Why recruiters are not evil

Evelien Zandbergen
6 min
February 27, 2019
The constant complaints on my LinkedIn timeline about recruiters either being the most annoying careless creatures in the world, or the most unaware... If you ask me, this notion is completely detached from reality.

In general, LinkedIn is dominated by the most active networkers: recruiters. Therefore, it makes sense that these very people are an easy target. It is not that I do not agree on the fact that there are some out there that are making a bad name for themselves and by that, also for other people in the field. However, by now, to me it starts to seem like this is the sole perception of recruiters nowadays. By means of this blog, I’d like to counter this prejudiced stereotype. Most importantly, I’m aiming to offer a different perspective on the “annoying spam messages” people receive and shed some light on what recruiters are actually up to on a daily basis.

‘Bounty’ Recruiters versus In-house

Let’s start with distinguishing between 2 types of recruiters. The type I’m currently categorized under, in-house recruiters, and let’s call the other type ‘bounty’ recruiters. Up until now, I myself have been on both sides of the isle.

In-house recruiters tend to be more knowledgeable in terms of what a position they’re hiring for actually entails, what the team is like, and what future opportunities the company could hold. Next to this, they also have a better overview of the company’s ongoing business and aspirations for the future. Why, you ask? Because they’re a part of it. Makes sense right?

‘Bounty’ recruiters, or agency recruiters, however, rely heavily on what input they receive from their clients. This limits their capacity to inform candidates in the best way possible. It is not that they are unwilling to do so, it’s just that they can only work with the information they are being handed. This sometimes leads to agency recruiters not having the full picture which leads to them being not able to target the right people for the position. As a result, they tend to focus more on buzzwords instead of on a specific profile background. Do you mention a lot of buzzwords in you LinkedIn profile summary? You’re more likely to be targeted without having any affinity to the actual position available.

Different Motives

Another major difference between the two follows from the fact that agency recruiters’ income relies quite a bit on whether or not they make a placement. In comparison, in-house recruiters generally don’t get a hiring bonus at all but make their living with a base salary income. I want to emphasize that this does not mean at all that their passion or motives for being in recruitment are different, it has more effect on the way potential candidates are being approached.  

For example, an agency recruiter will always be reluctant to share his or hers client’s name. If a candidate is aware of the company name, why not go to their website and apply directly? To an in-house recruiter, this wouldn’t matter because any application will end up on their plate anyway. To an agency recruiter though, this is a missed opportunity. Therefore, an agency recruiter is more likely to send a vague message on LinkedIn with a short description and references to “my client”. All in order to avoid the possibility of candidates finding their client on their own and applying directly.

Specialized in their field

Does this mean that hiring an agency recruiter is always a bad decision? Of course not. Looking from a company perspective, a big plus of hiring an agency recruiter is that they’re often more efficient than the in-house recruiter. Agencies specialize in a certain field or industry and are very successful because of it. They’re on top of their market, extremely well-connected and constantly up to date with the newest innovations in the field. Next to this, from a candidate perspective, agency recruiters are also in touch with multiple companies and have more opportunities at hand in case one doesn’t work out.

So, the stereotypical recruiter that is isolated from the rest and perceived as the “evil one” - I was referring to earlier - is usually an agency recruiter who is not fully aware of the position or the client’s company he or she is representing. Or even worse, this person might not actually be connected to their client at all because it’s not a client yet but rather a prospect or opportunity. Does this relate to all agency recruiters, of course not. Hopefully, this clarifies - or at least leads to a better understanding of -  why some people might receive vague messages on LinkedIn.

So what are we doing?

Something else that’s usually unclear, is what a recruiter actually does on a daily basis. Spoiler alert, it’s not full-time headhunting on LinkedIn. First of all, before starting to find new talent, recruiters need to define the position they’re hiring for. Why did this position open up? What is the person going to do? What kind of experience do they need to have under their belt already? What is the team like? Now look at these questions from an organizational perspective and take into account a long-term strategy. What does one hire in this team mean for another? What kind of impact will this position have on the long run, and so on, and so on..

Then what? When a position and its desired candidate is crystal clear, there needs to be a set plan to find someone: What do they like? Where are they usually active? Also don’t forget the analytics part! On average, how many applicants will we actually need? How many of those should we, and can we, interview? How much time does it usually take to fill this position? And of course, how do we hit those numbers? When there’s a plan set, it is put into motion immediately. The open position will be published on multiple platforms, events will be attended, campaigns will be run, interviews will be scheduled, and during all this, the recruiter will be guarding the process. The recruiter has to take on an expert advisor role to make sure in the end, the right hire is made.

Teamwork makes the dream work

A recruiter’s job doesn’t just end the moment someone is hired. Next up: onboarding. The recruiter has been the representative for the company from the first moment a new hire got acquainted with their new company and thus is the perfect person to guide this person during their first few days. I personally strongly believe in regular contact from the moment someone signs to the day they start their new job. It’s crucial for the recruiter to make the new hire’s onboarding silky smooth. This all in order for someone to have a great start and feel connected to the environment they’ll be working in. Considering the fact that recruiters are usually hiring for multiple positions simultaneously, the onboarding process needs to happen while already working on finding the company’s newest team member. Therefore, recruiters focus a lot on constantly improving recruiting processes and finding ways to be more creative in their field.

Recruitment at Dashmote

Being HR manager at Dashmote, recruitment is a big part of my job. As a fast-growing company, it’s important for us to have a long-term vision and relate this to our hiring activities in the short term. This  all to make sure that we hire the right people now, who we’d of course like to have with us for the long run. I personally pay most attention to whether or not a new person is going to feel at home at Dashmote and if they get along well with current team members. We’re still a relatively small company so every new person is going to have a huge impact on our company culture. I love the culture we have right now, so we need to keep taking care of it.

Next to that, I find it important to be an easy contact person for people coming onboard. This for them to have a solid point of contact to go to with any questions they may have. Furthermore, smooth communication and rapid processes are on top of my list. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time by unnecessarily slowing down the hiring process. For example, we usually have just 3 rounds of interviews: 1 with me, 1 with the manager, and 1 with a current team member. This to make sure everyone knows the candidate but also for the candidate to have a good idea of the people they might end up working with. Also, we try to limit this process to 3 weeks max. For more technical oriented roles we include a case study in between. As a data-oriented company, it speaks for itself that we attribute great value to analytics in order to make better decisions regarding promotional efforts and targeting.

Let’s get in touch!

I always like to get in touch with colleagues in the field! Let’s have a chat about our work and share our experiences in order to learn from each other, as there is always room to keep on learning in this rapidly developing field. Of course, if you’re interested in working with us, you can always get in touch with me to experience our hiring processes first hand. Feel free to shoot me a message on LinkedIn or send an email to evelien@dashmote.com.

About Dashmote

Dashmote is an AI technology scale-up headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. With the goal of bridging the gap between images and data, we are working to bring AI-based solutions to marketers at clients like Heineken, Unilever, Philips, L’Oreal, and Coca-Cola. We add value in areas such as Location Analysis, Trends Analysis, and Marketing Intelligence.  Doing so on a global level, our company today has offices in Amsterdam, Shanghai, Vienna, and New York. Interested in joining our global journey? Check out our opportunities!

Human Resources, Recruitment, HR, Hiring, Onboarding, LinkedIn

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