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4 Customer Challenges Blocking your Recruiting Agency

Hiring season is in full swing with recruiting agencies circling employers like sharks.  Today’s climate in the staffing world reminds me of the staffing spike in 2006.  Back then, submitting the right candidate to a prospective client got you in the door and ensured, fast-track placements.  This time around, it may get you in the door but it doesn’t take long before getting lost into the abyss of corporate recruiting dysfunction…even when you represent a rock star!

Why does customer acquisition feel more like a dating cycle on tinder?

The reality is that even best-in-class recruiting process doesn’t guarantee success. If you are a recruiting agent, you think you influence a hire but in reality, corporate teams often marginalize your efforts. You might feel like you are powerless with certain clients. Is it suppose to be like that?

In the following, I will examine four corporate obstacles impacting your success as a third-party recruiting agency.

4 Customer Challenges Blocking your Recruiting Agency


1. Infrastructure 

Lets start with the most important one.

Is the corporate recruiting department you support integrated in terms of tools, technology, process, and business partners?

Before you ever have a chance at making a placement with your client, you need to ensure you are working with a customer who has solved the problems  listed in this article and understands what it’s like to be in your shoes. Do they arm you with the right knowledge and respond to your needs?

Perhaps you sense a deeper problem rooted within your client’s corporate recruiting department?  How do you know if you are an agent working with a broken corporate recruiting system?
Lets outline the symptoms:

  • No transparency
  • No information on changing requirements
  • No projections on future projects, staffing requirement
  • No collaboration
  • No contact from hiring managers (unless policy doesn’t allow)
  • No relationship with the internal team
  • No relationship outside of the office
  • No time to build relationships
  • No time to listen to you
  • No respect
  • No constructive criticism requests
  • No promises kept
  • No callbacks
  • No interviews after quality submissions
  • No hires
  • No details
  • No idea about changing priorities
  • No relationship
  • No transparency
  • No praising
  • No reporting
  • No benchmarking
  • No improvements
  • No scorecarding
  • No engagement
  • No recognition of faults
  • No hiring targets
  • No loyalty
  • No performance reviews
  • No creativity
  • No exceptions


I see a pattern?  Do you?  If this looks like your client, it’s time to move on.
2. Key knowledge about job orders

This one is on you, recruiting agency.  Do not work on a role you don’t understand.  How do you know?  Well…

  • Can you manage a conversation with a practitioner you are trying to recruit?
  • Do you know what challenges your candidate is facing?
  • Does your candidate accept your LinkedIn request?
  • Do you have credibility in their eyes?
  • Do you understand their lingo?
  • Have you conducted any research on the skill-set you are hiring for?


Discovery, research, and examination are key to engaging candidates.


3. Leadership
Let’s face it, department managers and executives who make hiring decisions haven’t had a lot of training in recruitment nor do they really care about what it takes for a recruiting program to source, qualify, and hire talent successfully.  Relationship management is a concept far off in the distance.  Beyond understanding how best to interview, offer, and onboard talent, corporate leadership just wants you to do your job as a recruiter even if they don’t know what that is.  Many don’t even understand why performance-based interviewing and key performance indicators are essential to hiring.

4. Communication Chaos

Is there a consistent and reliable format that your internal contacts have established to communicate with you individually and as a group within your agency program?  Yes, it’s okay to congregate together as agencies.  How else can you all align to the strategic goals of the recruiting department?

  • Is there a set structure for the agenda?
  • Are they holding you accountable periodically with set metrics and goals that they value?
  •  Do they return your calls?


If you can relate to any of these problems, you might want to reallocate your efforts toward another customer.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we explore five more reasons to find a new customer.

In the meantime, learn more about our upcoming product, Recruiting Scorecard.


James Chmielinski is a second generation recruiting veteran, former athlete, and founder of Veruca.io, the first ever recruiting innovations lab.  His company is built from two generations of sales and recruiting experience resting on the backbone of post-millennial technology.  An industry-leading, hub-spot for consulting, technology, and recruiting process design.  Veruca.io aims to make life easier for professional sourcing and recruiting teams.  Mr. Chmielinski’s inaugural software attracted 178 active users in 114 cities from 17 countries.

