Anyone Can Find Good Employees — Why Hire a Recruiter?

MARIA TITAN  |  March 28, 2019

Would you extract your own teeth with a garden tool? Would you legally represent yourself at a trial? Would you operate on your dog because you learned how to dissect a frog in biology 15 years ago and, hey, Fido will probably be just fine?

If you answered yes to any of these questions and are not a qualified dentist, lawyer, or vet, then you, my friend, have delusions of grandeur and I am calling the SPCA immediately.

If, like most people, you tend to hire professionals for these tasks, then you likely understand dentistry, law, and veterinary medicine are, in fact, professions. People have dedicated their lives to studying and practicing these fields; they have years of experience and earn their living doing these jobs every day. Of course you should call one of them instead of trying to do it yourself.

The same idea should apply to working with recruiters — and yet, people frequently ask me why anyone would bother hiring a recruiter when they could find and hire candidates themselves.

Here’s a relevant anecdote: I understand what “credit” and “debit” mean, but I could not adequately reconcile my bank statements or submit relevant documents correctly in time for an audit. That’s why I pay an accountant to manage my books.

After working with me for several years, my accountant recently approached me for help finding an accountant for his growing firm. To be honest, I was surprised he hadn’t approached me sooner. When I asked him why he hadn’t, he said he had spent countless hours looking on his own and hadn’t been very successful. After paying for advertising, sifting through countless resumes, interviewing candidates, and even making an offer to a candidate who didn’t accept, he decided to call on me.

One week later, an accountant was sourced, interviewed, and submitted. I am pleased to report she is still happily employed and now handles my books.

My advice to my accountant was to stick to accounting and let me handle recruitment. After all, there is room enough in this world for both of us to do what we do best.

Still not convinced? Here are five reasons to let a professional recruiter handle your hiring:

1. Their Network Is Better Than Yours

Recruiters have the tools, know-how, and networks to surface candidate you couldn’t. Through the years, a recruiter will amass a database of talented candidates, so they’ll have an abundance of relevant profiles at their fingertips for your open role. Recruiters are always working to build and maintain these pipelines, whether by connecting with candidates on social media or attending job fairs to meet new job seekers in person.

If you think LinkedIn will answer your recruitment prayers, it won’t. LinkedIn makes candidates more accessible to everyone, but few people really know how to use LinkedIn properly to source new talent. Unless you know how to use LinkedIn effectively, it can quickly become an endless maze of profiles, leading your search nowhere. It takes time to build a rapport with candidates on LinkedIn; can you really afford to spend countless hours reaching out to candidates and waiting for responses? Leave it to a recruiter who knows how to get results on the platform.

2. They Know How to Attract Talent

Recruiters understand candidates’ motivations and what makes them move. They know how to analyze a job seeker’s profile and read between the lines. By looking at timelines, job histories, and current market trends, a recruiter can predict whether a candidate is really motivated to move. This allows a recruiter to target their efforts toward job seekers who are likely to be interested, rather than wasting time with candidates who don’t want the job.

3. They Save You Time, and Time Is Money

Searching for candidates takes time, and time is money. Is it wise to distract your company’s managers and leaders with this function? Do you really want senior managers scouring Facebook and LinkedIn for candidates instead of focusing on their core responsibilities?

Your managers should be leading the strategy of your company and managing processes and people, not spending endless hours reaching out to potential employees. Your financial manager might know how to make a really good cup of coffee, but would you insist they make coffee at a meeting with international clients? Is that how you would want them to allocate their time?

Perhaps you have an in-house HR manager and feel they should handle recruiting. However, chances are your HR manager must also juggle budgets, strategy, performance appraisals, and coaching. Recruiting is not the only function of HR, and it therefore cannot always be a priority. Recruiters focus only on recruitment and have the ability and time to dig deep and find those hard-to-reach candidates.

4. They Have Market Knowledge

Recruiters speak to employers and employees all day, every day. This is how they earn their keep. As a result, they have unparalleled knowledge of the market. They can help you define your vacancy; fine-tune your search; and even advise you on salary, benefits, and what your competitors are offering.

5. They (Kind of) Work for Free 

Accountants and lawyers bill for every hour of their time, but recruiters only charge for success.

Recruiters guarantee their work, even though they have little control over what you do to ensure the success of their placement. They dedicate man-hours to your searches and pay money to advertise your roles — even if you end up deciding to fill the role internally or close the position at the last minute.

A recruiter has no control over what happens once a candidate is hired, and yet, if the candidate leaves or is fired, a recruiter will often give the employer money back or find a replacement candidate for free. When was the last time you bought a car, drove it for two months, and then got a free replacement?

