The Four Rules for Successful Recruiting in a Recession, Part 2

Nov 10, 2009

In yesterday’s part 1 of this article, I explained the first two rules to follow in a tough, tough marketplace. After all, when dealing with client objections in this economy, you’ve got to have a strategy in place to deal with them. Here are the next two rules you need to implement immediately.

Rule Number 3: Show how you can add value—and eliminate the problem.

Once you have identified the source of the problems troubling your client, show how you can add value. The truth in this economy is that while it’s easy to find average talent today, it’s still extremely difficult to find exceptional talent.

In extraordinary times, ordinary people don’t solve problems. “C” players simply don’t have what it takes to help their teams triumph over the myriad of issues this economy creates for businesses. Lucky for us, that’s our specialty. We bring exceptional talent to our clients. That is how we add value, whatever the economy.

I recommend the following general script:

“Mr. Client, let me ask you a question. What we’re finding is that in today’s market average talent is everywhere, but exceptional talent is very difficult to find. Those are the individuals knocking the sales quotas down for your competitors in the Southeast. Here is my question…since I talk to the “A” players in your market on a daily basis, would you like me to bring to your attention the top “A” players in the Southeast? The people who could quickly solve your revenue issues?”

With this simple paragraph, you’ve identified exactly the value you bring to the table and how you directly solve customer problems.

If you do this right, there can be no hiring-freeze objections. You bring exceptional talent to the table — the people who find a way to be successful in any economy. It’s a very clear choice: a team stuck with average players and failure or a team stacked with “A” players and thriving, whatever the economy! You are the one who can make that difference for them…

Rule Number 4: Spend more time getting good business.

In a recession, it’s not that there is no business to be had, it’s that unfortunately, most of it is bad. When the economy is this tight, clients reduce fees, put multiple recruiters on a single search, and delay hiring indefinitely. A successful recruiter’s goal is to get enough good business to eliminate the need to work on bad business.

Bob Marshall came up with the Job Order Matrix a few years ago and it still is worth its weight in gold today. The Matrix poses a series of questions that rate a job. It distinguishes between great job orders or search assignments and those that need to be left alone.

To acquire more good business, increase your marketing time. It isn’t enough to market a few hours a day; you’ve got to invest serious time every day to get good business.

Marketing time is based on the number of “A” search assignments you have and your unique marketplace. If you are going to take a true “A” player to market into your prospect and client base, you will have a lot more success than other marketing techniques today. My rule of thumb – if you don’t have enough “A” search assignments to hit your numbers for the next three months, then increase your marketing time.

Times are tough. Every industry in our country is facing challenges. But I like to tell my staff that strong winds make strong trees. With every day that passes, we are one day closer to a better economy. And when we emerge from this storm, we will have the improved skills and increased professional confidence born of experience.

More important, our clients need us. Don’t let them stop you from helping them make it through this recession. We will all benefit from doing our jobs the best we can, even in a challenging economy.

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