QUESTION: Regarding contractors, would you say that positioning is similar to pitching for permanent staffers and what would be your suggestions? – Nathan

ANSWER: I could provide a 3-day seminar on selling contract recruiting. In one word, Nathan, I would recommend you eliminate from your vocabulary is the word “pitching.” When you pitch, you talk at the client. You are not doing anything wrong, A lot of people use it, I did too when I started in my sales career.  

I cannot persuade or influence you, Nathan, on anything in your personal or professional life if I cannot find and identify what it is you want and need in your personal or professional life or whatever my solution is. In the context of recruiting, you cannot pitch a retainer. I cannot simply say, here are 17 wonderful reasons to work for me and have that be persuasive most of the time. Everything works once in a while. 

To sell a retainer requires an in depth diagnostic process.   

To your question, Nathan, contractors is a different sale because selling permanent placement is a lot about becoming a trusted advisor, getting in depth with the hiring manager, finding out what his or her needs are in detail, what the role is going to do, what are the consequences if the position is not filled, what are the outcome goals for the position.  

In contractor, they need to know, like, and trust you, but in contracting it is about to speed to hire most of the time, meaning – Do you have a human being with these 7 skills that we can get on here in the next week or so?  

The winners of the contracting game, again, it is not that they are not trusted advisors, it is they have inventory. If you have somebody that wants to work a contract job, you could market him or her and say, look, I have identified somebody with these wonderful skills that is looking to work on a project.  

Contracting and permanent place are so different. In contracting, for the most part, to be successful consistently in it requires some inventory of human beings, by the way, that want to do contracting. They have to either be available . . . you are not going to recruit somebody out of a full-time job to go work on something for 3 months without any further guarantees most of the time.