July 17, 2018

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Fewer Sendouts, More Placements

First-level interviews are the lifeblood of our business. Without send outs, you can't make placements. And so it would seem logical that the more people you send out, the greater your number of placements.

But is this calculus accurate? The short answer is no. If it were, every recruiter’s sendout-to-placement ratio would be the same. But it's not. For every Recruiter A who makes a placement for every three sendouts, there's a Recruiter B who needs 10 or 15 sendouts to close a deal.

Quality is for Amateurs

When I was a branch manager for Spherion, I supervised a recruiter named Rich, who in our first quarter together had 34 sendouts. Now, you would think that 34 sendouts would result in at least a couple of placements. But unfortunately, Rich had exactly zero placements to show for all his hard work.

As a manager, my first instinct was to look at Rich's send out activity through a "quality" lens. Perhaps he didn't screen his candidates, or exert enough control. Or, maybe the offers were too low.

But then I asked Rich a key question: How many different jobs did he send those 34 different candidates to? The answer solved the riddle behind Rich's failure to make a placement. As it turned out, each sendout Rich arranged was with a different company.

Now it all made sense. If you think about it, every hiring manager will interview multiple candidates. Let's pick a nice, round number, like five. Some of the people you're aware of, and others, like internal referrals, you're not.

So, if the manager's going to consider five people, and only one of them has been presented by you, your odds of making a placement are one in five, or 20 percent. And your odds don't improve if you multiply the number of jobs you're working on. In each situation, your odds are stuck at 20 percent.

And so it was with Rich. Every job order he worked on had an 80 percent chance of failure.

Action-Hero Mentality

Now, let's suppose you change tactics and send five candidates to interview for the same position with a single company. What are your odds? Assuming the job you're trying to fill is realistic and worthy of your efforts, the odds are one hundred percent. Same candidates, same skills, same position. The only difference is the context. But it's a huge difference.

I used to think that I was so superior in my sourcing, recruiting and closing skills that I could overcome all odds, no matter how much they were stacked against me. But I quickly learned that only in a Chuck Norris movie does the hero go up against five attackers and not get his butt kicked.

The first rule of survival is not necessarily to be better than your competition, but to improve your odds by avoiding them altogether.

Bill Radin

Bill Radin is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, tapes and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction. Bill’s extensive experience makes him an ideal source of techniques, methods and ideas for rookies who want to master the fundamentals—or veterans ready to jump to a higher level of success. more immune to future recessions.