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Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert
Mark has been involved in EDA recruiting for over 18 years. He is Founder and President of EDA Careers, but started his career in EDA as executive Vice President at EDA Jobs. Mark was also VP of Marketing and Business Development in the beginning of the Internet revolution and has been a … More »

Recruiters–Do You Have Any Idea What We Do?…How Much Work Goes Into Finding One Good Candidate?…The Service Offered to Both Candidates and Companies…

March 30th, 2017 by Mark Gilbert

Surprise Short Answer…A Lot of Work with Often Little Respect, Let Me Explain…

No, this will not be an umm bitch session (LOL) about how recruiters are used and abused but rather an insight into the difficult work we do, the services we provide and how we typically get paid. It just might surprise you to learn what it takes, to make just ONE placement.

I am writing this because I think it is important for both sides to understand the service we provide and the difficulties of the process. Many think that all we do is send a resume of someone we know, and they interview, get hired, and we get a check. While that has fortunately happened, it is far from the reality of our day to day efforts. In this month’s column, I will cover the Candidate’s side and next month, the Company’s.

I like to think that I’m different from most recruiters, even though we all basically provide a similar service of furnishing candidates to companies, trying to fill some very exacting positions. What makes my services different, and why I suppose am the most called-on recruiter in EDA, is because first and foremost, even though the company is the one paying me, I strive to make the hire, satisfactory for both sides. My goal is to make sure the process is on solid ground…that the Candidate is excited about the company AND the company about the candidate.

That is why my Retention Placement Rate (RPR) is so incredibly high. I work with both parties throughout the entire interviewing process, discussing concerns that each may have about the other but would prefer to voice to a 3rd party such as myself. I then discuss these voiced concerns with both parties, (massaged of course) to make sure that as they each proceed, both parties are aware of any problems and have the opportunity to address them. This further ensures a successful hire that both sides feel good about as well as a mutually beneficial long-term partnership. Sometimes, that could mean telling the parties that moving forward might not be the best idea, and I would rather do that than have the relationship end early because we did not adequately discuss any potential roadblocks that could backfire over time. My goal is to secure a good marriage that benefits both the Company and the Candidate.

So, there are basically two types of searches we will discuss here….Retained and Contingency. I tend to work much more with contingency, because this allows the company to always find the best hire, knowing it might not be (unfortunately) my candidate. This could mean countless hours, or even days, weeks or months, with not one cent to show for it. Though this method is good for the company, it is not nearly as good for me as I can do mountains of work with absolutely no remuneration whatsoever. With a contingency search, we only get paid when the company hires our candidate, whereas with a retained search, it is ours exclusively and we get paid either way, but the burden of performance weighs so much more, as we must produce tangible results. Companies are usually more reluctant to do a retained search because the recruiter would get paid regardless of where the candidate comes from. Retained searches are much more common when higher-end searches (V.P. type), are involved. So how does all this happen and exactly how difficult is the process?

The simple answer is ARDOUS…“Companies” come to us (or we solicit them through networking), asking for our expertise in finding precisely the right “Candidate(s)”, to help them accomplish important elements of their business. “Candidates” come to us with various skills asking us to help them find the right “Company” for their growth and future. It is our job to understand all the elements that both sides require, so we can make the right match for both, and that my friends that is no easy task.

EDA specifically, and of course, to a somewhat lesser extent but still quite exacting, IOT/WEB are both very niche spaces that almost always require architecturally structured type experience. This is not work on a Ford, work on almost any car, type business. The specs are incredibly exacting with an extremely finite number of possible fits for both sides. There are limited amounts of candidates with the required skills for those exacting positions and similarly few companies for candidates that have those very specific skills. To make matters more difficult, most of those “qualified” candidates are currently working and most of them are happy where they are. It is our job to find and contact them, which in and of itself, can be near impossible, and then to convince them to look at this new opportunity, which is often, an even bigger challenge. On the other side, when candidates are asking for help with their very exacting skills, we must know the field well enough and have the relationships to make some calls to the right execs, to see if we can garner interest, when we have a good fit for the company, again, no easy task.

HERE IS SOMETHING YOU PROBABLY DID NOT KNOW…To find one single qualified candidate, I can look at over 1000 resumes and spend thousands of dollars in postings. Think about that, think about reading through that many extremely technical resumes…it can take weeks and weeks and even months to find just a few candidates that qualify, and that my friends is only the beginning. Now you must take each qualified resume and try to contact that person either by phone, email or both– and several times I might add, because most do not respond! Even those I know for years and years usually do not respond to the first outreach, unless they are interested.

So, once we have identified and contacted the interested candidate, the right recruiter will put them through a series of qualification checks to see how they stack up against the company’s technical requirements and all the rest of the needs of the spec. Does this candidate have the needed technical knowledge…does this candidate have the experience level…are the comp expectations aligned…timelines suitable…position level acceptable…location desirable…language and culture a match and so much more– and that is before the candidate is even submitted.

Now the fun starts–or does it? Think about what has transpired just to qualify a few candidates…think what it must be like to thoroughly review, on average, hundreds and hundreds of technical resumes to find the few that MIGHT fit and further, that the candidate might find interesting. Assuming after all that qualifying work, you actually have a few folks that fit and are interested and give you permission to submit their resume…that is no guarantee the company will either respond or even like the candidate you submitted. And my friends, the entirety of the submission process is even more arduous than the aforementioned. Getting some companies to act in a in a timely manner can take more effort than finding the candidate in the first place… I will address the submission process, issues and pitfalls that ensue, along with a few of the crazier stories, (company’s and candidates), and what to expect at DAC Austin as well, in my next column.

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