A word about one of the best recruiters I’ve ever met……

Her name is Holly. In all my years of recruiting she has been one of the (very) few who is somehow able to come up with a great candidate for any position – anywhere – any time. She’s been a partner for quite a while – and on our team full time since the beginning of last year.

I wanted to just take a minute and give her the recognition she deserves. Here is a quick rundown of what she’s been able to accomplish in just the past month or so. Note: This is by no means her entire contribution – just some highlights!

We’ve been working quite a few searches for one of the more “discerning” clients to cross my desk in years. We’ve been hunting for an HR Manger in Southern Wisconsin for months. Many more months that I personally would have wanted to stick with it. But Holly doesn’t give up! Our client’s new HR Manager starts on the 14th. Thank you Holly!

Last week another client gave us a 48 hour exclusive for a PLC Software Contractor. I’ve never placed anyone in that field – neither has Holly……that is….until this morning! Her guy started at 9 am today. Thank you Holly!

In January a dear friend and split partner asked for our help in another area – a Computational Linguistics/Machine Learning Software Researcher. Are you kidding me? What is that? I still have no idea. But guess who does? Holly! Her guy starts in a few weeks. Thank you Holly!

Not impressed yet? Well – how about the call I got during the Animal show last week. A new client needed some immediate PC/Networking help for a few months. They need someone to start right away. After describing our service – (wherein the resume also has a play button on the top – and he will be listening to the candidate describe his/her background while he reviews the resume) – he was looking forward to hearing someone describe their experience fixing printers, working with Group Policy and their background with Windows 2003 and 2008.

Guess what? Within 3 hours he was listening to a fully qualified and interested technician describe the exact experience and background he is looking for. They’ll be interviewing tomorrow at 9 am.

Thank you VERY MUCH Holly!

A Word on Split Placements and the Continuity of the Close

Just a quick thought here for us split recruiters. Once the handoff has taken place – it is very important to let the recruiter who is working directly with the client also be the one who the candidate talks to.

Why is this? I have found the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen” is quite applicable. If another cook comes in, tastes the soup and decides to add a pinch of this and that…..cook number one has no idea what was put into his dish.

Bringing this analogy to a split placement is quite simple. Closing is a series of discussions – all based in part on the previous discussion. If you introduce a candidate to me and I am working on a sendout (or offer) – I need to be the one keeping all concerns/questions on one page. If you jump into the middle just to “see how things are going” you are breaking the continuity of dialogue.

Perhaps the candidate tells you something important – but you forget to tell me. What then?

Chances are I’m in a better position to address questions about my client than you. What happens when you make a few assumptions – just trying to keep things moving ahead – and those assumptions are inaccurate? Yet the candidate feels that “since he talked to one of us about it” then it’s been covered.

The reasons to keep continuity with one person are far too many to list here. Just wanted to throw the topic out here for discussion……

Why I’ll Be Tweeting This Holiday Season

I’ve been away from Twitter exactly 4 months. It’s been refreshing.

During this time I’ve been in a constant stream of actual recruiting business – you know – client visits, sendouts, placements and such. It’s been great. I feel great.

I am going to jump back on Twitter with ZERO expectations – just to enjoy the holiday season. (I typically shut down between Thanksgiving and New Years anyway.) I will not expect any ROI whatsoever and therefore will not beat myself up for all the time I plan to waste there.

So for those who said “You’ll be back!” – You’re right. You win. .

That’s it. It’s just that simple. Anyone who needs to find me on Twitter – here I am!

The Littlest Placement

I have been given a gift. Well – not given, necessarily. It was earned. Those are the best anyway, aren’t they?

We’ve been recruiting for a junior level IT role with a client for the past 3 weeks or so. Not much in the way of qualifications – college degree, some sort of “paid” IT experience combined with a nice personality and enthusiastic attitude. Salaries at this level aren’t really that high as we all know but I’m not one that takes searches based only on what the fee might be in the end.

We had an interesting discussion going over on RecruitingBlogs just yesterday about fees in fact. I’m a stickler for having a minimum percentage. There is a line I have never and (hopefully) will never cross. But that’s a different discussion – feel free to jump in over there.

The client called earlier this week. “Is there a fee if we just want to hire Zach for a summer internship?” Hmmm…..I’ve never placed an intern. Should I not charge anything and hope my goodwill will be remembered down the road? What about putting it together as a temp assignment with a reasonable markup? I wasn’t quite sure which way to go.

Then it hit me. My fee is based on the annual income of the person I place. In the past this amount has always been a year-long salaried role – not a 12 week internship. Why should I come up with some other way to charge for my service?

My fee is $1152 and it might quite possibly be the most rewarding placement I’ve made in quite a while. It has reminded me to take every opportunity in this crazy world to appreciate the way I provide for my family. In fact I’ve earmarked this as my beer budget for the rest of 2010. Each time I crack open a coldie I will celebrate My Littlest Placement!

So this gift is more of a reminder of sorts. I’ve been reminded that ALL placements are to be loved. Each and every placement is as unique as a snowflake: Big ones, tough ones, easy ones, “surprise” placements, the placements that seemingly need to be “remade” several times along the way. Every. Single. One!