5 Tips to Captivate your Candidates

Candidates you recruit want you to connect and follow up with them, tactfully.

Here are five tips to help you get started on the right track:




1. Deliver a business reason

Why is there a match?  Make sure that you are direct and transparent about why you are reaching out to your candidate.


2. Form a connection bond

…a Common Colleague

…a Shared Passion

…an Interesting Event for Both

…a Common Hobby or Interest

This becomes your medium to build trust in your relationship.


3. Identify the personal reasons

Why would your candidate want to work with you specifically.  Why would they want the opportunity that you are offering? There are plenty of recruiters out there.    What makes you special?  How will your prospective candidate personally gain if he or she chooses to work with you?


4. Back up your conversation with data and documentation

Always deliver data that backs up your conversation.  Be honest about the strength of your relationship with your client.  Show (allowable) emails that prove your relationship and the exchanges that happen between you and your client.   Build your credibility.

Tell your candidate who you know, what competitive forces exist, and what obstacles might exist from you helping your candidate.  Let them know if you are representing other candidates.

Definitely provide a compelling link like a job description or pamphlet on your opportunity.  Give them inside information about upcoming projects at your customers site.


5. Clearly outline your action plan

Explain to your candidate what your next few steps are going to be and when he or she can expect to hear back from you.  Mitigate risks in case the plan changes and explain what course of action you will take if it does.  Be sure to follow up even if you don’t have any new information to share to keep them engaged.  Voila!

Read about our next product, Recruiting Scorecard.


James Chmielinski is a second generation recruiting veteran, former athlete, and founder of Veruca.io, the first ever recruiting innovations lab.  His company is built from two generations of sales and recruiting experience resting on the backbone of post-millennial technology.  An industry-leading, hub-spot for consulting, technology, and recruiting process design.  Veruca.io aims to make life easier for professional sourcing and recruiting teams.  Mr. Chmielinski’s inaugural software attracted 178 active users in 114 cities from 17 countries.

Winning Dynamics in Corporate and Agency Recruitment?

Do any recruiting professionals remember a time when a recurring problem was identified in their recruiting group and data was used to diagnose and solve the problem?  Was actionable data ever used to improve the situation?  Anyone?  Bueller?


Winning Dynamics



I asked myself this question and my answer was “no.”   Recruiting teams are people-driven and most in recruiting departments make decisions with collective wisdom and interpersonal groupthink.  In many cases, recruiting managers have a leadership title but don’t have enough authority so when a conflict arises, an executive calls the shots.  Assumption-based decision making is popular and it isn’t all that surprising when you read this statistic:

“Even though software is hugely popular in business and has become less expensive for small to mid-size businesses, only 26% of employers use an applicant tracking system (manages candidate funnel workflow) to manage their hiring process.”

(Source:  Webrecruit)

Wow!  74% of employers do not have an applicant tracking system.  The applicant tracking system (ATS) is the basic system that accounts for tracking all candidate activity.

How do these employers make data-driven decisions?

If data isn’t collected, how can you analyze and improve on it?  How can you track who your top performing partners are?  How do you know who isn’t performing?  How can you manage relationships with candidates, business partners, sources, and vendors? How can you retain anything without a system of record?  How can you grow?

Thankfully, it’s not the only way to make data-driven decisions.  There are other methods.  Researching other peoples data (OPD) can be used to analyze a problem, solution, and outcome compared against your challenge.  This is popular in white paper analysis.  The practice is called benchmarking.  Benchmarking isn’t as efficient as using your own data, but its effective.   It can help you learn how other people overcame similar problems and apply those learnings to your situation.  In my recruiting career, I’ve encountered recurring problems on the agency and corporate side of recruiting. I keep hearing about the same problems at convention, podcasts, and watering holes. Round and round we go with the same solutions being offered up.  None of the proposed solutions are satisfying.  This led me to do my own research on what the systemic issues are preventing faster and cheaper hiring.  I want to build my own solution that everyone can use to understand where the problems are and fix them in a fun way.

