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New Ways for Agency Recruiters to P*ss Off Internal Recruiters

By September 22, 201111 Comments

This week we encountered something even worse than a poorly executed “Ad Chase”.  Oh yes, it’s true.  I can hear all of the internal recruiters out there spluttering with incredulity right now.  How can there be anything worse than an agency recruiter calling up to tell you they have seen you are advertising for a specific vacancy in your company and would you be happy for them to help you recruit for that position themselves?

From the point of view of internal recruiters, this is quite possibly the most annoying aspect of their jobs.  What the agency recruiter is saying, to their mind, is “hey, you’ve clearly got an opening in your organisation, and I don’t believe you are good enough to find the best candidate to fill that role, so let me do it for you.”  Like a red rag to a bull, this is the poorest form of marketing a recruitment firm’s services, and is tantamount to questioning the very existence and point of that company’s internal recruitment function altogether.

Not the best way to open business relationships with what one might hope will become a future client.

But like the pre-copulation dancing of cannibalistic spiders, knowing full well that almost certain doom awaits the male spider post liaison, there is an inexorable urge for this dance, this exchange, this process to play out between the two parties.  Powerless to stop their evolutionary urge, the agency recruiter sees the posted job ad, decides he can recruit for that role, picks up the phone to the internal recruiter….and nearly always gets eaten alive.

But we have encountered something even worse than this.  Maybe many of you have encountered it already and we are behind the times, but this week we received an automated ad-chase in the form of this e-mail:


I hope you are well.

I understand that you are seeking a Talent Acquisition
Consultant | Internal Recruitment at the moment.

We may have the person that you are looking for.

Some points of note on MACRO are:

  • We maintain a database of over 300,000 Australian based job seekers.
  • Prior to joining the recruitment industry, all of our recruiters worked in the area they now recruit staff for.
  • We maintain a 99.6% success rate for our placements passing their 3 months warranty period.
  • All applicants perform behavioural profile and motivation assessments prior to being submitted to you.

We can provide a shortlist within 48 hours for most vacancies.

If you would like a hand with filling this vacancy please let me know

Kind Regards,

Kirsten McGowan



Phone: 1300 083 488

Fax: 03 9573 1516

Suite 8 230 Church St

Richmond, Vic 3121

Is this a new low for the agency recruitment market?  Or could it really be that this company are onto something here?  I very much doubt it and to my mind this kind of automated marketing is taking agency recruitment in the complete wrong direction.  This is the embodiment of two of the worst activities in recruitment and marketing – a combination of ad-chasing and spam – a Frankenstein of impersonal selling that cheapens what consultative recruitment agencies are seeking to achieve.

And there is a place for ad-chasing when it is done well.  If you are an agency recruiter who can make a polite and professional call, accept that the internal recruiter will want to assess their own ad response for a week or two, and offer an honest appraisal of the market and truthfully reveal access to more passive elements that would be interested in such a position, but not actively seeking a new role, so would be unlikely to find the job ad, then it is possible to add value to the recruitment process.

Especially if you believe in this research that suggests that agency recruiters are better at recruiting passive candidates than their internal corporate recruitment counterparts, because “third party recruiters know that Controlling, Connecting and Closing are the three most important elements when seeking to attract and hire passive candidates.”

But that’s a debate for another blog some other time….

As access to passive job seekers, and possessing the ability to convert them into interested candidates, continues to grow in importance, and the impact and results from simply posting ads on job boards continues to diminish, there is a place for well thought out ad chases from agency recruiters to internal recruiters.  Internal recruiters might not like it, but the truth is that in the age of social networks and talent pooling of passive candidates, they just don’t know who they might be saying “no” to when an agency recruiter comes calling.

But out of respect these calls have to be made with humility and professionalism and for goodness sake make sure you can deliver if you do get the green light to present your “passive candidates”.