Enjoy your work friends. Be thankful for each opportunity no matter how big or small they may be!

It’s Time to Talk About Your Fee

Fee negotiations. Fun stuff, eh?

You finally connect with a manager that seems to need your help. You think you’ve done a good job “not” sounding like an idiot. Though the position was a little outside of your comfort zone you held on nicely. Your questions seemed to spark quite a dialogue: What projects will this person work on? How big is the team? Tell me about your company………why do you LOVE working there? What are the types of companies that seem to have the best candidates? You know – all the questions you think will help you establish your credibility BEFORE you let them know your fee is………..(drum roll please……..)

30%. Or maybe you start at 25%. Either way – you think you’ve executed your work flawlessly and hope they’ll say “OK”.

But that doesn’t usually happen, does it? Not from what I see and hear.

“We have a policy of 18%”. Or “All our vendors have agreed to a cap of 15%”

Damn! And you were so close!

So what do you do? How do you reply to this one? This is one of the 60 second periods of your day or week that GREATLY impact your income for the year.

Rather than suggest a canned reply (there are hundreds – and I’ve heard them – and tried them – all) let me ask you something: What makes you believe you should charge more than the others who have come before you? You might think “Well – must be the other agencies aren’t providing the right candidates. They NEED me!”

But guess what? No they don’t. The other agencies ARE getting it done. Turns out – you’re just asking if you can play too! So now what? You better change your thinking on this one. You aren’t the best. You don’t have the greatest candidates. You have no “secret stash” of top talent. The guy in your inbox is also on your competitors desk. Know it. Live it. Deal with it.

What service do you provide which you think commands a higher fee? Have you spent much time thinking about this? If so – have you DONE anything about it? If you haven’t – I’ve got news for you – you don’t deserve a higher fee……..

Since this is my blog I’m going to tell you what I do that is different. Very different. I know with certainty that NONE of my competitors provides the service I do. When I introduce someone to my client there is a play button on top of each resume. When they click it they get to LISTEN TO THE CANDIDATE describe their background and skills for the job. Their own words. Their own voice. Not the recruiter paraphrasing what the candidate said. No “sales pitch” added. Just the candidate. Right there on the play button. Nothing to download. No passwords. Nothing. Just the resume AND a play button. Here’s an example. This tool saves my clients time. It gives them a far greater idea of WHO the person is – far beyond buzzwords on a resume. I deserve a higher fee – because I provide a higher level of service.

Yes my service is different. Very different. If you would like to see how Verbal Summary works – I’d love to show you. It doesn’t cost much – and gives you an entirely new discussion to have the next time a client says NO to your higher fee……

“Passive” vs “Active” Candidate Labeling

Given the right opportunity – anyone would make a change. I firmly believe this. It’s been a core belief I’ve held since I picked up the telephone for the first time in 1987.

To me – it makes no difference if someone is called a “passive” candidate or “active” candidate. What does that really mean, anyway? How long would a “passive” person be considered as such if they decide they want to move forward? Is an “active” candidate supposed to be treated any differently during the process? Do we assume they’ll take ANY job just because they are “actively” seeking a change? No! It all gets down to the very same thing: Opportunity.

What is the DIFFERENCE any way???? Or more to the point – who cares? Why is there this sense that one needs to fall into one category or the other? Anyone who makes any assumptions about a candidate based on where or how their name was sourced (phone, internet, Linkedin, grocery store run-in, a business mixer or any other way) is starting off at a disadvantage. Any preconception is a disadvantage in my opinion.

My thinking is that to make ANY assumption as to where one is at any given moment is a mistake. Presuming to know a person’s current interest level is bound to change how you begin your relationship. So why do it?

Each candidate contact needs to be treated the same. Now – I’m not going to get into specific recruiting scripts, etc. A recruit call can go many different directions. The key is to BEGIN the call the same way – with NO assumptions.

There is absolutely NO REASON to label candidates as active or passive. Every person can go from one to the other in a moment’s notice. The goal is to identify WHAT that person would make a change for. Period.

It’s about the opportunity – not the label.

Good luck!

A Challenge to TweetMyJobs and JobShouts

I would like invite TweetMyJobs and JobShouts to a duel.

I am one of the many job tweeting skeptics. I’d rather not be. Believe me – if there is a way to utilize Twitter that provides results for my clients – I’m all for it.

I’ll admit – my tactics may not be the best. In fact – my approach to Twitter would not be considered any kind of particular strategy at all: Search for profiles with key words, follow them and hope they follow me back, tweet the occasional job description, ask other recruiters to help with splits, etc. So far the results have been non-existent. In fact the times I’ve asked ANYONE looking for a job in any field to send me a resume have resulted in just ONE reply.

That’s not only a poor result – it’s a clear indication to me that the way I’m going about this is all wrong. I want to change all that.

Here is my proposal. I have positions in HR, Engineering, IT, Manufacturing Management and Accounting. So to say “the people you want are not here” would really say that a high percentage of recruiting disciplines are not (can not) be served by efficiently by using Twitter – directly or indirectly.