During my research I discovered Cornell University’s CAHRS Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies Center.  CAHRS is well known for HR studies impacting the recruiting industry and more.  After clicking around the site..reading and clicking….reading….and clicking, I became determined to find an answer to this question:

What is the data-driven, winning dynamic between corporate and agency recruitment?

I don’t know the answer and I couldn’t find it through my career or in the research I’m doing. So, I decided to break down the question into five sub-questions, when added up, would give me my answer.

My Theory

I theorize that if we create a solution to the following five questions, we will have developed the winning dynamic:

  1. What type of recruiting performance drives a competitive cost per hire (CPH)?
  2. What type of recruiting performance drives a competitive time to fill (TTF) statistic?
  3. What type of recruiting collaboration drives an increase in recruiter engagement?
  4. What is the competitive cost-per-hire CPH that allows agency collaboration with corporate recruiting?
  5. What is the competitive TTF that allows agency collaboration with corporate recruiting?


If I rewrote those questions into a formula, it would look something like this:

Winning Dynamic =  Collaboration + Performance

Collaboration + Performance = Increased Engagement + Healthy Competition + Reduced TTF + Reduced CPH

Research is surgical by nature.  Always a deeper layer. The answers aren’t given but our conclusions help us shape the next step.  I believe that we are working toward the next step in creating a winning software and program that will create an integrated, collaborative environment through the proper integration of people, process, and technology.  But don’t take it from me, allow me to share the conclusion of an interesting article I studied:


Findings from Beyond Cost-per-Hire and Time to Fill: Supply Chain by John W. Boudreau and Peter M. Ramstad

Conclusion: The best (recruiting) measurement system creates measures that can have the greatest impact on decisions, and are not cost prohibitive.  In fact, a significant advantage of the process-based measurement framework suggested here is precisely that it can help pinpoint where measurement improvements are likely to have the biggest effects. Nonetheless, for most organizations, it will be necessary to use measurements more fully and more carefully.

Linking performance to staffing processes can offer a big improvement over traditional systems that fail to consider quality at all, but it still falls far short of the potential fully-developed decision system.  If we could create quality measures at earlier stages in the process, we could do much better at diagnosing and improving the system.   The interesting paradox is that most of the measures we have described here already exist in most organizations, or can be constructed with available products. The key is to integrate the measures with the staffing process, rather than isolate measures and staffing activities. This integration provides a disciplined approach to measurement and analysis that can significantly enhance the professional quality and results of the staffing process. Without such integration, staffing will continue to be approached as a set of isolated activities, and staffing measures will continue to provide incomplete or even misleading direction.

Learn more about our proposed solution designed to make a dent against the recurring challenges in recruiting.



James Chmielinski is a second generation recruiting veteran, former athlete, and founder of Veruca.io, the first ever recruiting innovations lab.  His company is built from two generations of sales and recruiting experience resting on the backbone of post-millennial technology.  An industry-leading, hub-spot for consulting, technology, and recruiting process design.  Veruca.io aims to make life easier for professional sourcing and recruiting teams.  Mr. Chmielinski’s inaugural software attracted 178 active users in 114 cities from 17 countries.

Kickbacks in Recruiting: Avoiding Corruption


Corporate recruiting departments lack financial transparency and accountability needed to align agency hiring performance with authorized incentives.  In some cases, it’s designed that way, making “kickbacks” a sad yet common (and all too casual) practice resulting in unauthorized incentives and unsanctioned, preferential treatment.   I’ve heard the stories and detected the symptoms of kickback corruption too many times in recruiting structures and there is no protection in sight!  In the following, I will outline a common scenario and offer prevention strategies to help clue you into the corruption.

