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Many companies operate under the notion that spreading out the hiring and recruiting workload among several staffing companies is to their advantage and can even give them a competitive edge.  The reality is such thinking is misguided and in fact works against their best interest.  Here we explore four myths and explain why it is far better for companies to go exclusively with one recruiter and/or agency.

1.  Engaging several recruiting firms gives the client access to more available candidates.

Not really.  There are two types of job candidates in the world—active and passive.  Passive candidates, while often some of the best qualified, don’t respond to advertisements, post their resumes on job sites or register with recruiting firms.  Active candidates do, but recent research suggests that less than 5% of currently registered active job seekers are suitable for any specific position.  Further, these candidates tend to register with multiple recruiting firms and so what you really end up with is several firms all looking at the same limited talent pool.

You need a solid and credible recruiting firm that goes deeper than just the readily available candidate pool.  It’s far preferable to engage a firm that excels in the hard work of networking, headhunting and combing their well-updated data bases to seek out and find the right person for the job. Knowing they have been retained on an exclusive basis provides a recruiter not only the motivation but the time needed to put in place a full range strategic plan. Multiple firms, all working on a contingency basis, are just not going to put in the time and effort needed to produce excellent results.  Do you want to hire a handful of college kids to paint your house or do you want to hire one reputable painting contractor that knows what they’re doing and has painted hundreds of houses properly?

2.  When recruiters know they’ve been pitted against each other, they’ll work harder and more aggressively.

In fact, quite the opposite is true.  The illusion is the various recruiters will commit more and work harder.  Why should they when clearly the company is not willing to?  Giving orders to five different recruiters is effectively sending the message: “You each have 20% of my commitment.”  Why would that same company then fool themselves into thinking those five recruiters are going to give any more in return?  Isn’t this akin to a polygamist saying he wants to find a soul mate?

3.  Hiring multiple recruiters will expedite the hiring process.

Really? Think about that one. Hiring multiple recruiters requires taking time from your already busy schedule to outline the position, review candidate requirements, detail compensation packages, explain your hiring process, etc.  Not to mention dealing with the questions and follow up from several recruiters all coming at once.  Work with one dedicated recruiter and you only need to go through this process once. It’s not only more efficient, it’s more effective.

4.  Hiring multiple recruiters makes me more visible in the market place.

That may be true– and that may not be a good thing.  Too many people touting positions at your company may create the image that you have excessive turnover.  This is never settling to potential job candidates and if that becomes the “word on the street” about you—watch out.  Further, no two recruiters are alike and are going to have differing methods and standards.  Chances are some of them will not be up to your standards and it’s simply impossible to manage multiple firms and have a firm grasp on what they’re doing.  Working with a sole recruiter provides the opportunity to from a genuine partnership, bond and synergy.  An exclusive recruiter becomes an extension of the company you’ve worked so hard to build—maintaining the same level of professionalism and integrity to that you dictate.  If they can’t, you wouldn’t have hired them in the first place.

In essence it all comes back to what deep down we all know—you get what you pay for.  Your ability to attract and hire the very top talent for your company will dictate whether you achieve mediocrity (or worse) or true success.  Find the recruiting/staffing company that is right for you and then engage them exclusively.  Set the proper expectations and let them see your level of commitment to the partnership.  The return on your investment will be well worth it and the proof will be in the results.

Deborah Millhouse CPC, CTS, CSP

President CEO, Inc.

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