June 23, 2018

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How to Get Your Recruiters to Bill More

I get so tired convincing recruiters to become successful. You either want it badly or you don’t. If you don’t want it badly enough, then step aside so everyone else can pass you.

Success in recruiting is based on a whole lot of desire and a little bit of talent. The problem with many training models that are held up as high achievement is that they are based on the talent of the trainer and not the system behind it.

I’m not good at too many things in life, but there is one thing that has always been a strength. Whether it’s counting cards in blackjack when the MIT blackjack team alumni mentored me, or when I play poker at a semi-professional level, I look for trends, patterns and systems. I observe, synthesize and pick apart a complex situation and put it back together into an organized and systemic approach, and then I can teach that to others who want to learn it. That means that I can see precisely why someone is successful, and I can dissect and reverse-engineer that success into a step-by-step model that nearly anyone can replicate. Step one, step two, step three, congratulations, you made a placement. I try to teach the business like a paint-by-the-numbers kit. Just follow the formula and you will be successful.

This is how search firms can rapidly gain traction in growing the skills of their recruiters. This is based on the Ray Kroc / McDonald’s model of franchising. Success is not found in the quality of the ingredients but in the system behind it. You need some quality ingredients, but the focus is on the quality system of how you dish it out.

My entire training model is based on this. Last week I was conducting in-office training for senior recruiters of a very successful and tenured search firm. Even at this higher level of training for big billers, the focus is on systems involved in improving strategy, personal development, personal mastery, and a heightened skill of attracting others to them. We discussed a formulaic approach to all these things. Even if something is categorized as a ‘soft skill’, there is still a systemic approach to improving in that area.

Follow these five steps steps to increasing the success of recruiters in your office:

1. Document your process. Create a series of documents that describe your entire recruiting process; and then for each significant sub-step, document that also. When I was a 24 year-old management consultant as a naval officer, I studied and also taught the management concepts of W. Edwards Deming. Deming was the pioneer of the quality movement, and many of my recruiter training concepts are based on what he taught in terms of statistical process control, meaning how things are measured. If something is measured you can improve it. Start with understanding your very own process by flowing it out. Even though seemingly obvious, you need to study it.

2. Give attention to those recruiters who train on their own. Spend time developing those recruiters who are reading and taking recruiter courses on their own time. Those are the ones who want to win more than the others, so this is where you spend your time. Invest in them. Ask them this question: “Is there anything I can do to help you become more successful as a recruiter?”

3. Prepare a quarterly training curriculum. Each quarter, create a list of topics for your team. This is how I do it, and you can use this as a template for creating a curriculum in your office. Each week since 2009, I have delivered a different program for members of my coaching club. I have tried very hard not to repeat topics. This forces me to go deeper and shed some learning light into the dark depths of our business, and it has heightened my own skills in recruiting, client development personal performance, and deal management. Because I am on the hook to add value to the coaching club members each week, I learn new things about it, even after twenty years of “making the same damn call” over and over again. As a result, I am more excited about our profession than ever, and it certainly reflects in my own billings. You will see this as well, if you take the time to go deeper and deeper into understanding what our business is about and how to achieve great things in it.

Whenever you teach something, you learn it. You will see an increased level of your own performance when you teach your recruiters. Further, share in the responsibilities with others in your office. Each month, assign training of four topics to a different person. Give them the responsibility to teach others. The possibilities are endless.

4. Go deep. Go deeper on what might normally be considered rote learning. For example, beyond the basic and elementary topic of “how to make a recruiting call” you can go deeper on this one topic by learning:

-how to make first contact

-how to get through the gatekeeper

-how to leave a voice mail that gets returned

-how to overcome “I’m happy”

-how to get intelligence on other opportunities

-how to open up the mind of a candidate

-how to turn a recruiting call into a client development call

-how to get referrals to active candidates

-how to get referrals to passive candidates

From this one topic, you can develop nine other programs. You can spend a lifetime learning our business and still never know it all.

5. Document one thing you learn every day. Four years ago, after I had been training for about eight years, I changed my thinking from the perspective of a trainer to that of a student. I learn something new every day. I even document what I learn each day on my Telephone Discipline tool sheet and save those in a folder. (find it here --> I look at them from time to time and see blind spots of the same mistakes I am making over and over again, and this gives me data on where I need to improve.

Remember, burning desire will always outperform natural talent, as long as someone is willing to put in the time to shore up deficits and get better with their skills.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Love

Scott Love is a leading authority in the field of executive search and high level selling. In addition to working as a high-stakes headhunter for Washington law firms, he is a popular keynote speaker at sales meetings for all types of recruiting and sales organizations. Companies that want more influence with prospects hire him to speak at their sales meetings and conventions. To learn more how you can gain more influence with high-level clients, visit his website at