Ask Barb

Let’s work together this coming year, to break Production and Profit Records
in your Office!

Q. Can you send me some questions you use when interviewing to hire new recruiters for your office to determine if this candidate is the right choice? I just can’t afford to make the wrong hire again. I have heard you suggest we bring a prospective person in and have them make calls. How can you do that with someone who has no knowledge of our industry? Cheryl M., Akron OH

A. You need to develop a very specific hiring process for your office. I think the greatest problem is owners try to MAKE someone in to a Top Producer – which is impossible! You need to HIRE Top Producers. Look at this individual’s past work history. If they WERE an overachiever they will REMAIN an overachiever for you! You can’t hire a DUCK and try to make them into an EAGLE. They like being a DUCK! The MOST IMPORTANT decisions you make are the PEOPLE you hire to work on your TEAM! The WHO is more important than the WHAT or WHEN! You also need to determine what your current team is LACKING. Do you need a pacesetter, a detail-oriented person, a steady-Eddy type of person? Review your current team and see what qualities you currently need for your office. Your interviewing process should include:

1. Determining exactly WHO you need

2. Detailed job description as well as a list of expectations you share with the prospective candidate

3. A set list of questions you ask this individual including the following six questions. (I actually ask twenty.)

How have your past job experiences prepared you directly or indirectly for this position? (Tests their knowledge of the job.)

How much time do you currently spend on the telephone? (Make sure you clarify INCOMING or OUTGOING calls – to test them for phone fear or a fear of cold calling.)

Give me an example of a time when you experienced rejection? (Tests their reaction to rejection.)

Describe the type of working environment you enjoy? (Does this describe your office environment?)

What are your weaknesses, and what have you done to improve them? (Can you live with their weaknesses? Are they working on them?)

How would this job help you attain your goals? (Do they see the connection between your job and their goals?)

If you don’t have an established list of questions, you will often end up hiring the candidate you “LIKE” vs. the candidate you “NEED!”

4. Bring the candidate in your office to “OBSERVE” your current sales team during prime time. Instruct your team to make recruiting presentations. After 30-45 minutes of observing, bring this person in your office. Give them a list with names and phone numbers and a recruiting script. Role play with them for 20 minutes and then have them return to their desk and finish the list of calls. (Obviously someone on the floor is observing them for natural ability, phone fear, etc.) Tell them if they surface a candidate that you end up placing in a job, you will pay them a $500 referral bonus, even if you do not end up hiring them! (They need to understand the WIIFM.)

5. Thoroughly check references both business and personal. The beauty of a personal reference – there is NO FILTER!

If you want a detailed outline of my hiring process, go to and review my book “Attract, Hire, Train and Retain Eagles.”

Q. One of my recruiters gets your NO BS Newsletter and asked me to help him write his personal Business Plan. Quite frankly, I have never done that myself and can’t advise him. Did you mean for him to have input on the Business Plan for our office? Charlie P, Los Angeles, CA

A. I did suggest that recruiters write a personal Business Plan. They need to review 2006 and go into 2007 with a PLAN. You are getting this article in January and it is not too late to get this done. He should start out by asking himself three questions.

– What should I CONTINUE to do? (Activities that made money in 2006)
– What should I STOP doing? (Activities that did not make money)
– What should I START doing? (Changes needed to improve in 2007)

Reviewing the 80/20 rule is the next step. 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. This person needs to figure out the 20% that represents their greatest TALENTS and make more use of those specific talents in 2007.

If your recruiters were THRILLED with their W-2 for 2006 and are “financially free” they should keep doing things the same way they did in 2006. If not, they need to make CHANGES. There is also a significant difference between thinking you know the changes you need to make and actually knowing exactly what to change. There is a significant difference between superficial change and change on a CELLULAR LEVEL. It’s one thing to move the furniture around for a fresh new look; it’s quite another to rearrange your “DNA” for your eventual destiny. The STOP doing list can be the most difficult.

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After these reviews, your recruiters need to write down what their W-2 will read in 2007 and then figure out the production needed to attain that salary level.

The final step is a detailed ACTION PLAN/ BUSINESS PLAN for 2007 broken down monthly. What specific actions need to be accomplished in order to attain the goal?

It is a proven fact – The Law of Attraction – that when a person writes down their aspirations, envisions them as if they were already achieved and focuses on the end results, they have tremendously increased the possibility of attaining those goals! Tie that new revenue level into EXACTLY what that will provide … and just watch their production soar!

Q. I’m a member of Pinnacle and find your training creative and useful. You were my favorite trainer at Top Echelon. My goal in 2007 is to produce $1m for the first time in my career. If you could give me your best advice, what would it be? Jim R., Atlanta, GA

A. The great news is you are obviously very successful and know WHO to call and HOW to call. If you increase your personal stats by 10% across the board, you will enjoy amazing results.

As a top producer, you know your personal ratios and since recruiting is SALES, numbers don’t lie. If your send out to placement ratio is 3 to 1, if you increase your send outs by “3” every month – you will ensure yourself an additional placement.

You might want to hire an assistant to work 10 hours a week for $10 per hour for you. Delegate all the tasks you SHOULD NOT BE DOING to that person and spend that time utilizing your greatest talents. Again the 80/20 rule holds true. 20% of what you do provides you with 80% of your results. What are your greatest talents? How can you use those talents more? If you find yourself saying “I just don’t have time,” my response would be “hire a team” to help you. The first member of this team could be your $10 per hour assistant. This year, constantly ask yourself the following question “IS THIS THE BEST USE OF MY TIME?” and, if the answer is “NO,” delegate that task to someone else.

Envision yourself AS a Million Dollar Producer and also reflect on specifically what that would mean for you. One additional suggestion, figure out a way to “touch” your entire database, i.e., clients and candidates “automatically” to keep your name in front of them with good information. You want to become their #1 trusted adviser and always keep your name in front of them! Let me know when you hit $1m next year!

Q. You trainers make training sound so easy – it’s not! My bookcase is filed with Steve Finkel books, CDs, tapes and some of your stuff as well, but getting anyone to read them is a joke. Business is good but I know it could be better if they would try some new ideas. How do you teach these old dogs new tricks? My average guy has 10+ years with me. Paul S, Kansas City, MO

A. Congratulations on the tenure in your firm. You have to be doing something very right to have that type of retention in your office.

I don’t think training is easy – which is why I finally developed my Top Producer Tutor, which is an 80-day, web-based training program that literally took training off MY desk – and I’m a trainer. The Tutor has implementation and accountability built into the program so it guarantees 100% participation.

It doesn’t make any difference what type of training you offer – you do need to show your team how it will BENEFIT THEM, if they change. Ask them if they LOVED their W-2’s? Ask them if they would like to earn more money, be more successful, buy a new car, new house, etc.? Then share this one thing: “Insanity is doing the SAME THINGS and expecting DIFFERENT results.”

As an owner, I would suggest you put 5% in your BUDGET for training and then offer the training as a BENEFIT you provide! It’s amazing how Corporate America all have training budgets and less than 2% of all recruiting firms have a budget for training.

Old Dogs will learn New Tricks if they realize “WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM” if they learn the new tricks! If nothing else, have them sign up for my FREE Newsletter and the FREE Teleconferences I conduct each month. The materials are always on current trends and hot topics.

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email


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