June 21, 2018

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Overcome Self Sabotage

Self sabotage is a major problem in our industry (in our society at large) and from coaching and consulting to so many people in our industry, I’ve seen it even in some of the most remarkable people that I’ve encountered. It’s prevalent in our industry. I would recommend that you study this and help your staff overcome it. And even from my own experience, it’s something I personally have had to work on and continue to work on to this day.

I find it interesting that nearly all the other training for our industry focuses exclusively on the tactics of recruiting (market, sell, onboard client, recruit, qualify, present, overcome objections, close, follow up). I've certainly created programs that cover these tactical components of search and recruitment, and they are indeed important to master. But in my own opinion, I believe that this tactical knowledge contributes only about ten percent to your success. About fifteen percent of your success is based on work habits, about twenty five percent is based on strategy, and a full fifty percent of your success is based on how you think. That includes your self esteem, your self confidence, your beliefs, your perspective on solving problems, your ability to quickly recover from adversity, and your attitude and outlook.

So why is it that most owners and managers of search firms and staffing agencies spend all their training time and their entire training budget on the very thing that has the smallest contribution to performance improvement? I think it’s because they are managers and not trainers. They’ve never really thought about it from a trainer’s perspective. They just did what was done to them when they came in the business.

Adult education is a specialized field of knowledge. I first learned this from my dad, who was a professional corporate trainer for over three decades. The first time I started training was when I was a leadership trainer as a naval officer in the early 1990's. Teaching adults to learn and master a concept is a whole different ball of wax, to learn how to conceptualize key concepts of a subject and translate them and communicate them into step by step systems that are replicable among all levels.

As a professional trainer, one who teaches adults to master key concepts and make appropriate changes, I have to look at things with a critical eye and ask, ‘How can I communicate this so it gets people to improve their performance?’ And when I started asking that question about our industry, or more specifically, ‘How can I train recruiters and get them to bill more?’, the results and answers I came up with seemed counter intuitive. The mechanics of the business will only take your staff so far. If you want them to become mega-achievers in recruiting, you have to focus on the full picture of achievement.

Your people need the tactical knowledge of the business, certainly. But don’t neglect their own personal development. If you manage a team of recruiters, you have to help them grow their character. Remember this: Recruiting is a personal development opportunity disguised as a job. If you help them grow their character and their spirit, you’ll help them grow their production as well.


  1. Get small composition notebooks for each person. Tell them to journal for the month of February every day. Tell them to write down their achievements, their lessons learned, their frustrations, and even any personal issues that are bothering them. Don’t collect these of course. Let them keep them safely locked away. But the whole point is to help them develop their internal relationship. We spend so much time helping people to grow in their external relationships, but the internal one, the conversation that goes round and round in their head all day, needs to grow in a healthy way as well. You don't need to become their therapist and don't let conversations of morbid introspection start creeping into the sales meetings. But emotional intelligence is a leading indicator of success in the field of sales, and a journal is the first step to growing in that area.

  2. Get Rick Pitino’s book ‘Success is a Choice’ and have a book study in your office. Each week, read a chapter or two as a group. Assign one person each week to facilitate discussion on the chapter. Even have the rookies do this. Have them create handouts on what they learned and train others on it. Only when you teach people something do you really learn it. When you give it away, it becomes yours.

  3. Get intentional about training. You can have a budget of absolutely nothing and still make great strides. You can use my articles and free tools as a way to stimulate conversation in your office. They’re free and you can just take them off of my site at, click on the 'free downloads' section of the site. Also, subscribe to the podcasts and distribute them to your team. All of my podcasts are free.

  4. Get committed. Create an action plan and a curriculum for what you will cover each week until the end of the quarter.

  5. Monitor improvement. Keep records of the way your people have improved.

  6. Reward and celebrate. Congratulate your recruiter who make significant changes or achieved results in front of his peers. Always reprimand in private but recognize in public.

- Scott Love

Scott Love trains, motivates and inspires recruiters to achieve greatness in the profession. Visit his online recruiter training center for tips, tools, downloads, videos, articles, instruments and quizzes that can help you bill more. Sign up today for Scott's Online Recruiter Training Center subscription to receive a monthly training video, free training conference calls, free access to all his webinars, product discounts, access to Scott's question and answer forum and much more!

Copyright © 2010 Scott Love