Consultant Earnings Survey: March 2003

The statistics of our 18th Annual Earnings Survey are in with some surprising results. The survey was Emailed to about 3,500 subscribers which were picked at random from our current subscriber database. As of this writing, we received usable information from 1,290 firms. The increased response was due to the Emailing’s ability to respond quickly and we thank those who participated in this effort.SOLOS VS. NON-SOLOSThirty-two percent of the respondents were solo practitioners with the remaining 880 non-solo firms (68%) representing the results from 4,206 consultants with more than a year’s tenure.CONTINGENCY VS. RETAINEDContingency 67.4%Retained 12.2%Mix 20.3%FIRM TENUREProbably the biggest surprise we encountered was the length of time our respondents had been in business. Last year’s survey respondents had a bit over 8 years in business. This year it was the old-timers who took the time to complete the survey. Average number of years in business for solo practitioners was 13.1 years with the rest having been around for 13 ? years. It would seem from first glance that those who had survived the last recession in the early nineties were more adept at surviving this one as well.CONSULTANT STAFF SIZEFor non-solo firms, the average number of consultant per firm rose to 4.78 up from last year’s 3.7 consultants. Consultant tenure was not measured for this survey.SOLO vs. NON-SOLOAs mentioned above, the number of solo practitioners responding rose from 21% to 32%. This confirms what we heard in hundreds of conversations we’ve had throughout the Year 2002 with industry veterans who have discharged their consultant staffs and moved to either smaller quarters or to their homes to operate their businesses alone or with the help of a researcher or assistant. One told us, “Having an office with 6 mediocre or non-producing performers would have cost me everything I’d worked for these last 12 years. Since I was almost always the top biller in the office anyway, I decided I could do this anywhere and get out from under the ‘welfare payments’ I was paying to those who never pulled their weight. Without the distractions, my personal billing has almost doubled.”AVERAGE CONSULTANT SHARE OF CASH-INAn overwhelming number of firms still compensate their consultants based upon performance (commissions vs. salaries) but the average consultant share has decreased to 40.8% from last year’s 44%. Whether this is the result of owner parsimony or a restructuring of the way consultants get paid is undetermined. Pressure by employers to discount fees will naturally lower the fees upon which a consultant’s share is based and many said they raised draws and lowered commissions rates to keep good people in the business during tough times.MONTHLY DRAWSConcomitantly, the monthly draws paid to consultants went up to $2,493 (approximately $575 per week) from last year’s $1,958. It was no surprise after all these years that there is still a large group of owners who treat their consultants as Independent Contractors working on straight commission. This, of course, is illegal but we won’t get on our soapbox this year. We just suggest that you contact your closest IRS office and (anonymously) request a copy of Form SS-8.AVERAGE OVERALL EARNINGS FOR 2002Average earnings for consultants with over a year on the desk with a non-solo firm were $80,624. This was down slightly from $82,038 the year before.Solo practitioners fared much better with their average earnings at $110,079 for Year 2002.HIGH BILLERSThis is a rather voyeuristic exercise since we have seen top billers from one year turn into siding salesmen the next year. There are, of course, folks out there who are top billers year after year. Most don’t respond to surveys (including this one) but because reader inquisitiveness remains steady, here’s what our survey showed.In first place was a member of a 5-person firm specializing in the Healthcare field who earned a bit over $700,000.Second place went to an individual with a 3-person office who earned $649,000 working IT and the printing industry.In third place was a solo practitioner who earned $414,000 in the Sales niche.There were a couple of dozen who earned $400,000 and almost 100 others who earned between $250,000 and $400,000.This year, we asked several other questions.Have you had to lower your average fee percentage?Yes 39.5%No 60.5%This is somewhat ambiguous since most of those answering in the affirmative were charging 30% or more. Those who had already adopted a lower “sticker price” of 20% 25% were not asked as often for lower fee rates. Several dozen firms reported raising their fee percentages with no adverse consequences.Some reader comments follow:”Yes, but only for a few select clients that give us multiple openings and exclusives.””Too often!””Yes. Creative fee percentages in fragile economy. We have done some very innovative fee arrangements to secure business in a slow economy.””No. We are holding firm but companies are exerting a lot of pressure to reduce fees to 20% with very long guarantee periods and payment periods.””Only on competitive situations or volume assignments.””Yes, in the past to get business. However, it was often soon discovered that this business was not worth having. We do reward our long-standing clients with reduced rates, waiver of expenses, terms or a combination of these. In my opinion, it’s the right thing to do. I reward loyalty.””No, although I will