Don’t Waste Money On Recruiting: Get The House In Order First

There is confusion about exactly what kind of service recruiters offer. Do we offer introductions? Guaranteed performance? Profit margin? Completed projects? How should our services be evaluated or graded? How do we know when we have done a great job?

Ambassador Search Group serves our clients best by focusing on introducing the best people we can find to our clients and advising them on interviewing, assessing, hiring, and managing them. Note though, we are only in charge of the introduction process. We don’t make the hiring decision and we don’t manage employees. As Gallup astutely points out, performance is a management problem.

Broad long-term recruiting guarantees can foster a few insidious problems.

Poor managers have false confidence that they can profit from their investment in recruiting. Using recruiters becomes a silver bullet solution until the chickens come home to roost and the poor management drives top performers away. They can have the best recruiters in the world but will never get far, thanks to themselves.

It can provide false security from turnover. However, the actual reality is highly educated role turnover costs are far greater than a recruiting fee. Some companies are so used to it they have it priced into their business model, but the unnecessary cost is there, nonetheless.

Some managers think they will hire a 10-gallon candidate with a five-gallon compensation package because they hired a recruiter to find them an underpaid unicorn. Sometimes that recruiter finds this unicorn (hooray!) and they are briefly hired until a more competitive employer comes along.

Some managers fail to carefully onboard and support recruited candidates, once again leaning on the replacement guarantee. It’s like buying a car and expecting the warranty to cover the engine blowing up because one didn’t change the oil.

The point is, the quality of the hiring process matters greatly to the end product.

Think of the hiring process as a car and a recruiter’s guarantee as AAA roadside assistance.

If one bought AAA roadside assistance and a dilapidated jalopy should blame AAA if one broke down frequently? What if those breakdowns cost money? Is it AAA’s fault? Of course not. It’s the car (or hiring process, in this analogy) that is the problem.

aWhen a hiring authority gets very concerned about the warranty on the candidate we get very concerned about how often they change the oil in their cars.

Now, should recruiters replace candidates for great managers who did their best. Absolutely. We want our clients to be successful and no one bats 100. However, we are serving no one well if we facilitate a shoddy process through a guarantee of false invincibility.

The simple fact is, one can waste money on recruiting if other elements of the business are not in order.

About the author

TJ Kastning is the principal of Ambassador Search Group, a boutique recruiting agency passionate about finding excellent professionals for amazing construction companies.

Send us your recruiting and hiring questions for our ‘This Week’s Questions’ series. We appreciate the opportunity to contemplate tricky issues.

TJ can be reached at

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Author: TJ Kastning

TJ Kastning is the proud owner of Ambassador Search Group, a special high-touch, trust-based, old-fashioned headhunting firm serving only the best west coast companies.

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