The harsh reality is that recruitment is a sales job, recruiters are targeted on monthly billings in the same manner as any other sales professional. The problem; treating people as commodities and the inevitable fallout that will lead to.
There are two side to recruitment;
Business development which anyone working in a position with a vague level of managerial responsibility will have been on the receiving end of, and
The candidate side which the majority of people have experienced at one time.
People are not commodities and as such cannot be treated and traded like such; no two people are the same and as such recruitment is not like selling a product because you cannot define the offering. Yes you can sell yourself as a recruiter and what service you provide etc, however, at the end of the day you are being trusted to represent people.
If you sell tangible products they don’t have feelings and won’t know whether or not you are talking about them; as such if a potential purchaser falls through you don’t need to let them know what has happened.
People on the other hand cannot be treated in the same manner; this creates problems for agency recruiters because there is no financial or sales reward for making the difficult calls to candidate explaining why they haven’t got the job. You may have the mindset and ethics to follow up with people but your manager will still expect you to hit the numbers to meet their performance expectations.
You’ve probably seen Jerry Maguire; try working better roles with fewer clients that you actually have a vested interest. It is no surprise that traditional search firms are shrinking or diversifying, the proliferation in boutiques and independents is largely down to the fact they can do a better job without the large overheads.