Breaking News: Company Gets Outed for Using Multiple Recruiters;

Company’s Former Positive Reputation is Destroyed

By Peter Cotton, founder and president, Best Sales Talent, LLC


The above quote, superimposed over stacks of $100 bills, may be something you have seen or even experienced.  Or, you may in the future.

But, I get why…I really do.

Let’s say you’re a hiring manager at a client company – when you hear about a recruiter that can help you, you may think – hmm…if I have multiple recruiters working to find the best candidate for me, then I can increase my chances of landing the dream candidate.  Maybe I can even get him/her placed in the position faster.

Segue for just a second as I try to be “hip” here, by inserting American Rapper Christopher George Latore Wallace’s (The Notorious B.I.G.) famous lyrics: “It’s like the more money we come across, the more problems we see.”

In a way, that lyric hits the nail on the head when it comes to the recruitment industry: if you assign more than one recruiter on to your candidate search, you essentially have a lot more problems!

Let me explain why you should only use ONE recruiter – be in a monogamous relationship with just one – so your company’s fate isn’t the same as this blog post’s headline.

First, “more money, more problems” is 100 percent true.  You will waste more of your valuable time (which equates to money) with all the administrative costs of managing more than one recruiter who may/may not be making the candidate search a priority.  Why would you agree to that scenario?  You have enough time sinks and costs with your current open job position as it is. Most employers don’t think of “soft dollar costs” when filling a position – cost of the hiring authority not doing his/her own job, assigning work to others to pick up the slack for the open slot, secretarial costs of time spent screening candidates, etc.

You may have more recruiters, but overall, they will do less work for you.  Recruiters aren’t going to spend much time on something if they know they have a 1 in 4 chance of being the firm to make the placement.  They’d rather spend their time on an exclusive search, where the employer sees them as a valued partner in filling the job, not as just another firm to perform a transaction.  Also, the hiring company looks foolish if candidates are contacted by multiple recruiters for the same position.  Those employers are perceived by candidates as being disorganized and desperate.  No one involved wants work for a “fool” or to waste their time.

Knowing they are one of many recruiters on a search, each recruiter will do less work for the employer and will focus on speeding through the recruitment process and skimp on evaluating candidates.  Recruiting firms will want to rush to submit candidates in the hopes that they are first to present the person.  Little to no “quality control” and vetting on the candidates by the recruiter means that will be shifted to the employer.  More time expended by the hiring authority.  How would you like a resume from a candidate that the recruiter hasn’t even spoken to first?  Sounds like a recipe for a waste of time to me.

The best candidates will be offered only to loyal clients who are using only one recruiter. They will keep those top candidates exclusive to the employer until he/she decides to hire the person or let them go from further consideration.  If you aren’t in an exclusive relationship with a recruiter, he/she may offer up the best candidate to other clients.  I’m sure you want the best impact players, not a second-rate or third-rate candidate.

One more thing, however…the only moral and legal approach to having a team of recruiters work for you is if your single recruiter that you hired is a member of a recruitment network where he/she shares the position with his/her colleagues and can obtain candidates from the databases and contacts from other offices within the network.  Individual recruiters in a network will share in the fee with the recruiters in other offices if they work together on a placement.  By working together as a team, they increase the odds of finding the best talent. You will still have a single point of contact with one recruiter.  Not several of them vying for your attention.

Now that you understand why you should only use one recruiter, take my two cents worth!  Find one like me who has placed hundreds of candidates (see some of them here) and who has many happy, satisfied clients, too (see some of them here).  Also, select a recruiter who agrees to the code of conduct when working with candidates and client companies.

By the way, I plan to revisit this topic again in the future, but next time, it will be why a candidate should only use one recruiter.

I hope the above list gives you all the valid reasons why not to hire more than one recruiter to fill an open position.  Do you have any more reasons/anecdotes, or do you disagree with any of the above points?  If so, I’d love to discuss it with you.  Shoot me an email or give me a call at (401) 737-3200.