If you are confident you can attract the best candidates using your limited LinkedIn skills or have an HR manager who can dedicate every hour of their day to sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates, then good for you! Maybe you should open a recruitment agency.

If not, save yourself the time and money. Focus on growing your business while the recruiter focuses on growing your team.

Maria Titan is the cofounder of WorkForce Cyprus.

Are Executive Recruiters Worth the Expense?

Recruiting industry guru Lou Adler recently published an article for LinkedIn’s Talent Blog about a study his firm conducted looking at what the best executive recruiters do differently from their corporate counterparts. Here’s the short list:

  • More high touch career advisory role when dealing with candidates
  • More trusted, have strong job knowledge and are more persuasive with hiring managers so they don’t need to present as many candidates
  • Recognize talent and have strong interviewing skills
  • More persistent, so they engage with more top prospects, get more referrals and close deals more frequently
  • Specialists have deeper networks and can build the target list quickly
  • Better negotiators focusing more on career growth than compensation when discussing opportunities
  • Their subject matter expertise creates a relationship with hiring managers and prospects that goes beyond the current opening

He says that these are among the reasons why top recruiters deliver stronger candidates for the toughest roles more quickly and with fewer offers being rejected or countered.

Click here for the full article.



I have recruited and hired a lot of people over the years, more than I can count, but the one constant throughout the process is a simple question: Are we taking too long to hire?

Yes, I’ve been accused of that before, especially when I was recruiting journalists from the U.S. Mainland for a newspaper in Hawaii, a place that people suddenly got cold feet about when they had to seriously consider the ramifications of living and working there rather than just dropping in for a tropical vacation.

Corporate types 6,000 miles away never seemed to understand that.

I’ve also been accused of hiring too fast when it was clear that one of the very first candidates interviewed for a position was by far the best choice. Many people don’t believe that ever happens. Their view is that unless you’re interviewing lots of people and digging through an endless stack of resumes, then you’re not doing your job.

Recruiters who struggle with hiring managers who constantly want just a few more candidates, no matter how many great ones you’ve already sent over, can appreciate that.


I bring this up because of an interesting survey from Robert Half, the staffing firm that specializes in accountants and financial professionals. It pops up in all sorts of Google searches and resonates because of its simple premise — Are You Taking Too Long to Hire?

As the Time to Hire survey points out:

Hiring is one of the most important decisions any organization makes. But stretching out the process can cause good companies to lose out on the best candidates.”

And what talent management professional hasn’t struggled with THAT?

The survey data does a good job of supporting the report’s basic premise:

  • For almost six in 10 workers (57 percent), the most frustrating part of the job search is the long wait after an interview to hear if they got the job.
  • Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) lose interest in an organization if they don’t hear back within one week after the initial interview; another 46 percent lose interest if there’s no status update from one-to-two weeks post-interview.
  • When faced with a lengthy hiring process, 39 percent of survey respondents lose interest and pursue other roles, while 18 percent decide to stay put in their current job.
  • Nearly one-third (32 percent) said a protracted hiring process makes them question the organization’s ability to make other important decisions.


That last point is an important one, according to Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half:

The hiring process provides a window into the overall corporate culture. If people feel their career potential will be stifled by a slow-moving organization, they will take themselves out of the running.”

Of course, all of this discussion about taking too long to hire raises yet another question: What is the proper time frame to make a hiring decision, and what is considered “too long?” According to the survey:

  • From the day of the initial interview to the day an offer is extended, the largest percentage of workers – 39 percent – said a process lasting 7-14 days is too long.
  • One quarter of the survey respondents (24 percent) felt a time frame of 15-21 days was too lengthy.

These are pretty mind-boggling numbers when you consider that in 2017, the average hiring time (from start to finish of the interview process) was 23.8 days, according to a Glassdoor survey. And it was longer for some employment categories, with government hiring taking the longest at 53.8 days (no big surprise there).

Hiring remains one of the most critically important decisions a company makes, and, as the Robert Half survey analysis notes, “the risk of making a mistake causes some firms to draw out the process, adding days or weeks until a final decision is reached.”

But doing so often results in losing top candidates and starting the search over from scratch. “The key takeaway is for firms to tighten their timelines without skipping steps,” McDonald said.


Here’s my take: Hiring is about getting the best people, yet at far too many companies, the internal systems for doing that get in the way of actually finding and landing them.

What the Robert Half Time to Hire survey reminds us of — again — is that candidates aren’t willing to endure a long wait for a company to make up their mind, and given that we’re in an economy with record-low unemployment (at least as measured by the flawed but familiar Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers), people have more job possibilities and options than they had even a year ago.

