May 3, 2010
This article is part of a series called Ask Barb.

Q. I’ve been producing between $225,000 and $250,000 for the past five years. I hear about recruiters who produce over $1 million themselves and find it hard to believe. I’m working 60 hours a week just to maintain my production. I’d like to break the $300,000 level next year, but there are just so many hours in the day. What would you suggest I do to increase my production?

A. First, you don’t need to work more hours. After five years, you are working on automatic pilot; implement changes that will result in increased production and income. In order to form a new habit it takes 21 working days of repetition, which is why you should never make more than one change each month.

Select from the following ideas:

  • Review the number of send-outs you book each month (candidate interviewed by decision maker). Increase the number of send-outs you book and you will increase your production.
  • Study where your office made placements in 2009 and mirror those job orders. This is the quickest way to your next deal.
  • Only work hot orders in 2010.
  • Email a copy of your job orders to everyone in the hiring process to make sure they are all in agreement on the specs. Over 50% of the time our clients make changes.
  • Increase all your stats by 10% and you will increase your production by 25%.
  • Stop wasting time on candidates you can’t place (95% of your candidate flow).
  • Climb the ladder: begin placing the supervisors of those you currently place. The salaries are higher, and so are your fees. You also have a database of candidates — the supervisors are listed on all your application forms.

Segment your day and attempt to make 65% of your planned outgoing calls by noon.

The one common denominator of Big Billers is they arrive at work with their outgoing calls planned. Focus on results-oriented actions, implement any of the ideas above, and you will more than hit your production goal.

Q. I saw you when you spoke in Montreal, and your session changed my life. When others were struggling this year, I have had the best year of my career by focusing on send-outs and identifying new clients for both Direct and Contract business. What happens in the United States definitely affects us in Canada. I was on the verge of quitting and want to thank you for convincing me to “tough it out.”

A. Thank you for your comments. Since June 2009, there has been a steady increase of job orders in the United States in most niches. Many U.S. companies cut too deep and the lack of talent was negatively impacting their bottom lines.

I’d like to share two ideas with you that will help you increase your business:

  • On the contract side, ask all your clients and prospects how many Baby Boomers will retire this year. Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of one every six seconds. Suggest they bring them back as contractors on YOUR payroll. They could work fewer hours or several months of the year, whatever fits their retirement plan. Your bill and pay rates will be high and there is NO interview process. We’ve had clients very grateful for this suggestion!
  • On the direct side, ask clients and prospects if they have hired anyone in the past few years they need to “upgrade.” There was great competition for talent in the past five years, and many clients hired the best person they could find rather than the talent they needed. Explain that now is a great time to upgrade those marginal hires.

There will be great competition for top talent in the future so continue to be perceived as an expert in your niche, continue increasing your send-outs, and expect to have a great year!

Q. I’m having a difficult time staying motivated every day. I arrive at work with a positive attitude and it seems to take only minutes until I get a call that ruins my day. It can be someone no-showing for an interview, someone accepting a counter-offer, or one of my clients hiring a candidate who is not mine. The calls we get from candidates are getting nastier and nastier and our clients are not being straight with us. I often feel the job boards are going to put me out of business. Your answers are always so positive and I’d like to know how you never seem to get down? I know I’m not the only recruiter who feels this way.

A. You sound like you may have “quit and stayed.” Our profession is impossible if you’ve lost your passion. A call can’t ruin your day unless you let it! None of us can control what happens each day, but we have 100% control over how we react! You have to adapt the attitude “next” or “so what, now what?”

Problems increase when you are not following systems and let details fall through the cracks. If you want to decrease problems, listen more when you are interviewing to identify the real reason candidates are contemplating a change. When you write a job order, ask for interview times and get a specific target date to fill so you can determine which orders are hot. If your candidate calls are “nasty” you are not being honest with the candidates you can’t place, which represents 95% of your candidate flow. If candidates don’t have skills, stability, and experience, you quite often can’t place them and need to provide them with alternatives.

Job boards will never replace us! Most of our clients want to hire the best person for a job, not the best person on the job boards. They normally want us to recruit a qualified candidate from their direct competition. If you are only attracting candidates from job boards, you need to learn how to recruit.

Clients do not want us to present the same candidates they are surfacing from job boards. They often want us to present “passive candidates” who will consider a change for the right opportunity.

I believe this is the greatest profession on Earth, which is why I maintain my positive attitude.

You need to have an attitude adjustment, you need to get back your passion for “changing people’s lives,” or you need to consider a different career! We hold people’s lives in our hands, so evaluate whether you have indeed “quit and stayed.”

This article is part of a series called Ask Barb.
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