Avoid 3 Deadly Momentum Killers and Find Your Zone

When a reporter asked Michael Jordan (the greatest Chicago Bull to ever play the game of basketball) “What gives you the confidence to take those last second shots?” Michael replied, “I’ve never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot … when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.”

Michael has also related this to being in the “Zone.”

The “Zone” is, of course, that magical place where all professionals find themselves when their confidence, attitudes, and abilities come together.  It’s hitting the trifecta or pinnacle of their profession.  The mind, body, and planets align in a way that makes all things possible. The funniest thing about the “Zone” is that it can last for a single moment or for weeks.

Have you ever experienced the “Zone” in anything?

Think back to maybe when you were a senior in high school or college throwing the football down the field and having it land like a feather in the arms of a sprinting receiver.  Or maybe you are/were a singer and (effortlessly) delivered a passionate and goose bump raising rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at an athletic event …. if you think hard enough there have been times in all of ours lives that we’ve experienced the “Zone.”

Have you ever experienced the “Zone” as a recruiter?  Do you know how to reach the “Zone” in recruiting?  Well, I think you’ll be surprised to know that it has as much to do with the things you do as the things you don’t do.  Did you know that experiencing the “Zone” can’t happen unless a recruiter’s mental outlook is fueled by momentum.  Momentum creates a positive outlook that makes the recruiter feel energetic and tenacious.  The real trick is to keep the momentum building by balancing three very important areas (candidates, job orders, and mental attitude); which in return, keeps the recruiter “on the top of their game.”  A flash point occurs to the recruiter as they reach the “Zone.” Candidates sense the recruiter’s confidence, the employer invests in the recruiter’s euphoria, and in turn the recruiter feels as if things are easier to accomplish.

Is there a way to reach your recruiter “Zone” and stay there permanently?  Although it may seem incredible, it is possible.

Without momentum a recruiter is dead.  Momentum cannot be created without an impetus.  The recruiter is the impetus to their own production.  Their production is only a process of their efforts, or energies.  When you place an engaged recruiter (the impetus) at a desk and you turn them loose on candidates and job orders … things begin to happen.  It’s not always successful, but things start moving.  But a recruiter needs more than just candidates and job orders.  They need a positive mental outlook to energize the candidates and job orders.  Whether you’re managing yourself or a group of recruiters, attitude is everything.  All the job orders or candidates in the world will not generate true success without a skilled, energized, and tenacious recruiter at the helm.

I know what you’re thinking now: “It’s easy to teach candidate and job order skills, but teaching mental attitude is a different story.”  Well, as you’re about to see illustrated in this article, mental attitude is a process from which candidates and job orders are created.  It’s a by-product. Mental attitude is either the sweet nectar or the smelly crap generated from your candidates and job orders.  I call them the “3” Momentum Killers: Candidate Momentum Killers, Job Order Momentum Killers and Mental Momentum Killers.  If you teach your recruiters to avoid these 3 deadly momentum killers you will see mental attitude greatly improve. So, let me break them down for you.

•    As recruiters we locate, interview, and score candidates, right?  Failing to fulfill these simple tasks can kill a recruiter’s candidate momentum.

•    As recruiters we locate, interview employers for job orders and make sure that fee agreements are signed or collected.  Failing to fulfill these simple tasks can kill a recruiter’s job order momentum.

•    But a recruiter’s mental attitude is different because it’s determined by the results or benefits the recruiter receives from the recruiting process.

Now let’s look at each area more specifically.

The Candidate:  The recruiters I train are specifically asked to field recruit in certain areas. They locate a candidate and make arrangements to thoroughly interview each candidate.  During the time of the interview, the recruiters are to “Go Deep” or “Pounce” on the candidates’ work related and family issues to develop broker status with the recruiter.  After interviewing a candidate, the recruiter scores the candidate, then, depending on how many areas the recruiter went deep in, a recruiter will give each candidate a “candidate index score.”  This is done with every candidate, whether they’re good, bad, or ugly.

