July 16, 2018

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Fewer Jobs, More Placements

I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but I’ve found that you can actually make more placements by limiting or even reducing the number of jobs you try to fill.

But in order to pull off this little hat trick, you’ll need to strike a balance between coverage and capacity. The term “coverage” refers to two complementary metrics:

  1. the number of sendouts you can arrange per job; and

  2. the percentage of interviews you get credit for.

For example, my sendout number per job is somewhere between three and five. And since I work on an exclusive basis, 100 percent of the candidates are referred by me.

Of course, you don’t need a retained contract to achieve exclusivity. You can achieve a de facto exclusive by scheduling three to five sendouts within a short time frame. That way, you can monopolize the candidate flow and ensure that one of your candidates gets the job.

That means if you’re working on a qualified job—that is, one in which the employer has reasonable expectations and a sense of urgency—and you’ve presented most or all of the candidates interviewing for the position, you’ve got a high level of coverage.

And by extension, an excellent chance of making a placement.

But of course, you can’t make a living filling one job a year. So,

you look for other jobs to work on. But how many? Let’s suppose a hiring manager sends you an email requesting your help in filling 12 new positions.

Careful What You Wish For

Now the question is: Do you have the capacity to find and send out the 30, 40 or 50 candidates you need to adequately cover all 12 jobs?

Well, that depends. Some recruiters have ample resources to cover 12 jobs at one time. They work in teams, or have researchers or sourcers to locate candidates and assistants to schedule interviews.

But if you lack these types of resources to draw from, you’ll more than likely fall into the capacity trap that hijacks most recruiters:

The temptation to work on too many jobs without the time or resources to provide sufficient coverage for each and every one.

The more your resources are stretched, the more likely it is that you’ll spread yourself too thin and not cover your jobs, which drives up the odds against your filling the position.

For me, it would be impossible to work on more than two or three jobs at once, unless there were duplications or overlaps.

Not only do I lack the resources, but I suffer from ASD, or attention surplus disorder, a condition that makes me focus compulsively on one thing at a time.

Whenever I hear a recruiter complain that there’s a shortage of candidates, I ask how many jobs they’re working on. Chances are, they’re spinning their wheels on too many jobs at once, which drains their resources and mental concentration.

However, by committing your full capacity to cover a select few jobs of the highest quality, you’ll lower your level of frustration, increase your placement odds and boost productivity. My guess is, if there are 10 jobs on your desk, seven or eight of them will end up wasting your time.

- 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