The longer you’ve been a recruiter, the harder it is to do it.
If you don’t believe me, just watch the rookies in your office pound the phones. They’re calling prospective clients and getting searches from those companies that the senior recruiters tagged as ‘uncooperative with recruiters’ in the database. They’re negotiating higher fees because they don’t know any better. They’re calling candidates that you have blacklisted as being uncooperative and are getting their resumes and are closing deals with them. They are making more calls than you are, and for what they lack in experience or communication skill they make up in enthusiasm and it works for them because as any sales pro will tell you, enthusiasm sells.
So how come this business seems so hard? Why is it that whenever I consult to search firms all over the country, the senior recruiters are the ones who seem to struggle the most? Is it because most sane people would have quit by then? Is it because the senior recruiters are more transparent and honest about their issues?
I think the reason this business seems to get harder the longer you’ve been in it is because it is built on the uncomfortable foundation of adversity.
This is what I mean. The single greatest core competency that you have as a recruiter is to get other people to do what you want them to do, but you have to do it in a way that is congruent with your value system and is in a way which provides genuine and authentic value to them.
When you do this, you are putting yourself in a situation of vulnerability, which means that if they choose not to comply, they reject you. And if they reject you, there is a sting of pain associated with it, and who wants to feel pain.
When we feel pain, we create a negative association with it and try to avoid it. So even on a subconscious level we tend to put off making those calls. We find other things to distract us that might seem like they are productive, but can easily be delegated because of the low skill level required to do them. A perfect example of this is ‘internet research’ and ‘social media’. The time of a top producer is spent in high value areas like building relationships, overcoming objections and concerns, moving people forward and closing deals. A lot of people in our industry think that internet research is a high value item but you can actually outsource that function (some firms hire companies offshore at rates of $ 4 per hour to do this instead of doing it themselves). You need to quit following the temptation of spending so much time on learning all the ways to build a list of passive candidates and start focusing on what’s going to create wealth in this business: your sales skills.
Low level work can be outsourced or delegated. High value work must be mastered. For you to overcome the sting of adversity as it relates to phone calls, you must do everything you can to master the phone.
Resilience is the key to building up the power and energy it takes to get on and stay on the phone. Here’s one tip that will help you with this: association. You need to associate positive energy to any result of any phone call. If the candidate screams at you that he is not interested, in your mind you say, ‘I’m glad I found out about that early in the process. He clearly disqualified himself early on. I’m happy not to waste any more time with him.’
Remember that you need to have a high level of expectation to everything you do, but maintain a low attachment to the result. If you can do this effectively, then the longer you have been in the business, the easier it will seem to do it well.
- Scott Love
Scott Love gives recruiters a step by step system that anyone can learn. If others can be successful in this business, so can you. As a consultant and trainer to the industry, Scott has helped organizations get better margins by improving their operational performance and client development strategies, and has helped recruiters to master the business and get better production with more peace of mind. Over 2,500 search firms and staffing agencies in sixteen countries have invested in their own performance improvement through his educational tools, seminars, consulting services, and training programs.
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Copyright © 2009 Scott Love