“I Know Everyone”: Where Does That Get You?

What does a recruiter really provide to a hiring manager or prospective candidate that "knows everyone"? Find out more.

“I Know Everyone!”

It is a very simple phrase, to say the least, but what does it refer to exactly?  It can mean one of two things when dealing with recruiting.  It can be a hiring manager saying, “I know everyone, so there is no need for your services.” It can be from a potential candidate saying, “I know everyone, so I do not need assistance locating a new position.”  But in both cases, this should not even matter.  The role of a good recruiter is not to introduce a prospective candidate to a manager or vice versa; it’s to manage the process.

Hiring Managers: Do You Know The Depth Of Everyone?

If a recruiter just submits a name to a hiring manager, to be blunt, it’s worthless.  Sure, the manager knows everyone in their space; they should.  If they don’t, that’s a manager you may not even want to work with, since they are not fully engaged in their locale or sector.  When a manager tells me they know everyone and there is no need for a recruiter, they just don’t get it. Most of the time I will not even want to work with a manager of a firm that has that philosophy.  The likely reason is that they want a recruiter to be strictly transactional, not relationship-oriented.  Submit a name, then hope and pray that the deal gets closed.  However, the truth is that a hiring manager should want to work with a recruiter because they may know the prospect and a good recruiter gets into the head of a prospective candidate.  

Timing Is Necessary For The Hiring Manager & Prospective Candidate

The prospective candidate has a trusted advisory relationship with that recruiter and will share more information than they would directly with a hiring manager.  The recruiter will be able to guide the manager on proper timing, which is critical in the process.  Nothing kills a deal quicker than one of the two parties going at an accelerated rate while the other party wants to slow down.  The goal of recruiting is to get all parties to the table at the same time with the same objective – getting hired.  Though a manager will say they know everyone, that is not the role of a recruiter.  Another reason that knowing everyone should not stop a firm from working with a recruiter is that a recruiter can provide more in-depth information to the manager about how to recruit this particular prospective candidate.  One major example is knowing what the candidate’s real needs are, not necessarily what the candidate conveys during the interview.

For The Prospective Candidate Saying They Know Everyone…

Yes, you may know everyone, but do you know exactly what is happening at other firms regarding hiring?  The likely answer is no.  If the recruiter is a trusted advisor to the hiring manager, there is so much more known to that recruiter that they can better advise the prospective candidate during their interview process.  Sometimes, a candidate will call us up and say specifically, “I want to go to this firm and work for that manager.  Can you make this happen for me?”  With calls like this, which are not often, we can help create new opportunities by knowing what is going on at the firm of their choice and can mastermind with the managers to see if we can create a new position to meet everyone’s needs.  Also, there are times when a firm will reach out to me and ask us to go after one particular candidate who has been on their hot sheet, and they just have not been able to get that prospect to engage.

You may know everyone, but it takes an interested third party to make things happen.  Let us become that interested party for you, whether you are a hiring manager looking to increase your headcount or a candidate looking for your next home.


You don’t need a resume to chat with us! If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.