Don’t hire a recruiter until you do these 5 things!


Recruiters, like attorneys, can be very expensive if you don’t know exactly what you need from them.  But you get much better results when you do.

1.  Get a job description from each of the stakeholders: direct supervisor, department head, VP and even the co-workers or those who will be the new person’s direct reports

Threadless job description

Image by abraham.williams via Flickr

You need to be sure that all of these people have the same idea of what the new hire will do.  If not, take the time now, before you spend any time or money on the search to make sure that they all agree on the basics.  Also make sure that this is really only one job and not three.  A recruiter can and will do this for you if there needs to be an external consultant to get everyone on the same page.

2. Find out what 5 things your hiring manager(s) will want the new hire to accomplish in the next 6 months.

These things will attract the right people and, hopefully, discourage the people who are not qualified.  People today want to know that they can do what you most need to have done and that they will learn something in the process.

3. Use your social network to see if you already know or are connected to the person you need to hire.

A segment of a social network

Image via Wikipedia

LinkedIn is certainly one go-to spot, but there are many others.  Are all of your top performers on LinkedIn?  Are you Linked to each of them?  Are you a member of the appropriate LinkedIn groups for your industry and for the kind of person that you need?

You can do the same in Facebook, Viadeo, Spoke, etc.

Three best friends

4. Ask your top performers who they know who can do this job.


Employee referral programs are at least as effective as job postings in filling a job.  The danger here is getting a group that is too homogeneous and that you will lose the creativity of diversity.

5. Post the job and see what you get.

Only about 10% of jobs are filled through postings and you always get huge numbers of “What were they thinking when they applied?” applications and resumes.  Sort through them and make sure the ones you pick meet the requirements in the job description.

If you can find the right person with all of this, great!  If not, or if you need a more confidential search, then now is the time to hire a recruiter.

A good recruiter will need the top two items and there is no point in hiring one if you can get the right person from the next three.  But, if you are running out of time and still have not found your new hire, you may want to hire a search services professional to cast a broader net or sort through that stack of resumes.  Contract recruiters are one option, virtual and unbundled search services consultants are another.  I’ll do another post about the similarities and differences in another post.

What do you do when the hiring manager comes to you and says: “We need an X as soon as possible!!!”?  I’d love to hear your stories!




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CEO, CFO, hiring, HR and Hiring Managers, Networking, recruiting, talent management , ,

1 response to Don’t hire a recruiter until you do these 5 things!

  1. Pingback: Talent Acquisition: Do you hunt? | Hampton & Associates – Scientific and Executive Search Consultants

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