This video below, and that you can click to here, is an easy-to-understand explanation of why government unemployment statistics that get touted everywhere are so terribly wrong.

If you deal with talent acquisition in any way, you know this to be true: If you leave candidates hanging and don’t get back to them in a timely manner, you’ll not only hurt your ability to hire people now, but you’ll send a message about your organizational culture that can be terribly damaging long-term.

My experience is that candidates will stick with you as long as you’re regularly communicating and helping them to understand where you are in the hiring process — and where they stand as well.

I say this a lot, but it bears repeating: A new job and new company should be at it’s very best when you’re at the beginning of the relationship.

If it’s not great then, it probably never, ever will be.

If you leave would-be employees hanging when they’re talking with you about a job, don’t be surprised if they get a message that you never really intended to send.

John Hollon is an award-winning journalist and nationally recognized expert on leadership, talent management, and smart workforce practices. He currently is Editor at Recruiting He also was founding Editor of the popular talent management website, and before that, Editor of Workforce Management magazine and John also held editing positions at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Orange County Register, and was top editor for Gannett at two statewide papers —Montana’s Great Falls Tribune and The Honolulu Advertiser. He also has deep experience in magazine and online publishing as editorial director at Fancy Publications, VP of Editorial at, and Editor of the San Diego Business Journal. In addition, John is an adjunct professor in the College of Communications at California State University, Fullerton, and a board member at the Kronos Workforce Institute.

Why Recruiting Looks Easy

There are a lot of misconceptions about the recruiting profession. This article does a great job at helping those outside our profession understand why it ain’t as easy as it might look.

Why Recruiting Looks Easy

Miles Jennings | January 9, 2012

There is an absolutely wonderful children’s book called 20 Heartbeats about a painter who paints a horse for a very wealthy man. I hate to ruin it for you, but I have to say what happens.

The rich man pays this famous painter to paint his favorite horse. But years go by and the painter won’t finish the painting. The rich man finally shows up at the painter’s house and demands the painting. The painter obligingly whips out a piece of parchment, dashes off a horse in black ink with his brush, and then hands the painting to the rich man. All this takes less than the time of 20 heartbeats.

The rich man is, of course, aghast. He storms after the painter to demand his money back. However, as he walks after the painter, he sees what has been taking so long.

All along the walls are hundreds and hundreds of painted horses. The painter wasn’t procrastinating, he was practicing. The rich man then finally takes a look at the painting that he purchased so long ago, now in his hands. It’s a perfect horse, a horse so real that he whistles to it.

As every art form takes discipline and practice to look easy, every kind of work takes years of diligence to perfect. Recruiting is no different, but few professions look so simple. It’s really hard to pass along a piece of paper, right? You can almost hear hiring managers thinking to themselves, “Yeah, I’ll bet your fingers are really tired from dragging all those resumes from a folder into an email. Real hard work.” Few jobs seem so easy to duplicate.

The end product of recruiting, for one thing, is someone’s else’s work – it is someone else’s talent, ability to interview, and everything else they have that gets them hired that is the end product of the recruiter’s process. It’s hard to pinpoint the recruiter’s exact role in this pseudo-science. Did they identify the talent? Spot them? Find them? Assess them? Understand the job? The culture? Have the right database? The right connections? The right insight into the department or hiring manager psychology? Did they make a lot of calls or know some secret strings to search for in Google? It’s hard to say what it is exactly that the recruiter does and so it’s easy to discount the recruiter’s role entirely.

However, we might be looking at it wrong. A recruiter’s value can’t be found within the process of a single hire. It can’t be found in that space that sometimes spans twenty heartbeats between talking to a manager about a job to the identification of a possible talent.

You have to look at everything that comes before that identification to see the value of a good recruiter. A great recruiter creates the conditions for that magic luck to strike. They don’t talk to a lot of different people. They talk to everyone. They don’t want to know their clients or their company’s competitors. They want to know everything that’s happening at every company in their area. It’s a massive amount of work that requires constant rejection, failure, stress, and is compounded by the minutiae of job offers and the uncertainty of human emotion.

That’s why very few succeed at recruiting. It’s not like there is anything special about that one placement. There is nothing about identifying a candidate and getting them a job offer that requires any particular kind of magic, or even a college degree for that matter. Unlike a beautiful painting, anyone or any recruiter can luck out and make a placement or two. But the background required for long-term recruiting success is much different. It involves the deep study of companies, products, markets, assessment, and professions coupled with a kind of brute force stamina to doggedly pursue the talents of other people. This is the process that forges the recruiter’s talent. This talent, when functioning at its best, is impossible to find.

