Signed Agreements, Slumps, and Controlling Offers

Jun 2, 2010

Editor’s note: Gary Stauble’s “2 Minute Coaching” gives you quick, easy-to-implement ideas on various subjects.

Topic #1: Should you start a search without a signed agreement?
We were all likely taught that you should never start a search without a signed agreement. This makes good sense for many obvious reasons.

However, what do you do if a hiring manager authorizes you to send people for a search but does not return your agreement promptly?

Hiring authorities (like all of us) only do things when it is obvious that it will benefit them in a tangible way. Reading a contract in detail before they receive a candidate is not always at the top of their priority list. Often it is your presentation of a star candidate that provides the motivation for the manager to sign your agreement.

Verbal agreements are theoretically binding but hard to prove. However, from my point of view, it’s ok to start a search with a verbal agreement on rare occasions as long as you follow a few rules. You definitely would want this practice to be the exception rather than the rule.

If you are going to start the search, make sure you have a verbal agreement on the terms. You can start the search with a verbal agreement but make sure you get the signed agreement before you schedule the first sendout. Also, be sure to present your candidate without revealing his name or current employer. Lastly, only send one candidate as a test to see how quickly your prospect responds before putting much effort into the search.

Topic #2: Don’t call it a slump

Have you ever thought about the importance of language and your chronic thoughts in terms of influencing your paycheck? Most people agree that we tend to become what we think about, what we focus on, and what we talk about. With that in mind, picture two veteran recruiters who haven’t made a placement in six weeks:

One’s inner dialogue goes something like this, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, nothing seems to be working, I’m in a slump. I may never make another placement. I suck.”

The other recruiter sounds more like this, “I know I’m on my way to better production. I’ve had slow times before and I’ve always figured a way through. I know that if I stick to my process, the placements will come. What’s the fastest way to my next sendout?”

Pretty different tone, eh?

One is weak and impotent, the other strong and hopeful. Who do you think will get to their next placement first? As recruiters we need to be watchful of our focus and inner dialogue and make sure that it’s leading us toward the success we really want.

Topic #3: What if my client insists on presenting the offer?
As with everything, you need to show your client why it is in his interest to have you present the offer. Here are some ideas:

Other interviews:
“Candidates will tell me things about other offers and opportunities that they won’t tell you.”

Counter offers:
“They’ll talk to me about their susceptibility to counter-offers whereas they’ll likely tell you only what they think you want to hear.”

Uncover hidden objections:
“I can act as a confidant for the candidate to uncover other hidden objections such as his spouse’s resistance, changes in his reasons for leaving and the fear of change.”

Save Dollars:
“We test all offers before we extend them. We can help save you in payroll cost and in avoiding rejected offers.”

We act as a mediator:
“It’s more professional to have the offer come from a recruiter. We act as mediator. Then the candidate calls you (Mr. Client) after acceptance to formally accept with you.”

Last resort:
“Mr. Client, if you won’t change your mind about presenting the offer, at least let me test the offer amount first and coordinate the timing with you so we’re sure the candidate is ready to accept.”

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