How to Handle New Recruiters that are Underperforming

QUESTION: We have an employee that just started with us a few months ago and is drastically underperforming. We compensate our recruiters primarily on salary with little commission. She lost her brother and her father is likely to pass very soon. We are considering offering her a month to month paid leave to allow her to deal with personal life. How would you handle the situation?  – Julie

ANSWER: First of all, when I see a recruiter is drastically underperforming, I always point to the manager or to you Julie as the owner. What I would just challenge you to do is, I would not do it now . . . my gosh, it is a horrible situation, but if that is what she wants, let her do it.  

One in 20 people that you hire, straight commission, full salary, salary and commission, whatever, will meet or exceed your expectations without you holding them accountable.  

If these lines have gone through your head if you have ever hired a recruiter – I just cannot find any good people, there are no good people in my metro area, the culture of the area. We heard the other day from a prospect and a lot of people are on federal or state aid and there is just not a good work ethic. Blah, blah, blah. I am going to say, it is you, it is you, it is you in every one of those situations.  

I have been consulting now and coaching for 10 years. Every one of those situations where somebody had that complaint, when I asked them to tell me exactly, specifically, and precisely what your expectation system is when you set the interviews, tell me exactly how you follow through, and tell me what your accountability system and onboarding system is when you onboard them. They have none in the former and they have none in the latter. 

If they have an expectation system, they put numbers out and they do not hold them accountable to it. There are no consequences for not hitting the numbers, and it becomes this perennial turnover mill that people make it.  

What happens is the 1 in 20 that do make it, 3, 4, or 5 years down the road have figured it out, probably even if you are a great mentor, have figured out how to do this business and what they say, is, well, geez, John’s a great guy, Mary’s a great owner. I have taken it as far as I can with them, and I want to go off on my own.  

So I did not mean to beat you up, Julie. I am just reading between the lines. This was me from 1990 to 1998 or 1999. It took me 9 years for the light to go on too. When I finally started to figure this out, we shifted and we went from a few hundred thousand a year to millions a year. 

The difference was the way I looked at the business. Two things, one, for those of you who have followed me a while, one was becoming much, much more of a trusted advisor and really holding the ground on getting retainers and engagements. The other one was holding people rigidly accountable to certain metrics that I knew would make them succeed and being okay with them not liking me necessarily every day. I was okay if they hated me. I used to say that they can hate me all the way to the bank.  

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