Approximately two weeks ago, I threw an ice cream and snow cone social for my colleagues in Austin, Texas because we’d hit an amazing milestone in the project I am working on and I wanted to say thank you for the incredible level of team work that put us two weeks ahead of the project timeline. It was a nice break from work for an hour or two and a welcome and fun relief from the heat here in Central Texas over the last several weeks. During this social someone brought up the topic of recruiters and job searches and the room erupted in horror stories, initially, and then comical and outrageous stories of experiences people have had with recruiters.

If you spend any time on LinkedIn you may have noticed that there are a lot of status updates complaining about experiences and interactions with recruiters. Conversely – there are a lot of recruiters who frequently defend or declare their positions and their reputations on LinkedIn [and Twitter] and kvetch about job seekers contacting them and demanding the recruiter get them a job – which is a totally valid frustration. Or complain that their resources have been reduced so they don’t operate as they would like to. Lots of issues and grievances from both parties.

I have had some experiences over the last 12 months as I have been contacted via LinkedIn by approximately 18 recruiters. These have been both in-house and third party recruiters. Only two of them have been kind, respectful, and genuine during our interactions [and only one has kept their follow-up commitments]. Prior to about a year ago, I had only partnered with one recruiter in my career and it was a fabulous experience that placed me at one of my favorite jobs with one of my favorite executive teams. So, the recent, odd interactions I have had, have been very interesting and eye-opening. As I have mentioned and those that work with me know; I am passionate about solutions, about making processes better, bringing human behavior and creativity back into business, about not settling for the status-quo, and about personal accountability.

Because my experience with recruiters has been such a casserole of grim, hilarious, profoundly bizarre, or [at best] bland, I am in the process of creating two websites with the help of some of my more tech savvy business|networking partners specific to recruiter reviews for candidates to leave around their experience with individual recruiters and for others to assess which recruiters they would enjoy working with. These sites will bring some accountability to this hugely critical role and will absolutely elevate and amplify the growth of the best, most skilled recruiter business(es) and will catalog the candidate experience people can expect to have with recruiters who function through truth, transparency, and integrity.

Job seekers want and deserve to be treated with kindness and candor. They want to know that their recruiter will advocate for them. They want to know that they are individuals…not just resumes that a recruiter cast a large net to collect. People who don’t operate with principles, values, and human courtesy deserve to be spotlighted so that people can make an informed decision about with whom they will or will not work. One of my main objectives of creating these review sites is to save the candidates time and frustration when they are contacted as either a passive or active candidate.

These websites [one will be exclusively for the Retail industry] will allow people a window into the recruitment process with an individual and allow them to make decisions that will benefit them. They will allow the organizations that these recruiters represent to align themselves with people who can support their vision and values. My hope is that, once launched the candidate experience and behavior of each recruiter will be vividly transparent to the executives of organizations that either employ or contract with the representative. For many, their contact with a recruiter is the first experience they have with a brand or organization and it should be a real preview into the culture of that organization.



The most difficult reality for me to digest is that both recruitment and the applicant resume submission process is so broken that submitting a resume for a job which you are highly qualified for doesn’t work either [you’ll see why below]. So, you have two pretty abhorrent options: (1) dealing with [predominantly] flaky and boorish talent acquisition reps [who minimally understand the position they are recruiting for]  or (2) submitting your resume into a system queued to extract the safest and most homogenized candidates for a business based on a laundry list of difficult-to-verify accomplishments, previous brands|employers, and generic, shallow, and | or pedantic keywords.