Candidate Momentum Killers:

•    Using name lists to locate candidates
•    Using a resume board to locate candidates
•    Abbreviating the interview
•    Failing to “Go deep” or “Pounce”
•    Exaggerating a candidate’s score
•    Marketing a candidate without an Index score
•    Working any one candidate longer than 3 days
•    Using voicemail or email to communicate
•    Working with candidates without an exclusive

The Job Order:  The recruiters I train locate job orders by marketing their top candidates. As these marketing calls attract employers, the recruiter shifts their focus away from the candidate and focuses on the job order.  The recruiter performs a thorough interview with the employer by collecting a job order.  The recruiters “Go Deep” and “Pounce” on the employer (or department head) to establish broker status and develop a complete understanding of the job order, department challenges, and facilities issues.  The recruiter must be allowed to speak directly to the department head during the job order collection process.  Speaking to H/R is tolerated, but only to gain specifics concerning benefits, interviewing process, and facility principles.  At the closing of the job order interview, the recruiter secures three send-out slots over the next 10 days for all top candidates that are discovered during the search.  After completely collecting the job order, a fee agreement is signed by the employer and secured by the recruiter.

Job Order Momentum Killers:

•    Marketing Phantom Candidates
•    Using Job Boards to locate Job Orders
•    Abbreviating the Employer Interview
•    Marketing candidates thru voice mail
•    Failing to “Go Deep” with employers
•    Working job orders without three send outs
•    Working with employers that are non-responsive
•    Working Job orders collected only through H/R
•    Sending blinded resumes to secure a fee agreement
•    Working a job order without a secured fee agreement
•    Using voicemail and email to communicate

A Positive Mental Attitude:  The recruiters I train specifically work their desk through a balanced daily plan.  In the beginning, (before the recruiter has any momentum) the recruiter collects candidates, markets candidates and collects job orders.  In the process, they start to see daily “VP” (visual progress) because they’re the soul impetus of their desk.  With this “VP,” the recruiter begins to feel the effects of positive momentum … they see themselves accomplishing exactly what they have been taught.  This fuels a positive mental attitude.  But we both know, managing start up recruiters is not a hard process because everything is new to these people … and the recruiter is either going to do the work and succeed or they are not and will fail.  But you can transition the beginner recruiter into a seasoned and successful recruiter by teaching them to avoid the momentum killers.  The confidence a recruiter has in the training that they’re receiving is crucial in their transition.  When you point out the subtle and intangible negative effects momentum killers have on their production, they become more confident in their ability to avoid the pitfalls in recruiting.  We all know the complexity of the recruiting business, but rookie recruiters do not … and with their mental attitude being so important to their future development, it is our responsibility to teach them the more advanced art of recruiting.  We all know recruiters who have worked for years with anemic results, without a clue as to why they continue to struggle.  But in the case of the recruiters I train, by the time that they reach three months at the desk, they know how to build momentum and maintain the momentum by recognizing momentum killers before they have had long-term negative effects on their production.

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Mental Momentum Killer:

-    A candidate with a low candidate index score is sent out, the employer makes an offer but the candidate accepts a counter offer.
-    After a recruiter has located multiple candidates on a job order that they have collected through H/R, the department head decides to delay the send out until they can interview other candidates.
-    While marketing an outstanding resume board candidate, a job order is secured, but the candidate has already sent their resume to the employer.
-    Through the process of collecting candidates and marketing to employers you find it necessary to leave a high percentage of voice mails.  As a result, your numbers start going down.
-    A successful recruiter becomes over-confident and starts abbreviating interviews in order to increase their daily numbers. Their production starts to slip, and they don’t know why.

The lists of Mental Momentum Killers are numerous, because of the vast number of combinations in Candidate and Job Order Momentum Killers, but I think you get the idea.

