Metrics for New Recruiting Account Executives

QUESTION: Mike, what activity recommendations would you have for a new account executive who has no previous recruiting experience and then contrasting that with one that comes with recruiting experience, but in both cases would have to build their database pipeline.  This would be based on their first 13 weeks.  Looking for suggestions on both scenarios.  I realize you advise to start with a recruiting coordinator first, but sometimes there are exceptions. – Mark, Orlando, FL

ANSWER: This is a great question because there are multiple answers here.  One, if you hire someone with previous recruiting experience and as you are outlining they are starting off from scratch, you want to set very rigid expectations in the interview process.  I know this was not part of your question, but very rigid expectations in the interview process of what you are going to expect of them when they start and using the numbers we will talk about is important.

If the new hire is starting from a dead start, they should pretty much have the same requirements as a new person because if they are coming in from a dead start, they have no preps, no debriefs, no closes their first couple weeks.  They may evolve much quicker into a zone where they are doing a lot of the stuff traditional recruiters are doing when they establish – preps, debriefs, followup, all that other stuff which will lower the expectations.

When I brought new recruiters on, it was mostly in the scenario of recruiting coordinator.  For those of you who do not know that term, that meant they worked on either my desk simply doing candidate fulfillment of my existing job orders or a team leader’s, and that is where we brought probably 80% to 90% of the new recruiters on.

We did hire people as 360 recruiters to establish a new desk specialty in our office. When we did this, we set very rigid expectations with them.

In both scenarios, experienced or not experienced, for the first 30 days I would have them do a combined minimum of 12 presentations a day.  The definition of a presentation is a live phone contact with somebody in a position to make a decision.

When a recruiter is brand, brand new, my gut feeling is they are not going to have any assignments to work on so you are going to have them talk to 12 hiring managers a day.  The result of the conversation could be I have no need for you, go away, you stink, and they hang up on you.  That is one call, albeit not a quality call.  It is simply a live contact with a director, VP, or manager, not their admin and it is not a voicemail.

You asked one question – how many dials?  I tell them I really do not care.  Whatever it takes to get to 12.  So Mark, if you were coming to work for me and you asked me that question – how many dials do I have to make?  I would say, you know Mark, if you can figure out a way to talk to 12 hiring managers a day making 12 phone calls I am totally cool with that.  Because I want to get their focus off the things that really do not matter.  I might tell them to get to that it could take 75 to 100 outbound calls, depending upon the niche.  It is guidance, but I am not really going to measure that.

How many presentations?  Now, initially it is 12.  Then when you determined with them that they have something that is searchable, it still stays at 12 and the marketing should never stop.  If you have a half a million dollars in retained business, the marketing should never stop.  Maybe it goes down to 1 or 2 presentations a day, but it should never stop.

The best time to market is when you do not need the business.  You are going to be so much better as a negotiator.  You are going to present your services with so much more confidence, and you are going to have the ability to walk away because during that marketing call you are probably a little stressed out about the searches that you have not processed that you have to get to.  So I would keep the number at 12, again, in both scenarios, experienced and unexperienced for 30 to 60 days, at least at 12 because they need to be in a ramp up mode the volume.

The new recruiter needs the volume to get the experience, and the experienced recruiter needs the volume to get business flowing quickly.  An experienced recruiter left to their own devices, (I have tracked this for years now with client companies) are going to settle in around 3 to 5 if you let them.  They are going to tell you about all the time they have to spend on LinkedIn and checking all the stuff on the web.  It is totally untrue.  I have done it.  I have done it with clients now.  I have done it with dozens and dozens of offices – 12 minimum.  If they do 11, you have to call them out on it because they failed.  I am just being that direct with it.

How many datasheets, resumes?  I stop measuring datasheets and resumes because for years we did measure it, and I would actually run contests on getting more resumes and guess what we got – more datasheets and resumes.  Guess what we did not get – that many more send outs.  Resumes and datasheets are not predictors of placements.  A lot of time, recruiters, especially new ones, get a small sense of security when they are bringing in resumes.  I am not going to discourage them from bringing in resumes and datasheets on candidates.  But I do not want to say I need you to get me 5 resumes or 10 resumes this week because it takes their focus off converting that candidate into somebody that is interested in a job you have open right now.

Job orders.  Figure out this ratio.  In this economy right now, depending on the desk specialty, for newer recruiters, not tenured, it is probably 15 to 25 marketing presentations to get an assignment that you are going to want to work on.  If you track metrics pretty rigidly, you probably have an idea to give an educated guess until you get really clear on that.  I usually like to see newer recruiter secure 1 job order a week, 3 job orders every 2 weeks, after their first couple weeks.

How many first time interviews?  Their first couple weeks I do not really expect any.  I want to start looking for maybe one a week in week 4, 5, or 6.  If I can get them to 1 a week starting in their 4th week and averaging that. While you might say this sounds really low, but honestly, if you can get them to one a week at weeks 4 through say 8 or 9, and then to get them to three interviews every two weeks after week 9, you are doing great.  That is the expectation I would set with them.

You just coach them on the number of recruit presentations.  An experienced recruiter is probably going to take 15 to 20 candidate conversations to get one person on an interview.  A brand new recruiter is going to take 40 to 45 candidate conversations to get one person to go on an interview, because they do not know what they do not know.  So I might even lighten up a little bit on the new recruiter.

That is weeks 1 through 13.  After the week 13 mark with your experienced recruiter, I am going to measure their metrics and if it takes them 12 people, 12 candidate conversations to get an interview and your goal is to get 2 interviews a week because that is what they need to bill, well then they only have to talk to 25 or 30 candidates a week.

Going forward I always set the goals with experienced recruiters based on what their current metrics are.  With a new recruiter I would not come off that 12 a day even after week 13.

To answer the last part of the question.  If you get the interview activity that we just described, that should engineer a placement in 90 to 120 days.  The caution I would give is you cannot focus on making placements because we do not control placements.

I had people that came out of the gates phenomenally, and for whatever reason, some of my best recruiters, longest term billers, well over $1 million in lifetime revenue, $1 million, $2 million, and $3 million had slow starts, not activity wise.  They were doing the activity, they were getting assignments, they were arranging interviews, and the deals were not coming together, even with my coaching.  You know what, sometimes it is just the way the business works.  So if you get a recruiter who is arranging an interview or two interviews every week, legitimately, and you are listening in on those debrief calls and they are doing a lot of the things right, I will stick with that person six months without a placement.  It does not happen that often.

The reverse is the recruiter with very low activity levels and let us say they arrange two interviews in three months, which is wretched, and one of those candidates gets hired.  That is possible.  That is not a good hire unless you turn that activity around.  If this recruiter is arranging an interview a week in their 2nd month and continues on doing like 3 interviews every 2 weeks, or 3 interviews every 3 weeks combined, or 4 interviews every 3 weeks, and you see that activity building and they have not made a placement, I would coach you to be very patient with that person.  Thank you for the excellent question.