Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive recruitment firm arrangements
Often times hiring companies come to me asking me if I can help them find a person with specific skills or experience from the dietary supplement, ingredient or food production industry for a crucial opening in thier organization. Further along into our conversation, they inform me that they have already engaged with two other search firms. When I ask why they are calling my firm, they reply that they, "want as many resumes as possible for their opening." What about quality of candidates, potential of candidates to become high achievers and cultural fit? Nope - quantity seems to be the #1 concern. Interesting.
In over eighteen years of recruiting, I have witnessed countless examples of companies who have engaged multiple recruitment firms for a project and then call me three months later asking for my help because the other firms haven't found them a high-caliber, 'great-fit' candidate for thier opening.
I recently came across a fabulous explanation from industry recruiting leader, John Bartos, describing what happens when a critical hiring need is disseminated to multiple firms.
Can I share with you what happens in the mind of recruiters when they find out that they’re not working exclusive on a particular search?
Recruiters are typically commissioned based and tend to spend their time on the searches that will yield results the fastest. Once a recruiter finds out that they are not the only firm working on a search, it becomes a race. All firms involved rush through a search to find as many candidates that are close fits as possible and send them over as quickly as possible. These candidates are from internal databases as well as job board candidates. You will get an initial run of resumes, but then you will receive none. That’s because all the recruiters are not doing an “active” search on your positions to actually go after the “A” players who are gainfully employed and working for a competitor. They don’t have the time. It’s a race remember. Unfortunately, no quality control and close matching and selling happens due to time constraints. You, the client, end up being the quality control person and not the recruiting firms. That’s a lot of work. The end result is that you get to choose best player out of the poor to average talent you were given, choosing the best of the worst so to speak.
He goes on to suggest using one firm exclusively. This will allow a dedicated firm to directly call in to the marketplace and go after the gainfully employed “A” players, who are overachieving with your competitors. This will also put the quality control back into the search so you are not doing all the work. The dedicated firm will deliver 3-5 of the best players in the marketplace within about three weeks. The big advantage to you is that you get a chance to select the best individual out of the best players in your industry, instead of choosing the best of the potentially the worst.