What ever happened to the rewards of wine and dine with traditional relationship building at ball games, happy hours, and special events?

Risks are especially high at startups and underdeveloped recruiting programs going into scaling mode.

If you are part of a recruiting department where recruiting processes aren’t outlined or prioritized, and leaders remain stuck on holding you accountable to vague and subjective criteria, you might find value in this article.

What is a kickback?  A payment made to someone who has facilitated a transaction or appointment, especially illicitly.

When does a kickback occur?  Kickbacks occur when the external recruiting agent (from the company that receives a hiring fee) and an internal recruiting manager (authorized with budget approval to pay out recruiting fees) agree on unauthorized incentives given to the recruiting manager in exchange for preferential treatment given to the recruiting vendor who represents candidates submitted for hire.

Why does it matter?  It is unlawful.  These back dealings create problematic loyalties between internal managers and external agents that isolate other recruiting partners.  It can motivate a recruiting manager to influence a hiring manager to hire the wrong candidate disrupting normal qualification and relationship building between recruiting managers, agencies, and subordinates.

How do I detect it?  Get to know your corporate recruiting manager(s) and the agents they prefer.  What is their rational for providing “exclusive” opportunities? Is the decision driven by performance data?  Prove it.  The wrong type of relationships tend to be more personal than professional.  When the agent visits a manager onsite, the meeting is private.  If you are part of the internal recruiting team, pay attention to patterns of recruiting managers and hiring manager who push for feedback on specific candidates who always happened to be owned by a specific agency.  That’s the smoking gun.  Again, prove that the relationship is based on performance data.  Here are examples of valid types of performance data.

There are a variety of ways for a recruiting manager to skim the recruiting budget if he or she is morality and ethically bankrupt.  Here is one of several recurring scenarios I’ve encountered and avoided in my recruiting travels:

Disclaimer: This applies to unauthorized dealings existing between relationships between corporate (full time) teams and agency contacts.  Does not apply to independents who are in business for themselves unless contractually obligated to refrain from referral fee practices.


-internal company (buyer) that pays recruiting fee to external vendor (supplier) for supplying a candidate who is hired.

Customer Recruiting Manager
-internal agent sanctioned by company executives to manage all recruiting affairs
-internal manager authorized to manage recruiting team and department KPI’s.

Recruiting Vendor
-external company authorized by internal recruiting manager to recruit and submit candidates for hire to company
-receives success fee calculated as a percentage of represented candidates salary, if hired

Recruiting Agent
-external company contact who has a relationship with the recruiting manager
-receives commission of success fee if represented candidate is hired by customer

The Pass Off Kickback
It begins when an authorized recruiting manager gains access to a separately sourced candidate database of desirable candidates.  If you recently hired a recruiting manager, he or she may have exported their former employers resume database, acquiring it through former coworkers or directly stealing it upon exit.  After all, recruiting managers are usually the only one with access, knowledge, or desire to export the list.  The legal and moral approach is to NOT take anything after leaving your former employer, but some prefer to take the intellectual property and use it during ramp up at the new employer.  Instead of passing on the illicit list to internal sourcing/recruiting resources at the new gig, the list might be “passed off” to a former agency relationship stemming from a recruiting agency partner who is now on-boarded as the newest recruiting vendor supporting the new employer.   After all, the newly hired recruiting manager gets to decide which agencies can support.  The authorized manager passes off the unauthorized list to an external vendor set up to receive a percentage of the success fee for hiring, who in turn, kicks back part of the fee to the recruiting manager.  It happens under the table after the official fee is paid out to the recruiting vendor.

It’s a huge loophole that lacks accountability and transparency, allowing corporate recruiting managers to steal directly from their own budget, break the law, and pad their salaries, creating all types of performance blockers.

Internal departments implode while corrupt leaders attempt to cover their tracks, conceal the truth, and protect their unauthorized dealings.  Ladies and gentlemen, it’s real and it’s happening more than you know.

How can you prevent this from happening? 

