Recently in Recruiting Tips Category

Wednesday May 16, 2012

You've Got Nine Seconds

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If you're talking in more than nine second soundbites, you're wasting your words, losing the attention of buyers, and positioning yourself as just another long-winded person trying to make your case. From soundbites on broadcast news to politicians delivering provocative statements to posts on clock.gifTwitter, we've become a society that consumes information in smaller and smaller chunks. According to research at the University of California, the incredible shrinking soundbite has gone from 43 seconds in 1968 to a mere nine seconds today. As a result, when you communicate, especially when selling, you need to choose your words carefully while delivering them with impact, passion, and enthusiasm. Not an easy thing to do, especially when you're an outgoing person whose default factory programming as a human being is to share your gift for gab.

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Tuesday May 8, 2012

So, You Want to Be a Recruiter? Lessons Learned From Top Recruiters

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Maybe you've thought about getting into recruiting, and now would be a good time considering the demand for recruiters is at its highest levels in four years, according to an April 2012 report by Wanted Analytics. While the U.S. unemployment rate is hovering around 8%, hiring managers are struggling to find the right people and are turning to recruiters to find the most qualified candidates.

But the role is full of misconceptions. To give new recruiters a leg up, I spoke to some experienced recruiters to learn about the mistakes they made and what insights they'd share with new recruiters in the field.

  1. Recruiting Doesn't Only Happen Behind a Computer While recruiters can use the Internet as their primary tool for finding candidates, using it exclusively could limit their access to a more diverse pool of candidates.

    Jonathan Weems, a technical recruiter who's been in the field for five years, says his biggest mistake as a new recruiter was assuming he could always find the best candidates online. He stresses that new recruiters need to network offline just as much.

    "Also talk to employees within your own company, find out where they came from, and start building relationships internally," says Weems.

  2. Use Multiple Tools to Find Candidates New recruiters sometimes fall into the trap of relying entirely on one or two tools--and using them in the same way--simply because they're familiar with them or have seen some good results.

    If recruiters are consistently achieving great results with a particular tool, like Monster or LinkedIn Recruiter, by all means they should continue using them. But failing to leverage other tools, could cause recruiters to miss out on a larger pool of candidates.

  3. Don't Just Watch the Internet, Use It According to a survey by Jobvite, 89% of companies said they would recruit in social networks in 2011, and 55% would spend more on social recruiting. While companies are beefing up their social recruiting efforts, some could argue that recruiting has always been very social.

    "The best people who are [recruiting] online were probably pretty good at it when social recruiting wasn't really an issue," says Lance Haun, editor of SourceCon and community director for "They're naturally social and they're trying to have conversations with people. It's just an extension of what they're doing in real life."

    Even though recruiting apps can automate daunting tasks like posting jobs to multiple social networks, recruiters who don't actively engage with job seekers are failing to take full advantage of those platforms.

    "Successful recruiters don't watch the Internet and social networks--they use them as tools to do more of what they do best: talking to people," says Miles Jennings, CEO of

  • Understand the Position You're Recruiting For Experienced recruiters say that finding candidates with the right credentials and experience isn't always the hardest part about recruiting--it's understanding the job that needs to be filled and the business requirements for that position.

    For example, without any experience as an engineer or insurance claims processor, it can be tricky to know what to seek out in candidates for those positions. Beyond identifying relevant keywords to hunt for in candidate resumes, recruiters need to understand the business and what the hiring manager is really seeking in a candidate.

    Recruiters can start by engaging with professionals in the field they're hiring for to learn as much as they can about the profession. The things you learn will give you a better understanding of the kind of candidate you should look for.

    What other tips, challenges, or misconceptions should they know about?

    Jennifer King is an HR Analyst for Software Advice, a company that reviews and compares HR and recruiting software. She writes about technology, trends, and best practices in human resources. Read the full article on her HR Blog:


  • Tuesday January 24, 2012

    Retained Search: Be Careful What You Wish For

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    I'm frequently asked how to convert a contingency search to a retainer. As a recruiter who made the switch to retainer three years ago, I can tell you what I've learned, including some things you may not want to hear.

