“When I need a heart by-pass, rest assured that I won’t select my surgeon on the basis of what he charges”

That’s what an ailing executive recently opined when he was informed by his doctor about his arterial blockage problems. Why then are corporate executives so tightfisted when dealing with what is commonly thought of as the “heartbeat” of their companies . . . Talent?

So why should you hire a recruiter? Just a few of the often unspoken reasons are:


Nobody knows the employment market-place better than a professional recruiter – nobody! In-house human resources, no matter how effective (or Internet-savvy), often view the marketplace through an imperfect or misrepresentative prism. Just as physicians are cautioned against treating members of their own families, so too is it folly for an in-house H/R professional to believe that they have an undistorted and unbiased picture of the employment landscape. They are vulnerable to the pressures of internal politics and cultural dimensions which do not hinder the outsider.

Cast a Wider Net

A professional fisherman will always have more to show than a weekend angler. Recruiters are in the marketplace day in and day out. They know the unwished coves, reefs and inlets that are unknown to others. The job-hunter bookshelves are filled with lore about the “hidden job market.” The same holds true for professional recruiters who have a detailed roadmap to the hidden talent sources which will never be accessed by newspaper ads, alumni associations, applicant databases, or the Internet.

There are occasional pearls through these sources but you have to shuck a lot of oysters to find them. Recruiters only give you oysters proven to contain pearls. Your only job is to determine which pearl is best. Want to catch what you’re fishing for? Hire a guide.


There is a misconception among employers that the cost of a hire equals the cost of the ads run or postings on the Internet . Nothing could be further from reality. Try adding these to the true cost and you’ll see just how cost effective an outside recruiter can be:

Salaries and benefits of the employment/recruiting staffs plus those of managers involved in hiring; travel, lodging and entertainment expenses of in-house recruiters; source development costs; overhead expenses including telephone, office space, postage, PR literature, applicant database maintenance, Web site costs, reference checks, clerical costs to correspond with the hundreds of unqualified respondents and more.


Advertising or otherwise publicly proclaiming an opening, aside from its cost and demonstrated ineffectiveness for sensitive senior level openings, often creates anxiety and apprehension among the advertiser’s current employees who wonder why they aren’t being considered or worry about newcomer transition problems. Just as often it alerts competitors to a current weakness or void in the company.


The recruiting process is always faster through a search professional who is continually tapped into the talent marketplace than one having to start the process from scratch. For every day that a key opening remains unfilled, a company’s other employees must grudgingly do double duty. And this doesn’t factor in the profit opportunities or competitive advantages lost to a company because a position remains unfilled or are done on a part-time basis by others less qualified.

Post-Hire Downtime

Not only is speed an essential part of the professional recruiter’s process, the ability to locate a person who can immediately hit the ground running -with a minimum ramp-up time - saves time after the hire. All too often, a hire selected through less effective sources requires several months of expensive training and orientation.


Professional recruiters often recognize and have a duty to inform clients that they may be mistaken as to the type of person sought, the salary required to attract them or the possibilities that the solution might just lie in areas outside the traditional target industries . . . Something an internal recruiter is politically disinclined to do. Too many hirers fail to understand that professional recruiter’s primary function is not necessary to fill a slot but to provide the right candidate to solve the problem.


As a buffer and informed intermediary, the professional recruiter is better able to blend the needs and wants of both parties to arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement without the polarizing roadblocks which too frequently materialize in face-to-face dealings, especially in this “show me the money” economy.

Reprinted with permission from The Fordyce Letter