Being a Recruiting Tour de Force

Nov 1, 2007

I am a runner, I bike, I swim, and I compete in triathlons – not to win, just for fun and adventure. I really thought I was doing all this training to look and feel great in my fabulous forties. I did not realize that it would actually position me to become better at my job, rebuild the stamina that got me here in the first place, and enhance my ability to climb those recruiting hills and glide down the other side, and it has.

Before the Fordyce Forum conference, I knew I was changing my approach in my business. I was set to launch my new consulting firm this October and slowly hand over my recruiting business to another. At the conference I was re-awakened to my love for the actual art of recruiting, making the right match and creating the placement. I was enlightened to some things I was doing that were burning me out on the day-to-day hunt. When I came back I made a declaration to become a Recruiting Tour de Force and committed myself to making the necessary changes I needed to have that happen.

After analyzing my business, it was clear to me that we had a pretty large base in one general industry, which I have now labeled Drug & Medical Information. With only a few changes of ink I rebranded my company as specializing in that field, and I flew out to the DIA conference only three days after I returned from the Fordyce Forum. My son went online and built a plan for me so that I could use my four hours of time as wisely as possible when I arrived in Atlanta. I quickly walked the floor of the exhibit hall and met the players I set out to meet, made my contacts as an EXPERT in Drug & Medical Information, and flew back home the same night. I came back and called every referral I had and within two months signed up five new key clients in medical education, drug launch, and drug development.

My message to these companies and candidates is clear and simple. I am the person to know in the Chicago market, I am different because I benchmark each role, I meet the key players, I assess not only the candidate but also each opportunity and the company, and I present only the best of the best, oh and I almost forgot – the caveat is that I source names of people who are already working at your competitor or a targeted company or in a targeted industry of your choice. AND it is working! My largest customer even delivers me a fresh list of source names to call each month.

Yes, all these changes are positive and things are working out, but I won’t mislead you. My team and I are still working hard to build the new brand and the database. One of the things that keeps us going is when a staff member does something they never tried before and the fear that previously consumed them is released into a LOUD, JOYFUL HURRAH – that growth process feeds everyone else and gives us the power to keep pushing forward.

I am going to share my learning lessons from the last six months. My experience of what’s hot, what’s not, what’s worked, and what hasn’t as well as training tidbits from some of my seminars.

What’s HOT?

1. War on talent impacting every company on the planet
2. RPO – recruitment process outsourcing
3. Emerging industries – RPO, sourcing, selection, and retention
4. Major link between vacant chairs and loss of revenue
5. Niche recruiting disciplines
6. Industry experts
7. Recruiting being divided into sourcing and selection – some companies boast they can do it all; others segment into best services offerings in each category
8. Retention focus
9. Sourcing focus
10. Pipeline concern
11. Managers being held accountable for talent sourcing
12. Management being held accountable for retention
13. Management being held accountable for employee development

What’s NOT?

1. Generalist recruiting
2. Only using the job boards
3. Unemployed candidates
4. Running advertisements
5. Internet focus rather than people communications focus
6. One person being a hybrid expert at everything
7. Lone rangers
8. 35% fees for sourcing names only
9. Inflexibility of candidate interviews – location and time
10. Candidate evaluation based solely on gut instinct

What’s HOT with SOURCING?

1. RPO – complete sourcing and selection teams
2. Sourcing training
3. Direct recruiting
4. Ethical headhunting
5. Social media networking
6. Page ranking through blogging
7. Niche disciplines – everyone wants to know the expert
8. Virtual recruiting – work/life balance – stay-at-home moms raking it in
9. Corporate and agency contract recruiters making $25 to $105 per hour
10. Split boards and networks
11. Internal corporate and agency “sourcing” teams
12. Offshore sourcing
13. Active network association memberships
14. Agency high-performance teams – sourcers, evaluators, relationship managers
15. Sourcing systems, processes, and planning

What’s HOT with SELECTION?

