Can we agree that time is our most important commodity? More time is wasted on bad job orders than any other aspect of our business. What determines a good job order? Below are concepts, suggestions and questions to help you evaluate the investment of your time!

  1. Engaged. No doubt the best search is engaged right? I would argue… usually but not all the time. If you ask for a 5K engagement fee then are committed to follow through to eternity then 5K is not enough. Qualify the opportunity and be thoughtful before you get engaged. If the search is equivalent to solving a problem that can’t be solved then you likely are wearing the proverbial albatross. These words have always stuck with me. “Be careful what you start. It is ten times harder to get out of something than it is to start.” This applies to most everything including your cable television.
  2. Exclusive. If the client is unable or unwilling to pay an engagement/commitment feel. It is difficult to sell the engagement fee unless you are speaking to an executive hiring manager, owner or a top HR person. If your client is a corporate recruiter, generalist or HR Manager (maybe any manager) level then it is most likely that your request for a retainer will go no-where. When they say no to the retainer then ask for the exclusive. It is human tendency to not want to say no twice in a row. I think everyone understands if you commit your time then there is some reciprocal due from the client. This is the natural law of reciprocity. If your client doesn’t respect your time then they probably should be fired.
  3. Another way to gain commitment…ask for a “Cancellation Fee”. This is a (20-25% fee similar to an engagement fee). This is a fee that would be charged to the client if they decide, for any reason, not to fill the position. If your client doesn’t feel you are owed anything for tons of work and effort then why are you committing to fill it? Remember your time is valuable. If you don’t respect your time then you won’t be able to sell it as value.
  4. How long as the position been open? If the position has been open for a long time then be sure to understand the true reason before committing your time to solve the problem.
  5. What has been done on the search thus far? I know you get this one.
  6. What happens if the position is not filled? The best job orders have some inherent pressure for them to be filled. Actual replacement born job orders are better! Confidential replacements, new positions, succession plan hires have a tendency to be slow and it becomes hard to hold good candidates. It is important to explain to the client the dynamics of the candidate market and the need to move quickly or we will lose the candidate.
  7. Any reason that you may not follow through to completion on this search? Ask open ended questions to gain a deeper understanding.
  8. Are you continuing to pursue candidates on your own? What are you doing to attract? If you are competing against your client then you need to understand your competition.
  9. What are the steps in the hiring process? The client will understand the need to tell you something if they see value exchanged by handing over the information. Explain in detail to help clients gain an understanding around candidate experience and how the process of moving in sync with the expectation of the candidate will make a better impression and more likely lead to success.
  10. Continue to qualify the job order as you work it. If you are struggling to get traction with a job then ask the client if you should continue to spend priority time on this search? They will likely get back to you if something has changed.
  11. Explain the need for urgency. The onus is on you to consult and explain that candidates are getting multiple offers and counter offers so the need is critical to make the right impression with a good candidate experience and a competitive compensation package.
  12. Be clear with client on candidate pay expectations. Clients naturally are thinking about internal issues like budgets, compensation ranges, pay equity, compression or other factors and they may need to be reminded that the candidate needs a specific number to accept.
  13. Pay discussion with client and candidates should start early and continue through process. This should be an ongoing conversation with the candidate through the process so that when you get to offer state it is an uncomfortable topic. If you don’t bring this up early and often with the candidates then he/she won’t let you into the conversation at offer stage. Reciprocity – you need to build trust with the candidate on this subject prior to any offer being made.
  14. Invest smaller amounts of time on many B or C orders. B and C orders referring to those situations where you are neither engaged nor exclusive. The requirements might be difficult to find – aka purple squirrels or jobs that have already been advertised and worked by recruiters. The data shows (I recently heard this from Big Biller Sean Gill) that you have around a 15 percent chance of filling a straight contingent search versus 90 percent filling an engaged search. Someone is filling these harder to fill positions. Understand that if you are going to work on “non-currency” type positions then you need to have 10-15 of these jobs on your desk. Your desk might include 3 A orders and then a dash board of another dozen where you can seek candidates without a commitment. The key to working on many jobs is working on one at a time or two if they share a similar spec. Focused attention is always more effective than being too scattered.
  15. Job Order Assortment = bigger numbers. The biggest billers are able to manage their time effectively to focus the majority of time on engaged or exclusive assignments while taking shots at other contingent searches. If you have a first send out goal of 12 (first interviews) for the month then perhaps 4 of them might be targeted referrals on continent searches. This gives you an eight send out goal on your engaged/exclusive jobs. The difference between a good and great year are often found in these “long shots” that you are adding into your send out mix.
  16. Many different ways to work within NPAworldwide effectively. One of those ways is to partner with fellow members and work on those engaged or exclusive assignments. The role might require you to get some help within a specific industry or location. You might want to insure success by adding the capability of a partner into the mix. You can also use NPAworldwide as that additional dashboard to gain those additional “targeted referral” send outs. The more jobs that you see the more likely you will be able to connect one of your candidates.
  17. Many ways NOT to work NPAworldwide. Don’t invest a great deal of time on a job that you have not qualified with the job owner member. If you are an exporter then you want to invest your time appropriately. If you are an importer then you want to be sure not to waste the time of a fellow member.

    Don’t post a candidate or job order that is not “owned” by you. As an example don’t post a candidate or share candidates as referrals if they are already a split from another recruiter or VMS. It is also against the by-laws of NPAworldwide to post positions from Bounty or Job Scout. If you are looking to do a split with an NPAworldwide partner on a VMS or similar position then it must be disclosed with the partner at the onset. It is required to have a relationship with the client or candidate to represent them in the network. This is obviously the only way to operate in a “quality desk” as well. The deeper your relationship with the client or candidate the less time you will waste. Deeper relationships also drive quality and value for everyone involved.

Hopefully some of these ideas hit home. Remember it is not “what you know” but “what you do” that matters!

Have a great August – Happy Hunting.