market the occasional well-spoken beginner that gets my attention for a flat fee. I have not taken my prices down. I don’t seem to need to do it. I find that if I’m having a fee negotiation with someone, it is because I am dealing with the wrong guy. 25-35% is realistic to everyone involved, especially if they work for a living or have ever paid to recruit their own people. The people that are trying to get a 10-15% fee are nutty. Part of the two phone calls to riches crowd.””Yes. From 30% to 25% due mostly to contract recruiters doing work at very low rates, often hourly.”What is your average fee percentage now?24.56% was the disheartening calculation for the average fee charged. Some reported as little as 15%. Several reported the adoption of flat fees, especially for sales openings. $10,000 was mentioned frequently as a popular number. Here’s how the respondents stack up on what they charge:30% + 12.65%25-30% 57.55%20-25% 24.48%<20% 5.31%Highest single fee?We asked this question out of curiosity, not because it will necessarily motivate anyone to try to beat them. There were almost 200 fees between $50-100,000 but the winner this year was a $250,000 fee collected by a contingency recruiter from a bank holding company. Closest to that was a $200,000 fee for the head of a large corporate legal department, also by a contingency solo practitioner. The highest single fees reported by retained survey respondents were $ 160,000 and $145,000.We are aware that these are not likely the highest fees in the industry only for those responding to our survey.What is your normal guarantee?Replacement 68.29%30 days 42.8%60 days 16.8%90 days 31.1%180 days 6.72%365 days 1.68%Other 0.84%Moneyback 21.54%30 days 48.70%60 days 19.51%90 days 26.83%180 days 02.44%365 days 02.44%None offered 10.17%Time to complete assignments since 2001?Increased 61.94%Decreased 11.74%Same 23.88%This comment from a legal recruiter is similar to those recruiting in other specialty areas: “Increased. Clients making ‘strategic, talent hires,’ and are very willing to wait to get the right one. Upping their credential qualifications (already high to begin with). They want the #1 in the law school class and who headed up Law Review and who clerked for the Supreme Court and who are returning to the our geographical area and who will sponsor their own first trip out to visit!! We’ve had several offers this year where firms are willing to hire this type of talent if the candidate didn’t start for 1-3 months after the offer is accepted. No one in the hiring process is in a hurry, unless it’s an absolute critical practice growth need, a replacement for someone in an extremely busy practice area or the hired attorney is bringing his /her own practice stable of clients along.”Another wrote, “The process with most employers seems bogged down in molasses, especially where the hire might incur a recruiter’s fee. By the time they decide our candidate is the best, they’re no longer available or disgusted with their lack of decision-making ability.”Any in-house researchers?30.8% report having at least one in house researcher. This is down from last year when 33.4% reported an in-house research capability. Participant commentary indicated that many more are using freelance researchers than in prior years, To buy a directory of these independent researchers, go to www.rsronline.com.Websites?89.83% have websites. Respondents with websites report that an average of 22.67% of their business is directly attributable to the Internet. This average is insignificant when viewed in a vacuum since several respondents attribute all of their business to the Internet and others hover around zero to 5%. Measurement (or even guesstimates) of this factor is very difficult since even those reporting no revenue directly from the Internet may have been influenced in some way by a client, candidate or even a chat room tip which led to a fee. It is indicative, however, of the fact that the Internet plays an increasing significant part in almost everyone’s process. Does just communicating with an employer via Email qualify as a reason a fee was earned even though that’s the only web participation in the process? If an employer calls you with an assignment because they saw your website qualify? It’s anyone’s guess.Do you belong to a formal cooperative split network?36.7% reported membership in an independent network or affiliation with a franchise group offering split opportunities. Almost all reported that it was a net plus to their operation but a few found them wanting.Do you reference check candidates before referring them?Yes 37.34%No 43.77%Sometimes 17.26%In view of the fact that reference checking is one of the best tools for recruiter outreach to both future candidates and clients, we were surprised at the answer to these queries. If there is a better method to establish an evocative dialogue with someone who may be your next best client, we don’t know about it. Several readers weighed in. Probably the least valid proclamation was, “As a contingency recruiter it takes too much valuable time.” Other comments were:

  • “ABSOLUTELY! Everyone should. They are they only people who have to speak with us, and most are hiring managers, why would someone not wish to speak with them? Plus the added insight they provide is extremely valuable and is often used in presentations to clients. Anyone who doesn’t check references before sending out a candidate in a detriment to our trade!”
