I started my career in recruitment as a third-party recruiter, in a contingency environment. I then moved into a Corporate  phone-screen-interview Recruiter role, back into third-party in a retained environment, followed by over seven years as a Consultant in a Corporate Recruitment environment.

I still do not understand the rivalry between Corporate Recruiters and Third Party Recruiters. Can’t we all just get along?

As a consultant, I mostly joined an organization as the only recruiter. I have worked with companies with over 1000 employees, and as little as 70. I have always had good relationships with the third-party recruiters I’ve worked with – some I’ve brought with me into the organization, some heard of where I was and contacted me.

That is why I am always surprised when I hear or read about the enmity between the two. I often compare it to sibling rivalry, both competing for their parents’ attention (Hiring Managers), longing for their exclusive love (hiring their candidate).

Let’s face it each group has a main complaint:

Third Party Recruiters complain that the Corporate Recruiter prevents from accessing the hiring Manager; therefore sabotaging their success, while Corporate Recruiters whine that Third-Party Recruiters disregard them by bypassing them and contacting the Hiring Manager directly.

The Solution is simple.

Third Party Recruiters: Make sure you contact the Corporate Recruiter first and Corporate Recruiters: Give access to the Hiring Manager when working with Third Party Recruiters.

As a Corporate Recruiter, Third Party Recruiters and I always agreed on a process we will be working:

  1. Third Party Recruiter contacts me if they have a Candidate they want to present (but no requisition they are working on), or if they saw a posting on our site they want to work.
  2. I confirm a)   if we have a need for the candidate or b)if we need help with the req, and 3)if we have the budget
  3. Once it is confirmed that we need to work with a Third-Party Recruiter, and after the initial call between said Third-Party Recruiter and myself, and an introduction to the Hiring Manager, I give them full access to the Hiring Manager. Often, they still have to come back to me to complain – I mean inform me – that the Hiring Manager is not getting back to them.
  4. Third-Party Recruiter keeps me abreast of any conversation / emails between them and the Hiring Manager
  5. We all live happily ever after…

I believe the biggest mistake Third-Party Recruiters make is assume that Corporate Recruiters are the gate-keeper to the Hiring Manager. Corporate Recruiters are aware that they sometime need help, and that the best help will come from the Third-Party recruiters who specialize in a particular industry or skill. The main reason Corporate Recruiters use the “You are not on the Vendor List” line is because the Third-Party Recruiter has showed them disrespect by simply ignoring.

I truly believe that Third Party Recruiters and Corporate Recruiters can live in piece if they both respected one another.  Or I might have been living my own fairy tale of Third Party / Corporate Recruiter Heaven, and no one will get to live it again.

About the author:


Maha Akiki has been recruiting since 1998.  She started her career in the third party world, working both contingency and retainer, before moving into the corporate world. For over seven years, she worked as an Independent Recruiter, mostly in the Healthcare / Pharmaceutical Industry, as well as Financial, Engineering, and Biomedical Fields. Maha writes a quasi personal/industry related blog http://www.callmeJacques.com, and you can catch her, along with her co-hosts Geoff Webb and Samantha Harris every Wednesday night, 8 PM EST at the Recruiter House Party Radio Show, www.recruiterhouseparty.com. Maha is also involved with the TRU unconferences www.theTRUconferences.com

By Noel Cocca

CEO/Founder RecruitingDaily and avid skier, coach and avid father of two trying to keep up with my altruistic wife. Producing at the sweet spot talent acquisition to create great content for the living breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. I try to ease the biggest to smallest problems from start-ups to enterprise. Founder of RecruitingDaily and our merry band of rabble-rousers.