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The Recruiting Industry Is Broken (Part 2)

March 10, 2017 by Kurt Wilkin

Reason #1: When Speed Kills

Previously in this series, I talked about the traditional recruiting industry and why I firmly believe it is broken. We talked about misaligned incentives inherent in the “contingent” recruiting model and their commission-only compensation models. And we highlighted the fact that contingent recruiters are in direct competition with Y O U, the client, for talent.

The rest of this six-part series of articles will dig quite a bit deeper into this broken model and I’ll offer up a different, more professional option to serve your talent needs.

Contingent recruiters don’t have time to conduct a thorough search to find the superstar candidates who aren’t on the job market. They don’t even have time to truly understand your business and your talent needs.

I like to say, “you’re building your house with the wrong set of blueprints”. What I mean by that is contingent recruiters need to move very fast, in order to get paid and be the first to send you a candidate’s resume. They don’t have time to truly scope the position or challenge the job description your hiring manager may have cobbled together from your most recent effort or from a Google search. It means you’re looking for the wrong person – you’re building your house with the wrong set of blueprints!

You see, most contingent recruiters don’t care whether your job description fits your situation, they just want to find someone who matches it ASAP! And one of the ways they move quickly is by leveraging their database of known commodities. These are usually candidates whom they know are desperate to get out of their current situation (or whom their employer is eager to get out!). And recruiters send their resume over to dozens of clients or prospective clients.

Real-life Example

A few years ago, we had a consumer packaged goods client call and ask us for a senior accountant for a three-month project. The CFO was slammed and knew he needed “a warm body” to relieve some pressure. He had already spoken with one our competitors, who provides accounting consultants, and he knew we had recently launched our own project-based talent practice.


Like many executives in high-growth companies, the CFO, was busy “wearing many hats”, managing both the accounting/finance and operational needs of the business. His expertise is in finance, but when their distribution demands doubled in 12 months, he stepped up and began leading operations as well. They were busting at the seams and it wasn’t long before the CFO began feeling the stress. He was afraid things would start falling through the cracks. He knew he needed help FAST and did what most of us would do, he sought relief for his main pain point. He called HireBetter and asked for a stopgap solution for his accounting challenges, an experienced interim accountant.


During our scoping meeting with the CFO, we stepped back and discussed his overall business goals. We asked a lot of questions. We learned that his biggest challenge, and the company’s biggest risk, was in supply chain and logistics. We knew his strength was in accounting/finance and, as a result, he was not playing to his strength when he got mired in operations. Ultimately, we mutually agreed that they didn’t need an interim accountant after all, they actually needed a full-time, experienced logistics manager to focus solely on their demanding and expanding supply chain needs. This allowed the CFO time to focus on financial strategy and projections, as well as day-to-day accounting/finance needs.


HireBetter’s ability to view the CFO’s dilemma from a different perspective solved a significant need for our client. Our team went in to scope a project accounting need but we ended up hiring a Logistics Manager because it was the right move to support the company’s growth. We have seen too many recruiters jump in and sell the highly lucrative temporary placement because it was easy or because the recruiter was commissioned on temporary placements. Instead, HireBetter took a step back with our client and approached the situation with a long-term view, which was ultimately the right answer for the company.

Next time, we’ll take a closer look at Reason #2: You’re a Good Negotiator.

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