QUESTION: How does a small firm owner who is also running a desk make the time to listen to new recruiter recorded calls, especially if the owner hires two recruiters at once?  – Tom, Denver, CO

ANSWER: Great question.  I did not listen to all their calls, you simply do not have time to listen to all their calls.  I would sit down at 8:00 in the morning when it is quiet because for me that was the time of day when I had the energy to really coach and train.  To do this at the end of the day, I was exhausted, I was not thinking straight, and I did not enjoy it.  On the flip side, I enjoyed doing it in the morning.  So when I say I did it in the morning, it is because that is when mentally I was sharpest and simultaneously there were the fewest distractions.

If I have two recruiters, I bring them both into the room.  In an office environment, they would record their calls in our system and it went to their voicemail.  They would forward the voicemail to the conference room, because there is no conference room person, the voicemails were only those that people were forwarding.

I hit play the next day and I could see this was Johnny’s call.  I would let the person talk for like 30 seconds and I would say, “Hey, Johnny, what do you think happened on this call?”

Oh, this is the individual I talked to and they have been with the company eight years and they were not going anywhere.

At least I had a little bit of a pretext, and then I would listen and I could coach.  I might skip a couple calls and I would listen to Mary’s call.  Usually I kept the session to about a half an hour.

I did not listen to the entire call, meaning if they spent 30 minutes taking a data sheet I do not listen to the whole 30 minutes.  The biggest thing I really wanted to listen to was the first 5, 7, 10 minutes top, usually first 5 minutes of the call, which is when most new recruiters are ineffective, meaning they are waiting for that candidate to scream at them, get me out of here.

Even though we do not teach that and you are not going to train that, they are looking for the people that already know when you call them that they are ready to make a change versus finding and uncovering a passive candidate, maybe not even completely conscious awareness of the warts with their current opportunity.  As Peter Leffkowitz talks about of his career wounds and what are some of the minor imperfections going on in your current assignment.  Tell me more about those.  What are some of the things if you could fix them if you were president of the company for a day?  What are some of the things you would change in your organization?  Those are going to be the elements you can expand upon.

I am looking for how they handled that and how they went into that transition or did they just abandon people that said I am happy right now.  How did they handle that?  That is where generally 80% to 90% of the deficit of a new recruiter is, the inability to work with somebody that is passive to uncover that they are probably not as passive as they thought they were.

With two people, the meeting would be 8:00 to 8:30 or 8:45 tops everyday, then leave me alone until 11:45 because 99% of your questions can wait until 11:45 for me to answer them.  If they are with you for a month or two and there is a call coming in for a debrief, that is the interruption I want.  If something literally catches on fire, that is the interruption I want.  I used to say this is my office – I am easily distracted when I was on a desk.  I am still easily distracted.  Leave me alone.  Save your questions and at 8:00 in the morning they could ask them.  They could ask them right before lunch.  They could ask them right after lunch.  They could check in with me around 3:30 or 4:00 until through the end of the day when I was huddling up with other team members, but for the most part it is just structuring your day and creating some boundaries.

When you do that, by the way, to your question of training two people, if I am coaching Johnny, Mary is benefiting because she is encountering the same thing and vice versa.  When I am coaching Mary, Johnny is benefiting.  Then after two or three weeks of this process, what happened when I listened to the call I would ask Mary her thoughts on what Johnny could have done better and ask Johnny the same question of Mary.  With my observation of what did pick up as a coach and that is how you can go a little bit deeper with that too.  Great question.