Feast or Famine: Your Choice!

Feb 12, 2001

From time to time in the recruiting industry, the market becomes even more of a challenge than usual. This appears to be one of those times. I say appears because I am hearing two different stories from recruiters in our business. The first seems to be most prevalent, and goes something like this: Times are tough! There are not enough good temp and perm candidates out there. Clients are making unreasonable demands and are not realistic regarding price and the qualifications they are seeking. When presented with good people, they drag their feet and end up losing them as a result. Sales are down and don’t appear to be getting any better any time soon. The economy must be to blame! What are we going to do? The second, and in fact completely opposite story I am hearing is one of prosperity and increased success. These recruiters are raving about how well they are doing and are backing it up with credible numbers and statistics. Some are with companies that are opening new offices and moving forward with ambitious plans of growth. They report that sales are up and project that those figures will continue to climb. Your first reaction may be that these recruiters are from different markets or regions. That would explain a lot, if it were the case. These two versions of what is going on are from recruiters in the same markets and cities. In fact, this is not limited to just one area of recruiting. These simultaneous successes and struggles exist in many areas including Information Technology, Finance, Engineering, Banking, Manufacturing, and Legal. So which version is “the truth”? Actually, both. Breaking out of slumps and to prospering even when the market is a challenge is something you can learn to do and then choose to make happen. The fact of the matter is, there are highly successful recruiters who have chosen to write their own story, and they are being rewarded so well because they are making their success happen. Here are five quick ideas to help you rewrite your own future:

  1. Fire the candidates and clients that are stealing your time. There are some candidates and clients that, no matter what you do, are not going to turn into a done deal. Yet many recruiters still invest hours of time with them in hopes that maybe it will pan out. Trust your gut! The recruiting business is not a charity. One of the best things you can do for candidates and clients that are going to “fall off” anyway is to let them go, so you both can get on with your lives. The time you free up can be spent assisting those who really want and need your help. Remember, your time is valuable. Work only with those people who know and appreciate this. When you respect, protect, and value your time others will be more likely to do the same.
  2. Do some extras. To compete more effectively in a tight market may mean doing a few extras. Consider making extra calls each day and making more submittals to clients. Send a few more e-mails and make extra sourcing calls. These extras add up over time. Just think about how these additional activities accumulate over a week or even a month and the results they can bring.
  3. Make a plan, and stick to it! Regardless of market conditions, one of the biggest culprits of low or stagnant production is poor planning. commonly heard comment about our business is that you can be busy all day and get absolutely nothing done. This means that you can either let your day run you or you can choose to run your day. To be more effective, write a detailed plan for tomorrow at the end of each day. Remain flexible with your schedule, but don’t let it keep you from getting done what you know must be done. Eliminate as many distractions as possible and only deal with interruptions that will bring you closer to doing a deal or something that is a true emergency.
  4. Upgrade and refresh your skills. It is a common human trait to leave some of our best tools and ideas on the doorstep. We occasionally need to be reminded of the techniques available to us from time to time. Also, it is critical to add to our toolbox to remain competitive as the industry evolves around us. Options for giving yourself these upgrades can include training programs, brainstorming and role-playing practice sessions with your peers, listening to audio tapes, reading industry literature and books, or any activity that hones your skills, possibly even one that you invent. The key is to do this during the good times as well as the bad. Be consistent!
  5. Create a new reality. The “act as if” principle has been shared and passed on for years. The premise is that if you act like a success, you will be a success. We have the ability to create our reality because we live out what we think. If you believe you are going to struggle, you will experience and act out the traits of someone who struggles. If you truly believe you will succeed, your actions and behaviors will be those of someone who plans on and achieves success. If you have any doubts, look at the research. In his book, “Love, Medicine and Miracles,” Dr. Bernie Siegel shares the story of a boy who visualized a rocket ship shooting laser beams at the tumor in his head. The boy truly believed that the ship existed and that it had the ability to destroy the tumor. To the surprise of his physicians, the tumor went away. Just imagine if you took such a powerful belief and applied it to your career! Believe that great things can happen in your business and then back that up with the actions that will get you there. You may even surprise yourself with the results.

The most successful recruiters in our industry have made a choice to be at their level of success. Regardless of the hand they are dealt at any given time, they make the most of it. They stay out of the problem and are always focused on the solution. If you are one of these heavy-hitters, congratulations! If you want to join their ranks, it is your choice. Be willing to do what it takes, plan your action, and as Nike so aptly puts it, “Just Do It!” <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

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