Agency Recruiters need to get Taller in 2016

The low-hanging fruit is all but gone, so agency recruiters need to either evolve (get taller) or starve.

What happened to the low-hanging fruit that has been steadily disappearing for the last 10 years?

  • Founders are listening to Mark Zuckerberg and spending 50% of their time or more recruiting. And now that recruiting/ hiring is a top 3 priority for every startup, all employees from the CEO down are told that building a great team is part of their job. Previously Recruiting was just 1 bullet point on a long list for an HR Manager.
  • Companies are hiring a dedicated Internal Recruiter earlier and it is not uncommon these days for this person to be one of the first 20 hires. This person’s job is to reduce cost-per-hire and the easiest way to do this is for the Internal Recruiter to eat all of the low-hanging fruit.
  • Tools are making it easier. Of course there are a myriad of places to post your job, but tools like Connectifier, Gild, and mean that you don’t have to be a trained recruiter to search, identify, contact, and evaluate candidates.

Oh no! This sounds bad, are agency recruiters going to become extinct?

Well, no, but we will be relied on for increasingly difficult and time-consuming searches. This is why in 2015 our team sent 92k emails, made 3k calls, and took engineers to almost 500 lunches/ coffees/ beers to make 100 hires.

In 2016, agency recruiters need to evolve our skill sets beyond just search and identification. Glen Cathey already published a blog about just this topic, the next stage of our evolution is How to Get People to Respond to Recruiting Emails & Messages. Crafting creative and personalized messages to each target candidate, then A/B testing the results requires a significant enough amount of time and expertise that dedicated recruiters will likely still have the upper-hand over untrained counterparts here.

I’ll take it 1 step further to suggest that in 2016 agency recruiters will be increasingly relied on for: market intel, brand awareness, and closing expertise. This means that Agency Recruiters need to specialize in their subject matter in order to continue to add the value needed to stay relevant.

The other MAJOR advantage that Agency Recruiters have is that savvy engineers will continue to want to work with us, because we are the most efficient resource for engineers looking for jobs. I’ll give a quick example-

Situation 1: a Ruby engineer named Gem is looking for a job and she was contacted by 15 internal recruiters/ hiring managers from different companies but can’t decide based on the emails which she likes. So she has 15 calls to discover that: 5 of them can’t afford her, 3 are working with PHP (no thanks), 2 of them are not within walking distance, and 1 is not dog friendly :( So Gem is left with 4 viable options to pursue further, but has already invested 10–20 hours to get there.

Situation 2: Gem gets contacted by a recruiter at RockIT Recruiting. RockIT partners with 50+ Bay Area startups, so already she has >3X the # of choices. She explains to RockIT that she wants: a dog friendly office, to walk to work, use Ruby on Rails and a salary increase. RockIT suggests 5 companies that all meet all of her criteria and she has 5 viable options after 1 hour invested.

Best of luck in 2016, stay fat!