Why So Many Recruiters Fail in Our Business

Oct 27, 2009

As a management consultant and trainer to the industry, I look at our industry and how it functions from a unique perspective.

I consider myself more of a student of the business rather than a trainer. I want to find out why things work so that I can develop a model that average people can adopt to achieve above-average billings.

It’s a unique way to teach the business and is a different style compared to all the other trainers. I know there are a lot of great trainers out there who are incredibly talented and use that talent to achieve success in the business. The problem is that most people just don’t have that same level of natural talent. Most of the people I have encountered in the search and staffing business are average people like me.

So if you weren’t born with the smarts of many of the industry gurus, how can you achieve success in the business?

You have to follow a system.

A system is a pattern or a model of doing something that can be replicated. Consider it a recipe or a formula. If one person follows the recipe for making a cake and another person three states away follows it the same way, they will achieve similar results.

We can also incorporate reasons for failure into our systems thinking. Look at what has kept other people from achieving in our business, and use those patterns as warning signs.

Recruiters fail because:

  1. They don’t want to win badly enough. This might be the most important reason why people fail in recruiting. Desire will always outperform natural talent. If you don’t believe me, then remember the story your mamma told you about the tortoise and the hare. Whoever wants to win the most usually does, especially in a recession. If you want to win, then you never pay the price of success. You enjoy the price. It never ceases to amaze me how many recruiters expect their boss to spoon-feed them training and to pay for it all. Champions take responsibility for their own training and aren’t afraid to invest in it. Go to the bookstore today with a $100 bill and buy a bunch of sales books for yourself. Take ownership of your performance and it will start improving right away.
  2. They get distracted. This one is my favorite because it is one of my biggest personal challenges. I try to solve it by writing down my weekly and daily targets. Ask yourself, ‘If I only accomplished only three things this week/day and considered myself still a success, what would they be?’ Use the weekly tracking sheet on the free downloads section on my site to help you with this.
  3. They are too attached. Learn to be content with your situation, but don’t get too attached to the outcome. I’ve seen several big billers whose self esteem was based on how much money they made. Don’t fall into this trap. Yeah, billing is important. But it’s just a job. Don’t let it take over your life when things don’t work out the way you want them to because sometimes they don’t work out and that’s just the way life is. Stay balanced and treasure your personal relationships more than your production. Don’t get sucked into the trap of measuring your success as a person by your success at your job. Don’t let external circumstances dictate how you feel on the inside. Find a source of strength that can carry you through the hard times because believe me, there will be some hard times in this business.
  4. They let their ego call the shots. Big mistake. But it’s a big problem in our business, and it’s my own big challenge as well. Instead of making a decision because of how it may make you look to others, ask yourself this question: “Will this decision bring me closer or further away from my goals?” I’ve seen recruiters pay promotional companies tens of thousands of dollars for marketing materials where the only purpose was to gratify an ego need; it wasn’t based on effectiveness. I’ve endured presenters giving speeches about themselves and forgetting that the audience is expecting to hear content that will help them get better. And I’ve also seen myself pathetically lose business because I made decisions based on my ego rather than how it would serve my client or help me financially. Check your ego at the door when you show up for work every day. The bottom line is this: It doesn’t matter what other people think of you because they probably aren’t even paying any attention to you anyway. Plus, when you are good, who cares? What does it matter what other people think? When you are the best, it doesn’t matter. If you are good, you’ll be found out. People are always attracted to trees that bear fruit, so don’t worry about it. Just focus on setting your goals and targets and making decisions that positively impact your progress. Now, we all have a need to be recognized. That’s one of Maslow’s five fundamental human needs. But see if you can get that need met through the service of others and let them recognize you for that. It doesn’t seem as contrived and is much more fulfilling. Plus, it’s much better for your marketing.

Remember, think in terms of systems thinking. What one person can do, so can another. If one person can be successful, then so can you.

Just duplicate how they think, their strategy, their tactics, and their work habits. Look at achievement in terms of a system and it won’t seem so far away.

If you can see yourself as a successful recruiter, and if you know that you have a system that you can duplicate, then you give yourself better odds of success.

And you will never fail in our business.