  • “We never market a candidate without reference checks, We will never allow an offer to be made without references. We do not, however, reference check until it appears that an offer is about to be made.”
  • “YES, usually twice. Initially by a researcher, then by me before they get close to the offer.”
  • “On a case by case basis – we verify employment and education before referring any candidates.”
  • “Sometimes, it depends on both the candidate and the client. Some candidates we know well and “informal” references on and some clients insist on doing their own references.”
  • “Only on client request and then the candidate has to give written authorization.”
  • “No. Reference checking and degree checking is done prior to an offer. Checking references early in the process leads to compromised candidates.”

Do you require non-compete contracts with your consultants?69.6% answered Yes. 25.8% answered No. The rest required some type of non-solicitation, non-disclosure or trade secret protection agreement.More and more states are refusing to honor, acknowledge or enforce non-competes. In our December 2002 issue we reported that the Massachusetts courts had refused to enforce a staffing firm’s non-compete agreement. Now, according to a legislative alert from the National Association of Personnel Services, a Connecticut court ruled that a placement firm’s non-compete and non-solicitation agreements were unenforceable because the restrictions imposed on the former employees were too broad, the agreements lacked consideration, and offensive conduct by the firm’s executives to the employees showed that the firm had “unclean hands.” Cost Management Incentives, Inc. v. London-Osborne, No. CV020463081, 2002 WL 31886860 (Conn.Super.Ct. Dec. 5, 2002). The plaintiff, Cost Management Incentives (CMI), placed individuals from all over the country in temporary and permanent positions in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical research industries. The defendants, Yolland London-Osborne and Kristen Herman, each signed agreements not to compete with CMI in the placement of individuals in the industries served by CMI for one year after the termination of their employment. They also signed agreements not to induce CMI employees to leave the firm or to solicit customers of CMI for two years after the termination of their employment. The territory covered by the agreements was the entire United States.London-Osborne was terminated in December 2001. Herman was terminated in April 2002. Even though they had not violated the agreements, CMI sought a court order to bar them from doing so.The court held that an agreement restricting the activities of an employee following her termination is valid if the restraint is reasonable. The criteria by which the reasonableness must be evaluated are: (1) the length of time the agreement is to be in effect; (2) the geographic area covered by the agreement; (3) the employer’s need for the protection by the agreements; (4) the restrictions on the employee’s ability to pursue her occupation; and (5) the extent of interference in the public’s interest. A finding of unreasonableness in any one of the criteria is enough to render the agreement unenforceable.The court had a number of reasons for determining that the agreements were unenforceable as follows:

  • The agreements were signed well after each of the employees had begun their employment, and the employees were given no specific consideration for signing the agreements. The court found conflicting authority in Connecticut as to whether that state regards continued at will employment is sufficient additional consideration to support restrictive covenant signed after the inception of employment. However, since CMI fired both employees, the court found that even if continued employment would have been sufficient consideration, CMI breached its duty to provide such continuing employment by firing the employees.
  • The length of time of the covenant, two years, was considered unreasonably long. The defendants did most of their work in the biotechnology arena, and, the court reasoned, this field changes so rapidly that the defendants did not have to be sidelined for such a long period in order for its employer to have a chance to fairly compete with its former employees.
  • The court found that a nationwide non-competition agreement was overly broad geographically, especially in view of the fact that the plaintiff did 75% of its business with just six employers. The court believed that the plaintiff could have found less restrictive ways to protect its legitimate business interests.
  • When the former employer instituted this action, the employees had not violated their agreements. Both of them had sought employment after their termination and had looked for work that did not violate the agreements. As of the date of the court’s decision, neither had been successful in finding employment. The court found that this lack of success was to some extent due to the fact that the agreements imposed unfair restrictions on the ability of the employees to pursue their occupations.

