Four Hard Truths Employers Don’t Like to Hear From Recruiters

Recruiting entry and mid-level administrative, legal and medical front and back office talent in Atlanta is a tough business to be in these days. There simply aren’t enough qualified candidates.

I have friends that have been recruiting with me from the beginning more than 30 years ago, and some of them are really struggling with burnout. This industry, much like many others, has undergone a technology transformation that should make recruiting easier in theory. But in reality, it just isn’t.

Online job boards, social media sites and applicant tracking systems connect applicants and employers every day. But sometimes it’s too much of a good thing, and everyone is left feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of job ads and resumes. The one problem that remains, and always will, is that most of the people looking at the job ads and submitting resumes are already unhappy or unemployed. They’re often not the rainmakers you really want on your team.

Recruiters will always have a job.

The expectations that candidates and employers have of recruiters can border on unrealistic, and it’s driving some recruiters to pursue new career paths. But finding elusive talent will never be easy or fast. Have you ever seen those memes that say, “I’m a recruiter. What’s your superpower?”

In addition to sourcing candidates and filling job orders, I spend a lot of time educating both sides about the recruitment process, which helps to align expectations and prevent problems that could derail progress.

But sometimes employers struggle to hear the hard truth about the state of our employment market. And, they rarely find it easy to accept what they need to offer to attract and retain A-level talent.

Employers can’t have their cake and eat it, too.

  1. You can’t pay an entry-level salary and expect to hire someone stable, mid-career and motivated. Just like selling a home, the market determines the price. It’s simple supply and demand. When an employer tells me they want an executive assistant who knows the industry, has no less than two years tenure at every job, holds a college degree and has at least 10 years of work history, I can find that. But not if you want to pay $37,000-$40,000 a year. I might be able to find someone to accept that salary, but anyone who settles for a salary well-below market averages either isn’t a star player or won’t stay for long.
  2. You can’t afford to see more candidates. I love getting feedback from a client who says the candidate was just perfect. But when it’s followed by a request to see just one more before making a job offer, I find myself having to deliver a harsh dose of reality. Candidates are in short supply and unemployment is low. No candidate is perfect, so when you find someone who meets 80 percent or more of the specs, wants the job and appears to be a good cultural fit, hire fast. If you don’t, someone else will.
  3. It’s not you. It’s me. Maybe there’s a good reason people keep resigning. When high turnover is present at an employer, there’s usually a reason for it that can be solved. Narcissistic leaders and poor performers are equally capable of destroying a once high-functioning corporate culture quickly. And, the first people to resign are often the top performers. Other reasons include below-market compensation and unreasonable work demands such as evenings and weekend availability in addition to the 40-hour workweek. If you’re hiring the right people at the onset, but losing them, it may be time to face some harsh realities.
  4. Recruiters can’t make a bad reputation or other negative recruitment challenges disappear. In Atlanta, we’re sensitive to commute times and the physical distance between a candidate’s home and the employer. When the office is in Buckhead, we aren’t going to fill a $50,000 a year legal assistant job with a person who lives in Cartersville. That means the candidate pool is already reduced and there is nothing recruiters can do about it.

Other negative factors that make recruiting more challenging include a poor reputation. Employees can rate their employers on and other online sites, which mean candidates can do their own background checks. If you’re facing any of these issues, be prepared to sweeten the deal another way such as higher compensation, bonus potential, flex hours or even a part-time work from home solution.

Finding and retaining star talent is everyone’s goal. When the recruiter, the candidate and the employer work together, commit to open communication and agree to realistic expectations, everyone succeeds.


Need help finding qualified candidates?

Let’s talk. You can reach me at 404.822.9392 or email me at For 30 years, I’ve been dedicated to helping companies, medical practices, law firms and creative agencies in Atlanta thrive by staffing them with the very best talent. I fill a variety of positions including executive assistants, receptionists, medical front office billing staff, as well as legal staff just to name a few. I look forward to helping you reach your goals.