QUESTION: I am an experienced recruiter, but I am starting from the beginning.  My motivation and results are terrible.  What are basic metrics for a desk, i.e. number of calls to a search assignment or job order, retained, and then telephone interview, face to face to placement.  Tom

ANSWER: I would use 8 to 1 as a first time interview to placement ratio.  You can look at the types of job orders you have been taking to figure out what an average fee might be or you total up the number of placements you made this year, total dollars divided by the placement, that is your average fee.  That is where I would start.  Be conservative.

Right now it is taking anywhere from 10 to 15 phone conversations (not return emails), to hiring managers to get 1 assignment that you can work.  When it comes to recruit presentations to a first time interview, I have seen anywhere from 6 to 23.  So if you are newer or getting back in, it is probably going to be closer to the 20s.  Where I see people at 5 or 6, and that is candidate conversations to a person that goes on a face-to-face interview, is somebody who has really been dialed into their niche for a long time and those are the extremes.

What I would really do if you are struggling, if you lack motivation, and again feed off the first couple questions, really get clear.  Eliminate the word realistic.  I do not know if $300,000 is realistic.  I am telling you $300,000 for any solo operator, even if I were to open up a firm again and hire a brand new guy or gal, I could get them to $300,000, if they wanted it, in their first year.  I imagine, just reading between the lines, if that were you, you would be pretty motivated.  But you need to uncover what that motivation is.

Those are the key metrics I would focus on and what I would do is I would get your activity to a minimum of 12 conversations per day.  I really push for 15, but a minimum of 12 and here is why.  You start talking to 12 people a day, even when people are not hiring or not moving, you are going to start getting a bunch of conversations with –

Hey, no, not now.

Hey, thanks for calling me.  Give me a call in a month.

Give me a call next quarter.

We are going to need this.  We are going to need that.

It is going to build momentum.  Right now my gut feeling is when I get a question like this, I am pretty sure you are working at really low activity level and that low activity level is just torture in this business.  My gut feeling is you are talking to any from 1 to 4 people a day.  The easiest way out of that is high activity.  It is unpleasant to start.  Just do it one call at a time.  Just engage people at a much deeper level, but I gave you some key metrics to get results.