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Creating a Candidate-Centric Job Posting

Let’s admit it. The vast majority of job postings are BORING. They’re really just job descriptions in disguise. If your goal is capture the interest of top performers, do you really think your long, generic job description will do the job?

Job postings should be compelling. They need to capture a candidate’s attention and motivate them to respond. You’ll only achieve this by making them more candidate-centric. Sure, it takes more time. But, it’ll be worth it because you’ll attract more of the candidates you want.

Here’s an article with some valuable tips for how to get there:

Why Job Postings Shouldn’t Be Your Only Recruiting Tactic

Reason #1: Relying on Job Postings is a Passive Strategy
Postings create a reactive recruiting environment because candidates have to seek you out. This puts you at a distinct disadvantage compared to competitors who proactively seek out top performers and actively court them. The result? The best people gravitation toward your competitors and you are more likely to miss out on people who can make the most significant impact on your bottom line.

Today’s market for top talent is becoming more competitive than ever. They’re highly sought after and aggressively pursued by competitors with proactive recruiting strategies. Top companies don’t sit and wait for these candidates to come to them.

Reason #2: Job Postings Attract Unqualified Candidates
Replying to job posting requires little time and effort. Anyone who thinks your opening looks interesting can cut and paste their resume into an email. A few seconds later, there it is in your inbox. You wind up being inundated with candidates who think your job looks interesting, regardless of whether they’re even close to what you need.

Attracting and hiring the best talent is just too important to rely on a “spray and pray” strategy.

Reason #3: Job Postings Miss Lots of Qualified Talent

According to studies from LinkedIn and others, only 20-30% of the workforce is actively in looking for a new job.

What about the other 70-80% of the talent pool? First, they’re unlikely to notice your postings because they aren’t actively surfing the web for new jobs. Even if they do, there’s a slim chance they’ll take action, unless the information you provide is compelling and motivates them to take take the next step, something that most postings don’t so very well.

Furthermore, just because a high-impact candidate isn’t ready to make a change right now doesn’t mean they won’t be in the near future. Unless you proactively pursue them on a ongoing basis, you’ll never know about them when openings arise down the road.


My message is this: job postings should only be part of your overall recruiting strategy. Attracting the “best of the best” requires that you regularly talk with top performers, even when you aren’t actively recruiting. That way, you’ll better understand what might motivate them to make a change and have a better chance at bringing them on board when the time is right.

How Slow Hiring Process Hurts your Recruiting Efforts

As the labor market continues to tighten, employers that have an unnecessarily slow hiring process will increasing lose out on top talent to companies that move more quickly.

Adapted from: The Top 12 Reasons Why Slow Hiring Severely Damages Recruiting and Business Results by Dr. John Sullivan; posted on on April 21, 2014. You can find the full article here.

A candidate from a well-known benchmark firm dropped out of our search for a General Manager position because the hiring manager took a week to respond to his interest. He said: “It’s not like I need their job. If it takes them a week to respond to a resume like mine for a job of this importance, they’re not the kind of company I want to work for. I move fast, and I can already see that my style wouldn’t fit their culture.”

You may have noticed that we’ve returned to a highly competitive talent market where the negative impact of a slow hiring process will become more apparent (and costly) for companies that don’t adapt. How will that affect your business? Here’s a list of the 10 most damaging consequences associated with taking too long to hire:

