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Are Recruiters Necessary?
by Bill Radin

Peter was a great candidate, but was unemployed. When he contacted me, I immediately thought of a company that seemed a perfect match for his talents. So, I placed a call to the vice president.

The VP agreed that my candidate was outstanding, and could immediately help his company grow. However, there was a catch: Under no circumstances would he pay a recruiter’s fee.

“So, you see no value whatsoever in working with a recruiter,” I said.

“You got it,” the VP said. “We get 50 resumes a week from posting on Craigslist. So, if your candidate really wants to work for our company, I’m sure he’ll find us.”

“Sorry I wasted your time,” I said. I could see that trying to convince him otherwise was a waste of my time as well.

Sure enough, just as the VP predicted, the candidate eventually found the company online, and after an exchange of emails, the VP flew Peter out to California to interview. Not once, but twice.

Soon after the second interview, Peter received an email from the VP, and it had the look and feel of an offer—almost. “We’d like you to come to work for us,” The VP wrote. “All we need to do is find out what sort of salary you’re looking for.” I know all about the email, because the candidate forwarded it to me and asked for advice.

Now, I’m not one to hold a grudge; nor am I about to keep two interested parties apart, especially in light of the fact that the candidate was unemployed. So I advised the candidate to strongly state his interest and request a formal offer, with the understanding that if the offer was reasonable, he would accept the offer and set a start date.

But instead of taking my advice, the candidate took a detour, which proved fateful. In his email message to Peter, the VP went on to say that their salary range was $100k to $150k. Since Peter’s last job had paid $100k, Peter figured there was some room to negotiate.

So Peter emailed the VP that he needed a salary of $12k more than he was making before being laid off, in order to: [a] compensate for the higher cost of living in California; [b] bring his salary up to “market” value, according to an online survey; and [c] provide him with a 12-percent increase to adjust for inflation during the two years he’d been unemployed.

How did the VP react? He pulled the offer.

Now, I don’t blame the VP for being put off. But instead of saying, “Whoa, can we talk about it?” he stopped the deal in its tracks.

Had I been in a position to broker the exchange, I’m certain the outcome would have been very different. Acting as a sounding board, I could have smoothed the rough edges, and helped everyone reach a consensus. Instead, Peter and the VP communicated poorly; and as a result, their little drama morphed into a triple tragedy.

First, a talented and deserving candidate was left with a family to feed and a creative mind going to waste. Second, a perfectly good company that could have reaped untold financial benefit by expanding its capacity is still turning away business.

And third, the VP who regarded my services as worthless cost his company ten times the money he would have paid me.

Yes, there’s a cost associated with high-quality professional services. But very often, they’re worth every penny.

 

 

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