Question: “My question is about getting new clients and motivating a team that has deals falling through, HR interference, jobs on hold, candidates not showing up at the start after they accepted offers, etc.” – Joe

Understanding the Challenge: Acquiring New Clients and Motivating Teams

Answer: That is a great question. Getting new clients and motivating a team with deals falling through are two different things.

Key Strategies for Recruiter Success

One, getting new clients is metrics. If they are existing recruiters and they are struggling, I will ask them what they want; I will ask them how badly they want it.

Because we know in this market, a somewhat tenured recruiter without many call-in job orders, today it is about 11 to 13 marketing conversations to get a client with a job you work on, not any random opening, a decent quality opening. If they are working contingency on a ratio of 4:1, they need a job order a week, and they need to talk to probably three people a day, and I am going to get their commitment on that. I am going to hold them accountable to that.

Overcoming Challenges in Recruiting

Deals falling through and HR interference is a process and a system problem, not a recruiter problem. If a deal is falling through, it all comes back to the first candidate conversation. This is where recruiters get lazy, or there is simply no system in place in the company to limit candidate fall off.

Our System: A Proven Process for Reducing Candidate Fall-Off

In our company, when you were talking to a candidate, we had this process of they could say no until they say yes. You could say to me, Mike, no, I do not want to go on the interview. You could say, Mike, I do not know. Mike, I do not want to go on the second interview. Mike, I do not want to go on the third interview. No, I do not want to take the offer.

Ensuring Candidate Commitment

But here is the agreement. We talk to each other within 24 hours of either one of us leaving a message. If I leave a text, you can text me back. If I text you to call me, you agree to call me because I do not want to call you in a compromised place. Will you commit to returning my calls within 24 hours?

You can always tell me no. Silence tells me. Silence means no to me, and I pull you from a process. You can tell me, Mike, this is not my #1 opportunity. You can tell me it is 3rd on your list. I respect that. You are the one, Mr. or Ms. Candidate, who has to want the job, but me not knowing is a hard no, and I pull you from the process. Is that fair?

Establishing Candidate Boundaries

I am doing this before I have ever set them up on an interview. I am creating a boundary and setting expectations. Our firm will do this at no charge to you. We will introduce you to a company, give you insights into the opportunity, and set you up to win the interview. If you do everything the right way and are the best-qualified person, it is your decision at the end of the process for a yes or no.

I get their agreement on that. If they fall out, and many candidates will fall out of that, you do not say, oh, I know you were busy, and it is okay. You are out of integrity with your agreement. Are you going to stay in integrity in your agreement going forward?

Holding Candidate Boundaries

Because you had the opportunity when we started working together, Mr. or Ms. Candidate, 24-hour turnaround on feedback, keeping you posted as we go along the process. That is not acceptable to me. That is not how I work. It is not how I work with my clients. It is not how we create agreements with great candidates and great clients. You are totally within your rights as a human being to reject my proposal but do not accept my proposal and then dishonor these expectations as we go forward. That is how you bring them back in alignment.

If they go, look, I changed my mind; I do not really want to honor that. Then, I am pulling you from the process. It takes some guts. When I started doing things like that, my billings doubled and tripled because I was not dealing with tire kickers. People respect firm boundaries. The problem is most recruiters have expectations, but they have never verbalized them to a candidate. Then, they are frustrated when the candidate does not follow through on the recruiter’s visualized expectations.

Earlier in my career, a friend and a teacher taught me that if you do not have a process for selling, you are subject to your buyer’s resistance to buying.

The Definition of Acceptance: Setting Clear Expectations with Candidates

That applies to both the candidate side and the client side. There is a process of selling to a candidate. If you do not have a process for selling to them and setting expectations, you are subject to their system for how they are going to accept an offer, which goes right down to not showing up at the start after accepting an offer. We had a process, which I gave you the beginning of. You can say no until you say yes. At the yes is the definition of acceptance.

Minimizing the Opportunity for Counteroffers and Fall Off with a Defined System

When we were in the interview process with somebody, we said, probably at the first interview, when you go on the interview, here is my definition of acceptance at the end of the process. Our job, Mr. or Ms. Candidate, is that you and I go through this journey together and uncover all the information you need for this to be a hell yes or a hell no.

Yes, I will be disappointed if you got to the point of an offer, and it was a hell no. But it is your life. You have to go and work there. The great news is I am going to have backups. So, it has got to be a hell yes. I am going to be checking in with you throughout the process. Is this enough information to be a hell yes? If not, what is missing for this to be a hell yes?

If you get to the end of the process, at the end of the interview process, and they say it is a hell yes, we had a definition of hell yes, and we covered all this in detail, again, earlier on in the process, that they agreed not to take a counteroffer, and they had fail safes for them built into that.

The definition of acceptance and hell yes was that once they said hell yes, they would turn down any other offer from any other opportunity they sought. If the hell yes was contingent on them finding out about another offer, they had to do that before they gave the hell yes.

Firm Wide Metrics With a Successful System

Does that eliminate counteroffers and falloffs? No. Because people lie. But it minimized them. When we were doing over $3 million a year as a firm, the average fee at that time was about $22,500, so about 130 placements, 3 were in the category of not showing up or accepting a counteroffer. In 2 out of those 3 situations, our process broke down. I had candidates that I thought, this person wants a job so badly, I can take some shortcuts. Not every time, but when I took shortcuts, I got burned. Generally, there will be 1 or 2 liars, and we would have 1 or 2 process-oriented ones where we were flawed.

Creating Your System: Building a Successful Recruiting Process

I would challenge you, Joe, to put in a system and a process so that your recruiters do similar things every step of the way to ensure the inventory that gets placed shows up for work. Again, we are leaving our candidates in choice. This is not about being militant. The recruiter cannot have a slipshod process either and expect things to go through.

If you need help with that, and for any of you who are looking for systems and a process on that, email and say, what would putting systems like this in my office look like? How can you help us put those things in place as a company?

Additionally, we are about to start a 3 Day Challenge called Time Management for Recruiters so you can Discover How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Make 2024 Your Best Year Ever… to Build a Plan and put these things in place, so you have a super strong start to 2024. 

That is running January 16-18th from 12-3 PM ET. It is loaded with action. But don’t wait, this is a live, virtual event and seats are limited! Click here to save yours!

A great question, Joe. I appreciate you asking it!