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Old School Recruiter Control

By March 2, 2017No Comments

When I started out in recruitment in the middle of last decade I was lucky enough to receive some pretty good training from a company renowned for developing and growing fledgling recruiters. Many of those learnings have stuck with me over the years but one aspect in particular shines with the greatest clarity: When the MD for our whole Australia & New Zealand region swept into the seminar room, all shuffling menace Mr. Burns-like, and without any form of introduction or small talk demanded an answer from each attendee in turn as to what was the most important skill that a recruiter could learn.

Various quavering responses were offered up to his brusque groans of dismissal, cut short with waves of the hand and urgent, scornful grunts. “Communication?” *hand chop* “People skills?” *sneer of ridicule* “customer service?” *stare of disbelief whilst imperceptibly shaking head* “Sales skills?” *brief pause before a grunt of dismissal*.

And then one person piped up, with more hope than expectation, “Control…?”.  He spun on his heel, locked them in a stare, and said:


Control. Those of you with more than a couple of years recruitment experience under your belts will by now know exactly how right this is. As I’ve said before, we work in an industry with the virtually impossible task of connecting together two moving targets. Those that achieve it more often than not have doubtless mastered the art of controlling the recruitment process, the movements of candidates, the wants of clients and hiring managers, the sense of urgency to move decisively on top talent.

Back in that 2005 training room we began exploring some examples of how to exert more control into the recruitment process. Some of the methods are still relevant today but many of them are now pretty much defunct. Or so I thought. You see one of them was to remove all candidate contact details from a CV before submitting it to a client. The reason given for this is so that a recruiter might “format” a CV and embellish it with their company logo and cover page and other pretty much needless additions. But the reality is that it lessens the likelihood (at least in the recruiter’s opinion) of the receiving client just picking up the phone to the candidate, calling the number on the CV, and cutting the despairing recruiter middle-man out of the loop.

Image result for cut out the middleman

I personally stopped doing this in 2009 when I set up my own company. Maybe I’m naive and perhaps this is just the benefit of working in a smaller market, but for me the idea of removing contact details in an attempt to prevent getting cut out of the loop is nonsensical. I know my market pretty well inside out and I’m confident that I’d find out if this happened. I also feel that my clients value my service well enough not to even do this in the first place (although I have been proven wrong once or twice on that count in the past 8 years!) But even more than that, so much candidate information exists in the public domain nowadays that most semi-intelligent hiring managers could probably find out who the CV belongs to with just a few keystrokes anyway.

So I was surprised to hear the practice still exists when an in-house recruiter I know in Australia recently wrote:

“Received a blind CV ‘float’ and replied back with the name of the candidate after a quick google search. I guess I’ll take the reply from the Agency MD as a compliment “Nice, you’re talents are wasted in-house!”.”

To my mind, if any recruiters are still removing contact details from CV’s that they send out, it must mean that either a) they don’t have permission from the candidate to submit their CV and are trying to get away with a “flick and stick”; b) they don’t have anything approaching a relationship with the client they are sending the CV to and are just chancing their arm; c) they still think the “depth and reach” of their CV database is better than Google; or d) they still think it’s 2005…

Or perhaps, even, all of the above.

Maybe worth candidates bearing this in mind the next time a recruiter insists they submit their CV in Word format.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.