CFOs and Recruiters: Beefs and Beef

This week’s post is by Samuel Dergel, Dergel CFO Search & Consulting …

Recently, Cindy & I asked our CFOs what beefs they have about Recruiters.

The results were plentiful, but not surprising. The emotions expressed ranged from anger to empathy. CFOs answered the survey based on their perspective. Sometimes CFOs were candidates (looking for their next CFO role). Sometimes they were clients (looking to hire for their team).

The complaints that CFOs had fall into the following 5 categories:

Responsiveness – CFOs feel that Recruiters were not responsive to their needs.

My single biggest issue is the failure of executive recruiters to follow up. I consistently get urgent requests for resumes or documents and just never seem to hear from them again. A quick, simple follow-up email identifying status would be appropriate.

Respect – This was a big issue for our CFOs.

Being a candidate for a CFO position with > 25 years experience AND female, recruiters won’t give me the time of day.

The recruiting business model to me hasn’t changed since the 1970’s. Firm XYZ is the worst since they take orders for beef and deliver beef. Not hard to do.

Recruiters seem to be more willing today than ever to take advantage of the large pool of candidates and to treat people with little respect. How many of us have had the experience of being contacted and asked to immediately respond to the needs of the recruiter and the client? We respond with due urgency, only to be left in the dark without further communication. I believe everyone understands the selection process and the fact that they may be eliminated from consideration, but if you were just asked to spend hours on the phone/completing assessments/sending information/etc., I don’t think it is too much to ask to receive some form of polite communication.

Truthfulness – CFOs feel that they are big boys and girls and can handle the truth, even if it isn’t pleasant to hear. They feel that a good number of Recruiters aren’t exactly truthful.

I know they’re way too busy to respond to every phone call and email, but c’mon, once a relationship is established and once an interview has been conducted, how much time can it possibly take to send a one line email to say that the hiring company is not moving forward with my candidacy?!?! I’m an adult; I can stand the truth. Don’t leave me in limbo…please!

Understanding – CFOs feel that Recruiters do not understand them or their needs.

I definitively like to work with recruiters who understand the DNA of financial positions. Sometimes recruiters have people specialized in industries, but in functions, sometimes it is more difficult. No matter we define with the recruiter the position profile, the candidates do not have the requirements. I struggle with this situation; therefore, I looked for recruiters who have former CFOs in their teams. 

Differences between Retained Search & Contingent Recruitment

For Retained Searches:

Retained Search Recruiters really don’t want to speak with you unless you meet 110-120% of the client’s requirements for any particular job spec.

For Contingent Recruitment:

Unless they are retained recruiters the contingency recruiters are the big problem. The newbies have to get new business or perish. The business model for these types of recruiters doesn’t work in 2011 since they don’t have time to develop relationships with people they have interviewed because they add no short term value to the recruiting firm unless they meet a particular need. These firms never call you back or return your calls.

So, how do you find the best recruiter for your needs? Stay tuned for the next blog on this topic.

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