Your Tech Recruiter Should Be A Partner, Not A Vendor

Posted on May 1, 2019 by BWBacon. Tagged: Resources for Entrepreneurs, For Clients

Sourcing talent in the tech industry is particularly hard. Sourcing GREAT tech talent in Denver or Boulder, Colorado is getting harder by the day. Flash forward to 2020 and in comes Amazon to snag up to 400 more of the best engineers in the city... Keeping a candidate pipeline full is frequently listed as one of the most difficult tasks for leadership at any tech company. The competition for great talent, finding an appropriate culture fit, and candidate-company-mission alignment make this battle seemingly impossible sometimes, like finding a needle in the haystack. Because of this, many companies need to exponentially increase the size of the top of their candidate funnels and that requires a multi-channel approach.

We’ve seen internal recruiting teams at our top client companies leveraging these channels to success:

Many times a third party recruiting agency is also leveraged to increase their chances of building a great team. We fully believe (obviously) in the additional horsepower a recruiting agency can bring to a company’s talent acquisition efforts, but we have also seen situations where the relationship has not produced as it should. We’ve put our investigative lens on and tried to figure out what separates the great relationships from the mediocre and bad.

The stakes are so high in the software/tech talent acquisition game today that if a company approaches an agency, such as ourselves, there has to be a foundation for totally candid communication. There should be a strong understanding of how candidates are evaluated and under what process.  There is a fundamental difference between a vendor who is supplying resumes versus a partner who helps grow the company. Because of the number of options great tech talent has in today’s marketplace, a company has a take a hard stance on their culture, mission, and recruiting methods to land great talent.

Here is why if a tech recruiter is just a vendor (as opposed to a true partner) the relationship will fail.

Team building is closer to a familial relationship than many of us would like to admit…

  • The high-level concept of team building is fairly straightforward. Define the role, find the person, drop them in. But that is not the truth. Teams are closer to families with a DNA and fingerprint that is almost impossible to define on paper. A vendor inherently has a separation between themselves and the weight of this subcontext. A partner embraces the intrinsic rewards of family building and the struggles that come with family. They feel the weight that one bad placement could have, especially in a leadership role.
  • Team building is not an exact science, sometimes things go terribly wrong. A candidate drops out at the offer phase or a new employee is not as engaged as expected. When this happens and tempers run hot, it will only be a partner who makes right, leans in and evolves with the company.
  • Internally, we refer to this process as a 3-dimensional recruiting exchange. There is a requirement of depth in the relationship in order to produce meaningful results.  These three parties have to be on a level playing field of needs and communication, or the relationship has no depth:

A partner puts in the time to not only understand and quantify the company culture but to feel it and be able to translate it to candidates.  They become an extension of the company’s brand. There are no shortcuts to this.

  • We need to taste the bone marrow of the company vision, so to speak. We try to live by this idea of establishing a certain“instantmacy” or “instant-intimacy.” We have found that without a mutual appreciation of honesty, vulnerability, and openness to evolution, this process will fall apart. We have to run past the surface level, bean dip, and salsa conversations. You have to get into the meat of the company’s vision, pain, and process, and oftentimes this means we iterate or test out a few candidates and evolve from that initial touch point.
  • The problem cannot be about butts in seats. The problem is about finding the intersection of company/candidate mission-life-work-benefits alignment. They have to be able to translate the passion of the company to the candidates so it catches their attention while empowering the company brand...
  • If a recruiting agency does not offer to do meet on-site to almost tangibly touch and feel the company culture, they will fail.

A vendor may not embrace a mindset of advocacy.

  • A partner looks to adopt the company language and narrative. They to build a story around the company as if it were their own, they buy in.
  • Their advocacy comes naturally and is conveyed to the candidate pool in a way that is compelling, real and persuasive. That advocacy comes with conviction, with a stronger baseline than that which comes from being just a vendor.
  • There is an element where a partner performs a certain underwriting in how they represent the company to the market, where they put their reputation in alignment with the company. There is a process to assess the worthiness of the relationship, as much as there is to mitigate the risk, no less a certain fiduciary duty to disclose issues and navigate challenges.
  • If a client turns back someone we think is a great fit, a recruiter needs to be able to push back with respect if they recognize a blind spot in the evaluation, or know the candidate intimately.   Likewise, a client needs to be able to feel comfortable identifying red flags or objections early and the recruiter needs to respond to those.

We are proud when we hear our clients referring to us as their partner, not just their agency. It is our indicator that we are living up to the demands of the relationship.


Here at BWBacon Group, we understand what you are doing your diligence with us an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.


If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help.  Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!