Why Going Exclusive When Hiring a Recruiting Firm Makes Good Business Sense

Eric and Walt from Lee Group chatting

Why Going Exclusive When Hiring a Recruiting Firm Makes Good Business Sense

More is better, right? By that logic, if you rely on a recruiting firm to hire the top talent, working with multiple firms surely must lead to optimal results.

Not exactly, says Eric Kean, Principal of The Lee Group. In fact, almost universally, a company or candidate engaging with multiple recruiting firms prolongs the process.

“What ends up happening is it actually cheapens the opportunity,” Kean said.


The myth of maximum exposure

Employers seeking the best candidate for a position might believe maximum exposure — the bigger the pool the better — will land them the top prospects. The implied logic is that multiple recruiting firms will pay off through healthy competition.

But if an employer is unwilling to commit 100% to one recruiting firm, why would that firm respond by expending all its resources for that company?

Kean offers an analogy. Your company needs legal expertise prior to developing a new product. After explaining your needs to one lawyer, you mention that two additional attorneys are on board to complete the exact same task…and you will only pay the one whose answer or work you like best.

“That lawyer will never ever take your call again,” Kean said. “It’s really not a foreign concept. Why is it such a difference with a search firm?”

Employers rely on the full commitment, resources and effort of a staffing partner. Likewise with the recruiting firm.

“Your commitment is pretty much mirrored in what you’re committing to them,” Kean said. “Therefore, you probably won’t see the best and brightest in the pool.”

Can it work out? Sure, employers can get lucky sometimes. But overwhelmingly, committing to one firm exclusively makes good business sense.


Why a cattle call isn’t the way to go

Kean likes to say, “desperation makes for stinky cologne.”

A high level candidate contacted by multiple firms for the same job will think twice before seriously considering an offer. Too many people touting positions from the same company calls into question that company’s image. It raises red flags.

“The person you really want might not even consider the offer,” Kean said. “Whereas if one recruiter was making contact, it sets the tone.”

In short, don’t make it a cattle call.


Quality over speed

Kean said the team at Lee Group Search isn’t interested in being part of a cutthroat competition to beat out other firms to fill a position. Lee Group Search core values speak to “getting it” and “getting it right.” Cutting corners to do that doesn’t align with the company’s mission.

“The focus should not be on speed,” he said. “The focus should be on being thorough.”

It’s not about getting it fast. It’s about getting it right.

“That takes time,” Kean said. “If I have to rush, rush, rush to lay claim to a resume, that’s a non-benefit for all involved.”

Bottom line: Be selective on who you’re going to work with, Kean said.

“If you don’t feel supremely comfortable or confident with a particular recruiter, then you don’t want to work with that person no matter what,” he added.

Ultimately, the long term partnership between a staffing firm and a business thrives only if the relationship is strong. Companies and recruiting firms build mutual loyalty over time.

After years of success building The Lee Group and Lee Group Search, Kean understands what he calls “the unspoken truths” on his clients’ wish lists.

“You learn their quirks and personalities,” he said. “I can think of several clients who I’ve worked with for as long as 20 years. We don’t even need to have a conversation. I know what exactly what they’re looking for.”