Talent Acquisition

Why Recruiters Must Learn When to Say NO!

I am regarded, I believe, in the (notorious) R2R sector as someone who doesn’t rub egos; I will address all parties with candor throughout the process and yes… I say “no” quite a lot to people regularly!

I genuinely believe that if more recruiters learned to say “no” in business, the sector would be more robust and frankly, better regarded by those who use it for career searches and to grow their businesses. But there is also an added advantage to saying “no” in business…. profit.

The recruitment sector comprises of a multitude of people and personalities; I have a daily conversation with my clients about the composition aka the “DNA” of a good recruiter, and there is never a one size fits all answer, as I have blogged about previously- it is always subjective to a company’s ethos, sector, processes, and culture.

However, one observation I have to make as an R2R (and I am going to label myself as wise and veteran with 9 yrs of running my own business and 16 yrs in the recruitment sector!)- that more recruiters must be pickier whom they partner with… why aren’t people more discerning about whom they do business with?

Recruiters have to accept more responsibility for the clients they choose to represent and recruit for. And equally, the candidates they represent in the market.

I absolutely fail to understand what benefit there is to anyone or the sector if recruiters continue to place candidates into companies who don’t pay fees (I hear this a lot- seriously? Do your credit checks before embarking on any business relationships and simply get signed terms. It really is a process all recruiters must follow.) of clients who have a notorious reputation for hiring/firing/poor ethics, of companies waiting for your introduction period to end and then “backdooring” the recruiter. A hideous waste of your time and effort.

And I say “no” to companies if I feel there is no synergy between my approach and theirs- how can I sit in and portray integrity if I am happy to send my candidates to companies who don’t offer the same set of values? So, I don’t!

On candidates, I say “no” to more candidates than I actually go to market proactively with, yes, it is true. If someone has a poor CV, bad attitude, or a worrying reference; if I genuinely believe I would be going on a crusade to represent them, I tell them this and let them know I can’t help. I advise them who else to speak to, or how to approach the market themselves.

Folly or actually, good commercial business sense? Ultimately I want to place the right people into the right roles so surely I can’t represent everyone?

It is so hard to genuinely have a USP in the recruitment market these days. Everyone has a snazzy website, social media apprentice, clever CRM systems…… even me.

But actually, you could make your USP a free one: teach your recruiters to be discerning. To say no to clients and candidates you can’t and won’t build long term, profitable relationships with.

What do you think? Have I finally lost the plot admitting to my strategy in saying “no” to people, to be discerning? Or actually, have I got a valid point, and is this a USP of yours, in your recruitment niche?

By Lysha Holmes

Lysha Holmes is founding director of Qui Recruitment established in 2005 to completely challenge the traditionally poorly perceived service offered by other Rec 2 Rec providers. Lysha as Qui Recruitment is dedicated to representing the best talent to the best suited roles, focussing on placing recruiters of all levels in a candidate led service across the NW.