     Recruiting.jpgTo begin with, there are many differences between the two types of services beyond the superficial difference of how the recruiter is paid. In some ways, a true retained search practice resembles a temp agency more than a perm-placement business, for the simple reason that both use a "division of labor" business model.

    For example, in a large retainer practice, a search director will delegate the research and screening to a support staff, in much the same way an account manager or sales manager will delegate the "recruiting" function to a staffing coordinator. In contrast, the vast majority of contingency recruiters do their own research and screening to fill their job orders.

    Regarding payment terms: A retained executive search is defined as an exclusive project undertaken on behalf of a client to identify and screen suitable candidates for a particular position. Typically, the estimated fee is prepaid in three 30-day installments. An open-ended payment schedule with the majority of the fee contingent upon "successful completion" is not considered a retained executive search. So, if you receive a $1,000 "engagement fee," your service is really a contingency search with a cover charge.

    Before you decide to offer retained search services, first look at the level of candidate you're associated with. Rarely are retainers paid for positions that pay less than $100,000 annually. So if you deal in mid-market or "commodity" candidates such as engineers, accountants or programmers, it's unlikely you'll do much retained work. And you should consider yourself lucky.

    I've found that retained searches to fill mid-level or non-management positions usually aren't worth the trouble, and often end in disaster. From an economic standpoint, you're risking an open-ended commitment of your time, but at a fixed rate. The money may be guaranteed, but if the search bogs down, you're stuck working for a dollar an hour. To complicate matters, many lower- or mid-level hiring managers fail to put forth the effort necessary to attract suitable talent, and lack the sense of urgency to effectively close qualified candidates.

    - Bill Radin

    Bill Radin is one of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, and has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Kennedy Conference, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and The Radin Report is published monthly.

    Thursday November 3, 2011

    5 Powerful Recruiting Scripts

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    Scripts can feel overly constrictive and robotic if you become attached to them, but as a point of reference and starting point, they can be a huge asset. Becoming a master at language is a key skill for a top producer. Below are some of my favorites that I've created or picked up from other trainers over the years.

    A Powerful Closing Question

    Bob Marshall shared the idea of coaching candidates to use this question before they leave an interview:

    "Let's say you make me an offer and I accept, what can I do when I start here to relieve your immediate workload?"

    Employers love to hear this! This question will set your candidate apart from the other who are asking about parking spaces and benefits at this stage of the interview process.

    How to Pre-Close Timely Feedback with Clients

    For Recruiters, feedback is the breakfast of champions. Without timely feedback, your search process is worthless. Here is some language to help your clients understand the importance of open communication:

    "We want to fill this position for you with the best person available and do the best job that we can on your behalf. In order to do that, we are going to need your cooperation and timely feedback to let us know when we are on target and also when we are missing the mark.

    We give the highest priority to the clients that give us timely feedback. Our request is that we would hear from you within 24-48 hours after a call or submitting a candidate. This allows us to keep your search moving at full speed.

    Does this sound workable for you?"

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    Wednesday September 21, 2011

    Recruiters: The Best Voice Mail Message, Ever

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    Rats. I mean, Hooray! I got his voice mail!

    Sometimes it seems that the technology which was designed to improve our communication continues to build layer after layer of impenetrable walls between us and the people we need to reach. So instead of looking at voice mail as a hindrance, look at it as a direct mail advertisement with a one hundred percent open rate. One hundred percent of the voice mail messages you leave will be heard by the people you want to reach. It's up to you to come up with a way to get them to take action and call you back. Telephone.jpg

    The type of message you leave is dependent upon the type of person you are trying to reach. For prospective clients, your sales message is fruitless if it's just a pitch and doesn't offer anything of value. For prospective candidates, if you tell them you are a recruiter and that you have a great opportunity, they'll probably roll their eyes and delete your message, just like they did with the five other identical messages left for them this week from your competitors. I've seen different variations of getting candidates to call back. The most ridiculous is the silly trick of hanging up before you tell them why you're calling. My name is Harry the Happy Headhunter, my number is 555-5555 and I need to talk to you about..(click!) At first it might seem that we've just discovered a new way to get people to call back. But what if they don't? What if they've already had that trick used on them before? It's an overused and trite sales trick that dates back to the origination of voice mail. If you do this then you can't ever leave another message for them. You've lost them and your credibility with them, forever.

