Ask Barb

Q. When you target a company for a specific search, how do you identify the “right” person to call?
Donna F., Omaha

A. Here are several tips on identifying the “right person”:

– Depending on the level of your search, many executives are listed on a company’s website.

– You can also call at the end of the day and ask for the “spelling” of the “engineering manager’s” name. Often when you ask for the spelling of a name, the person answering the phone assumes that you have the name.

– If a gatekeeper will not give you names, call between 1 and 2:00 p.m. Normally, someone is “filling in” for the gatekeeper during this time, and you will be able to get the information you need.

– Call and ask for accounts payable. They will always transfer your call to A/P, thinking their company owes you money. Once you are transferred, sound confused and ask them to redirect your call to the “engineering department” or “IT department,” and ask for a direct line or name in case you are disconnected.

– Call and ask for the sales department. Again, they will always transfer your call, thinking you want to “BUY” from their company. Repeat the above process.

– Use a common name like John and ask for John in the engineering department if you are recruiting for an engineer. If you are told there is no one named John in the department, ask if there is someone with a similar name. You will be amazed when this person starts to read you the names of everyone in the department.

– The key is to sound authoritative but not condescending. The best time to place these information-gathering calls is late in the afternoon.

Q. How many MPCs do your recruiters work at any one time, and is there a limit to the number of calls you will make using a particular MPC? Do you call just the top five companies that the person identified as their favorite target companies?
Bill B., Ft. Myers, FL

A. We market an MPC (Most Placeable Candidate) each day. We make at least 10 calls, once we go through the process of writing out an MPC Presentation Form.

We start with the top five identified by our candidate, but plan to make at least 10 to 15 calls for each MPC. If we believe we have a “walking/ talking” placement, we will market them until we schedule interviews. There is no set limit on the number of calls we make. If you would like to receive a FREE copy of our MPC Presentation Form, please email support@staffing and we will email one to you.

Q. Thank you very much for your awesome training in S. Africa. Our team has benefited tremendously, but I’m having trouble with “production time.” I under-stand the value in having them focused on outgoing calls between 9 and 11:30 a.m., and not answering emails, but I know they are still answering emails as they are receiving them, which is a waste of their time. I don’t know how to make them stick to this schedule. Any tips?
Tanya K., Cape Town, S. Africa

A. See if your tech person can actually SHUT DOWN email capabilities during the hours of 9 to 11:30 a.m. That is what I initially did in my office, to ensure I had everyone focused on outgoing calls. Once my recruiters realized how much their production, time management, and effectiveness improved, they did not need further convincing.

If you are working a fast-paced temp desk, you can NOT hold your calls or emails. If you are working any other discipline, this advice works!

Your recruiters will only change the way they “work their desk” if they see the “What’s in it for them.” Run contests during those hours for the most “recruiting hits,” most “job orders with a new client,” most “send-outs booked” as a result of marketing a candidate, until your recruiters develop the habit of making outgoing calls during this time frame! This will allow them to control their profit-and-loss center by the outgoing calls vs. the incoming.

There is something very magical that happens when everyone is on the phone at the same time – that hummmmm all owners love to hear which is the result of conversations taking place. We actually hold all calls other than the list we give to our receptionist with “possible closes,” the hard-to-contact references, and the calls that say “Barb said to interrupt her,” which is the message I leave on all recruiting and marketing-presentation voice mails. The goal is to complete at least 60% of planned outgoing calls during that time.

We also know that whenever a call comes through for any of our recruiters that says “_________ said to interrupt her,” it is either a recruiting or a marketing hit.

You will be amazed at the increased production, income, and profits you will enjoy!

Q. Even though everyone is talking about how great the current job market is, we are having a problem writing fillable job orders to fill. Clients are calling in job orders, but they are all “needles in a haystack,” and some are reduced fees. How can I increase our job order flow the quickest? Our contract orders are also very “low margin” assignments.
Frustrated in Milwaukee

A. It is important that you “target” the companies you want to represent. In this candidate-driven marketplace, you need to represent the companies candidates want to work for. Ask everyone you interview to give you their list of the top five companies they most respect and market them into those companies the following day. This presentation is simple and very effective:

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“I would normally be calling my best clients right now because I have just interviewed a ___________ who (list accomplishments and sizzle), and I know she will not be on the job market long. When I asked this person where she would love to work, she gave your company as her #1 choice. I didn’t want the fact that you and I don’t currently do business together to prevent you from meeting this outstanding ______________. What would it take to get the two of you together?”

They will either give you an interviewing time or give you an objection. This gives you the opportunity to find out what types of positions are their most difficult to fill. This process works very well in a candidate-driven market.

TIP ONE: Ask every candidate you interview where they have interviewed on their own for job order leads, or “contracted” (identifies companies that utilize contractors).

TIP TWO: Ask them for the salary level of the positions or pay rate so you know what level of candidate to market, or contractor to present.

TIP THREE: Ask candidates which company they would rank first and why (inside information on companies that helps with your marketing presentation).

TIP FOUR: Ask candidates how they have secured jobs in the past, to help identify which companies utilize recruiting firms. For contract placements, target the companies where your candidates worked their longest assignments. (Their past assignments can be your lead.)

TIP FIVE: Send an email to all your current clients announcing your new Client Referral Program. Offer them a gift certificate to a place of their choice or offer to donate money to their favorite charity. The quickest way to increase your job-order flow is by getting REFERRED business from current satisfied clients. As-sure your current clients that they are not giving you competition for the talent they need to hire from you. As an established client, they would always have first choice of your top talent.

TIP SIX: Check references that will get you on the phone with hiring authorities. After your reference check, turn the call into a marketing presentation.

TIP SEVEN: Market candidates who have similar credentials to companies your current candidates have worked for.

TIP EIGHT: Contact your current database of candidates and update their information. At the same time, ask where they have been interviewing in the last six months.

TIP NINE: Enter all the companies you have targeted into This is a free service that will send you an email each time your targeted company posts a new opening on their employment pages. When you get the email, market a candidate to them that fits the specs they have listed.

TIP TEN: Also remember to utilize testimonials from your current clients. They are more effective than the fanciest brochure you could design. If you don’t have testimonials, call to ask for them, and while you have the client on the phone, have a conversation about their current and future hiring challenges. These calls will generate additional job orders.

Utilize any of these tips and I guarantee you will increase your flow of fillable, full-fee job orders and profitable contract assignments.

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS – If you’d like to get a copy of all Barb’s 27 Proprietary Forms, go to Anyone who schedules a demo of Barb’s Top Producer Tutor will receive a copy of Barb’s Greatest Audio Hits, worth $499. You must be an owner to schedule a demo. Call today at (219) 663-9609.

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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