I have a plan to hire a few new recruiters early in 2024. Should I hire somebody with experience? That’s part one of the question. And second, no matter who I hire, how do I get them productive quickly? -Jeff
The Debate: Experienced vs. New Recruiters
My experience at my firm and my experience with my clients is that experienced recruiters who end up underperforming are really good at interviewing and telling you why it was the owner’s fault that they weren’t successful. So, The philosophy we teach, Jeff, is that you’re better off training a new recruiter than retraining an old one.
Cultivating a Culture of Productivity
You want to create a culture of productivity. Unfortunately, most recruiters don’t talk to more than three or four people a day, which is unacceptable. Even people with great relationships will struggle to create sustained success with so little activity.
I don’t care how old they are; I’ve hired people from 21 to 65. As recruiters, age never dictated their success. Their passion to make something happen in their career and their life did.
Key Interview Strategies for Identifying Top Recruiting Talent
Crafting Impactful Interview Questions
First, a great question is: What do you want to make happen in your career that you’ve been stuck with or unable to create so far? What we’re looking for is control over their destiny.
For example, I remember I hesitated to hire the candidate because he had a straight salary job with a small bonus working for a great company. It just doesn’t pass the test of reason. You’ll have to take a $10,000 cut in salary.
I’ll get you to that income level with commissions and beyond next year. Please help me understand why you would quit a job with such security. I knew, but I wanted to see the candidate’s reaction.
I will never forget. He turned red and said, I worked my butt off last year, and I got a 3% raise. The guy sitting next to me always goofed off and barely finished his job. I’m going to give you one guess, Mike. The size of his raise check was 3%. He goes, yep. It does not pay me there to work harder. I am hearing from you, Mike, that if I do what you tell me, I can make X amount. I’m like, yep. That’s why.
After his first year, he did $350,000 to $500,000 in production every year. In sum, that is what you are looking for, a desire to make something happen.
Assessing Candidate Potential Beyond Experience
Why is the income was significant? Because a lot of people say they want to make more money, but I want to know precisely why.
Let’s say they are making $50,000 a year now and want to make $75,000. Maybe they want to make $100,000. What are they going to do with the extra? Where does an additional $10,000 or $20,000 that you are going to earn net of taxes, where does it go? What are you using it for? Income is like a thermostat. If they do not have specific allocations for additional income, when they hit the $50,000 mark, they’ve created a certain level of warmth, and the furnace goes off.
That is an area to dig. It is why I loved hiring and had the most success with people without experience. I set very rigid expectations and boundaries around what it would take to be successful in my firm.
How Do You Get New Recruiters Up and Running Quickly?
Structuring Your Training Approach
One, I find most recruiting firm owners over-train early on. We would start recruiters with a day and a half of training and a few videos on approaching a candidate. I would have them focus on the candidate side or the business development side only, one or the other, most on the candidate side doing recruiting.
I put them on an opening. It is not a search or a retainer. It is probably a class B- opening. I am not responsible for filling it. Subsequently, I would actually tell the hiring manager I put the new person on something that is not exclusive because, one, the new hire might quit or the new hire might not be able to produce candidates quickly enough in their first few weeks to warrant what an engaged or an exclusive would bring. It is a great training ground for new people. You will make some placements on some of these searches without the accountability to the client.
Most recruiting firm owners are reluctant to hire somebody and put them on a search because they go, well, I cannot put them on any of my good stuff. I’m like, no, you should not. Conversely, you should put them on something that is B-, a hiring manager contact, decent fee. I am less concerned about the fee and more about the hiring manager’s contact for the training purposes of the new recruiter.
Defining Clear Performance Goals
Next, this is almost mandatory. You tell the new hire to make 15 conversations daily (they have to hit 15 or be fired). If you put them on the business development side, it is with prospects. If it is on the candidate side, it is with candidates.
You might say, Mike, that is just unrealistic. Here is my data. We have clients doing it this month with new hires. It is getting them set up right, having a researcher dig up and create some lists for them, and having lists for them to call so they are not going through LinkedIn profiles. Within my client base and my firm, I never had someone hit 15 conversations a day and fail. I’ll say that again – I never had somebody hit 15 conversations a day and fail.
Now, I have had people hit 15 conversations a day, stay with me for 3 to 6 months, make a couple of placements, and quit because they did not like the job.
Setting and Managing Expectations
Here is where I see managers fail. Someone comes in at 13, and you’re like, oh, geez, Bob, really good start. And they say, oh, I’ll do better tomorrow. There is just this friendly conversation around it. I promise you, 9 out of 10 times, the person that hits 13 and they were not held accountable is 12 or less, and then they end up within a week it is 6, and then they are struggling to survive.
People leave because they are not making any money, and it is water torture because they’re extending their period of failure. The 15 a day is getting failure out of their system. Reps, reps, reps is where we get better. Whether you are a baseball player at a batting cage, a golfer at the driving range, or a swimmer taking laps, we get better in reps. The more they hear no and pivot those conversations, the more they overcome objections, the quicker they develop their skill. Fifteen conversations a day build good discipline.
Again, when I interview them, Jeff, I say, if we come together, you have to agree to do exactly, specifically, and precisely what I tell you to do, and one of those things will be 15 conversations a day. If they have no recruiting experience, they have no idea what I am talking about. If they have no recruiting experience, they are not prejudiced.
Balancing Theory and Practical Skills
Many people ask me if the 15 calls a day are for forever. No. Once they are up and running and producing candidates consistently, meaning they can arrange 2 to 4 interviews per week with their candidates, then I hold them accountable for the number of candidate submittals that I set up on interviews. Unless they start missing the candidate submission goal, I back off the presentation count.
You might think of this as micromanagement. Hiring seven people to keep one, which was the old model, is much more time-consuming than having a 20-minute accountability meeting every morning where you ask, how many presentations did you make? At 14 or below, I’m like, if you do this again, you will not continue here. At 15 and above, what did you do to hit that? What do you need from me to support you in doing that again today or tomorrow?
The last part in getting them up and productive quickly is not their first week, but in their second week, you start listening to bits – not the entire- but bits of 2 or 3 calls per day. 80% to 90% of the problems that recruiters have with a candidate conversation usually occur in the first 3 minutes. Usually, they did not hear something the candidate said. They did not ask a tough enough question. They stayed married to a presentation on an opportunity without listening to the candidate. Again, if you have been around the business, you all know what those situations are.
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
It’s the exact, step-by-step process of getting clients to give you money upfront. https://get.therecruiteru.com/lm
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. https://www.facebook.com/groups/there…
3. Join me at our next event
3x a year, I run a 3-day virtual intensive, sharing the 9 key areas that drive a 7-figure search firm. Click here to check out the dates of our upcoming event. https://get.therecruiteru.com/live
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. https://get.therecruiteru.com/scale-now