1. Ask your corporate recruiting manager if they took their former employers recruiting database without authorization.  Their answer, facial expressions, and body language will guide you to the next line of questions for further examination.

2. Remove all contacts and candidates attached to the digital paper trail.  Notify the former employer to make them aware of the situation.  Protect your credibility as an employer and protector of private information.

3. Contact me if you want help diagnosing suspicious situations to help kickback-proofing your recruiting environment.  There are security issues to consider and private candidate information is unlawfully shared through this process.  You don’t want to have access to information about candidates that was never given to you.  There are observable symptoms and mitigation strategies to create transparency and circumvent these kind of situations with prevention tactics.

4. If you find that your leadership team looks the other way – Distance yourself and detach from the organization.  Then, Blow your whistle if you have evidence to support the corruption!
Creating transparency isn’t an easy challenge, however, the good news is that we are working on software that will help prevent these situations from happening.  Click here for more information.


James Chmielinski is a second generation recruiting veteran, former athlete, and founder of Veruca.io, the first ever recruiting innovations lab.  His company is built from two generations of sales and recruiting experience resting on the backbone of post-millennial technology.  An industry-leading, hub-spot for consulting, technology, and recruiting process design.  Veruca.io aims to make life easier for professional sourcing and recruiting teams.  Mr. Chmielinski’s inaugural software attracted 178 active users in 114 cities from 17 countries.

11 Reasons Why Corporate Recruiting Managers Fail

As your passionate recruiting manager, I give everything I’ve got to find and keep the people we hire and grow your company in a way that makes people proud to do work here.  You respond by telling me I am not hiring fast enough, yet I work overtime…I work weekends…I am typically the first person in the office to smile at candidates and I’m the last person to leave after our interviews are over for the day.  I’m your candidate experience cheerleader and I manage the haystack of relationships circling your revolving door of rejected candidates.

“Make sure they all have the same candidate experience!”

You continue to bark at me, excusing your behavior with excuses like “our investors and board of directors are pressuring our executive team to meet head count objectives!”   You ask me in a passive-aggressive manner:

“Why are we behind schedule with hiring? Why aren’t we hiring fast enough! You ARE the expert, aren’t YOU?”

I get it.  You need to build your product.  You need to deliver happiness in the form of features to your growing user base.  We need to hit hiring goals and build toward revenue targets to maximize shareholder value.  We need to keep everyone happy and employed.  Well, maybe not happy.

You may think I am failing you as a recruiting manager but what do you know about recruiting?  I am the expert….remember? Oh, you’ve interviewed a bunch of candidates in this skill-set, so that makes you an expert in supply chain, candidate marketing, candidate engagement, sourcing, recruiting, and human relationship management?  Riiiiiiiiight.  Well, Mr and Mrs. C-Level…

Recruiting has become more than, “Can they do the job, will they do the job, are they a culture fit?”

Please allow me to educate you in the world of demanding people, messed up processes, and silly recruiting tools…We call it recruiting…….and if you pay attention….there might even be an actionable insight you can take away.

11 reasons why corporate recruiting managers fail…


1. Root Cause IdentificationThere isn’t a data-driven method to pinpoint the root cause of a recruiting problem on internal / external recruiting teams.

2. Best Practices: Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are focused on workflow and tracking, capturing data related to hiring a candidate but not nearly focused enough on “how best to hire a candidate” or “how best to recruit.”

If you need help in these areas, go here.

3. Planning: Your recruiting team responsible for sourcing, recruiting, and hiring is impacted daily with necessary updates that influence a job opening that they never get or get too late. Here is an idea – develop a plan and build out your KPI’s before you open the new job, so you know what and why you are hiring.  Recruiters need visibility and transparency behind the motives of “why are we hiring for a new role” because it directly impacts the hiring success or failure.  Otherwise recruiters look stupid when candidates and coworkers ask “why?”  Talk about credibility problems. Involve your recruiters, please.

