difficult to swallow knowing you might have missed a great candidate that was right there in your own network.  I know it would most certainly frustrate me.  Keep in mind I’m asking my candidates if they’ve already submitted to your company prior to me even submitting them to you. 

As an external recruiter, I’m using my internal database, job boards and good ole networking techniques.  I realize some of our tools might be similar or even the same.  For example, we both may have a subscription to CareerBuilder, Monster, or Dice.  Will it then reach a point where the agency will not be able to submit candidates from some job boards?  There has to a place where the line is drawn.  I’m assuming a company is using an outside agency for a reason.  That reason being, they’ve exhausted their options, don’t have the staff to recruit, or simply can’t find the perfect fit.  Whatever the reason may be, it all boils down to the internal recruiter having trouble finding the right person.

Now there are some steps I take to help me find out if this person has already been submitted or is in a client’s database.  I always make sure no other agency has submitted and that the candidate themselves have not submitted their information to my client.  If I don’t wish to disclose my client’s info, I like to ask each candidate what some of the other companies they’ve applied to.  Although this may not be foolproof, it still will give me a good understanding of where this candidate has been.  Basically, I strive at all times to put communication at the forefront.  If I can effectively communicate with the candidate and my client, then issues like the one defined above would be detoured.  It’s important to understand that communication at every level is essential when working with external agencies and their candidates.

-R.M. Fox

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