Ask Barb

Q. How do you know when you’ve invested enough time and money in a recruiter you’ve hired? I feel like I often keep individuals too long, thinking things will turn around. I have two recruiters “on the fence” and just don’t want to have to start at square one with new hires. It’s difficult finding people who want to stay on the phone. Tim M, Detroit, MI

A. It sounds like you are at square one with your current hires. As an owner you are not in the job of “providing jobs” for your employees. You are in business to make a profit. Your employees are either assets or liabilities. When you hire new recruiters, you need a detailed job description so they understand recruiting is a telephone intensive profession. It’s also very effective to have them observe your office for four hours so there is no confusion about the various skills needed to be an effective recruiter.

When you hire a new employee, it is important to provide training, guidance and specific minimum requirements they must hit in order to be successful. The best way to determine very quickly if you have hired “right,” is to conduct weekly performance reviews for the first 90 days. I would also suggest you administer weekly tests, to determine if your new hire is learning what they are being taught.

The greatest reason for “recruiter failure” is information overload after training and fear. Most owners conduct 1-2 weeks of training and then put the person on a desk, expecting them to be able to implement all they’ve learned. It can be overwhelming especially if you have an open concept and your new hire thinks everyone is listening to them.

When your new hire understands exactly what you expect from them, and they know you are there to support them, their results improve. Make sure you review their daily plan, recruiting sheets and stats so you are giving them the greatest chance of success. If you do not have time to manage or mentor your new hire, select a “mentor” from your recruiters and compensate them by giving them a percentage of what this new hire’s production for their first six months. Conduct a short performance review weekly for the first 90 days of employment and you will have the information you need to make an informed decision.

To give you a simple answer, when you are thinking “IF” you should terminate a recruiter, it usually isn’t “IF” but “WHEN.” Never forget, you are in business to make a profit!

Q. I’m having a very difficult time controlling my candidates. They refuse to fill out my paperwork, they don’t listen to my advice and they don’t call after interviews. I need your advice to develop strong candidate control. Sylvia T, San Diego, CA

A. I don’t believe you can control your candidates or clients. Think about a time when someone tried to control you! It’s all about establishing rapport and a relationship based on trust. Never forget people do things for “their own reasons,” not yours. You must always address the “what’s in it for me” of your candidates. If you want a candidate to fill out your paperwork, explain how the paperwork is simple to fill out and will reveal their priorities. The resume shows their past and present, your profile form will help reveal what they want in their future. (If you email me at I will email you a copy of my Profile Form). Try to see things through the eyes of the people you serve and you will become an expert at establishing rapport. Remember, in the future it will be the recruiter with the candidates who wins. You need to form lifelong relationships with your candidates!

Q. Everyone is saying business is great and yet I have three of my experienced recruiters who just had their worst quarter. How do I get these recruiters out of this slump? Larry P, Marietta, GA

A. You are not the only owner who has shared this reality with me. It’s very frustrating when you have orders flowing in your office and sales are flat. The quickest way I know to get a recruiter out of a slump is to do the following:

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• Get the recruiter focused on SEND OUTS. (Their candidates interviewed by decision makers).

• Have your recruiters get INTERVIEWING TIMES when taking job orders. (This helps determine without a doubt which are the hottest orders to work).

• Make sure your recruiters COVER an order. (If they start with three candidates in the first interview and one is eliminated, this candidate needs to be replaced. The goal is to have at least TWO of their candidates going into the final interviewing process).

• Make sure they have the candidate closed to the number on money and conduct a thorough prep to give their candidate a competitive advantage.

Barbara Bruno, CPC is one of the leading Recruiting/HR Training Professional today with thirty years of experience in the “trenches.” She is the author of the Top Producer Tutor, the first step by step online training program that would take training OFF YOUR DESK forever. Visit The first ten individuals who purchase the Top Producer Tutor for their office will also receive ONE HOUR of “FREE” consulting with Barb!

If you’d like to receive a training article from Barb each week, sign up for her popular NO BS Newsletter at

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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