Here are some Applicant Tracking System | Talent Acquisition statistics that are important to note:

  • 75% of recruiters and hiring professionals – globally – use a recruiting or applicant tracking system. [Source: Capterra]
  • 94% of recruiters and hiring professionals say their ATS or recruiting software has positively impacted their hiring process. Only 4% say it has had a negative effect. [Source: Capterra]
  • However, job applicants seriously disagree. 80% of candidates described their online job search and online job applications as stressful & ineffective. [Source: Jibe]
  • 60% of job candidates are unable to complete online applications due to encountering technical hurdles. [Source: Jibe]
  • As many as 75% of qualified job applicants are rejected by ATSs due to spurious reasons like incorrect resume formatting. [Source: Forbes]
  • In a test, one company created a perfect resume for an ideal candidate for a clinical scientist role, it scored a mere 43% relevance because the ATS it was submitted to misread it. [Source: Bersin & Associates]
  • In yet another test, one large firm found that the resumes of 3 out of 5 of their top engineers were screened out automatically by their ATS as not relevant. [Source: ERE Media]
  • As much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. [Source: SmashFly]
  • A study by Bersin found that organizations with mature talent acquisition strategies, on average, perform 30% better than peers on business outcomes, including the ability to meet or exceed customer expectations, create new products and services faster than competitors, and meet or exceed financial targets. [Source: SmashFly]
  • Business-integrated HR organizations realize more than twice the revenue per employee than do companies that view HR as a primarily transactional function, and companies with highly effective talent management strategies experience 41% lower turnover among high-performing employees. [Source: SmashFly | Bersin & Associates]


As much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. That means you can reduce your turnover costs, which could easily be millions of dollars annually, by 80% through a more effective approach to talent acquisition. [Source: SmashFly]

This one statistic is critical to spotlighting how ineffective most organizational talent sourcing and hiring strategies are and certainly speaks to how ineffective ATSs are. If 94% of recruiters and hiring managers see their ATS as positively impacting their hiring process but 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions [with 75% of organizations using ATS to source and identify their “ideal” candidate] – there is a HUGE and frightening disconnect in how this software functions and | or the germane, pedestrian, and parochial search queries it allows the back-end user to perform to identify “relevance” – compared to what a desirable and effective outcome should be to finding the right fit for the organization’s culture, values, and vision.

The U.S. spends $105 billion a year correcting problems associated with poor hiring decisions. Turnover costs 150% of the salary of the employee who needs to be replaced, and for a high-level or highly specialized employee, that figure jumps to a whopping 400%. [Source: Elise Mayer]


  • Referrals are the #1 source for quality new hires;
  • Retention of referrals is higher than any other source;
  • Referrals that are hired produce more profit;
  • Referrals are more likely to be a “cultural fit” than other hires’
  • One out of every five referrals gets hired (saving time and money on recruitment initiatives);
  • Referrals have been shown to reduce the time to hire by almost 50% compared to candidates who come from a company’s careers site;
  • 75% of job seekers consider the employer’s brand and reputation before even applying for a position;
  • The software company Careerify found that referred employees are 23% less likely to quit than other hires;
  • A study out of Columbia University found that an organization with rich company culture has less than 14% turnover, while those with poor company culture exceeds 48%;
  • An effective Employee Referral Program decreases time-to-hire by 40%;
  • According to a study by Achievers,  the chances of a referred candidate getting fired decrease by an average of 350%;
  • Referred candidates cost 40% lower compared to job boards.

Again, in all industries, candidates deserve to be treated with honesty, transparency, respect, and with a high-level of integrity. After all – they are likely your customer, too. There are a few fabulous candidates out there that most any company in a variety of industries would be extremely lucky to have on their team but due to this antiquated [and hugely ineffective] ATS reliance and hands-off approach or the grisly treatment doled out by most [not all] recruiters; these people go undiscovered – companies find themselves struggling to build a strong culture – drive profits – attract better talent – offer better customer experience – and as a result, mediocrity reigns supreme.

I absolutely understand ATS has it merits as a tool of compliance…it tracks all of the necessary reporting that companies must compile and turn over to state and federal agencies but I seriously question the benefit of this type of platform as a potent, viable, or mature talent strategy tool – as it clearly narrows the candidate focus to such an uninspired and risky set of criteria, that the candidate assortment shrinks to a handful of possibly “good enough” candidates that are – essentially – copies of everyone else in your organization. It’s a myopic and dangerous game to to play in today’s business world.