"Sure it was expensive, but when I look instead at opportunity cost, how much time and effort previous hires took, and how it took me away from the business of running my business, using a recruiter was well worth it. Thank you."  Those words were said over lunch with a friend recently, a lunch at a very nice restaurant that he was picking up the tab for, to show his appreciation for my part in a key hire using a recruiter.

A couple of months ago, my friend, who is the CEO of a manufacturing company, said he was considering using a recruiter in his search for a new VP of Sales & Marketing. He had no previous experience with recruiters, and asked specifically if I knew of one who specialized in manufacturing. I had met just such a person at a recruiting conference, and after several subsequent encounters where I learned more about her background, and her, I felt I could recommended her.

My friend was very pleased with her, and said he would definitely use a recruiter again, and in fact use this particular recruiter again. And he is thrilled with the candidate she found and the hire he was able to complete.

"To be honest, I never actually looked at the cost per hour it takes to come up with a job description or profile, then search, find, interview, qualify and hire the right person. But I know it can't be good. Outsourcing this particular function was a great move for me, and the company. She knew several highly qualified people  who weren't necessarily 'looking' for a new job actively, but are receptive to just the right offer or opportunity. I would never find those people on my own."

"To be honest, I never actually looked at the cost per hour it takes to come up with a job description or profile, then search, find, interview, qualify and hire the right person. But I know it can't be good. Outsourcing this particular function was a great move."

So score one for the recruiters.

Then I came across this Inc. post with the catchy headline "These Days Recruiters Are Worth The Money." The author, Vanessa Merit Nornberg, is the owner of Metal Mafia, a wholesale jewelry company that sells to more than 5,000 specialty shops and retail chains in 23 countries. She also recently used a recruiter, also for the first time.

[caption id="attachment_21740" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Vanessa Merit Nornberg"][/caption]

She writes that the recruiter sent her resumes of 10 candidates. She screened six by phone, met three in person, and ultimately found the right person to hire, all within the time frame of a month.

"The cost suddenly became much less, because I saved so much time in the process, and because I got a pool of applicants who were decidedly better to choose from than in the past."

"The cost suddenly became much less, because I saved so much time in the process, and because I got a pool of applicants who were decidedly better to choose from than in the past. Even more interesting, perhaps, was an insight the right candidate shared with me during the interview process. When I asked why she had chosen to work with a recruiter rather than post on job boards, she said 'because recruiters make sure your resume gets seen'... Looks like I've got an essential new hiring strategy," she adds in closing.

So her experience mirrored that of my CEO friend. It saved them time, which of course translates to money, and gave them access to a stronger pool of candidates they could not have sourced on their own.

Of course their view isn't shared by everyone. When I scrolled down to look at the comments to the Inc. post I came across this:

"I have never encountered a profession so full of prejudices, misconceptions and downright incompetence that gets materially in the way of getting the job done right. If your idea of the perfect candidate is top graduate of a top school with paper credentials out the wazzoo, by all means hire a recruiter. But if you are looking for anyone out of the ordinary, don't expect a recruiter to find them: their filters (human or machine) will almost certainly exclude them from the process - not enough key words in their resume, not the right schools, not the right grades 20 years after grades ceased to matter in judging candidates. I wouldn't hire most recruiters to find my dog, let alone someone I am going to entrust part of my business to."

Okay, so that last comment just comes along with the law of percentages. In 10 comments you're bound to find a negative one, right? Actually, 1 out of 10 or 12 or whatever it was, is pretty good as far as the blogoshpere goes.

What about your world recruiters? Is business good? Are you getting engagements from people you haven't worked with previously, or even more to the point, people who have never worked with a recruiter before? Do you think there is any uptick in the value clients see in you?

Tags: Recruiters, News, Qualified job candidates, Recruitment, Passive Job Candidates, New hires, Sifting resumes, Job recruiting success, Using a recruiter