Despite the growing number of states dishonoring these agreements, there are ways to make them enforceable via the “trade secrets” route. We recommend that your attorney review yours before it becomes necessary to bring an action against your ex-employer.CONSULTANT EARNINGS BY SPECIALTYSeveral specialty areas previous mentioned in our surveys were so underrepresented that the information was probably imprecise. They are included but are designated with an (*). The parentheses contain the percentage of the entire group:Hospitality Industry* (.57%) $95,833.33Healthcare/Pharmaceutical/Medical related (23.09%) $87,119.73Insurance (3.62%) $86,631.58Advertising/PR/Publ./Graphic Arts* (.85%) $82,504.25Accounting/Auditing/Treasury (11.25%) $82,050.85Banking/Financial Institutions(10.87%) $81,086.04General/Admn./HR (10.97%) $80,346.61Engineering/Technical/Design/R&D/High Tech (6.39%) $77,001.18Legal (3.81%) $75,912.87IT/IS/MIS/Data Processing (8.78%) $71,696.91Sales/Marketing (7.63%) $70,148.29Manufacturing/QC/Production (8.87%) $69,440.86Real Estate/Construction* (.76%) $68,970.45Retail* (1.24%) $58,538.46Clerical/Office Support* (1.24%) $53,538.46Are you offering any other diversified services now?Many firms have become quite creative others haven’t. One wrote, “No! I only do one thing… (A family doctor in a small rural area had a good practice and he put everyone in good health…so good that none needed his services right now…should he get involved in other diversified services, or be ready when his patients need him?”Another responded, “We have screened candidates this year – located on Monster or some such by our clients – they sent 10 or so to us – we interview, reference check etc. – Charge hourly $95 – 120 hr or flat fee per individual $400. – Testing the waters – most of the work done in December – typically slow time.”Below is a laundry list of other responses.

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  • Business consulting
  • Blended services by pulling our professional and temporary/contract services together as one “team” on a team incentive plan
  • Candidate screening.
  • Career counseling for individual lawyers, which we have always offered.
  • Compensation surveys, organizational development, and consulting
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Consulting Advertising Agencies and Commercial production companies
  • Consulting on comp plans, territories, etc. for start ups and researching the competition’s comp plans.
  • Consulting on compensation plans, seminars for mid level managers on recruiting techniques and processes
  • Consulting on salaries, market trends; some outplacement (but it has to be a very special client).
  • Consulting services on building sales teams
  • Contract for hire and contract placements in IT
  • Contract placement for senior level Accounting and Finance Professionals
  • Contract services – temp to perm opportunities.
  • Contract staffing, per hour recruiting
  • Contract, Salary Surveys
  • Contracting & Consulting
  • Contractors and retained search
  • Employee leasing
  • Employee personality profiling and multi level employee/management training workshops
  • Employer of Record. Contract Recruitment. Corporate Intelligence
  • Extended long-term temp and temp-to-hire
  • Hiring Training, Sales Training and Compensation Plan Design.
  • HR consulting
  • Management Consulting/ Strategic Planning/”Career Strategies in a Down Market Seminars”
  • More emphasis on retainer this year
  • On-site staff management, and recruiting services
  • Organization effectiveness/human resource consulting
  • Outplacement to some clients
  • Outplacement, Executive Coaching
  • Outsource management of recruiting services, International search in Europe
  • Outsourcing, contracting, consulting, projects for small to medium sized companies.
  • Project Facilitation/Change Mgmt Consulting
  • Project level Consulting vs. solely supplemental IT staffing
  • Project-based staffing
  • Providing contracting services as well as permanent placements.
  • Realtor relocation services through an in house licensed realtor.
  • RELOCATION SERVICES, PRE-EMPLOYMENT ASSESSMENTS
  • Representing a few smaller start-up companies, where we help to market their services as a team
  • Research and outplacement assistance
  • Research services
  • Resume service for a price
  • RESUME SERVICE, CAREER COUNSELING, ETC
  • Resume writing and career counseling
  • Resume Housing, Candidate screening,
  • Rolling Retainers, Hourly search services, Research services
  • Salary surveys, spousal help with finding new job, preferred client status.
  • Spot recruiting”(going after those candidates specifically desired by clients)
  • Tax Prep services, Banking and payrolling
  • Temp. execs
  • Temporary Services
  • Time Compressed Staffing, Talent Maintenance System, Research Solutions
  • Unbundled services on a search that’s already “started” (although we oftentimes end up conducting the search fully once we get into it).
  • Unbundled services. Clients are more interested in unbundling now.
  • Value Added Services, sharing information with them, creative ideas for their use, and complimentary resumes from people at lower levels for whom I don’t place.
  • Video Conferencing (free) + Salary Surveys

What have you done to combat the slowdown?This question is somewhat similar to the above query but there are some different nuances in the answers. Rather than rework the answers, we have chosen to include them unedited. They are in no particular order but may give you a new idea or two with your own practice.

