Ask Barb

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a healthy, happy, blessed, prosperous Holiday Season!

Q. I just received a call from a candidate I thought would be my next placement and heard this. “After our conversation, I thought a bit more about the position at _______. If you had caught me a few weeks ago, I would have jumped at the opportunity, but just received an offer to work on an account at my agency that I can’t refuse. I would rather be up front with you and keep our working relationship, than pursue _______ if I’m not completely dedicated to leaving.”

What would your response have been? I told her I would strongly suggest she still investigate my company’s opportunity so she can at least have something to compare her current job with but I felt it didn’t really sway her. Personally I feel her company is lucky to have her because the reasoning she used to come to the decision she made is one I admire! G. Matthews, Los Angeles, CA

A. It is vitally important in the interview that you identify the “REAL” reason this person is taking time to talk to you! Most application/profile forms ask candidates, to list their reason for contemplating a job change. The problem with the “reason for leaving” question is everyone puts the same 13 answers! The better question is “If you could change five things about your current job if you were your boss, what would you change?” If there only two answers are money and advancement, chances are this person will accept a counter-offer. Their answers usually reveal things that a counter-offer can’t overcome i.e. outdated technology, lack of communication with management, company is not competitive in the marketplace, etc.

It’s also good to ask “why have you made changes in the past and what must be there for you to make a change now?” People are creatures of habit and will often make changes for the same reasons.

Regarding your current situation, working on an a specific account could have easily been overcome if you knew the REAL reason this person wanted to make a change and had identified the “hot buttons” of this candidate. You could then say “I understand the new account is very enticing, but what about _________? (list everything they told you they would change!) Candidate rapport and trust really is solidified in a thorough interview process. If you would like a copy of the Profile Form I use and Inventory Sheet, Email your request to and put FORDYCE LETTER REQUEST in the subject line! This form covers all these questions. Hope this helps.

Q. Those of us that have been in the recruiting business for many years have seen an abundance of changes. One that I find especially challenging is voice mail. I have tried a couple of different approaches but none give me the results I would like to see. Would you be willing to share what you do when are faced with a voice mail as you make marketing calls and/or recruiting calls.

I really appreciate your unique approach and the helpful info that you share in the Fordyce Letter each month. Leslie K, Moline, IL

A. Let me share with you my personal voice mail for both recruiting and Marketing presentations.

Voice Mail Messages:


“Hi ____________ (I only use their first name). My name is Barb Bruno and I was actually given your name as someone I should speak with. When you have a minute, could you please call me back? When you call my office, please tell whoever answers the line to interrupt me no matter what I’m doing – I don’t want to miss your call!” I look forward to our conversation…thanks!


“Hi_____________ (I only use their first name). My name is Barb Bruno and I was hoping we could speak for a few minutes. When it’s best for you, would you please call me back? Also, when you call my office, please tell whoever answers the line to interrupt me no matter what I’m doing – I don’t want to miss your call!” I look forward to our conversation…thanks!

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These calls are very vague……and get tremendous Call backs, because they make the caller feel important. Because they know they can interrupt you.

I actually hold calls between 9:00 – 11:30 AM every day to make the majority of my outgoing calls. The ONLY calls I take are when someone asks to interrupt me. I know that is a return call from either a recruiting or marketing presentation I’ve made. Let me know if they increase your return calls as well!

Q. I’ve been in this industry for fifteen years and have been relatively successful. It seems that it’s getting more difficult than ever to hire recruiters for my office. During the interview they seem good, they have sales experience but after a few months all I’m hearing are excuses why they are not producing. Quite frankly I’m tired of hearing it’s hard to find candidates. If it was easy, our clients wouldn’t need us. Trying to motivate my current team to higher levels of production is also not working. We have more searches that ever, but our sales are flat. I haven’t worked a desk in years, but I know other owners who are having their best year. Frustrated Owner in St. Louis!

A. It is my firm belief that you can not make a DUCK an EAGLE! You can’t MAKE someone into a TOP PRODUCER, you HIRE THEM.

Too often, owners in our profession hire DUCKS and get upset when they don’t become EAGLES. If your current team realizes “WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM,” if they attain new levels of production (other than just money), they may decide to increase their daily stats which will result in higher production. They will do this FOR THEIR OWN REASONS – not yours.

You are in business to make a profit “not provide jobs for recruiters!” You need to look at everyone on your team as an asset or liability. You can’t afford to have the WRONG people on your team. Obviously, your hiring process needs to be changed. Pay special attention to this person’s PAST. If they were an “over-achiever” (eagle) in the past, they will do the same for you. Conduct an in-depth interviewing process, check references thoroughly, talk to their best friend as one of their references (there is no filter) and have them work for four hours in your office (observing the first hour and then actually making a list of cold calls you give them along with a script). Doing the job is so much more revealing than hearing about it. Make your company “easy to get out of,” but “difficult to get in to!”

You might want to bonus your current team for any individual they refer who gets hired your firm, paying a bonus after they are hired and a larger bonus after one year! This gives you an automatic “MENTOR” for this new hire because of the vested interest of your current recruiter! Here’s to you hiring EAGLES!

HOLIDAY BONUS: Want to take training off your desk, once and for all? If you invest in Barb’s Top Producer Tutor, an 80 day web based training program before December 15th, you will receive “The Sales Fast Track Product” worth $997 FREE! Go to or call her office 219.663.9609! Want to hire Barb as your coach and mentor? Go to and sign up today!

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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