Innovate Your Talent Funnel:

Why 'Recruiting-Outsourcing' Is Killing Your Company, & How To Fix It

Brent Lackley : March 20, 2018

This article and all assertions made herein are entirely based on my experience and perceptions dealing with recruiters and working with recruiter-outsourcer companies from large to small:

Bad To Worse - The "Cheapest" Model

Recruiters act as unqualified bureaucrats judging the quality of others. Entrusting control of your most valuable asset, your talent (people), to the hands of those who haven’t developed a specific talent, performed the job of the talent or run a project / company - all while expecting insight or success - seems misguided. The repeated and widespread failures of the average Recruiting / HR system, while maneuvering behind a curtain, means it survives only due to habit. It’s time to evaluate, evolve and simplify hiring. With direct and qualified control of hiring, expect your speed, quality and innovation to increase.

During the recession, a much more insidious and corrosive version of recruiting took hold, the Recruiter-Outsourcer, AKA the “Cheapest Model.” This does not mean non-US personnel are a bad choice. It means the current, average state of recruiting & outsourcing is the worst choice for innovation and success.

Talent-Innovation Funnel

Organizations can create an avenue for members to become connected innovators and correct or cull those who are value detractors (see “Innovate By Insight: Modeling User Experience Into Contributor Experience”). Apply design thinking to talent to grow innovative thinking.

Built To Fail - Identifying Cartel-like Behavior

The recruiter-outsourcer myth is sold and operated nearly identically, no matter the size of the company or the client. They are built on corruption, based on lies and supported by greed. Compare the traits of Recruiter Outsourcing companies with those of a Cartel to help spot signals of corruption and impending failure;

Recruiter-Outsourcer Characteristics:

  • Securing of contracts through those of the same national origin positioned inside a company.
  • Fabricated claims of capability to clients, potential clients, partners and employees. This 'capability' is created by mass hiring overseas to form a plethora of job titles but generally without the training, experience or know-how for execution.
  • Hiring, often visa-based, and use of the same national origin employees when competence may not exist and while local / US talent is often readily available.
  • Commoditization of all skills, including UX.
  • Homogenizing of employees.
  • Empty of organization or responsibility at lower levels with power centralized at top levels.
  • Require extreme contractual agreements with employees limiting employee retaliation for overseas-controlled company misdeeds.
  • Demanding employees for work or schedule without connection to client needs or requests.
  • Opaque recruiting processes undercutting or forcing out talent not of the same national origin.
  • Delayed payments to employees.
  • Delay or refusal of reimbursements or support to employees for normal cost-of-doing-business activities.
  • Overall dismissal of truth-telling (even when reality is more than obvious).
  • Headquartered in New Jersey.
  • Claims of “fastest growing” or similar.
  • Talking big, acting small - doing the opposite of what's been said. And / Or omitting to record statements or promises when demanded.
  • Incompetence.
  • Repeated failure to deliver.
  • Blaming those not of the same national origin for failure of their own creation.

Cartel Characteristics:

  • Monetary and / or power (industry, government) objective.
  • Secret agreements.
  • Payoffs.
  • Propaganda - Creating the myth of success, projecting noble traits / piety.
  • Showmanship - “The big lie” and sticking with the lie under duress.
  • Hate & Blame Reasoning - Creating a 'deserving enemy' of their target victims.
  • Internally competitive.
  • Rigid control of members.
  • Partisanship.
  • Coalescing around the ambitious.
  • Prideful.
  • Parasitic.
  • Thrive among affluence, while it may be built on the work of the poor and desperate.
  • Localizing operations where law enforcement can not or does not form significant resistance.
  • Decreased outputs to support a market price increase.
  • Predatory.
  • Destruction - morality, quality, entire systems.
  • Intimidation.
  • Vengeance.

These practices are designed to;

  • Manufacture a false demand for visa-based Indian labor.
  • Siphon wealth / funds from companies and funnel money to the outsourcing company and compatriots without providing value, work or results (apparently failure to deliver signals companies to add more money), or using other tactics to increase false gains.
  • Reinforce the illusion of control/wealth/power among clients to control the IT market while expanding to control and deplete other entities.
  • Create confusion to prevent accountability while suppressing and supporting control over employees.

How is this scenario repeated? False promise that lures a delusion, and frankly, greed - hoping the "cheapest model" will work. But I hear a phrase repeated continually by those who have experienced it - "It never works." Results include;

  • Decreased Speed
  • Low Quality
  • Non-Innovation
  • Increased Frustration

I’m speaking out to say that I’m no longer willing to tolerate the lies and the failure that I have experienced repeatedly associated with this plague. Consider it an exIT. And it’s not just me saying these things. I hear it everywhere, in private. As this systematized corruption has become overtly blatant and obvious, the EEOC (The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has taken note and begun a large-scale investigation into these practices.



  • Omitting American applicants to falsely increase the ratio of Indian applicants
  • Re-writing of resumes to distort experience
  • Stacking of less experienced or less adequate matches to make Indian applicants appear more appealing
I have seen this first hand in hiring. Don't wait, great folks are applying. Avoid manipulation by writing & posting work demands and editing responses yourself.


  • Claiming submittals to U.S. applicants for open roles and failing to submit
I've had U.S.-based companies check the submittal record and this happens far too often.


  • Hiring an imbalanced ratio of same-origin contractors, employees and service companies
Take charge of clarity around your talent process and practice to determine corruption, if any.

Dialing In Logic - Take Back Control Of Your Talent Funnel

As the economy recovers and grows, my hope is that companies will devote attention and resources to support innovation while identifying and rooting out this practice as a major deterrent to innovation. It is, ultimately, an unprofitable drain on resources and a source of deep frustration and loss of morale.

The best recruiter of talent is YOU (leader, visionary). Stop cutting yourself off from attracting and choosing your most valuable asset. Take back control of your talent funnel (and any myth-buying urges) by removing the valueless middleman. Simplify the steps;

  1. Government / Law Enforcement - My hope is that companies will self-correct. However, expect, invite and support law enforcement at local, state and national levels to uphold law and stamp out corruption.
  2. Divestment - Take the mental leap that buying the cheapest model now will narrow your ability to prosper and innovate. Fire them and their associates (take a realistic look at those who invited them into your company).
  3. Investment - Invest some time and effort to create clarity, hire wisely and shape operations;
    1. Write a talent invitation. Think beyond a list of skills and tools (This is what recruiters ask you for because they have no context for the actual creation of value). Big thinkers will want to know what makes the company, brand, industry and job interesting and valuable - They will want to contribute to a great vision. Vital contributions and expectations are still a critical part of any work description.
    2. Post it. Popular job sites these days are Indeed and LinkedIn.
    3. Drive to a conversation. Spend a few seconds on each responding resume. If one attracts you, call them (It doesn’t require a bureaucracy to set an appointment. Just dial. I find this personal and surprise tactic quite valuable and a big time saver.) Remain flexible - again, it doesn’t have to be about over-specialization. It’s about contribution. To build amazing, you’ll be searching for a vision match. Work fast when you find a match.

For purely task-based objectives, there are new-school talent connection methods, such as Bounty Hunting, that you may want to explore. Remember, you're the best talent control device in any scenario.

If I ever discover a recruiter adding value to the hiring process rather than detracting from it by creating a gap between need and talent and filling it with pretense - I’ll amend this article. Likewise, if the monopolization, quality corruption and ethical deterioration of the IT market changes course, I'll take note.

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