QUESTION: I am a solo recruiter, and I am having some challenges when trying to plan out my day’s activities. I try to focus on the activities that are closest to the money first thing in the morning, so I have tried to split up my day doing some recruiting calls in the morning and then plan some business development calls for the afternoon. The problem is that I get on a roll or continually try to get on a roll with the recruiting calls and the business development calls do not quite get made. The business development calls do not become a priority until I realize that I am down to working on just a couple of searches or that I only have some weak searches left to work on. Do you have some suggestions on a good daily or weekly plan of activities? – Jeff
ANSWER: Jeff, the good news is that you are like 90% of all recruiters, myself included. I was taught and do not necessarily agree with this, marketing calls go first for the exact reason that when saved for last they do not happen.
This is just an educated guess, you are not sitting there on a roll making recruiting calls going, oh my gosh, I am not getting to marketing. You feel good. You are having fun conversations with candidates. The conversations with clients are easier than what you perceive to be (key thing is “perceive to be”), so the marketing calls do not get made until you very accurately said, until you need to.
The absolute best time to market is when you are overwhelmed with great searches because then you do not care. You talk to somebody and it is in the tone of your voice. When you market when you need openings, most of us in those situations will compromise fees, on conditions, on communication. When you do not need an opening, you can go, look, you know what, maybe I am not the best guy and if you are getting great results on these terms with the other recruiters, quite frankly, you do not need me.
How many times have you said that quite frankly, you just do not need me? If they say, you know, you are right, we do not and you feel like you lost something (I do not know where your mind is at), you just saved yourself days, weeks, if not months of agony. When you hear, so wait a minute, you do not want to work this? No, I would love to work on this, you are just not putting me in a situation where I can work this effectively. You are going to be much more comfortable having that if you know you have got three other searches you are going to work on because you do not need this person’s opening. They might be a great guy or gal to follow up with a month from now when they might really need you.
So what I am sensing here, Jeff, is you are avoiding doing what you know you need to do. If you are not going to do it first thing in the morning, then you need to say, because when you get on a roll I imagine you eat at some point in the day and if it is somewhere around 12:00 or 1:00 and you just say, the first thing I do when I come back from lunch is I am hitting this marketing list. Period. The exception is if you have a closing call.
The other thing I would do is really engineer how many openings you need per month to hit your financial goal. There is a metric for that. In the times when you do not need the work, you might only need to market a half hour or 45 minutes a day.
I was talking to a long-term client in a group coaching call recently about this same subject. I asked him if he could find 30 minutes a day for marketing. He was like, yea, I can, but that is not enough. He is doing incredibly well, but for months he has not found any time because all of his openings were calling. I said, start with a half hour because you are not even doing a half hour now. So depending on where you are at in the spectrum, Jeff, it has got to be booked in like you would book in an appointment with a doctor, like you would book in a physical appointment to go somewhere, and it is committing to it. It is that simple.