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Craigslist versus recruiters

I have a lot of recruiter friends.  Recruiters have a valuable place in the industry, particularly for finding executive talent.  However, I am personally not a fan of hiring non-executive talent through recruiters since you pay 6-10%  of the candidates first year salary (even if the hire turns out to be a dud).  I’ve personally had more success with Craigslist than using a recruiter. 

When should you use a recruiter?  Consider the case if you are not a technical CEO and/or new to a job market in which your company is founded.  I’ve had lots of friends who have moved into new markets (where they don’t have a strong network) that have had very successful experiences with recruiters.  Another great reason is if you need to grab someone from a competitor, parallel industry, or find someone with domain experience in an industry that you are not familiar with.

My quick take on do’s and don’ts on recruiters is:

  • Hire them for executive talent
  • Negotiate hard for their commission – consider payment in stock to free up your cash
  • Get references before you pick one — don’t choose recruiters that call you. Ask your own social network which recruiters that they have had good experiences with.
  • Pay the bucks to get the nerd – If you are a startup CEO without a strong technical leader (aka CTO), then use a recruiter ASAP since technology startups are all about fast execution and strong technical talent, you will need a rock star technical leader.

I’ve had great experiences with recruiters.  Here are some folks to consider:

  • Best Silicon Valley Recruiter – Definitely Jana Rich from Russell Reynolds – she is one of the best (if not the best) in the business. She must have an incredible memory of the best CRM system — she everyone and is worth every penny.  A great pick for the Valley.
  • Best Seattle recruiters
    • Dave Hardwick – very solid for technical recruiting.  Very professional.  Check out his blog at:
    • Kevin Hartz of Herd Freed Hartz – he knows everyone and knows all of the right people to call in the Seattle area.  He’s good at finding executive talent.
    • Zeteo – the best firm that you have never heard of.  Good crew between Eric Hinz, Matt Davis, and his sister Robin Davis.  They are scrappy and perhaps the most tenacious group of folks out there today.  Matt Davis’ email:  [email protected]


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