I am inviting TweetMyJobs and JobShouts to allow me to use their services for the positions I am recruiting on. I will use their services as suggested and include the very same openings with each provider.

I will follow up the project with a complete and thorough evaluation of both tools. The results from both services will be posted on my blog as well as the well-known recruiting blogs.

Simple enough, right?

Interested?

Note: This is open to any other job tweeting service as well. If you’re up for the challenge – just let me know! You can reach me at 260-349-2723 or 260-347-1715

Edited to now extend the invitation to Tweetajob as well. Please join in the fun! I promise to do my best to fully utilize the tools as prescribed by you. It may end up being a very big project. I’m also going to suggest to Animal that we then have a show to discuss the results – the good, the bad and the ugly!

Congratulations. You’ve made it to the starting line!

I have received calls from several (which means more than 2) recruiters these past few weeks. All had the same general questions for me: How’s business? Is the worst over? Have any job orders? What’s it like in your market? Is it safe to jump back in the water?

I’ve got news for you. Unless you plan to do something different to compete “this time around” you may as well hang it up!

So you were a big hit in the recruiting world before this whole thing crashed, eh? Made lots of money? Big deal. We all did! I’ve got news for you – it wasn’t you. It was the market. The mad skillz you thought you had were hardly unique. Post your job, sort through some resumes, blast them over (to the client that emailed you the job req) and make a placement. Life was simple enough. Life was good.

Guess what pal? That’s not gonna fly this time around. The game has changed. You better bring a different level of service.You don’t get to play this time unless you do something that sets you apart from the hordes of hopeful staffers wanting to jump back on the gravy train. So you better think about it.

Does your presentation sound exactly like the recruiter who called just before you? Will the recruiter calling “your client” have something a little more unique to offer? Are you better? Can you be? Will you be?

Sorry to bring you down – since you’re feeling pretty good having somehow survived the downturn. You feel the tough part is over – and you may be right. But some of you sense that you’ve somehow won the race……and you haven’t. You’ve merely survived long enough to compete again.

We’re starting a new race. You’re at the starting line. Look to your left – see them all? Look to your right – the competition is hungry!

Runners ready? On your mark. Get set. GO!

Trainer? Uh, yeah…..right….!

I just got an email. Perhaps the same one that landed in your inbox from an established recruiting trainer. Seems he is one of the hundreds of staffing trainers trying to cash in with Twitter. There’s nothing new there.

Wouldn’t you figure, since the class is “intermediate Twitter” stuff – that they would include a link to the trainer’s Twitter profile. Since this person is going to demonstrate

* How to set up and manage your account
* All about Tweets and Hashtags
* How to source candidates on Twitter
* Marketing on Twitter

Some interesting topics. The kind of stuff I’m sure many in the recruiting world are trying to get a handle on. I would venture to say there are more than just a couple of us who are finding out it’s time to make something happen with all this. Can I get a witness?

So I went on over to the trainer’s web site – figuring I would surely see a quick link to his Twitter profile on his page. Certainly anyone training on how to use it would make it easy to find them there, right? Well – uh, not exactly. No link found. Anywhere…….

So I then went to Twitter and did a search for this person. I found him. Right off the bat I thought it was interesting they’ve only tweeted twice this year. Hmmm……oh well. Maybe they’re more of the “listener” type I suspect. Alot of those really good trainers are the lurker types – just soaking it all in so they can pass along what they’ve learned to the class.

So a quick check to see who they’re following might give me a clue, eh? Well – within the first 2 pages of follows I found @SexyAnika , @HotPictures and @Sexy_Butt_ It was then I decided I needed to look no further………..

Is this for real? What kind of bizarre world has this become?

Why recruiters should not give out their client’s name on the first call

Contingent Recruiters: Here are a few good reasons why you should NEVER give out the name of your client during the first call in recruiting:

(The fact that this topic even needs to be brought up makes me embarrassed for our profession……)

* Once you start answering questions rather than asking – you are no longer guiding the discussion.

* There is absolutely NO REASON for the person you are speaking with to need that information.

* You may be talking to the CEO of your clients biggest customer – and it might not look so good for your client. It WILL get back to you.

* Most of the time they just ask who you are recruiting for so they can then tell all their friends “I just got recruited by XYZ Company” as an ego boost and to look like a big shot.

* Many candidates (still) feel that working through a recruiter is one strike against them due to the fee associated with hiring. They feel strongly that if they bypass the recruiter their chances will be greater without the associated recruiting cost. Often times this is true.

* Many people you call already have a favorite recruiter. Why in the world would you want to give that person (the recruiter) your hard-earned client’s name? It is fairly common to receive emails from candidates and people I’ve placed letting me know they just heard about a particular job from another recruiter.

* If the candidate is not interested in at least exploring other opportunities – or a deeper phone discussion with you – there is simply no reason to divulge your client name. Period.

* Your clients expect you to NOT go around announcing it to the world. It is commonly understood that your approach within their competitors will be discreet and confidential.

These are just the ones that came to mind right off the bat. I’m sure there are hundreds more……