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Nancy Parks

Nancy Parks is the founder of HRPartnersplus, a training and consulting practice specializing in sales skill training for recruiters. Using a unique one-on-one training model, HRPartnersplus helps recruiters creating a road map for conducting structured, highly-focused and efficient conversations that exactly mirror the decision-making process of candidates and prospects. Contact her at

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The No. 1 Error That Experienced Recruiters Make

by Jan 8, 2014, 5:45 am ET

recruiting targetsIn many ways, experience is a good thing. As a recruiter, you probably are used to looking for experienced candidates and even might use someone’s experience as the tiebreaker when evaluating prospects and candidates. In your own career, you may have highlighted as a key, competitive advantage. And when I am flying, I like having an experienced pilot.

However, after working with many recruiters, I have observed a mistake that is almost epidemic — especially among more experienced recruiters.

So what turns your experience as a recruiter into a liability? keep reading…

Recruiters: 3 Reasons Why Your Prospect Is Just Not That Into You

by Nov 22, 2013, 6:26 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 7.47.17 PMThe 2009 romantic comedy-drama film He’s Just Not That Into You portrays the lives of individuals who repeatedly misinterpret the behaviors of their romantic partners. Human behavior is complicated, unpredictable, and easy to misread.

In sales — as in recruiting — success depends on the ability to influence the behavior and decisions of others.

How sure are you that you can correctly read and understand your prospects or clients? Human behavior is not always logical or predictable.

Wonder how you can tell that a prospect may just not be that into you? keep reading…

Increasing Your Power in Conversations With Hiring Managers and Clients: An essential sales skill every recruiter must develop

by Oct 23, 2013, 6:45 am ET

your way my way.jpgThere you are — ready to pitch your rock star candidate to your hiring manager or client. You are excited about your ability to snag this great prospect in record time, and you are proud of the fact that your candidate is well-qualified for the position. You left a brief message, letting your client or hiring manager know you have found a great prospect. A call is scheduled. You pick up the phone to dial.

As the phone rings, you gather your notes and are feeling confident and prepared; your pitch is bulletproof. As you announce yourself and prepare to share your great news, you hear, “Sorry, but I only have a couple of minutes. All I need to know is if the person you referred to is experienced and will be negotiable on salary.”

You are speechless. Actually, your rock star does not have the exact experience and might not be open to a lot of salary negotiating. Nonetheless, you push forward — trying to recover quickly by reciting the list of the other great things you learned about your prospect, confident these factors will win over your hiring manager or client. But you can’t shake off feeling weak, frustrated, and doomed.

Not the way you envisioned the call going? How’s your confidence now? And what about that bullet-proof pitch? In 29 words — 143 characters — (about a Tweet), you became the victim of the will of your hiring manager or client.

What just happened? More importantly, can you recover? Let’s look at both of these questions and use some basic sales skills to provide some help. keep reading…

The Little-known Secret to Recruiting Success: 1 Question You Must Ask Yourself

by Aug 15, 2013, 6:43 am ET

new and improved.jpgFor today’s recruiters, there’s no shortage of new. New ideas on how to become better recruiters. New systems. New conferences. New tools. New techniques. New tips. New “best practices.” New processes. New blog posts. New communities of practice. New social media sites. New articles (dare I say, like this one!). New thought leaders. You get the idea.

Savvy marketers know how seductive new can be. Companies count on hooking buyers with that “new and improved” label on an otherwise very familiar product. Just for fun, I did a Google search using the words “new and improved” and found 57,500,000 matches! Notice the subtlety here — the implication that new implies better.

I am not arguing against the importance of “newness” for today’s serious professionals. I, too, love “new.” New ideas and new technology can be powerful game changers. But lately I have been wondering: if we want to continue to grow in our professions, is it simply “all about new”? And does new necessarily imply better?

Do “all things new” guarantee you a first-class seat on the non-stop flight to recruiting excellence? Stated another way, is the right question, “How well do I take advantage of ‘all things new’ in the recruiting profession?” Or is there another, perhaps better, question? I think there is. And you may be surprised to see it’s a question that is hidden in plain sight. But first a brief story. keep reading…

Planning Your Calls: A 5-point Checklist for Recruiting Success

by Jun 5, 2013, 6:19 am ET

paintThe nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by a period of anxiety.John Preston, Boston College

When I started my sales career, I did not fully understand how to “plan for success.” My overall excitement level when it came to planning probably fell somewhere below my excitement for root canals and colonoscopies. Safe to say, I preferred doingnot planning.