As a recruiter, you protect your Mental Momentum by completely doing your job as a recruiter; any change from that path will cost you Mental Momentum.

As momentum killers begin to drag the recruiter down, subtly momentum is lost.  A mental shift begins to occur and the recruiter begins to second-guess their efforts, their training, their candidates and their job orders.  They become caught in a spiral of paranoia leading to further failure.  It is at this time that a recruiter can reverse their situation if they’re armed with a compete understanding of these three deadly momentum killers.  In each case, I have been able to diagnosis a recruiter’s negative mental outlook after looking at the recruiter’s efforts in these three areas.  I mean think about it . . . a recruiter only loses that momentum when they stop doing the things that developed their momentum in the first place.  The real difference between a beginner recruiter and a more experienced (zero momentum) recruiter is their mental outlook of the process.  Control the mental momentum of your recruiters and your turn over will decrease and production will increase.

To further reduce negative mental momentum, a recruiter must eliminate the depressive thoughts affecting their presentations.  It’s very hard to deliver a passionate presentation to a candidate or an employer when you’re racked by depressive paranoia.  Try some of these techniques when you just can’t break the cycle:

1)    Read a book.  More specifically, “Leading Change in Your World,” “Die Broke,” “Live Rich,” “Who moved my cheese,” are some of my favorites.
2)    Fatigue kills mental momentum, so exercise.  “Sound body, sound mind.”  How can you expect to be on top of your game when you’re feeling lethargic, bloated, and un-energized?  So eat right, and exercise.  For it’s far easier to “Act your way to feeling, then it is to feel your way to acting.”
3)    Take the day off.  When you’re down and out, the last thing you should do is get on the phone.  Your negative attitude will be felt by the person on the other end of the phone in each call you make.  I like to go to the movies.  I like to match a movie that matches my mood.  If I’ve experienced a lot of disloyalty or dishonesty in my employers or candidates, I go to a blood and guts movie like “Die Hard,” or the “Gladiator.”  Its good to vent those frustrations out through a healthy medium.  And it is also a great way of rewarding yourself.
4)    Start a testimonial drive.  Its good to hear from the employers and candidate that you’ve assisted in the past.  It will reinforce why you’re in this crazy business.


5)    Go back to the beginning.  I don’t care how experienced you think you are, starting
over in this business is a part of the process.  Go back to the fundamentals, pick a new
market, collect new candidates, interview new candidates, and finally market
your best new candidates.  When you work the fundamentals you force yourself to do
all the steps and in return you begin to create new momentum.

At the beginning of this article I related to Michael Jordan’s attitude about success.  Do think when he failed to hit a winning shot he thought it was a positive experience?  I’m sure it was disappointing to lose or fail, but like any true professional Michael chocked up his loses as experience and moved on.  As a matter of fact, he was quoted later in his career as saying, “If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”  He learned to focus on the totality of his experiences to gain control over his mental outlook towards success.

Finding your “Zone” in recruiting is a matter of focusing on finding the needle in the haystack.  The recruiters I train know that they will find outstanding candidates 6% of the time and outstanding employers and job orders 8% of the time, and within those numbers lie the secret to their future success.  By avoiding the garbage in, garbage out collection process of below average recruiting efforts, they maintain balance, achieve success and reach their “Zone.”

Clay Abbott is the President and Founder of the Academy of HealthCare Recruiters, Inc.  Clay is one of the HealthCare Recruiting industry’s leading recruiters, trainers, public speakers, and consultants.  He has 20 years of healthcare experience and has successfully developed the only guaranteed Home Study HealthCare Recruiter Training programs in the industry.  And many solo recruiters’ and recruiting managers are finding the cross over into healthcare possible with Clay’s leadership and knowledge.  To learn more about his training products and services, visit his web site at: www.academyofhealthcarerecruiters.com.  Clay can be reached at (812) 522-2992 or e-mail him at clay@academyofhealthcarerecruiters.com.


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