Are you tired of hearing "no" from paper pushers who are not qualified to say "yes"?
The Challenge: "You have to go though Mandy in Human Resources. If you contact our hiring manager directly we will terminate your agreement"- ouch! This is no fun. It is a common game that goes on that hurts all parties: HR, the candidate, the hiring manager and of course you, the recruiter. The motivation level of a good recruiter will fall off the radar screen for this client when he hears this. Now he will only send marginal people who happen to come across his desk rather than taking the search seriously.
The Solution: Here's the short answer- don't spend any of your valuable time with a company like this! Are there exceptions- yes. And you can still send a resume here or there if you are working with a competent HR person who can get things done but generally you are better off finding a new client that will be more flexible. Target small to medium size companies who don't have a brand name or huge internal recruiting machine and will value your expertise and advice.
If you want to make an effort to work things out with HR you do have some options. One would be to ask very specific, tough, technical questions of the HR person you are working with. If he or she cannot answer them and starts squirming you now have an excellent segue to say something like this, "What we have found to be the most productive method of conducting a search is when we are able to work cooperatively with both HR and the hiring authority. If we only work through HR, our effectiveness drops considerably because we don't have 1st hand information as to why a particular candidate did well or bombed out that we can use to hone in on the best people. Also, our credibility with candidates we are recruiting or have in process drops if we cannot answer any of their questions about the process and the players involved. As you know, a big part of finding the right match is the 'soft skills' like chemistry and personality and these are only gauged if we have contact with the hiring authority".
Tell HR folks that you want to work as a partner with them and will not go behind their back but you do need access to the hiring manager in order to be effective. If they are adamant that they do not want to have you talk to the hiring authority I would not put much focus on the job.
-Gary S. tauble