Why Plan Calls? keep reading…

10 Steps to Building Rapport With Job Candidates

by May 1, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Good morning, Mr. Phelps.

mission.jpgYour mission, should you decide to accept it, is to call someone and quickly establish rapport.

This person will be someone: (a) you don’t know; (b) will not be expecting your call, and; (c) will not want to talk with you.

You will have approximately 30 seconds to accomplish your mission. If you don’t succeed, you won’t have a second chance. Good luck, Jim! keep reading…

Gaining Commitment from Candidates: A 10-Point Checklist

by Jul 17, 2012, 5:19 am ET

Does this sound familiar? You are having a great conversation with a “rock star” candidate who has applied for one of your positions. You share the details about the position and your candidate seems genuinely excited. You might even be getting lots of “buying signals.” You assume that you are both in “violent agreement” that this is the perfect position!

So you move your rock star forward — setting up an appointment with the hiring manager. Your candidate sounds excited, and you are looking forward to one more “fill” on your scorecard for the month. Life is good!

But not so fast. keep reading…

5 Steps to a Successful Recruiting Presentation

by Jun 14, 2012, 5:21 am ET

In the world of sales, there is a high correlation between presentation skills and sales success. Great salespeople work to hone their communication skills and are able to communicate with confidence and impact. In addition, they are often remembered and acknowledged as key business partners — not simply as “someone trying to sell us something.”

Less successful salespeople, on the other hand, spend very little time consciously building their competency in this area.

But what are the elements of a great presentation? Is there a way to make a compelling presentation over the phone? And more importantly, what can recruiters do to build their phone presentation skills? In this article, I provide a simple 5-point checklist for recruiters who make presentations to candidates and hiring managers during phone conversations. keep reading…

Recruiting By the Numbers — Analyze This! (Part 2 of 2)

by May 31, 2012, 5:56 am ET

In Part 1, we looked at the importance of “knowing your numbers.” To be successful in meeting demand from hiring managers, great recruiters need to know how to move “suspects” (think: passive candidates) through a sales funnel, or pipeline, quickly, and effectively. And they need to know their conversion rates throughout the process.

In this article, we turn our focus away from the recruiter’s activities and look more closely at the passive candidate’s activities. In order to be effective at moving people through a sales funnel or pipeline, know the key factors that affect whether a person is open to moving forward or not.

So what makes a person even want to move from being a “suspect” to a “prospect”? From “prospect” to “candidate”?  There are three key decisions that your suspects, prospects, and candidates need to make in this “change process.” Let’s look at each of these.

Key Decision #1: Is This Worth My Time? keep reading…

Recruiting By the Numbers — Analyze This! (Part 1 of 2)

by May 30, 2012, 5:38 am ET

Many great recruiting departments and organizations pride themselves on being “metrics-focused” or “metrics-driven” — And for good reason. There’s plenty of research that confirms the value of having clear strategic and operational targets.

Generic recruiting pipeline

In addition, employees appreciate having expectations (think: metrics) that are “SMART” (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time bound). In the recruiting world, some common metrics include time to find, time to hire, survey scores (from hiring managers and candidates), as well as various quality of hire metrics.

How confident are you that you can “hit your numbers”? Are you able to consistently and quickly deliver qualified candidates to your hiring managers? If you are highly confident in your ability to meet or exceed the expectations of your hiring managers, that’s great! Chances are, then, you “know your numbers” very, very well.

This article focuses on one specific aspect of managing opportunities — knowing some key metrics. The next article in this two-part series will focus on some specific techniques for moving individuals through your funnel, or pipeline.

What Have You Done for Me Lately? keep reading…

A New Year’s Resolution: Stop Talking Nice About Your Company …

by Dec 16, 2010, 5:41 am ET

(…and start asking questions instead).

Why? Simply stated: Because people need to know they’ve been heard and understood. Today’s top sales performers know that it’s more important to understand than to persuade.

So what does this have to do with recruiting? Good question. Perhaps you can begin by answering these three questions yourself: keep reading…

Got Quota? Aligning a Great Recruiting Process With a Great Sales Process

by Sep 14, 2010, 2:19 am ET

If you are reading this article, you may already have a great recruiting process. Perhaps you have worked hard to identify a series of defined, repeatable steps that (when performed correctly) lead to excellent results for you and for your recruiting organization. You may even have key metrics to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your recruiting process at each step.

But have you ever wondered what you might be able to do to drive to even higher levels of performance — individually or as a group? Consider aligning your recruiting process with a great sales process. keep reading…