Ask Barb

Q. I’m tired of losing my candidates, waiting for my clients to make hiring decisions. I don’t send my candidates to other clients, but they often find jobs on their own. How do I get my clients to make decisions faster? I realize we represent the client because they pay our fee, but they don’t realize how hard it is to surface candidates. Our entire office is frustrated and waiting for your answer.
-Frustrated Recruiters in St. Louis

A. I’d like to address several issues, starting with your statement “I realize we represent the client because they pay our fee.” You are right, they pay our fees, but in the current candidate-driven job market, it is the “recruiter with the candidate” that WINS! You need to represent both your clients and candidates. I learned this formula years ago: “3 + 3 = 3.” I thought this formula was just bad math until I discovered the thinking behind it. Three interviews for every candidate you represent and three candidates on every job order give you a good chance to close three placements. Most individuals want a “choice” when they are making a major decision. They will interview through other sources, which is why it makes sense to send them to more than one client. When your client becomes aware that this candidate is actively interview-ing, often the interviewing process is shortened. Everyone wants what everyone else wants!

You also need to cover your job orders for your clients. If you originally set up three candidates and end up with only one going to the second interview, you need to submit more candidates. Your goal should be to have two or three of YOUR candidates in the final interview process. I’ve often heard recruiters say they don’t want to “muck up” the process once they have candidates in the second or third interview process. My advice is “MUCK UP THE PROCESS” until you have an offer. Often, great candidates surface after you have submitted candidates. You owe it to your client and your candidates to submit addition-al candidates. You will “make more placements!” There’s nothing like closing more deals to eliminate “frustration.”

Q. I’ve invested in your Top Producer Tutor and was surprised to find out that you believe in marketing candidates. The hiring authorities I work with don’t appreciate this type of call when they don’t have any positions available. I’m curious why you are a proponent of this “old way” of doing business.
-Scott H., Syracuse, NY

A. Marketing an MPC (most placeable candidate) is an effective way of writing job orders, landing new clients, and showing a sampling of the caliber of person you represent. The reception you receive depends greatly on the quality of your presentation. Most hiring authorities appreciate knowing there are qualified individuals who have identified them as their “company of choice.”

I’m sure you’ve heard of Sam’s Club or Costco. One of their most effective marketing techniques is having individuals giving out “free samples” as you shop. Once you have a sample, you are more likely to make a purchase. Marketing candidates is an extremely effective technique in this candidate-driven marketplace. Prior to your phone call, write out information on your MPC, including an effective grabber, benefits and features, possible objections, and closes. This will result in a more prepared presentation, which will result in your landing new clients and making more placements. Your candidates can help you write your “pitch” and will appreciate your marketing their skills. Ask for five top companies from every candidate you represent and market the candidates to their top five targets. Often, these companies represent the hot companies in your area of specialization and can help you land these clients.

If you don’t have an opportunity that fits the criteria of the top talent you represent, marketing their skills is one of the most effective ways to place those candidates. There are some techniques that have been used for years. That does not mean some of them are not still very effective. Start marketing candidates, utilize the candidate-presentation form in the tutor, and enjoy your increased level of success.

Q. In one of your last columns, you made reference to all the job orders we are writing and not filling. When I think of the money left on the table it makes me sick. My current recruiters are telling me they are not even making market-ing calls because we don’t need additional job orders. How do I handle this? Do I hire more recruiters? Do we stop making marketing presentations?
-Bob P., Newhall, CA

A. Your top client for 2007 could be a company you are currently not representing. Market your services to companies you have targeted. Try to write orders that mirror where you have made placements in the past 12 months. You will have candidates in your database.

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In order to know which job orders to work, do the following:

1. Ask for a “targeted” date to fill the position vs. ASAP, yesterday, or immediately.

2. Ask what “problems” exist due to the position being open (the higher the pain, the more urgency to fill).

3. Obtain interview times when you write job orders. This assures send-outs when you identify talent, and gives you the client’s commitment to interview. It also forces you to commit to providing top talent to the client.

Working hard doesn’t mean your recruiters are working smart. Set minimum daily result standards in your office and you will fill more of the job orders you are writing. You are in business to “make a profit.” Who you hire is the single most important decision you make as an entrepreneur. If you do not have the team you need in order to attain the goals you have set, you need to hire your next overachiever. Successful recruit-ing firms always upgrade their clients!

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

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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