4. Communication:  When you do pass on information to your recruiting leader, you tell him/her recruiting manager but he/she is inundated with meetings and hiring manager counsel sessions.  By the time information is passed onto the people actually doing the recruiting, it is no longer important information because a new update supersedes the importance of the old one.  Good luck with that.

5. Engagement not tied to Incentives:  We might spend between 1M – 200M on our talent acquisition program annually, yet we don’t have access to a streamlined program that tracks and manages recruiting performance in a programmatic fashion.  There is no method, whether it is customizable or predefined, to help evaluate and manage performance of internal and external recruiting teams.  We can’t inspire change, increase engagement, or collaborate with recruiting teams/recruiters in realtime.  

6. Key Performance Indicators (KPI): It’s a major problem that we only measure recruiting team performance on a case by “hire” case and it isn’t predictable, cost effective, or strategic.  This reactive approach neglects benchmarking and it prevents optimization in cost, speed, quality, forecasting and of course, performance.  Performance based hiring is legit.

7. Inaccurate Data: When neglecting performance data, we don’t have a real-time strategy with pivoting power to understand who our top performing recruiting teams/recruiters are in the areas that we find most valuable at any given time.  Whether we want speed, cost, quality, specialities, or referrals.  We don’t know what we want or need.  We can’t predict.  We can’t recognize performance over fluke. We can’t anticipate problems. We don’t know which agencies we should enlist help from because we have zero-quality data and we are too busy reacting to fire drills.   Emotional hiring managers are running behind schedule pressuring us while we continue to recruit in the dark.

8. Bureaucracy and PoliticsRecruiting managers can’t communicate changes to everyone involved in the change in a timely, centralized fashion, and this impacts internal and external recruiting teams’ efforts.  As your recruiting manager, we don’t have a fast method to reach everyone impacted.  There is no way to broadcast conversation related to feedback, candidate updates, interview notes, req updates, or other program details impacting the internal and external recruiting team success.  There is no forum to provide feedback or clarify without causing email bottlenecks, confusion, and constant chasing.  Recruiting leaders forget or give up on providing essential updates impacting hiring decisions.

9. (Lack of) Information Sharing:  Changes happen hourly and it impacts recruiting teams ability to match and qualify talent.  Some of these changes aren’t restricted from recruiting teams.  Sourcing, recruiting, and candidates are dependent on the dissemination of the information contained within these changes.  Share more information with the reason behind the change.

10. Process or Technology: Recruiting processes built around existing software fail as a conduit system between hiring managers and candidates communication.  It takes way too long for updates, notifications, and alerts to reach their destination.  This causes hiring teams to miss offer and decision deadlines, impacting candidate experience, partner relationships, loyalty, and hiring success.

11. Burnout, Lack of Recognition: Burnout is a huge problem in the recruiting industry.  After dealing with constant pressure from executive leaders and hiring managers who want to hire faster and don’t care how….recruiting leaders quickly run out of positive ways to inspire recruitment performance in recruiting teams.   Positive reinforcement quickly turns into subdued threats.  Fear-based methods lead to escalations, increased turnover, and reduced morale.  Recruiting managers end up micromanaging or neglecting “un-coachable” recruiters with counterproductive effects on performance.  What is earned on Friday isn’t praised and forgotten on Monday.  Recruiting departments can be miserable places to manage recruiters and an even worse place for those subordinates trapped under yours truly, your clueless, underperforming, not-hiring-fast-enough recruiting manager.  Bless your heart.

The good news is there are efforts to correct these massive problems.

Connect with us and learn more: https://angel.co/recruiting-scorecard 


James Chmielinski is a second generation recruiting veteran, former athlete, and founder of Veruca.io, the first ever recruiting innovations lab.  His company is built from two generations of sales and recruiting experience resting on the backbone of post-millennial technology.  An industry-leading, hub-spot for consulting, technology, and recruiting process design.  Veruca.io aims to make life easier for professional sourcing and recruiting teams.  Mr. Chmielinski’s inaugural software attracted 178 active users in 114 cities from 17 countries.