1. Pre-employment screening
2. Pre-employment testing
3. Background checking
4. Credit checking
5. Social Security traces
6. DMV traces
7. Google searching
8. Lie detector testing (retail)
9. Benchmarking winners
10. Personality assessments
11. Behavioral-based interviewing
12. Values-based assessments
13. Competency testing
14. Skills testing
15. Pre-interview Online testing
16. Committee interviewing
17. Team-based assessments
18. Communication style assessments
19. Hiring systems
20. Clear expectations at time of interview
21. Pre-employment onboarding
22. Score and rank systems comparing candidates

Do’s and Don’ts of being a RECRUITING TOUR DE FORCE


1. Get your clients’ commitment to you conducting the search.
2. Find out who your competition is, inside the company and out.
3. Find out what else they have done to find this person or these people.
4. Set the stage for you to control the hiring process.
5. Require that they put some skin in the game ($, time, resources).
6. Create a benchmark of values, behaviors, competencies by assessing the current key players on the team.
7. Gain more buy in that you are the recruiting force to be reckoned with.
8. Get a list of industry movers and shakers from the executives.
9. Get a list of companies to source from the executive directors.
10. Make it clear that all their competitors are calling the same list.
11. Clearly define the state of the talent pool and the challenge ahead of you.
12. Create a plan of action that utilizes 10 to 15 different resources for the search.
13. Set a goal to generate 10 new names per day, and reach out and touch 5 to 7 per day.
14. Limit your time on the boards.
15. Source good résumés.
16. Set the pace to harvest five names from each résumé.
17. Give the client a list that states when they can expect to get either results from you or reports on results from you.
18. Make a list of the social networks or resources you will use:
– LinkedIn
– Ning
– MySpace
19. Make a list of the traditional or recently traditional resources and boards you’ll use:
– Monster
– CareerBuilder
– Dice
– TheLadders
– Other niche boards
20. Run searches to see who comes up.
21. Contact these people and find out who they know.
22. Ask for introductions.
23. Ask for referrals.
24. Be an expert when you make those calls.
25. Use every call to brand yourself and your company and your discipline.
26. Ask who they know like themselves who is excellent at what they do and might be interested or who can route you in the right direction: remember, birds of a feather flock together.
27. Use some sort of system to qualify candidates so you can spend your time with the right people and generating more contacts.
28. Qualify your top candidates and compare them to the benchmark you established.
29. Continue to give your clients a view into the challenge of your search.
30. Be in communication about things like good candidates you are taking out of the running, new and similar search assignments, or pending candidates that you might be presenting. Let them know you are working for them. Stay in the loop on their progress as well.


1. Jump into a search before you know what you are truly looking for.
2. Allow yourself to be treated like a vendor.
3. Take a brief specification or download the job description from the company website.
4. Overlook the importance of meeting or speaking with the key players – assess them through your own instinct or use appropriate tools.
5. Underestimate the power of an RPO or large vendor presence.
6. Get trapped into the find-the-right-résumé game.
7. Recruit only off the boards.
8. Get lazy or complacent.
9. Undervalue the time you’ll need to spend on shaking the referral tree and building your network.
10. Avoid planning.
11. Ignore your promises of what you said you’d produce.
12. Reject documentation or tracking of your results.
13. Work for free.
14. Spend too much time in one resource.
15. Let the candidate or the client run the show.

As I am taking my recruiting operation and merging it with my consulting firm, I am excited about the opportunities to compete in new markets, take on major projects, and play the recruiting game at a higher level. How exciting change and reinvention is!

I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts, lessons, and learning on the Tour de Force of Recruiting in my upcoming articles.

Margaret Graziano, CPC, CTS, and mother of three, has been a top producer in the staffing and recruiting industry for the past 20 years and has owned her own firm since 1991. She prides herself on client retention and making the right hires. She has earned over $5 million in personal “desk production” income and has placed over 2,000 candidates in direct-hire positions. With the competitive business world and the war on talent in full force, Margaret’s company, Alliance HR Network, has ventured into new realms of talent acquisition, organizational development, and human capital consulting services, thus diversifying Alliance’s revenue streams and gaining new and exciting talent acquisition and assessment consulting opportunities. Margaret’s email is and her phone number is (847) 690-0077. The strategic planning forms are listed under a Strategic Planning Downloads section at