E-mail spam ad-chasing like that from Macro Recruitment above is certainly not a move in the right direction.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Sally Gould says:

    Typical Aussie tactics…Go Yankees! (never thought I’d say that)

  • Stewart Farr says:

    Meh……. Aren’t most job ad’s generated the same way. And most CV selection criteria done via keyword search……to the point where many of us run a keyword search CV. If you ask me the first evil sin in recruiting was a long time ago. 
    However I am sure someone of your caliber reads all applicants CV’s and cover letters, and tailors email responses as to why you turned them down……no? 

    • Janine says:

      Hi Stewart
      I though ‘ keyword’ searches went out with the dark ages – there are other means inbetween rough key word searches and reading verbatim each application.  Just takes common sense, analysis and knowing what you want to come up with ‘tailored’ application forms to sift through applications, and I might add sending a professional/ polite decline is not onerous. 

      • Stewart Farr says:

        Unfortunately not. I know this because I copied and pasted the the advert into my CV…..viola! I got short listed. However then they read my CV hahaha – but they saw the joke. Not saying all agencies are like this – but its very easy to pull punches at the industry……its harder to say what you do different from the rest it seems.

    • Jonathan says:

      Thanks for the comments Stewart. I don’t get involved in bulk recruitment projects so I do actually get the chance to read CVs and cover letters without using technology to search for keywords. Many applications are unsuitable and after a while it is possible to quickly ascertain this. But you’re right, I do send automated rejections, but only to candidates who have clearly spammed their own CV and cover letter to multiple roles and obviously haven’t even read my job ad.

      Those candidates that do send in tailored CVs and cover letters specifically applying to my job do get a personalised response though.

  • Daryl says:

    Macro. Need I say any more. Surprise they didn’t try selling their recruitment system at the same time. You know, the one where they can see what other angenies are up to. Shame.

  • Janine says:

    As an in-house recruiter you are totally correct as regardsyour observations and conclusions – except I endeavour to expolain the what, why, and how etc to recruiters calling with ‘offers of assistance’.  I also try not to take it personally – I know there is an account manager in the background driving these calls…………….I can hear the ‘cringe’ in the voice when recruitersd call in this regard.

  • Nathan Reese says:

    I may get shot down here, however I believe Ad chasing still plays a part in the success of a recruitment company. A great example of this is a company called Gemteq, who ad chased for 4 hours everyday, as well as other methods and sold for $40 + million 6 years after inception. And if we think the big players such as the likes of Hudson, Hays, Finite, Manpower etc are not embracing the same techniques above, we are kidding ourselves. So you have to ask yourself, how do they own majority of the market? 

    Relationships have to start somewhere, if an internal recruiter advertises a hard to fill role which in effect is costing the company money and a recruiter ad chases and presents a dream candidate that can solve all the HIRING MANAGERS problems, you have in effect been an asset to that company, and I bet they are glad you chased the ad. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Nathan, you are spot on, and which is why I ended the post stating that there IS a place for good quality ad chasing.  But I think it is the quality that counts.  Calling up just to say “give us a job” or, even worse, sending automated ad chases, is a million miles from well thought out and sensibly targetted ad chasing, for which there is always a need.

  • Rav says:

    Macro work on numbers, its very much a
    “Scientific” approach which in my opinion is the wrong way of developing
    relationships. Numbers will not build a sustainable agency year on year. I work
    with internal recruiters every day, most of which started life in recruitment….
    The good Internal Recruiters always act professionally, work hard to partner
    with agencies, and don’t run on autopilot responses. Naturally the result, is
    excellent service, delivery and reduce costs. I will put this out there, don’t
    get offended please, its just an opinion. The ability to cold call
    professionally and develop mutually beneficial relationships is an acquired
    skill; at the front end of every business. An honest approach by
    recruiters gets results. 

  • Riki says:

    Well said and so true!

    I like your passage “But out of respect these calls have to be made with humility and professionalism and for goodness sake make sure you can deliver if you do get the green light to present your “passive candidates”.”

    At the end of the day,its the delivering that counts when the green light comes or you will be forever  the “cry wolf” recruiter.