Hi, everyone.

I'm confused as to whether or not the sales people who bring me contractors to hire at my company count as "recruiters" and whether or not the podcast about recruiters applies to them. Given some of my recent experiences, I'm starting to think what Mark thinks is a recruiter and these people are two different things.

I work for a large company that basically has an HR tradition of never firing an employee. The process for setting up an employee to be knocked over is brutal, and initiating it can backfire and put the manager under a microscope. While the O3 notes and other records keeping a good MT manager uses would prove very helpful, unless the company opens the door by asking me to name my bottom performers for layoffs in order to reduce headcount, my employees are, for the most part, immortals.

My management agrees, and we have a policy of hiring contractors in on a try-before-we-buy basis. If the contractors are top performers, I immortalize them as employees to keep them around and bring up the company's average performance level. If they are mediocre, we train and motivate them as best we can. If we become convinced that no amount or an excessive amount of training and motivation are required to get good performance out of them, we call up their rep and have them removed. If they are misbehaving, we remove them quickly.

No process is required to remove an IT contractor at my company. I call up the company's rep, and they reel them in, grab their equipment, and process them out on their end.

The companies we hire these folks from regularly have sales people who are assigned to my company's account contact me. They are always wanting to take me to lunch, give me coffee mugs, and offering me other small price tag perqs for having some of their people on staff or doing so to try to build a relationship with me.

At first, I embraced these approaching sales folks as if they were recruiters and learned as much about them as I could and started building relationships with them. But I have since started to think that these folks really don't count as recruiters - they are sales people. They can't help me find a job one day. They talk about the people in their companies who are "recruiters" as being different people from them, and they often don't know why someone was picked to be sent to me for an interview.

My concern is because I am finding that I am having to do quite a bit of micromanaging of these contracting companies in order to get the types of people that I want, and these conversations we have about how they could help me with their people's performance, why we dismissed someone, or even feedback as to how they could perform better do not feel like relationship building activities.

Also, none of them is involved in "executive recruiting." They place line-level people in project manager, developer, and business analyst roles. When I ask them about ever having placed anyone at a director level or higher, they report they are clueless about that kind of thing and none even say their companies have such a function.

So, are these people "recruiters" or something else?

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

Hi US41..

When I did that job I was called a recruiter. But essentially, all recruiters are sales people. They sell your company to candidates and they sell candidates to you.

The relationship you have with them now is more of a supplier/client relationship. You communicate with them in order to get the best product from them.

However, they (in general, perhaps not the specific individuals you have talked to) work in offices with recruiters who will have openings for your skills should you want to move in the future; they have contacts in companies you might want to work in.

You need to balance your short term relationship (supplier/client) with the longer term possibilities (candidate/recruiter).

Does that make sense?


akinsgre's picture

It probably differs from company to company, but most of the big IT contracting firms I've dealt with had Account reps to communicate with firms, get requirements, etc... and recruiters who networked with IT workers and harvested resumes.

I've talked about moving into Mgmt with one Account Rep, who has been active in the Pittsburgh market for years. She said that she rarely got Mgmt jobs from her contacts.

I think these types of recruiters are definitely different from the executive recruiters that Mark and Mike talk about.

However, that's not to say they won't be helpful and shouldn't be included in your network.

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

When M&M were talking about networking they made a point of not building a network that can help you. You network with everyone. You help everyone in your network.

I'd nurture the relationship. Give them the information they need to succeed in their job; i.e. give you good candidates. They succeed, you get better candidates. Sounds like a win-win to me.

As to whether they can place you in the future, the question is: "Are you looking to be placed?" Maybe right now they can't, but they probably have a career ladder too. Maybe they will be placing managers as they advance.

Lots of friends never hurt anyone. Be nice. Be sincere. Be helpful. You never know how being a decent human being is going to pay off. :)

ccleveland's picture


Recruiters, headhunters (sorry Mark), meat vendors (okay, really bad one)….whatever you call them, they earn a living by matching up companies with workers. The mechanisms may vary but most of the principles are the same. Mark has suggested the book, “Rites of Passage,” by John Lucht as a description of how recruiting works (and how to best leverage the process). It is very, VERY detailed; however, it’s written in a way that allows you to skip to easily to sections you want to read.

As for working with contracting companies, take advantage of the opportunity the “sales” people are giving you to [u]build your relationship[/u]. (Note: If you’re worried about the little perks…buy [u]them[/u] coffee some of the time.) The point is, the better they know you, and the types of candidates you’re looking for, the easier it will be for you to get the right candidate in the door.

In one of my past projects, we had to hire a large contractor team. Because of the evovling relationships with the different recruiters, by the end of the hiring cycle, we were interviewing a lot fewer candidates that did not meet our needs while raising the bar to get more experienced candidates. As Will said, “a win-win” situation.

One suggestion: diversity is critical. Do [u]not[/u]let one or two contracting recruiters be the sole source of potential new hires. Always continue to look and leverage your network (to mutual benefit) beyond those recruiters. Even if your company has a policy of using contracting companies, first, you can work within the system to bring in additional people. I’m sure recruiters love that…you’re doing the hard part of their job for them. (Just make sure there’s no conflict of interest…but that’s a story of another person...)