QUESTION: How do you onboard and train remote employees? – Robert

ANSWER: We have learned a lot about onboarding and training remote recruiters in the last year. Full disclosure, my recruiting firm was full brick and mortar, with 25 to 28 people recruiters working in cubicles. When I opened The RecruiterU and brought on our first salesperson, I am in Connecticut, and they were in San Diego. I had to become a remote trainer. This year we onboarded two new remote sales team members. 

The power of Zoom and other video conferencing software is that the onboarding process works the same. The lessons we learned in our own company and through our Boardroom clients is Zoom is a fantastic tool. It is not as good as being in person, but one of the benefits of onboarding somebody remotely is fewer interruptions.  

The way you onboard and train is similar to the way you would do it in person. My onboarding began with about two days of training strictly designed to get the new recruiter on the phone with candidates. Most everyone entered my firm with the role of sourcing candidates as the training ground. Then we expanded it into the full cycle. One should never hire a 360 recruiter cold out of the gate; it is too steep of a learning curve. We had all new hires source on openings, not our best openings, but nonexclusive contingency where we were not accountable to the client. We taught them just enough information to have an intelligent, all-question-based conversation with a candidate.  

The expectation, which works in this marketplace in every niche where the firm owner is committed to this process, is 15 candidate conversations each day. These are not voicemail, email, or text exchanges but 15 live conversations per day. The reason is I want a new person to fail quickly. They have to go through hundreds of conversations to become proficient. No one ever failed in my recruiting firm, and no one has failed as much as I have tracked it with our clients who have done 15 a day. Some have quit because they do not like it, but no one has ever felt that they have to fire a person.  

If I am training remotely and hold the new recruiter to 15 conversations a day, I need to make sure they have the research and access the database. Day 3 on the job will be their first day on the phone. Starting on Day 4, I will have a morning meeting at about 8:15 am my time.  The first week, I do not listen to their recorded calls. Instead, I ask about the people they took a partial assessment of. How do you think the call went? Where did the call break down? I coach them on some ways to go deeper on the next call. This meeting can be done via Zoom. 

You do not want to listen to their calls during the first week. You will just question your judgment.  

We use an IP-based phone system, so all the calls are automatically recorded. The laws about recording calls vary by state. Many states are one-party aware, meaning as long as your recruiter is aware of the recording, it is legal. I am not using these calls as evidence but for training purposes. Some phone systems will play an automatic recording station that the calls are recorded for training purposes.  

Starting week 2 with a training class, I start to listen to some of their calls. I do not listen to the whole call, but the first five to seven minutes. The reason being that calls with new people tend to break down in the first 5 minutes. During our meeting, I will play the call and hit pause, and coach. This training cadence for the next two months, every morning we are going over calls, and I am giving them no more than one or two suggestions on improvement. You might identify 10, but if you coach them to make ten improvements, you will overwhelm them, and they will not implement any. Find the most significant gap and then coach to that.  

Here is the other key – daily accountability. Fourteen conversations are a failure; fifteen is a success.  If they get 14 conversations for 2 or 3 days in a row, I fire them. You might say, how many times did you do that? I never had someone hit 14 for three days in a row. Usually, if somebody hits 12 on the first day, they think they had a pretty good day. I’ll reiterate that the expectation was 15, so 12 means as much to me as 0. 

I will coach them on information I get from the call report, such as ending their calls at 5:10. I will impress upon them that they had three more presentations and other time zones that stye could call. I also tell them that if it happens again, they are gone. Now, some of you might not be comfortable with that. I think in the ten years I did this, I only fired five people for that reason. People get the message, and it’s huge on ramping a recruiter up quickly.  

The other key is if I am training remotely, they cannot ping me every 37 seconds with a question because no question a new hire asks cannot wait a couple of hours to be answered. I tell them to write down their questions to prepare for our call right before lunch.  Then I have another session with them at the end of the day. Especially if you are running a desk, you do not want them every time they have a question on a candidate, taking you out of flow. I had those two times each day for Q&A. I was very clear on boundaries and how angry I would be if they did not respect the boundaries.  

Great question, Robert!  

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your recruitment business:

1. Grab a free copy of my Retainer Blueprint

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2. Join the Recruiter Think Tank and connect with firm owners who are scaling too It’s our Facebook community where smart recruiters learn to make more money and get more freedom.​​…

3. Join me at our next event

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4. Work with me and my team privately

And if you ever want to get some 1:1 help, we can jump on the phone for a quick call, and brainstorm how to get you more leads, more placements, and more time.​

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