  • Did more split business.
  • Changed specialty from IT to government services and agriculture
  • A lot more time marketing and an electronic newsletter.
  • All hands on deck, skill marketing
  • Assessed all costs. Lowered as many operating expenses as possible. Changed healthcare benefits, which are no longer 100% paid by employer. Expanded specialty areas. Trying to expand split network with other recruiters.
  • Back to the basics and offering flat fees.
  • Be more selective about job orders and clients we do business with
  • Beefed up marketing, started to publish a monthly newsletter which is getting lots of attention — nominated for a 2003 Marketing Award from “ClickZ”
  • Been selling my a** off. Reduced expenses dramatically thru attrition.
  • CALL/CALL/CALL/CALL/CALL/CALL/CALL/CALL, AND CALL. ALL ACCORDINGLY TO PLAN/PLAN/PLAN/PLAN/PLAN/PLAN/PLAN. COMBINATION OF PLANNING AND CALLING HAS KEPT US ALIVE AND STRONG.
  • Calling many new companies.
  • Candidate research/Contract recruiting
  • CHANGED INDUSTRIES
  • CONCENTRATED ON HIGH END DIRECT HIRE
  • Contemplate suicide (only joking) – work harder
  • Continue to stick to the basics.
  • Continued to work closely with good clients and look for new sources of referrals to new clients.
  • Created different market areas within our sub niche
  • Cut back on fixed expenses; Haven’t replaced staff; Lease came do on second office – didn’t resign; Having staff really market; diversified into consulting
  • Cut back on overhead. Let weak recruiters go. Am now hiring tho, think I see the end of the tunnel.
  • Cut back on overhead. Let weak recruiters go. Am now hiring tho, think I see the end of the tunnel.
  • Cut costs and staff, expanded services
  • Cut costs, increased personal contacts with clients, increased direct recruitment, developed more split business
  • Cut expenses, tunnel vision on the one or two things that still work.
  • Cut operating cost including people – increased out marketing efforts including direct mail email and research calling, focused more on core time, more training cross training, increased target company calling, increased candidate marketing, looked at position outside core area, more trade groups and networking events
  • Cut overhead (unproductive recruiters/sales), NOT cut back on advertising, training, PR, and focused on industries least affected by the downturn (medical, insurance)
  • Decreased # of AE’s, increased focus on core business and best practices
  • Developed other areas; worked harder; cut staff
  • Diversified into Healthcare mgt in addition to core of Logistics/trans
  • Diversified into Healthcare mgt in addition to core of Logistics/trans
  • Diversified within industry niche
  • Diversify is some areas, but mainly stick to our core business and develop all of the account.
  • Diversify, Network, Improve Technology
  • Downsize
  • Expanded client base and types of people (specialties) we recruit
  • Expanding geographic Markets
  • Focus more on relationships to put myself in a better position when clients begin hiring again, and focus on gaining new active clients.
  • Focus on client satisfaction
  • Focus on key accounts
  • Focus, Plan, Action, Focus, Plan, and more Action!
  • Focused more tightly on my market niche;get additional training in recruiting seminars and books;
  • Focused on a narrower niche within my specialty
  • Focused on Clients that are responsive to me, let me talk to their hiring managers and do not drag their feet in the hiring process!
  • Focused on customer service, great follow-up, personalized service,.and far more
  • emphasis on cold call marketing to make up for clients that are doing nothing. Also found
  • more creative ways to break through to managers and hiring staff.
  • FOLLOWED A PLAN FOR EACH SEARCH WHICH IS EXECUTED WITHOUT DELAY
  • Fortunately, in hospitals, no slowdown of business, just slower moving, methodical hiring authorities
  • Frankly, I took off for six weeks, and relaxed with my kids and wife. Now I am getting more automated, and getting more productive with the time I have. Am also expanding into one other industry.
  • Get in front of the customer. Quiz candidates on where they interviewed. talk to CPA Partners
  • Get involved with temps and consultants
  • Get involved with temps and consultants
  • Gone back to basics. Lots of phone calls. Enforcing guidelines. Getting Producers to make goals and stick to them (we were lax in that area) Started using the Internet more to find candidates who would be attracted to our least fillable jobs (quite successful). Broadening our scope in our field of expertise. Also everyone is back to work and in good health. 2003 is starting off better.
  • Gone to the right (more structure and effective management) in terms of managing my business.
