I’m interested in feedback from the corporate recruiting community on this one. I have a great deal of respect for Peter and his methods. I’ve used them successfully most of my recruiting career and I’m a huge fan. There’s a lot about his message below that makes me want to stand up and high-five him and play a little air guitar. But I’m curious – as an HR team on the receiving end of a message like this (which was also copied to the President and CFO), how would you respond?

This message below was originally posted on the Morgan Consulting Group Facebook page by one of Peter’s colleagues.

There are times Nicole, when it’s necessary to show respect for an existing relationship, prior to HR’s involvement. No one was trying to “circumvent around a process”. The majority of high performance recruiters have very productive relationships with hiring leaders. Many of the leaders we deal with, we placed into those jobs. It’s difficult to avoid those relationships. They have been earned. It’s not about avoiding someone to thwart a process. It’s about relationships and hearing deep technical wish lists from the person actually leading the charge for the sake of a profitable outcome for your company.

You knew I had a meaningful conversation with Shane, which resulted in being given the search. Since then, what have you done to create a relationship with M20/20 or me personally, to facilitate this process? This is a two way street. Yes, we serve you. Please keep in mind, we serve you with the talent you are unable to go after, directly. That is why we are engaged. That needs to be respected, occasionally complimented and most of all, appreciated, especially when we have reduced our fee to accommodate your request of 25%, without affecting our quality. At anything under 30%, the high performance search firm owner, typically assigns junior recruiters to a project. Instead, we prioritized you at the Partner level.

You have no idea how hard my team works for you. How many evenings we remain in the office, speaking to executives in their homes, direct recruiting, to find non e board candidates that outshine those screaming for attention on public boards, often to be slowed down by protocol at the expense of losing high performance talent.

We are extremely talented at what we do. We focus on nothing except tax. Our specialization is extremely tight and our performance outshines 90% of our competitors. We are an asset, not a thorn. If you show me the speed, and the same appreciation I get from department leadership, whose staffing problems I am trying to solve, I would be pleased to working directly through you. If you are willing to do that with us, I will help you to be massively successful.

Awaiting your response, to start over on the right foot. If you get to know me, you’ll realize how much I want to forward your agenda.

Respectfully,
Peter Leffkowitz,
Managing Partner”

As a corporate recruiting leader focused on process and efficiency, this letter is a stark reminder that high performance is often at odds with standard process. Doubt that? Just read Coffman and Buckingham’s First, Break All the Rules. By in large, we design processes for the majority and those processes often represent the lowest common denominator. If we could get truly exceptional results, would we care so much about our process? Or would we be so focused on process that we could overlook an exceptional candidate and damage the organization’s reputation with a top-tier recruiting firms. I would hope the answer would be the former….but I wonder…..

So, fellow HR practitioners and corporate recruiting leaders, what say you? If you found yourself on the receiving end of a message like this from a recruiting firm and had the self-awareness to recognize that perhaps you were more focused on process than performance, how would you respond? Or is the customer always right?

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