Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

TRANSACTIONAL VS.STRATEGIC RECRUITING: PART 1

Posted by sweens on September 18, 2009


From the time I have spent in the recruiting industry, I have found there to be two styles of recruiting: Transactional; and Strategic.  I would argue that there is a big difference between the two and some recruiters are a custom to one style over the other.  Let us focus on transactional recruiting.

 Transactional recruiting is a numbers game.  In a nutshell, a company gets a position to recruit and the recruiter(s) throws as many ‘bodies’ as possible at this open position in the shortest time possible.  The emphasis is on quantity over quality and ultimately the hiring decision is made by the clients’ hiring manager with little to no recommendation from the recruiter(s).

 In transactional recruiting, there is very little time spent on behavioural based interview questions, and more time spent on technical questions such as: have you worked with the following technologies; have you lead a team of developers before; etc.  Typically the recruiter tries to match as many people to his/her requirements as quickly as possible and tries to screen candidates in, rather then screening candidates out.

 This type of recruiting is usually done for a low profit margin (less then ten percent) and is fuelled by systems integrators.  Account managers usually know little information in terms of the overall project or needs of the client, and strictly work off an order sheet with a list of technologies and vague deliverables.

 I would suggest that transactional recruiting takes less skill then strategic recruiting (no offence meant to anyone) as most of the skills required for a transactional recruit involve key word searches and the ability to phone candidates as quickly as possible.  I would also suggest that transactional and strategic recruiting can be influenced by the industry, the clients and the location of your work.

 I recruit positions in Ottawa for the Federal Government.  This means that I usually get to submit one candidate for one job and do not have the luxury or option of submitting multiple candidates that kind of meet the job description fort my clients.  I need to find ‘the’ candidate for the job and I need to do it quickly.  Therefore, I would suggest that my focus and expertise is on strategic recruiting and this is the value I bring to my organization and my clients.

 A recruiting firm who specializes in transactional recruiting can be seen as an extension of their clients’ human resources department.  They screen and highlight candidate skills and then pass many bodies off to a hiring manager to make a final decision.  As a recruiter I would classify myself as a subject matter expert with exceptional skills in sourcing, screening and interviewing candidates.  If I do not get to practice these skills on my recruits, I feel as though I have become a transactional recruiter and are not providing my clients with the services they are paying for.

 Simply the thoughts of one strategic recruiter….

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