  1. The best talent will be lost during the latter stages of your recruiting process: When a top performer decides to enter the job market, it’s likely that they’ll be approached by multiple companies and get hired very quickly. Research indicates that the top 10% of candidates are hired within 10 days.
    Lesson learned: Speed of hire is absolutely critical when you are competing against other firms for high-impact talent. If you don’t move quickly, your competitors will take this top talent off the market before you can react.
  2. You will experience a decline in the quality of the people you hire: It’s a mistake to think that a methodical interviewing process will result in better hires—it actually has the opposite effect. The longer you take, the lower the quality (i.e. the “on-the-job performance” of new hires) will be. As mentioned in item #1, an extended hiring process causes the top candidates to withdraw and thus diminishes the quality of your overall talent pool.
    Lesson learnedInstead of improving quality of hire, a slow process may actually increase the likelihood that you will hire mediocre talent.
  3. Vacancies that remain open for longer than necessary will cost you money:While some hiring managers mistakenly believe that vacancies will save on salaries, the economic damage caused by having a revenue-generating position vacant longer than necessary results in lost revenue and productivity that will be difficult to recover.
    Lesson learned: Unnecessary vacancies have a significant dollar impact on productivity, innovation, and revenue generation.
  4. Your salary costs will increase because you’ll wind up in bidding wars for top talent: When a high-impact candidate  enters the job market they are less likely to know their true value right way. If you offer them a position before other companies have had a chance to bid on them, you are more likely to hire them with little or no haggling. A candidate’s salary demands will invariably increase once they realize their true market value.
    Lesson learned:Fast decisions save money. Slow decisions will cause you to pay as much as 25% more for the same talent.
  5. You’ll acquire an image of being a slow decision-maker which will hurt your “employer brand” and cause you to lose many top prospects: Candidates will gauge their interactions with your company during the recruiting process as an indicator of what it’ll be like to work there. A slow interviewing process will be lead candidates to believe your company is indecisive. Top performers tend to be fast and accurate decision-makers, so they’ll be much more likely to gravitate toward companies that do the same.
    Lesson learnedSlow hiring hurts your brand image, which in turn will reduce the number and quality of candidates who want to work at your company.
  6. Slow decisions will cause you to lose a high percentage of “head-to-head” talent battles for top candidates: Winning a disproportionately high number of head-to-head talent battles with your top competitors builds a competitive edge. The inability to make fast hiring decisions on highly sought-after candidates leaves the door open for them to go elsewhere. Companies that react quickly will likely find that their productivity and innovation rates rise at a faster rate than those who don’t.
    Lesson learned:By acting quickly, not only will you capture a higher percentage of top performers, but you’ll simultaneously keep them away from your competitors.
  7. Candidates will lose interest:Slow hiring dramatically reduces candidate excitement and increases your exposure to hiring freezes, layoffs, or budget cuts: When you’re trying to recruit a top performer away from another company, keeping them engaged and excited about your opportunity to vital to your recruiting success. The longer you take to get through your interviewing process, the more likely they are to lose interest or be courted by your competitors.
    Lesson learned: With “passive” job seekers–those who are open to a change but aren’t actively looking to do so–a slow and bureaucratic hiring process exposes your risk that something out of your control will impact the candidate’s interest–they might be offered a promotion or raise, increased fear of change, more opportunity for them to hear negative comments about your company from others in your industry.
  8. Unfilled positions will be viewed negatively by your customers and employees: Positions that are vacant for long periods of time are often viewed negatively by customers and increase your risk of degraded and slower service. Likewise, a drop in the morale of employees who have to do double duty leads to lower retention. People who came from other faster-hiring firms will get frustrated because they know that these extended vacancies aren’t necessary.
    Lesson learned:Long-term vacancies impact multiple stakeholders and are bad for business.
  9. Less success recruiting “passive” job seekers: Based on the premise that most desirable top performers are well-treated and currently employed, successfully recruiting them requires a different approach from hiring “active” job seekers. Once a “passive” candidate expresses an interest in making a change, they usually aren’t on in the job market for very long—often less than 3 weeks–because other companies find out and jump into the fray. Thus, you’ll face a much greater risk of losing them to a competitor, and increase the possibility that the candidate will receive and accept a counteroffer.
    Lesson learned:To successfully recruit high-potential, “passive” candidates, you need a faster hiring process than you use with active job seekers.
  10. Increased hiring costs:A lengthy hiring process (more than four interviews over more than 3 weeks) eats up more time of everyone involved. The “hidden cost” of this extra time significantly increases your recruiting costs (cost-per-hire) and takes people away from other revenue generating activities.
    Lesson learned: You’ll save money and increase quality of hire by reducing unnecessary steps and enable your employees to spend more time on high-value activities.

Final Thoughts You certainly won’t impress anyone with a slow and cumbersome hiring process that routinely misses top talent. On the surface, the need for hiring fast might seem like an easy concept to understand, but can be very challenging to implement. If you don’t yet understand the impact of slow hiring, perhaps an analogy will help. Remember your high school prom? It’s common for most students to ask the most desirable prospects to be their prom date within a week or two of the prom announcement. But what happens to those who wait for 47 days (the average time it takes a corporation to make a hiring decision) to ask for a date? What would the probability be that your top three choices would still be available?

Tool for Better Interviewing and Candidate Assessment

The full article appears at

Here are what I believe to be the key take-aways (direct or slightly edited quotes from the article):

Whatever the results they should never be used for screening candidates. The four styles represent preferences not competencies. That’s why they should not be used for screening purposes.

When the BEST test is used properly (and all of the Jung-based variants, i.e., DISC, PI, MBTI, etc.) it will you help you hire better people.

When interviewing, you can increase your objectivity by taking on the traits of your least dominant style – this is your diagonal opposite. This step alone will reduce your potential hiring mistakes by 50-75%.

Let me know what you think!