QUESTION: I have been developing our recruiters and not been getting the my desired result. They are not motivated, and except in isolated instances, the team is not getting the quantifiable information that you would have on a search assignment form. Is it me in the delivery of our training, or is some people just do not get it, or are they refusing to do the work? – Jim, Dallas, TX

ANSWER: I would say it is both. I used to live in a world of “if it’s to be, it’s up to me” and whenever someone on my team was not producing, my immature self used to say, they just do not get it and then there was no accountability or responsibility on my part.  

I am not saying that is not the case here, Jim, because there are people that do not get it.  But if I start there, there is no room for personal growth and there is no area for me to expand personally. Ask yourself this question, “What is in me that I am bringing these results?”.


One, if they are not successfully gathering all of the necessary information on a search, set up an appointment with you or your partner to take a search with them sitting there, and they should treat it as a lead because they are not taking that search. This is what I did with new people, not to shame them, but I did not start where they were taking the whole search because taking a search is an art form. I do not care if they come from the niche. 

People with less than eight months of experience never took a search. They set up an appointment with me, or as we evolved as a firm we had team leaders and they set up an appointment with the team leader.  

It might not be them, it is just in the moment of taking a search, there is so much going on emotionally, and there are so many thoughts racing around your head.  For those of you who have been in the business a long we take for granted how much we have evolved. One of the ways I think I added value to my team was I helped them evolve quicker because I did some of the heavy lifting for them early, and I do not mean making the calls. I mean taking the result of that call that was something that could be viable, a search or even a candidate, and taking that, maybe a weak job order and making it a search, taking that candidate who was teetering and making it somebody we could set up and get an offer accepted on. That is the art form of the business.  

For those of you who are leaders, what I would recommend with new recruiter is to have them take what I call a 4-point job order by asking these specific questions: 

  • What is the background?  
  • What are the duties and responsibilities?  
  • What are a couple selling points?  

Train your new recruiters to ask in much more sophisticated ways, and then at the end of that call, they would say something to the effect of, “This sounds like this is a fantastic opportunity for someone and we realize in this economy, (this could be a recession or like the economy we are in now which is really good), each incremental hire or each replacement hire, (whatever it is), is more important than ever and my gut feeling is you probably cannot afford to mess this one up”.  That is a leading answer. They will reply, “Absolutely,  we cannot afford to mess this up”.  

From there the new recruiter will say: “With all our new clients, Mr. or Ms. Prospect, we connect them with Mike Gionta, our Managing Director, who has spent 10, 20 years in the industry building teams in the XYZ space. Looking at Mike’s calendar, he is available tomorrow at ____ or Monday at _____. What time would be best for us to have that call Mike so he can do a deep dive diagnostic on this opportunity. Whether you choose to use us or not, (because they have not quoted fee – make sure they do not quote fee), you are going to come away with three or four ideas that will increase the likelihood of you attracting the best available person on the market. Looking at your calendar which time is the best for you?”  The recruiter sets up an appointment and you take the search.  

What I really liked about this process that I was not anticipating, was when my new recruiter has this lead and they are all excited because this might be one of their first searches, and I could not let them down. We might disqualify a prospect because I could not convince them to work in a way that was profitable, but I could not take shortcuts on that call. Every once in a while you take shortcuts, but if I have an eager new recruiter in front of me, I am going to be “on” because I know they are listening to every word and if I take shortcuts all I am doing is training them to take shortcuts.   

Here is the other thing I used to do with recruiters and maybe you have already done this, Jim.  

I would tell the recruiter that their search is incomplete and unacceptable, and point out the questions we need the answers to.  

When the recruiter says, “I cannot believe you are making me call back”.  

I would said, “I would understand if I had not gone over this with you several times already”.  

“Well, what if I do no get a hold of them?”  

“If you do not get a hold of them, they are not going to return your calls when you have a candidate anyway”.  That is really the harsher way to go at it, but nonetheless effect.