July 18, 2018

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How to Prioritize Your Searches

One of the most vital skills that you can learn as a recruiter is how to zero in on those searches that give you the best chance of making a placement- and to only focus on them.

Is this a skill that takes time to master? No, you can learn it the first time you hear about it. Is this difficult to do? Not at all, it’s simply a matter of having a workable rating system and acting on it. Is it time consuming? Of course not, matter of fact it takes only about five minutes a day. But these five minutes can exponentially increase your billings. If you need help with time management, you can see a training tool that can help here.

A simple classification system: You’ve probably heard of the idea of classifying your searches as A, B or C. The purpose of this article is outline a simple set of steps that will make this classification system into more of a practical, day to day compass for you.

“A” searches have all three of the following components:

  1. Cooperation: The client returns calls within 48 hours and is open about all details of the search.

  2. Urgency: They need to get the search filled ASAP.

  3. Marketability: The position is attractive to candidates.

The search assignment white board: You need a system that makes it easy to prioritize your searches. The search assignment white board is simply a large dry erase board where you will write your current searches. The key is that you will visually represent them as either A, B or C.

Doing this will help you to remember that an A today could become a C tomorrow and vice versa. This board is a fluid, erasable, reminder for you and your team. Each morning, you should start your day by making any changes to the board based on new information.

The top left side of the board: This is for your “A” level searches. Put a big “A” in the top left hand side of the board.

These searches get the best level of service from you which includes:

  1. Original research, sourcing and name generation.

  2. A full database search

The top middle of the board: This is for your “B” level searches. Put a big “B” in the top middle section of the board. These searches are missing one of the three components of an “A” level search. These searches warrant a database search but you won’t do any original research on them.

The top right side of the board: This is for your “C” level searches. Put a big “C” in the top right section of the board. These searches are missing two or more of the three components of an “A” level search. These searches warrant neither a database search nor any original research.

Tell your clients about your board! This is a key step that many firms leave out. Now that you have your system for prioritizing your searches, you need to tell your clients about it. They need to know that you don’t treat all searches the same way. They need to know how they can get the best level of service from you.

Leaving out this step is one of the biggest reasons that many otherwise talented recruiters produce mediocre results. You don’t need to literally describe your board if you don’t want to, but communicate with your clients at the very front end of the process what you need from them in order to give them your best level of service.

The best five minutes of your day are those in which you will decide which searches will get your full attention. You now have the system for prioritizing. Why not spend the next five minutes looking at your current searches and giving them a letter grade? Then call your “B’s” and “C’s” and see if they would like to move into your “A team”.

- Gary Stauble

Gary Stauble is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists Firm Owners and Solo Recruiters in generating more profit in less time. His free monthly e-zine, “Creative Recruiting” will help you to attract premium clients, make more placements, and still be home in time for dinner. Subscribe today at There are also over 25 Free Special Reports online covering advanced marketing, firm management and recruiting best practices. For more information or to schedule a Business Checkup, visit the site or call 408-847-5049.