Agency Recruiting Is Broken, It’s Time To Cut the Middleman

The middleman is unnecessarily expensive and quite frankly just unnecessary.   

The middleman is biased. The hiring process should be transparent. The middleman depends on commission therefore unnecessarily expensive. The hiring process should be affordable. Times should have changed a long time ago in the staffing industry and they just haven’t. Agencies are still doing recruiting the same way they were 20+ years ago. Believe me,  I know. I started my first recruiting firm in 2000 after five years in hell with a couple of the largest agencies in the United States. We quickly made Inc. 500 fastest growing companies, best places to work Blah Blah Blah. But we did not change a damn thing or do anything differently than anyone else.

The reality is the industry is broken, antiquated and frankly just doesn’t give a shit. Along with being terrified of change. Think about it, a pit full of commissioned recruiters slinging resumes with their logo on it in hopes you will pay them a 25% fee. For what, running a keyword search on LinkedIn? I know and have interviewed a lot of great talent who are fed up with agency recruiters. They are actually turning their LinkedIn profiles off completely. When asked why? They respond with answers like, “tired of being hit on by agency recruiters” or “recruiter will not even tell me the name company they are recruiting for.”

No kidding, this is a common practice with some agencies. How would anyone show interest in a position without knowing who the client is? Mind boggling, but it happens. Another common dissatisfaction with talent is also that agency recruiters cannot explain the actual job they are recruiting for.

If I am a CPA looking for a job then I would want someone who understands intimately the roles and responsibilities of a CPA. My friends at a large staffing conglomerate headquartered in middle Tennessee come to mind here. If I am a Java developer I would want someone who thoroughly understands the day to day life of a Java developer.

The majority of the time this is not the case when using a staffing agency. Case in point, with my last agency that I sold in 2014 we decided to shake it up a bit. Try and move the needle if you will. You know, try and set a standard in an industry with very little standards, if any.

I hired Jason Hutson, now my CTO and business partner at Fetch. Hutson has over 15 years in the IT world and had served as IT Director for several large companies. He was brought in to bridge the gap between IT talent and recruiter. When he interviewed our talent their reaction was priceless. Many said, “I have never been asked these types of question by a recruiter before” or “man, you really seem to know your stuff, how refreshing.” It worked just as we expected and backed the data that we had gathered. An IT guy interviewing and acting as an agent for IT talent. Certainly makes sense to me and resonated for sure with the talent. Unfortunately, not what happens in the wonderful world of agency recruiting.

To be frank, clearly, I think that we all know that the majority of our so-called recruiting brethren are not liked, trusted, or just downright despised. While I am sure many of you don’t fall into this 70 percent bucket and do add value, to tell you the truth, candidates, and hiring managers, on the whole, are begging for something different. I borrowed with this from a SourceCon article I had read by Rob McIntosh and certainly supports the data we gathered.

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We live in a world where technology is changing everything. Think about it, one of the world’s largest cab companies owns no cars. One of the world’s largest hospitality companies owns no property. The process has been automated and with great success. Why has this not be done with success and accuracy in recruiting? Another quote I borrowed, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change”Tony Robbins

At Fetch, the pain of staying the same is much greater and always will be greater than the pain of change. Fetch is a hiring platform with a unique twist; the talent drives the process. That’s right, the talent chooses the next steps. The talent decides whether they want to date you and your company, or not. Yes, meets Tinder for talent.

Fetch believes that the hiring process should be completely transparent and unbiased. We also believe the best way to achieve this is to match talent with employers and let them figure it out. We also believe the talent should initiate and drive the process. We also believe that hiring should be affordable for all.

I began this with talking about the middlemen. They are biased, heavily commissioned and quite frankly, too damn expensive. Not to mention, most of them are not qualified to be recruiting in the industries or on the jobs in which they recruit for.  Fetch has automated the hiring process with accuracy and we have eliminated the need for the middle man. Should have been done a long time ago but better late than never. Fetch, the new, efficient, and affordable way to hire.

