10 Ways to Double Your Monthly Placement Rate

May 22, 2008

A good measure of recruiter performance is placements per month, with sendouts (interviews arranged with hiring managers) per month and sendouts per hire being the two key performance drivers for this.

For third-party recruiters, add fee per placement to obtain total billings per month as another critical performance measure.

Whether you’re a third-party or corporate recruiter, making more placements per month would be a good thing. With this goal in mind, here are 10 ways you can double your placements per month:

  1. Make sure all of your candidates are interviewed. Part of the service level agreement with your clients should be that 100% of your candidates will be interviewed. To pull this off, develop a track record of only presenting strong candidates. Work toward this. If you deliver consistently here, you’ll be able to schedule the interview instantly through Outlook without your client even seeing the resume. Achieving this will eliminate all of the work involved in interviewing and screening candidates who are presented, but not seen.
  2. Increase your cold voicemail return rate to passive candidates. You should be getting at least 50% to 75% of your voicemails returned. One of the best ways to achieve this is to only call people who have been referred to you where you can mention the referrer’s name. You’ll achieve a similar callback rate if you’re an industry expert or with a highly regarded and recognized search firm. Your productivity will soar when everyone calls you back.
  3. Minimize the time spent talking to bad candidates. Even if they return your call, you shouldn’t be wasting your time calling people who aren’t any good. Work toward making 80% of your cold calls only to those people who have been referred to you and are considered top notch. Become great at networking and getting great referrals. If you can mention the name of the person who referred you to the candidate, this will increase your callback rate, too, so it’s a double win.
  4. Don’t spend time reviewing resumes of under-performers. When searching or Googling a resume database, add in recognition or top performance keywords in your string to separate the good resumes from the bad. For example, the term “club” is typically found on the resumes of top salespeople and “laude” is found on the resumes of top under-grads. Every job has terms that indicate the person is a strong performer that would be included on the candidate’s resume. The terms can range from “patent” to “whitepaper” and from “award” to “GPA,” and to everything in between. Don’t waste precious hours reviewing resumes that can be easily eliminated with simple search strings.
  5. Reduce the percentage of candidates who say “no” or “not interested” on first contact. Good recruiters are persistent and don’t take no for an answer until the candidate has enough information to accurately decide if your job is worth considering. The best recruiters go a step further and don’t ask questions that can be answered with a “no.” For example, asking someone if they’d be interested in exploring a situation that could potentially be a fast-track career in marketing is more likely to get a yes than asking the same person if she’d be interested in a senior marketing analyst role. Job knowledge, applicant control, and strong recruiting skills are critical here, and worth it if you want to increase your pool of strong candidates.
  6. Reduce the rate of candidates who voluntarily opt-out of your interviewing process after meeting with the hiring manager. Top candidates are frequently underwhelmed after meeting their potential new boss and team. Top candidates are impressed when those on the hiring team are prepared, clearly understand real job needs, don’t oversell, and ask thorough and meaningful questions. Prep your clients if they’re not good interviewers, if they make emotional decisions, or don’t know how to recruit. Instruction in Performance-based Hiring can help here.
  7. Prevent your clients from eliminating good candidates for bad reasons. Sometimes great people aren’t seen because they don’t have exactly the right background. More often, top people with the right background aren’t great at interviewing or selling themselves. Even more often, managers aren’t very good at assessing competency across all job needs. To prevent this wrongful elimination, become a better interviewer than your clients and intervene before the bad decision occurs. Here are some ideas on how to prevent this costly error: send a sample (e.g., product or presentation) of the candidate’s best work along with the resume, personally lead an initial panel interview and formal debriefing session, have your client conduct an exploratory phone screen before a formal interview, or provide some type of evidence (e.g., an award for something or recommendation) that can’t be easily refuted.
  8. Prevent your best candidates from rejecting good offers for bad reasons, especially money. Sometimes top people get shortsighted, especially when first learning about an opportunity. Even during the interviewing process, people get hung up with the short-term issues, like comp, location, and job title, and decide to arbitrarily withdraw themselves from consideration. It’s important to get candidates to consider both the short- and long-term issues in balance. Some of the longer-term strategic issues include job growth, job stretch, degree of learning, the impact that can be made, and the overall upside potential of the job in comparison to others being considered. Early in the recruiting process, suggest that your opportunity should be examined on a multi-factor level balancing strategic and tactical issues collectively. This is how to convert your job into a career opportunity and increase the odds more top people will fully evaluate them on this basis.
  9. Increase the number of top people who see your ads. If you’re using any form of advertising, make sure they’re found by the people you want to find them. The simplest way to see if your ads are even being seen is to see if you can find them using Google. For example, if your ad is for a warehouse supervisor in Atlanta, Google “warehouse supervisor jobs Atlanta” and see what boards and jobs show up. Then post your jobs on these boards. This process is called reverse engineering. Of course, you’ll want to be the top listing when you click on the board. The best short-term way to do this is use a sponsored search approach either on the board or with Google. The best people are now Googling for jobs, so regardless of how you get to the first-page listings, it will increase your flow of top people.
  10. Increase the quality and response rate of your ads. If you’re not tracking the number of people who see your ad and the percent that apply, you’re wasting your money. The best way to increase the response rate (typically less than 10%) and the quality level is to write creative ads that emphasize what’s in it for the candidate, not the skills and experience requirements. If you position these great ads to be found (see point 9), you’ll increase the quantity and quality of the candidates by three to five times. Then if you screen the resumes using performance terms (see point 4) you won’t waste time looking at any of the bad resumes.

Fully implemented, you should be able to get 20% to 50% better on each of these factors. With this type of improvement, even if all of the factors don’t personally apply to what you do, you’ll still be able to become 100% better in a few months.

Collectively, this is how you move from being an average recruiter to a really good one. Now once you get 100% better do it again. This is how you become a great recruiter.

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