QUESTION: One of the things you have talked about regarding metrics is the importance of submittals and the submittal to first-time interview ratio. Can you more clearly define submittal, what the best ratio is, and why in that category?  – Eric

ANSWER: I am always happy to discuss metrics as I firmly believe that an understanding of metrics is the key to predictable revenue.  

What a submittal is not:  Hey, I saw you have this opening on a job board.  

What a submittal is:  You took the opening, defined the requirements with the employer. The client has agreed to pay your fee, and now you are submitting a candidate. That is the definition of a submittal.  

My perfect ratio is 3:2 meaning for every six candidates you submit, four of them will be interviewed. This is my perfect definition but does not have to be everybody’s.   

Many people will ask why not strive for a 1:1 ratio? Here is why a 3:2 ratio is important versus a 1:1 ratio. When you have a 1:1 submittal to interview ratio, you develop a kind of a God complex and risk losing deals. I had instances in my office where recruiters came into my office and they showed me a resume and say in disbelief that they cannot believe the client hired this person. My reply was always to confirm that we submitted the candidate. In these situations, my recruiter did not submit the candidate because they did not feel that they were good enough.  

Of course, you want to submit people who are qualified for the role, but you do not want to screen candidates so closely that you are attempting to make the hiring decision of your client. You will have candidates that are excellent, and then have candidates that on the cusp of what the client is looking for. 

When I submitted a candidate, and many times they were interviewed. This was achieved by sharing with the client what I loved about this individual. I would share where that candidate will excel at what they are looking for. I would also be transparent about any potential weaknesses. This strategy is powerful for two reasons.  

One, if the client passes on the I submitted candidate, but change their mind later, I am on record as being the recruiter that submitted them.  

Two, if the client interviews the candidate and choose not to pursue them, the feedback you will usually get is confirmation that the candidate was really strong in A and B, and a weak in C. That client may not have the capabilities in the company to get that candidate up to speed, which is a perfectly valid reason to pass on that person.  

Another critical piece of the submittal to interview ratio puzzle is your negotiation of the submittal communication process. Clients are very quick to ask for resumes and make decisions on whom to interview solely based upon the resume. Part of that negotiation is to gain commitment from the client that once you submit a candidate that they will have a two- or three-minute conversation to allow you to defend each candidate. That way you can help the client see the candidate for who they are in addition to their appearance on paper.  

Why is this so important? A strong submittal process is key to getting more interviews. First time interviews are the predictive nature of your revenue. If your ratio is 8:1, which is the norm for most contingency recruiters, using this process could potentially net two additional interviews per month. That means every four months you can potentially make an extra placement for the same amount of work.  

To summarize, most recruiters do not gain commitment and set an expectation in the submittal process. Submittal and interview ratios at 2:1, 2.5:1, or 3:1 is way too high. It shows me you are either sending over bad candidates or you did not negotiate a good communication process to get the candidate interviewed.  

My promise to you, if you take advantage of this technique, is you are going to get more interviews for the same amount of time you have already invested in the search, and if you can get one more interview a month, you will make an extra placement and a half every year, almost two placements a year just from refining your communication process.  This is why it is so important.  

Fantastic question.  I really appreciate you asking it.

Photo by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash