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Marketing Candidates

I was asked by a prospective client, who we are not working on a search for, if we have anyone that fits their current need.  I told him that we can go out and find them.  He asked if we have one ready to go and I said we don’t market candidates.  This seemed to be a surprise to him.

Now I understand that there are a lot of ways to skin a cat and that there are people in our industry who market candidates.  If it works for them that’s wonderful, but I believe it is the wrong way to go.  First and foremost, the candidate is not your client.  They don’t pay the fee.  In third party recruiting you are working for the client company to fill a need for them and they pay the fee.

The idea that you have a candidate in inventory that will fill that need brings an immediate conflict of interest into the relationship, and in recruiting there is absolutely no need for a conflict of interest with your client.  I’m not saying recruiters shouldn’t use their database to find candidates that fill a need or who can refer them to the right candidate.  I am saying that taking a candidate and going out to find a client to pay a fee for that candidate is both inefficient and a poor way to serve your client.

  1. March 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm


    I understand, and respect your point of view, but marketing candidates work wells for a lot of recruiters.

    When I operated SullivanKreiss, we’d send a monthly online newsletter publication to about 30,000 firm owners. The publication included two articles, and a list of what we called, “Hot Candidates.”

    I’m convinced that many of our readers were only interested in seeing the Hot Candidates, and every month, we’d get a few inquiries after the newsletter was distributed. Many of these inquiries eventually became retained searches.

    I can’t recall many “Hot Candidates” actually getting placed over the six year period that the newsletter was in circulation, but the publication did lead to a lot of other candidates getting placed, along with millions of dollars in search fees.

    It worked for us, but I agree with you. Some people may not want to work this way.


  2. March 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I agree with you, Todd. Due to my efforts to keep my candidates confidential until their interest in the company or position is confirmed, I do not send sample resumes out to prospective clients who request them. While there is a good chance I am currently networking with someone who would be a great fit for the position, I like to also complete a comprehensive multi-faceted search so that the best candidate possible is presented, whether that is someone I track down, or someone I have been networking with over a long period of time. I call it ‘covering my bases’.

  3. March 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm


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