Recruitment industry is not going anywhere and there are situations in which hiring through recruiters work very well. There are two broad kinds of situation I can think of where hiring through recruiters works very well
- When you can specify objective criteria for what kind of person you want: His degrees (including “eliteness” of institute), experience in specific companies or specific technologies, previous experience in a particular kind of role etc. Recruiters would do a very good job of finding people whom you otherwise would not have been able to reach or would have had to spend a great deal of time in finding them.
- When you are hiring for a really senior level position (like say CEO for your funded start-up) and financial stakes involved are high: In this case, selection by objective criteria will not work. What you need is to talk to the relevant people, understand their motivations and skills, judge whether there is a mutual fit etc. A different set of recruiters would be willing to help you with these non-objective tasks also. It works because the stakes are high and you’d pay the recruiter a suitably high amount of money.
But hiring through recruiters is tough for us. We are not hiring a CEO level person – so financial remuneration for a recruiter will not be that high. Then the only thing they can do is get us relevant candidates based on objective criteria. And unfortunately objective criteria does not work for us. Any objective criteria we have in our list is merely a basic filter. We’d probably look at graduates – the actual discipline or place of study does not matter. We’d be able to list some specific skills like good communication skills, high comfort level with computers and Internet, people interaction skills etc. But these are not the kind of skills you can judge from the resume or the courses they have done. (I have seen computer science graduates, who almost seem scared of computers.) You need to dig deeper, look at specifics, interact with the person and so on. Plus since it is a small company, we also have to feel comfortable working with the person – because we all will be working very closely. Any affordable recruiter will not be able to help us with these things. Plus since the requirements are so subjective, the chances of errors are also pretty high. That is another reason I’d feel uncomfortable is shelling out cash to a recruiter to hire someone.
So, while we keep hearing from recruiters all the time, I guess it will be a while before we can go that route. Till then hiring will be a tough task that we have to do ourselves. Since we are at it – we have openings (non-CS) at Pothi.com. Check out and help us spread the word by circulating further.