Chase Morrow is a local entrepreneur with a passion and proven track record for start-ups. Chase founded ITAC Solutions in 2000 and sold the company in 2009. He successfully grew ITAC from kitchen table to an Inc. 500 company. At the same time, Chase founded Accurate Mailing and successfully grew Accurate Mailing from a bootstrap idea into one of the most recognized direct mail companies in the South. Chase then sold Accurate Mailing. In 2011, Chase founded another local company, Moxy, a Talent Agency for IT and Creative Professionals. He then expanded Moxy and formed a web dev/branding division called MoxyUp. Chase sold Moxy in 2015.  

Chase has recently launched a new company called FETCH. Picture meets Tinder for talent and you have FETCH. FETCH, is a hiring platform with a unique twist-it is completely TALENT DRIVEN. Built to disrupt the antiquated and resistant to change staffing Industry while using cutting edge software that will provide unbiased and transparent matching of employee and employer. This new hiring platform reduces the upfront fees paid by employers and the risks involved.

Chase is a huge believer in Birmingham and chose to use local talent to build FETCH’s new hiring platform and launch it as a national force to disrupt the staffing industry.


16 Comments on “Agency Recruiting Is Broken, It’s Time To Cut the Middleman

  1. As someone who works in the recruitment industry (not as a recruiter), I will agree that the industry needs a change. On the other hand, I will disagree that an automated solution is THE solution.

    Sure, Uber and AirBnB, among others, have managed it, but they are punctual services, that involve very little feelings and human interaction. Hiring someone, is sharing a longer journey with them. Let’s say, you had to choose the same Uber taxi for the next 6 months, would you still choose it so lightly, trusting a matching app that focuses on key words ?

    I am not using Fetch, so it is possible that you’re approaching it differently, but again, using automated processes to hire someone is removing the “Human” in Human resources in my opinion.

  2. And now people are cutting side deals with uber drivers and Airbnb owners who use the services often. There will always be a payoff for “direct recruiting” no matter how much technology is out there. Sales is recruiting and recruiting is sales. The more technology that enters the sales and recruiting space just means that phone skills, in person communication skills, and creative ways to get people’s attention will become more valuable. I would also argue that recruiters are often underpriced. If you place a developer making 100k per year and they bring in 2 times their salary for 3 years that’s 600k in revenue that person made for the company. At a 20% fee they paid 20k for that person to the agency and got 600k in revenue from that developer. How is that over priced?

  3. Really? After reading this I feel like Ralphie did when his Little Orphan Annie decoder pin told him to drink Ovaltine. A crummy ad?

  4. Cool article Chase but I disagree with you on a few points.

    For one I think a first date vs.hiring the right person for your team long term are two entirely different things and should be approached differently. The methodology behind Tender is perfect for matching people up who are looking for someone to have a romantic or not so romantic fling with but is that the way really how you want to hire?

    Also, most staffing agencies specialize in a particular industry and have recruiters who only deal with a certain skill set. But agreed some generalist head hunters are still out there and hiring managers need to be asking that question when they are selecting the agencies they are going to work with on a particular position.

    Also, that it is talent driven is disappointing. The best candidates that will make the biggest impact on your team, your company, and your career are 99% of the time already valued and for the most content at their current companies. THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE HIRING MANGERS WANT! Those are the candidates that will make the biggest impact on your team/company. Agency recruiters do that and that is what companies are paying the fee for. It’s easy to find people that are constantly “looking” and all over the job boards.

    Plus their is already an alternative and cheaper way to find people outside of staffing agencies. They are called internal recruiters. They are salaried and have less incentive to find the best people. Agency recruiters DEPEND on finding the best possible people or they do not get paid. Almost zero companies are exclusively using agency recruiters. On any given position it’s agency recruiter vs. internal recruiter and it’s up to the hiring manager to decide if the person the agency found is worth paying the fee for. Agency recruiters provide an actual service that is very difficult to do and they are not heavily commissioned sleazy middle men.

  5. I have been on both sides of recruiting over 25 years and I have learned that nowadays internal recruiters who have been Agency recruiters can be just as effective at sourcing top talent. Steven Jackson statement “they are salaried and have less incentive to find the best people” is completely wrong. We are invested in the success of our organizations and company. It is the main reason I left the agency side to work for companies with a great brand and mission. Never worked for an agency that had that kind of incentive or brand as it was all about the sales and generating income for the owners.