    Last week, I achieved one hundred percent success in getting call-backs from candidates when I left this message: "Joe, my name is Scott Love, my phone number is 828 225 7700 and I need to talk with you about Gina Smith. Please call today. I'll be available between three and five this afternoon. If my assistant tells you I'm on the phone, please ask her to interrupt me so I can take your call. My number is 828 225 7700."

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    Friday September 2, 2011

    Five Keys to Moving the Fence-Sitting Candidate

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    I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. I just left the third message for the candidate without a getting a single call back. He had a great background and the first time I talked with him two weeks ago he said there were some pretty important issues motivating him to consider other things. Just last week he seemed interested in my client's opportunity, but I feared that the fear of change had taken him out of play. Finally, with my timing just right and the planets in proper alignment, I made one last call and caught him at his desk as he was on his way out the door. Employers call me!.jpg

    I told him that my client wanted to meet with him for an interview. He responded by saying the three words that every recruiter fears to hear: "I've been thinking. . ." Anytime I hear a candidate say they've been thinking, it usually means that they want to withdraw their candidacy. Then they usually end this sentence saying "thank you" the same way I thank a cop for giving me a speeding ticket.

    But I did it. I was able to turn him around. This is what I said:

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    Wednesday August 3, 2011

    Critical Points After the Interview

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    In addition to a thorough interview debrief where you ask good questions to ascertain the interest level of both parties, pay attention to:

    1. After the interview, who called whom? I recommend telling candidates: "Let's touch base later in the afternoon after the interview. That's because I want to hear your perspective first before I talk to my client, so I can find out if you felt they had concerns and see how you want to proceed. Make sure you take my cell number with you to the interview so we can talk afterward." Always give people a reason why they should comply to your requests. Don't just say "call me back". Tell them why.

    2. How quickly did they respond? If the candidate/client didn't call you and you have to reach out to them, how quickly do they return your call? Is it just a few minutes or hours? Or do you have to leave another message two days later just to get feedback? If it's the latter, then you have some serious concerns to deal with. If it's a deviation from their normal 'call back' pattern, then this is a clear indication that something has changed in the process. Maybe they are considering a counteroffer or have received another call from a competitor about an opportunity. Or maybe they are dodging you because they like you and they don't want to hurt your feelings by telling you that they aren't interested in the job. Or maybe they were in a car accident and are in the hospital. You don't know for sure and you shouldn't make assumptions. But what you do know is that you have given clear direction to someone who just went on an interview and they are not complying with the ground rules that you hopefully laid out earlier in the process. You can't and shouldn't jump to conclusions. Keep an open mind to what's going on. But know that you have reasons to be cautious and concerned until you get more information that tells you how to steer the direction of your deal.

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    Thursday May 19, 2011

    Tools of the Trade: Verifying Current Employment

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    A recurring issue in any past employment check is sensitivity about contacting the current employer. A current employer should NOT be contacted unless the applicant specifically gives permission.

    The reason is that some employers, who upon learning a current employee is looking, will immediately take steps to terminate the employee. This is especially true for positions of greater responsibility where the applicant may have access to customer lists or trade secrets. In some industries, within minutes of learning an employee is actively looking for a new position, the current employer will have Security box up the employee's personal items, confiscate all computers and disks, turn off all access to any computer systems, deactivate the parking permit and building access code, and have the person physically escorted off the premises with a last paycheck.

    If such a hasty departure is caused by a phone call by the prospective new employer, and the job offer does not come through, the applicant is left without a job and free to contemplate whether they should visit a lawyer.

    In order to avoid this, here is a simple two-step program--

    1. On the application, make sure there is a box some place in large enough letters asking an applicant, "May we contact your current employer?"

    2. Do NOT call the current employer unless the applicant has clearly marked the "Yes" Box. If the applicant failed to check either box, then do not call until that is clarified. Anything other than a clear indication of YES can create problems.

    If the employer still needs to verify the current employment, there are three options for doing so...

    1. Ask the applicant for the name of a past supervisor or co-worker who is no longer working with the applicant at the current place of employment. (Again, if there is any question about the authenticity of the supplied name, the employer can call and verify the ex-employee did in fact work at the current workplace).

