Contract Recruiting: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


As a recruiter who has been in the industry for more than 10 years, I have come across some different circumstances that have tested my faith in people. As you may know, recruiting is about building relationships with prospective candidates and believing what they are telling you is the truth or a close facsimile to that, as you have no reason to believe otherwise. During the relationship-building process over the phone or in person, an interview is conducted to find out what motivates and drives the potential candidate. In regards to contract recruiting, the most important aspects typically involve rates and location, as well as job description. When negotiating with potential contractors, recruiters have to take a “leap of faith” in believing that if they hit the criterion that has been established, they will have a placement.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and back-outs are part of the business. But some of the reasons people back out are mystifying. In most cases, the prospective hire becomes invisible—just vanishes—nowhere to be found, until they apply for a new position months down the road. Usually, the person will not be seen on the back of a milk carton, as he or she probably just found a new opportunity with a different recruiter or decided to stay at their current workplace. As recruiters, we have to remember we are in the people business and sometimes, those people are just not all that reliable, and what they say is not necessarily the truth. As the infamous George Costanza said, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

Like anything, this relationship is a two-way street. Recruiters are just as guilty of fabricating the truth sometimes, by misleading potential candidates with promises of higher rates or longer duration of contract assignments. The key to any relationship is trust and honesty, and it’s no different in this situation. Both trust and honesty are words that have powerful connotations, but in the recruiting world, they can be just that: words.

I don’t think candidates or recruiters are purposely are out to mislead each other, but unfortunately, that is the nature of the business. Candidates are looking out for themselves, their families and their careers, while recruiters, especially in the contract space, are looking to fill the contract requirement with the best possible candidate. Recruiters work to submit worthy candidates for jobs who are within the requirements set forth by the client, which in turn helps those candidates, their families, and their careers.

Every candidate and recruiter can probably share some horror stories from either side of the fence.   That is an unfortunate part of the industry, but let’s look on the bright side of the equation: we can all make a difference by being honest and trusting of one another. The relationship between candidates and recruiters depends on both parties. In these relationships, both have the opportunity to work with together and learn from one another’s experiences and abilities. At the end of the day, all recruiters can do is to provide respectable service to candidates and try to build that rapport so there is a level of trust on both sides. Candidates can submit honest resumes and be upfront with recruiters about their plans. Once that baseline of trust is established, it helps in most situations, but of course, there are no guarantees. Keep on recruiting and celebrate the victories and learn from the mistakes. Candidates and recruiters: good luck in your search.

About Andy Oliver

Andy has worked with EDI Staffing since 1999, recruiting for various positions from contract to permanent within a variety of industries and technologies. His recruitment experience has been working predominantly in the Southeast region of the U.S.

Andy has helped the recruiting team at EDI Staffing to grow and utilize the latest technology and trends in the recruiting industry. He is a graduate of UMass Dartmouth with a Bachelor’s in marketing. Andy is the proud parent of two children, Shayna and Lucas, and also enjoys the local Boston Sports teams: Patriots, Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox.

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