Part 2 of a 10-part series entitled, “10 Traits of the Best Contract Recruiters

Client Relationship, Not an Employer

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 second in a series of 10 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 this blog.

The Client is not Your Employer…

The best contract recruiters fully understand and remember that they are working for a client and not thinking about the client as their employer. This is not always easy to do when you are embedded into a team with other recruiters and everyone you work with treats you like an employee.  Your contract status may be invisible or irrelevant to them. Your candidates probably will have no idea that you are not an employee.  For most, being part of a corporate recruiting team is a rewarding experience. There can be great synergy, learning from each other, and you get to see the results of your work. You are changing lives with every offer, as well as helping your client achieve their goals.

It is natural, and necessary, for a recruiter to identify with the client. After all, recruiters are the “sales & marketing” arm of the HR world and a good sales person believes in the product he or she is selling. In this case, it is the company and its opportunities. However, no matter how long the contract, or how much one likes the group, a contract recruiter is not an employee of the client. He or she might be considered a respected team member, but not an employee. Co-employment is a real concern with this relationship. When there is not a clear difference between how a contractor is treated as opposed to how an employee is treated, the relationship becomes diluted and the client is at risk. As an example, contract recruiters should not be asked to fill out an employment application nor should they attend social functions, meetings, or training normally provided only to employees.

You are a Guest in your Client’s Home…

On an assignment, the best contract recruiters consider themselves a guest in their client’s home, hired to focus on recruiting, and not participate in the activities or side projects that are more commonly assigned to full-time employees. They build healthy and productive relationships while staying away from the squabbles, rumor mill, and office politics. They are often more senior recruiters who understand the right time to offer opinions and suggestions for improvement, typically not on Day One. We find that contract recruiters enjoy contracting for the reasons above. They love the focused nature of the work and prefer not to be part of many of the requirements and internal dynamics of being a corporate employee.

Most likely, it is a firm like ours (Williams & Sewell) that selects, pays, and employs the contract recruiter. The recruiter represents the agency while providing service to the client. Payroll, benefits, legal obligations, and risks are owned by the agency, not the client. The reputation of the agency is as much at stake as is the recruiters’. By working smart, working hard, and maintaining a healthy and proper client relationship, they will make each other successful.

Bob Williams
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