    1. “Never worked for an agency that had that kind of incentive or brand as it was all about the sales and generating income for the owners.” A good recruiter will make a lot more at an agency then internally. Facts.

      1. Agree…I made 4x as much, but that was not my point. Not all are motivated by money. Different job being internal and overall comp w benefits can be $200k+ internally. Not bad.

  6. The same comments have been made about agency recruiters for more than the 40+ years I have done agency recruiting. “We can run our own ad? What do we need them for?” Or this one, “Why won’t they tell is the name of the client?” HINT: What happens when a candidate uses that information and applies directly to the client? Who doesn’t earn anything from that? I know I lost more than $82000 from situations like that early in my career when fees were a lot smaller than today; putting in today’s dollar terms, I lost more than $200000 in fees from candidates being thieves; I’ve lost even more from employers using me as a tickler file for re-contacting candidates . . . But, heah, why spoil some good venom by pointing out some realities to the relationship with talent and employers. Oh, if you want an explanation for why the hiring process is broken, it lies with employers who have turned the employment relationship into just another data driven transaction and trained third party recruiters to act in accordance with that . . . but, heah, why point out something that’s true when ERE publishes a commercial for a service in the guise of an article.

    1. Jeff — I agree with everything you said 100%. I have submitted a response article to the editor and hopefully it will be published this week.

    2. The staffing industry continues to fight is obsolescence now by blaming the client? Agencies are all fishing in the same LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Monster, Dice pond and sending candidates that are not qualified and do not fit the client’s culture. Why would a client not embrace technology with its own HR/Talent Management folks? I am amazed that staffing agencies have survived this long with the technology available to companies!

      1. Respectfully, Rick, who runs the process? The client. As someone who has filled more than 1200 full time positions PLUS consulting firms, reviewed quite a few hundred thousand resumes that I can document (and more I can’t), employers have always created the terms of the engagement. For example, you use the expression, “client’s culture.” How many employers flip the switch and recite the same pablum saying they either want “a team player” or “rock star?” (I’ll give you a hint: All) but then can’t back it up and blame the external recruiter when the talent wipes out. They create “a sneaker race” for resumes, not relationships. Some now work with vendor management systems that keep a hands off relationship with a recruiter but expect concierge results and services for between 25% and 50% off. Firms also create offshore organizations under a different brand to create the impression of an extenrnal recruiter. That firm bombards candidates and agencies suffer. There is more, but I’ll leave it there.

  7. Here is the problem. I have a job already, and I have taken myself off the market a while back. Yet, I receive over 5 calls a day from thick accented individuals (mostly from India), that not only do I not understand what they are saying, but lack simple US geography. It gets frustrating. A few years back, when I was out job hunting, I was filtering out at least 20+ calls a day, and just looking for the 1 clear English speaking call that was within my area. Ironically, these a lot of these calls were for the same few jobs of the time, and all were pushing for “contract to hire” BS, when the employer itself was looking for a full time. So yes, there is where it is broken.

  8. I could not agree more!
    I’m in the job market now and dealing with recruiters is excruciating.
    There are so many barriers within recruitment.
    Recruiters do the leg work and pass resumes to account managers. Job seekers do not interface with account managers, which leaves no room for building relationships or selling yourself.
    I have no found a solid explanation as to why recruiters connect on Linkedin without attempting to have a conversation…..even if it’s through email or text. It’s like a game to amass volumes of people.
    Recruiters are on the bottom of my list for finding a job.
    They are ineffective, there are too many and it’s very ineffective.
    Networking through current/former colleagues and meetups/groups is the way to go.

  9. lol, nice try Chase Morrow. You disguise this article as a “recruitment bashing blog” only to reveal you are promoting, thats right, YOUR recruiting firm hahaha. You are the definition of a snake. How about you explain the process with recruiting firms who DON’T pay on commission and have a fixed rate per month? What you are speaking on is extremely old school and NOT current in the staffing agency. Most recruiting firms are venturing away from the “head hunting” the “commission” mindset. So don’t lie to the people Sir. Just to promote the exact thing you are bashing.

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