1.Experience recruiting in that sector.
2.Proven ability to bill $X
3. An existing network.
Well the answer is probably obvious to most…and hence the reason that most agencies want these three things. I don’t necessarily disagree with the importance of any of these, but at the same time, they should never be considered the be all and end all, and are definitely no guarantee for success.
Let me debunk some myths about this holy trinity….
Whilst there are some sectors that are so niche and technical that they cannot be learnt overnight, the majority are not. You probably started your recruitment career in a sector that you knew very little about. It really isn’t that tricky to learn the difference between accounts payable and receivable for example.
When it comes to billings it can be very misleading to judge a recruiter’s worth based purely on what they have previously billed. What if they have had a big brand behind them with lots of PSAs requiring little business development? Did they make a lot of money because they got lucky with one big client? Can they replicate it? Someone billing $200k could be far more impressive than someone billing $500k in certain scenarios.
And the biggest myth of them all…the old network. You might have hundreds of LinkedIn connections, have worked with this and that person, have lots of friends in that industry…. but will you turn this into money? In my experience, most people over inflate the value of their network, specifically the influence they think they have on it. And let’s face it, loyalty in recruitment is a rare thing.
The overriding problem with just focusing on these things is that you really don’t know what the truth is before you have the person working in the business. Any half decent recruiter can sell himself or herself at an interview. They can tell you this and that – they can even produce documents to support their claims. Doesn’t necessarily mean much.
Think about it another way…focusing on this holy trinity means you are looking for exactly the same things as all your competitors. So you are probably going to either lose out more often than not, or have to pay more to get this type of person. And whilst you are waiting for The Messiah to appear, only to find out 6 months later that “he is not the Messiah, just a very naughty boy” in that time you could have taught a good recruiter what they needed to know, and have had them up and running developing a network and billing. By thinking slightly differently to your competition you will have more success growing your team.
I appreciate this might appear as a self-serving article by a Rec2Rec trying to make life easier for himself. So, just to clarify, I’m not saying these things are not important. Of course they are. My point is simply that there is much more to consider. In my opinion behaviours are still the most important factor. I would much prefer to hire someone without any of the holy trinity if they showed the right behaviours – in fact my best consultant came with no Rec2Rec experience and few contacts. She has worked out better than those that I pinched from a competitor.