Don’t Let a Slump Keep You Down. Here’s How to ‘Smile and Dial’ Again

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Apr 26, 2012
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At the amusement park, my favorite ride is the roller coaster. Often, near the end of the ride, the automatic camera will take your picture. Invariably, I have a big smile. I love the feeling. I love the thrill. I love the ride. There’s another roller coaster I don’t care for much, though. It’s the emotional roller coaster that most of us ride at our desks each day.

From the fresh, call-in job order from our best client that puts a smile on our face at 9 a.m. to the turndown just before lunch, to the three send-outs in the afternoon assuring our next placement, even the most consistent recruiters feel an emotional rise and fall during the week.

With the constant barrage of negativity from the media, the unemployed calling in looking for help, and the pendulum of job order priorities, even optimists can lose their enthusiasm. Unless your job order and candidate pipelines are full and your spirits high, you risk falling into the dreaded “slump.” What follows are some proven tips to raise your spirits and production if you fear you’re sliding into a slump or simply need a quick “pick me up.”

First, Your Attitude

Call your favorite clients and best placements, even if you’re not going to get a job order. Don’t cry on their shoulders, just follow up, talk about what they perceive is going on in your industry, and ask for referrals. Call them all. Soon, you’ll find that you want to talk with someone new. That’s when successful marketing calls begin. Successful send-outs will soon follow.

Read the thank-you notes you’ve received from clients and candidates. This will remind you that this is not all about the money. We make a very positive impact on the lives of our candidates and the bottom lines of our clients. Listen to what they think about the good work you’ve done. Then start doing the same for others.

Review awards that you’ve won. Whether you’re in a multi-desk office and won “Recruiter of the Month” in July of 2003 or you’re a Million Dollar Producer with a major franchise group or network, look at the award. Remember what you did to achieve it. You can, if you desire and persevere, win more. Be proud and persevere.

Look at copies of placement checks or read placement folders. I keep copies of all placement checks and frame ones I really want to remember. When my mood gets low, I look at photocopies of checks for tens of thousands of dollars until I determine that I should get out of my funk and begin to “smile and dial.”

Listen to training and motivational speakers. Because of the ups and downs you often need to regain your passion and performance. The motivational speakers will help with your drive, and the trainers will help get you back to the basics that made you successful.

Review your goals and the rewards you’ll obtain by achieving them. If you’ve planned your year with rewards built into achieving your goals, then review those rewards. Take the car you want for a test drive on Saturday. Visit the website of the resort of your choice over lunch. Envision yourself and those you cherish on that vacation with you. These rewards will motivate you to achieve your goals and forget about the negativity in the world.

Next, Your Actions

Talk with a mentor or coach. Tell them your problem and review your statistics with them. Allow them to help you determine where you got off track. Then, get back on track and start the engines. This is why we keep statistics, so we can diagnose the problem and cure it.

Plan and execute. Don’t over-plan. In fact, plan only what you know you can accomplish in a normal workday, then execute the plan and plan tomorrow. Go home and celebrate a good day. Do this for a week; you’ll be back on track by then. Celebrate again!

Market MPCs (Most Placeable Candidates) to prospective clients. I didn’t say market one MPC, but market three over the next week. Marketing a prize candidate provides a fresh project. Marketing the same candidate day after day will only make your slump worse, as you will burn out. Marketing to prospects also increases the number of good things that can happen. Some will brush you off, but the next big client may only be one phone call away.

Work on what is closest to the money. Stay focused on the best searches, move people through the pipeline, and start each day by first working on job orders/candidates that will soon close.

Realize the roller coaster is normal when working a desk. Don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself up! Recruiters with less skill and fewer placements have gone through this and survived, and you can, too. Most probably, you got yourself in this slump by failing to keep your pipeline varied, and full, and by getting away from the basics.

You can get out of the slump just as simply by sticking to the basics, filling your pipeline with quality job orders from multiple clients, and doing what you know how to do.

Pick up your attitude, rise to your altitude, and pick up the phone!

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