QUESTION: My questions are about most placeable candidate (MPC) calls.  How many MPC calls should I market at one time in order to generate 2 exclusive searches a week?  How many clients should be on my list for MPC?  How often do you recommend calls and emails per client contact and over what time frame? – Mark, Georgia

ANSWER: How many MPC calls should you market at one time in order to generate two exclusive searches a week?  This would depend upon your business; if you are a solo recruiter or have an office.  If it is just you, could you tackle eight or nine searches a month?  Can you do fulfillment if it is exclusive searches a week?  If you are a recruiting firm owner, then yes, as you probably have a team.  If you are solo recruiter, I am not sure if that is the right number.

I do not know how many MPCs, but can give you some numbers, metrics wise, that you can reverse engineer.  Depending upon the effectiveness of your email is going to be the effectiveness of your response rate.  I have clients in more technical desks getting anywhere from a 10% up to a 30% or 40% response rate.  That does not mean a response rate of yes, we are dying to use you.  It might mean, no needs now, thanks for getting a hold of us or we do not use recruiters.

Then converting those inquiries, if you are doing it via email, into phone conversations, that metrics depends on desk specialties.  If you said oil and gas right now, what do I need to get 2 new oil and gas exclusive searches per week?  You might need to talk to 150 hiring managers.  If you are in some forms of technology, construction, or things like that, you might only have to talk to 30 per week.  It is about 15 to 1 for an assignment.

Clients do not just give exclusives, you have to earn them through the quality of your questioning.  If you say, I talked to 30 a week and I only got 3 all month.  Well, what levels were you talking to and are you doing the call effectively?  To get an exclusive, you probably need 25 marketing conversations.  So that is the first question and that completely depends on desk specialties and the quality of the questions you ask, NOT the quality of the statements you make.

How many clients should be on my list for MPC?

This is a huge debate with a lot of my coaching clients. The most common question asked from my coaching clients when they start doing MPC marketing, especially via email, is that same question.  So it is a great question and I apologize it is more than you were looking for.

This is another case of “it depends,” and here is why.  There are certain types of MPCs where you find and identify a candidate who is simply outstanding and what I call walking money. This means the candidate, based on the demand for them in the marketplace right now, if I found 10 or 15 companies where he or she was perfect for, I could probably arrange a few interviews and one of those companies would hire them.  So that is an incredibly sharp shooter type targeted market approach.  If I had the benefit of somebody like that, my personal philosophy is MPCs is that it is like horseshoes and hand grenades.  I want to be anything remotely close, so generally when I marketed an MPC on my desk I did it to hundreds.

Was that MPC appropriate for all of them?  No.  But I was vague enough in the communication about the person’s background so that they were close and they were not a total misfit either.  That way if someone fully unveiled the candidate’s background that I was talking about to the client I was talking to, the client would not say, what are you nuts Mike?  This person is not even close.  They were all close.  The whole goal for me in marketing these people was the ability to engage a hiring manager in an educated conversation about his or her needs and their company’s growth.  I got my foot in the door with somebody that was real.  By the way, my candidates were almost real, always available, and were in a position to make a change.  But a lot of times when I was talking to somebody I would say . . .

You know what, thanks for the conversation.  Based on your description, this person probably does not have enough of ____ to be a perfect fit and I do not want to waste your time by sending over their resume or arranging an interview, but why not tell me more about what you are looking for.

Switch to the job order.  So when you find somebody with a truly outstanding background, you want to use those as a vehicle to get into as many prospects as you can.

For example, I have seen MPC emails and MPC presentations where someone says I have recently uncovered somebody in Boston that does specifically this type of widget with this type of 3 degrees of this and 4 degrees of that.  Well, anyone that does not need someone in Boston immediately does not even pay attention.  You do not get a reply to it.  If it is on the phone what you are going to hear is, I do not need that, versus where is this person even based?  When you hear where is the person based, it has got to be a trigger, right that they need somebody somewhere, and my response was where do you need somebody?  Answer a question with a question as often as possible.

So to answer your question Mark, and it is a great question, is as many as possible, as many as is close.

The third part of your question . . .  How often do you recommend calls and emails per client contact and over what time frame?

If I talk to a vice president who had a team of one salesperson, I am going to contact him maybe a couple times a year to see if he is going to “double his head count” to two.

You might talk to a vice president who has 4 area directors and each area director has a team of 5 people.  I want to talk to that person every month.  I do not care if they say the have no plans for hiring.  If they have a sphere of influence of 20 people, with turnover in sales at 15% to 20%, he is going to have statistically 1 or 2 openings per year just from turnover, even if their business plans do not change and they do not add anybody.

A lot of time if they do not have any now, depending on how good you are asking qualifying questions on the call with them, they could just be telling you no, we have no hiring plans in the hopes that you do not follow up with them.  They are not going to remember if they said, we are not going to hire all year long, do not call me back because we are not going no need anybody.  If you call that person that had a sphere of influence of 20 people, he or she is not going to remember that they told you not to call them back.

How do I know?  I did it thousands of times and never got called out on it.  My return calls really depended on the client company’s hiring manager sphere of influence over the quantity of people he could hire.  It sounds like an advanced algebra equation, does it not?  The more people on that person’s team, the more frequently I stayed in touch with them.

Another way to stay in touch with them, which I highly recommend in this day and age, is hire a ghostwriter.  Start publishing a couple articles a month to your entire list to stay on top of their mind.  We have a bunch of clients that subscribe to our service.  It is how I built my entire coaching business.

There are ways to go about that.  I am not suggesting you write the articles. I strongly suggest you hire a freelance writer to create content on topics such as hiring, leadership, managing, Gen X versus Gen Y versus baby boomer, etc.  Really anything along the topics of hiring and nurturing human capital is going to be of interest to them.  It will position you as a subject matter expert, and is a way to stay in touch with massive amounts of prospects in between phone calls.  If there are certain people on your prospect list based on that timing I gave you of maybe you are going to follow up with this one once a quarter or once every 4 months, well if 2 weeks after or a month after you talked to them somebody quits and you are not in the top of their mind because you are not really in a deep enough relationship with them, if you have had an email to back up their memory of you it increases the likelihood that they might call you.