Ask Barb

Q. I’m writing to you out of pure frustration. Our company has been sold and now we only have ownership of our candidates for 90 days. Everyone knows this is a candidate-driven marketplace and top talent is difficult to recruit. If I don’t place a candidate I have recruited in 90 days, anyone in my office can place this person and I get nothing. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to discuss this with our new owner (who has no experience in the recruiting profession) and he accused me of being territorial. I’d love to know the “norm” when it comes to candidate ownership.
Lisa S., Canton, OH

A. It is a candidate-driven marketplace, and you are correct when you say it is difficult to identify top talent. There is tremendous work that goes into identifying and recruiting candidates. With long interviewing processes, it can often take more than 90 days to place an MPC (most placeable candidate). Recruiting firms are, for the most part, owned by entrepreneurs who are in business to make a profit. Most recruiting and staffing firms actually place less than 5% of the candidates they represent. This 90-day policy would promote marketing this candidate to prospective clients and a sense of urgency to match and book this person. If you want to approach your owner, you need to show how a change in this policy would benefit him and help the company make higher profits. Most owners get frustrated when experienced recruiters have hundreds of candidates they claim they own, but are not actively working. Most firms have some type of time frame for candidate ownership to prevent this from happening. With this candidate-driven marketplace, top talent is “off the market” quickly.

Q. I attended the Top Echelon Conference and thoroughly enjoyed your Owners Session. I’ve lost many hours of sleep since the conference and wanted to ask you what you meant by keeping proper records for a corporation. I file an annual report each year, but I’m not sure if that is sufficient. You kept referring to “Piercing the Corporate Veil,” which is why I’m asking this question. I’m being sued and after hearing you, I’m very concerned that this company could come after me personally.
Concerned Top Echelon Member

A. It is important that you have minutes that acknowledge all major events, purchases, and changes that occur in your business. If you decide to lease a car, that needs to be included in your corporate minutes. If you elect different officers, that needs to be reflected in your corporate minutes. If your minutes are not current, a lawyer could prove that you are not properly functioning as a corporation and could go after you personally. If you have a corporate credit card, you cannot make personal purchases with this card. If you have more than one company, you should have a separate credit card for each corporate entity. Personal expenses should be charged on a personal card, NOT a business credit card. You cannot commingle business and personal expenses.

If you have a Sam’s Club or Costco membership, you need to separate your business expenses from your personal ones. I personally check out of Costco twice, once for my home, once for my business. It is critically important that you keep your corporate records detailed and current. If you want the name of a company that can update your corporate records, email my office and we can provide a referral for you! Proper corporate and accounting records can make or break your business. You can email me at Please put FORDYCE LETTER in the subject line. Keeping records current is not optional, it’s mandatory.

Q. I heard you at a recent conference and you made the statement “If you are your company, you have just bought yourself a job.” I don’t agree with you. I work from home, I make a great living, and I don’t have the hassles of the owners who are babysitting with their employees. I’m incorporated and I do have a business!
Jennifer H., Clearwater, FL

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A. I’d just like to ask you two questions:
1. What would happen to your business if you could not work for the next six months?
2. What is your Exit Plan – Your Financial Freedom Day?

The test of a business is whether it is an entity that can operate successfully if you are there or not! Many individuals in our profession are sole operators who plan to earn as much as they can, and when they decide to quit working, they close their doors. There are pluses and minuses to this type of arrangement. The primary issue is that you only make money if you are working. You do not have a team of people helping you generate sales. I’ve often encouraged sole proprietors to join networks so you can split with other recruiters, who could keep your business alive if you could not work for a period of time!

If you ever plan to “sell” your business, you cannot “be” your business. In fact, you dramatically decrease the value of your business if you are the top producer of your firm. You need to teach others what you know, develop systems, and eventually replace yourself as the top producer. As the owner, you want to focus on growing your business and increasing profits.

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the leading international speakers for the recruiting profession today. Sign up for Barb’s FREE NO BS Newsletter and receive notices on the two FREE teleconferences she conducts each month – one for owners, one for recruiters. Go to www.staffingand

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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