    2. Ask the applicant to bring in W-2's for each year of work, or at least the full past year.

    3. Wait until after the employee is hired to call the past employer, providing the hire is subject to a written offer letter that clearly states continued employment is conditioned upon a background screening report that is satisfactory to the employer. Once the new employee comes aboard, there can be a final phone call. By making current employment part of the written offer letter, an applicant has a powerful incentive to be accurate about his or her current employment situation, since any false or misleading statement or omission will have serious consequences. It is also important to say the screening report must be "satisfactory to the employer" in order to not get into a debate with an applicant/new employee about what is, or is not, a satisfactory screening report.

    -Lester S. Rosen

    President of Employment Screening Resources

    (c)by Lester S. Rosen

    Thursday May 5, 2011

    Salary Scripts for Candidates

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    I recently led a class called, "End Game: the final critical stage in getting your candidates hired" and one of the things I discussed was providing your candidates with exact scripts for their interview process. The topic where this is most relevant is the question of salary. You want to be sure that your candidates memorize their answer to this employer question, "What are you looking for in terms of salary"?

    Here are 2 possible answers (the first one I heard from Peter Leffkowitz): Salary Tips.jpg

    A.) "Yes, money is one reason I'm here today, but more importantly, I am here about the opportunity. If you have an interest in me, I would like to entertain your strongest offer."

    B.) "I'm currently making ______; I would be in the market for a fair and reasonable increase on my salary."

    It is well worth your time to role play this with your candidates. Before you offer them a script, ask how they were planning to answer that question. Chances are that their answer, and their delivery, will make you very nervous. Spend a few minutes with them so that their answer to this important question will sound crisp and confident.

    You Don't Have to Do "Your Best"

    I once read a quote somewhere that went something like this:

    "The axiom that says, 'Nothing avails but perfection' can be spelled p-a-r-a-l-y-s-i-s." Something we've all been bred to believe is that you must always "do your best." In theory it sounds like a good thing to say to a child but, I'm not so sure it is always useful.

    For instance, in my work with recruiters and owners I have found that they spend way too much time beating up on themselves about all of the things they are not doing correctly on a regular basis. If this led to positive change, that would be fine. But, this tendency often leads to "phone fear" and procrastination.

    I'd like to suggest that you don't have to always do "your best." If you did your best every day, that would mean that you would need to make more calls today than ever before- and you would have to make even more tomorrow. These would need to be your "best" marketing calls ever and of course tomorrow; they would need to be even better.

    You don't have to make your "best" marketing call ever - just make the damn call. Then make another one. And another. Better to keep an even keel and do consistently good work than to get stressed out and hung up on always doing "your best".

    - Gary Stauble

    Gary Stauble is the Principal Consultant for The "Recruiting Lab". He offers several Free Special Reports on his website including, "$1 Million Time Management". Get your copies now at His new website is called, "Done By Noon" and is focused on Time Management & Lifestyle Design training. You can get his new Report, "3 No B.S. Strategies for Increasing Productivity" at www.DoneByNoon

    Friday March 25, 2011

    One Little Question

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    One little question is all it takes to keep your deal from exploding at the last minute.

    The candidate has spent the last week meeting with your client, and it looks like a placement will result. Yes, they've fallen in love. Don't go buy that boat yet. That little red light on your phone means there's a voice mail message waiting for you from the candidate. You listen to the message and you can barely hear the candidate's voice because of the 'Thu-Thump, Thu-Thump' from your heart. The adrenaline rushes throughout your body as you feel the tinge of anxiety when you listen to your candidate telling you he's backing out at the final hour.

    Thumbnail image for check mark.jpg This is how they usually say it, "Hey, um, I've been thinking. Um, I just, um, wanted to tell you that I can't take the job right now. But thanks for all your help."

    Here's what you should have asked the candidate in the beginning of the process to keep him from backing out:

    "Is there anything keeping you from going forward and making a move in the next thirty to ninety days?"

    Ask this question before you put the candidate in the process. When you put a specific short-fused timeline in the question, it focuses the candidate's mind on his calendar and helps him really understand that this move could take place. By giving a timeline in the question it helps him understand that it's a real situation.

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