Dear Mitch

Regular readers of this series will know what it’s about. For those reading for the first time, Mitch Sullivan is a hugely experienced recruiter who runs a very successful copywriting course for recruiters. It’s well worth attending, and here’s the link. It’s guaranteed to make you a better recruiter and become more successful.

If however you just want impartial advice. This series can help with that. He’ll answer your queries and problems as well as he can. For free. Over email. And you can do it anonymously too. Like he’s done for the recruiters below.


Hi Mitch, My company’s just told us all we’re expected to work over Christmas and the New Year. As in actually go into the office. What are your thoughts on this? In my opinion it’s a complete waste of time. Do people really want to hear from me over their Christmas period? Sarah.

Possibly not, Sarah.

But then again, maybe they will. And it’s likely that they won’t be getting too many calls from other recruiters over that period.

Also, could you use that time to do lots of prep work ahead of the new year? You know, things like client research, preparing marketing/job advertising materials, sourcing candidates you might be able to work on.

As to whether it’s a complete waste of time or not will depend on lots of other things that I couldn’t possible know – much of it to do with the management.

This is what I would class as ‘a domestic’ and can’t really get involved.

Mitch, interested to know if you use LinkedIn Recruiter? As someone who’s obviously there a lot, do you fork out on the full package? Tony, Birmingham.

No. I’ve used it a couple of times and didn’t particularly like it. I’m a fan of agencies having their own proprietary ATS and CRMs rather than outsourcing that to LinkedIn. LinkedIn aren’t your friend.

I’m job hunting and my second favourite offers remote working. How much do you think that actually makes you happier? I’d love to work from home but can’t justify a career decision just because of that. Amir.

I think whether working from home can be a positive thing is dependent on a lot of factors.  Things like a long commute, taking the kids to school and your spouse’s job can all make working from home not only attractive, but almost essential.

If you don’t have any of those things, then it’s probably best to be based out of an office.

In general, remote working tends to work best for older, more experienced people (from any job discipline) who feel they have very little to learn about their job anymore and can be trusted to run their workload as they see fit.

Hi Mitch, I’m hoping you can help me cause I’m at my wit’s end. Resource Centres. Ie outsourcing the candidate side. Not only is this something my business is now doing (why?!), but we’re now paying for the process out of our commission apparently. WTF?! So, I’m less involved in the search for candidates and have to pay for the pleasure. Please tell me I’m not going mad in thinking it’s time to move on. Joseph, London.  

You’re not going mad, Joseph.

Time to move on.

WTF indeed…

I’ve got a client who’s already been a pain in the backside, insisting on 12.5% with a 100% rebate for 6 months, and refusing to schedule interviews for 2 candidates his CEO has shown interest in until these terms are signed. He’s now demanding to see the P60 alongside every candidate CV I submit to him. To me, this seems unreasonable, stretching the process by wasting time, and putting off candidates. Any advice? Peter.

The only way any recruiter might sign up for those kinds of terms is if the work is always on retained and the jobs are (relatively) easy to fill. And even then I’d want to review it every 3 months.

12.5% is the kind of rate companies pay RPOs – so unless you’re getting volume and exclusivity, I think you should be politely telling the client to not darken your door again.

And 6-month rebate terms are only normally found being offered for the more senior hires where the recruiter’s headhunting guile and candidate assessment abilities came more into play.

The questions you need to ask yourself are:

Do you need them more than they need you?

Is the client easy to sell? It doesn’t sound like it.

Do their competitors only pay 12.5% for the same candidate type?

If the answer to each is ‘no’ then you need to ditch them. But do it politely and offer them a rational explanation how working to those terms make it almost impossible to do a decent job and make a profit.

You’ll probably also need to tell them that they will incur your full fee if they end up hiring either of the two candidates you’ve already submitted.

As it’s Christmas, I won’t ask why you’re sending candidates out to companies where you have no agreed terms already safely negotiated.


If you’re a recruiter thinking about a new year, new you, but don’t know how to get that new you. Mitch will probably be able to help you. Ask him anything that might help your 2018 aspirations at [email protected]