Part 1 of a 10-part series entitled, “10 Traits of the Best Contract Recruiters

Part 1: Pursue Contracts that Leverage Your Strengths

In the course of managing our business since 1999, we have interviewed and hired a number of highly successful professional contract recruiters. We intend to keep doing that and have worked to identify some of the traits we have seen in our best performers over the last 18 years.

Today’s blog is the first in a series of ten that identifies the traits of our most successful senior recruiters. We hope this perspective will provide guidance to those new to contract recruiting, offer some insight to experienced recruiters who are always looking to improve, and give TA/HR leaders some ideas on what should be expected of a contract recruiter. We also hope that this will stimulate ideas and conversation that provide additional insight from readers of our blog.

Contract Recruiters should be hired for…

In most circumstances, contract recruiters are hired for specific projects, to fill a competency or bandwidth gap, or as a means to evaluate someone for full-time employment, after a period of time. Contract recruiters should be hired for their recruiting expertise and experience related to the client and market. The best recruiters take the time to research the company, the product or service, the potential manager, and any network or social media feedback that is available. During the interview process, they are great at listening and diligent about gathering more information – understanding deliverables, types of jobs to be filled, req volume, assessing the culture and working environment, learning about the process and tools, expectations, challenges, leadership style, company reputation, and ability to compete for candidates on the market. It is vital for the recruiter to objectively assess all aspects of the contract and only accept projects where their confidence level of success is very high.

Professional Contract Recruiting is Different

Every once in a while, recruiters will try to sell us on the concept that they can recruit for any kind of job…, recruiting is recruiting.  Making this statement puts the recruiter at risk of sounding arrogant, desperate, or naïve. It is one thing if you are talking about a regular full-time position or a contract-to-hire situation where an employer expects to invest in you over the long term. Professional contract recruiting is different. The client is not investing in you. When the client pays at a full-market level, they are expecting results fast; sometimes unreasonably fast. Our clients expect us to provide professionals who can immediately add value and expertise, not someone who is going to be on a learning curve with respect to the industry, technology, process, competitors, and market knowledge.

Company size is always a consideration. For example, we often find that big company recruiters can struggle in a small company culture lacking tools, resources, brand identity, natural applicant flow, and process. On the flip side, recruiters with only small company experience can have a hard time with the volume, process, tools, and the bureaucracy of a larger company culture. There can be a significant learning curve making the change either way.

Your Learning Curve

Think about what your learning curve might be and where you have gaps, in relation to the needs. Ask yourself two questions,

  • Will I be excited to get started on this contract?
  • Will I meet or exceed the client’s expectations?

If the answer to either question is “no” or “I’m not sure”, you better think twice about accepting. Contracts that leverage your strengths will often lead to longer engagements, help build your reputation in the market, and ultimately drive your rates higher.

Let’s start a discussion. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome.

Bill Sewell
10 Traits of the Best Contract Recruiters
Part 1: Pursue Contract that Leverage Your Strengths
Part 2: Client Relationship, Not an Employer
Part 3: Professional Curiosity and Pursuit of Knowledge
Part 4: Stay Organized and Communicate Efforts
Part 5: Respect the Dynamics of Being a Virtual Recruiter
Part 6: Factors in Determining Hourly Rate
Part 7: Should a Contract Recruiter Incorporate?
Part 8: Building a Business Case for Contract Recruiters
Part 9: The Added Value a Good Contract Recruiter Brings