The Top Four Myths About Recruiters

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The top four myths about recruiters: Stevenson & White debunks some of the stereotypes around ‘head hunters’


For some professionals, it can be a dirty word.

Despite providing a valuable service, the recruitment industry is occasionally overshadowed by negative stereotypes and a misunderstanding of how the process works. But many of those misperceptions unravel when one takes a closer look at how some top recruiters operate.

We sat down with Stevenson & White, an Ottawa-area recruitment firm focused on finance, accounting and payroll, to debunk some of the stereotypes about recruiters.

Myth #1: They only care about the quantity of candidates (not the quality)

For those who haven’t dealt directly with a recruitment firm, there’s a misperception that they will email stacks of resumes to their clients in the hopes that one will stick. This so-called “shotgun” approach requires little skill and tends to elicit candidates that are not a perfect fit for the job.

In fact, the best recruiters have extensive experience in efficiently finding top-tier talent that fits within an organization’s corporate culture.

“The key is quality – not quantity,” says Matt Stevenson, a partner and recruiter at Stevenson & White. “Otherwise the client is just being inundated with resumes, which defeats the purpose of engaging a recruiter.”

Myth #2: Candidates pay for consideration

Another common misperception is that recruitment firms charge their candidates in order to be placed. Not only is this untrue, but in Canada it’s also illegal.

The client pays a recruiter’s fee, and typically only does so after a candidate has been successfully placed in the role. And, should the chosen candidate not work out, the industry standard is to find a replacement at no extra cost up to three months after placement.

At Stevenson & White, the firm guarantees its candidates for six months.

Myth #3: Recruiters take advantage of candidates

It’s easy to initially assume that recruiters are only looking out for their clients – the hiring companies – at the expense of candidates. Clients are, after all, the ones who pay the bills.

However, that’s not the view that good recruiters take in order to generate long-lasting value for their clients.

Paul Stevenson, a partner and recruiter with Stevenson & White, says a recruiter must look beyond the fee and place equal value on the needs of the candidate and the client, or the placement will not work.

For example, if a recruiter knows a candidate won’t be satisfied in a role, they shouldn’t be afraid to tell them.

Conversely, recruitment firms also protect the interests of their clients.

“We don’t poach people from where we place them,” says Paul.

In rare instances, recruitment firms have been known to try to re-place candidates shortly after their guarantee expires. As the recruiters at Stevenson & White explain, that is short-sighted and not a practice they believe in. If an individual they placed wants to move on, the candidate has to make the first move and reach out to Stevenson & White.

“We believe in our relationship with our clients,” says Paul. “It’s long-term thinking versus short term gain.”

Myth #4: It’s all about the candidates’ credentials

Another mistaken belief about recruitment firms is that they operate as large-scale body shops that send over as many qualified candidates as possible with no regard to “fit.”

In fact, a great recruitment firm takes the time to meet with both clients and candidates so they can get a solid picture of the individual’s and company’s needs.

“We don’t want anyone who comes through our door to feel like a number,” says Matt Stevenson, partner and recruiter with Stevenson & White.

He says a candidate must have a virtual or in person face-to-face meeting so the recruiter can get a full understanding of the individual’s goals, values and experience.

On the client side, Stevenson & White does an initial virtual or on-site meeting at each client’s office to learn more about the company and see first-hand how its employees operate.

Many people perceive recruiters as pushy and sleazy. In fact, a strong recruiter tends to be a true people person, with a keen intuition and a genuine desire to help. After all, recruitment firms help people land their dream jobs every day.

The original article appeared in the March 12th, 2018 edition of the Ottawa Business Journal.
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