  • Haven’t experienced any slowdown. Busy
  • Heavier recruiting, exploring smaller companies that we normally don’t target
  • Heavy Biz Dev, Cut Costs
  • Heavy business development!!!
  • Heavy marketing with an MPC and opening new avenues of business
  • Hire top talent from the competition, diverse the industries we serve
  • Hired better recruiters, more accountability, tried to work smarter.
  • I am working harder and making less. I still get lucky though. I have had a recent run on sales people. It never ceases to amaze me to see a sales guy that is fired because he is making too much money. I can see the conversation though, a couple of engineering managers and an accountant going, “$105,000 is more than anyone else made, anybody can do sales….”
  • I froze for a while, I worried for a while, I scrambled for quick hits for a while. Now I have my head down and my training book open and my cycle plans out and my Cahill tapes on.
  • I have had an increase in candidates changing their mind. I am working on better pre-qualifying and covering each assignment with more candidates.
  • I keep looking for good training, looking back at the basics, practicing. Putting myself in the employer’s shoes. Trying to figure out what he needs and wants. Helping the stars rise and the meteorites burn out.
  • I now have a home office and cut my overhead.
  • I work harder, smarter, and keep communications open. I have increased my marketing. Quick response
  • IMPLEMENTED MEASUREMENT SYSTEM INCREASE FOCUS ON MARKETING
  • In the process of beginning a marketing program through a 3rd party.
  • Included my faith in my work, built stronger relationships with candidates, secured two national contracts, continued marketing, held customer service very high and worked harder not necessarily longer hours though.
  • Included my faith in my work, built stronger relationships with candidates, secured two national contracts, continued marketing, held customer service very high and worked harder not necessarily longer hours though.
  • Increase marketing calls to develop new client companies.
  • Increase my efforts and focusing on developing strong relationships with clients
  • Increase phone time, add technical support staff, manage expenses
  • Increased # desks, Increase activity, turned desks quicker, switched disciplines.
  • Increased client marketing
  • Increased mailings, monthly e-newsletter, increased sourcing pool
  • Increased marketing and importance of phone time, increase activity with JO’s and SO’s.
  • Increased marketing and sales efforts, marketed more candidates (20% contingent), maintained staffing
  • levels.
  • Increased Marketing calls and Raised JO Qualification process
  • INCREASED MARKETING THROUGH ADDITIONAL CONSULTANTS
  • Increased marketing to old and new clients and expanded disciplines I search in
  • In-house training -positive thinking – keeping stats, more email marketing
  • Innovation in services, aggressive hiring of recruiting and sales talent.
  • Investigated new niches, became closer to a number of our clients, explored more contract type assignments. We can’t tell you all our secrets, that is why some firms are thriving and others failing based on their creativity.
  • Keep an eye on activity, spend money on training and productivity tools and seminars
  • Keep hiring stronger recruiters…Expand into new markets; Train better and stay with good customers closer…
  • Keep in touch with clients to be first when things break
  • Keep looking for the niches where hiring is still occurring.
  • Keep plugging away
  • KEEP TALKING TO PEOPLE AND BUILDING FILES FOR WHEN THINGS GET BETTER. ALSO DOING NETWORKING WITH OTHER FIRMS, BUT EVERYBODY IN SAME SLOW BOAT.
  • Look for new clients, change focus of specialty. Broaden marketing efforts.
  • Looked for new markets
  • Mail Business articles (versus sales) of interest to our clients – followed by calls.
  • Maintain strong relationships
  • Make more calls, turn over more rocks. The rocks you turn over the more gems you will find.
  • Make more phone calls
  • Market candidates more vs, work on searches
  • Market for relationships, not for assignments. When it comes around, it’s us I want them to think of.
  • Market more
  • Marketed my brains out…found ways to stand out from the crowd, HAD FUN!
  • Marketing efforts and expanded services offered
  • More aggressive client development and cold calling/networking for new clients. More thorough “mining” of existing clients to learn of every opportunity.
  • More aggressive marketing of services especially to existing clients
  • More aggressively cold call. Network candidate references. Try to flip qualified, currently employed CEO candidates
  • More calls
  • MORE CLIENT CONTACT
  • More face-to-face calls and presentation
  • More marketing and more focus on our current customers
  • More marketing, additional services, change specialty.
  • More marketing, broader range of disciplines, + marketing newsletter
  • More marketing, move to hottest niche
  • More MPC calls
  • More networking events; more prospecting with better follow up and cold calls.
  • More sales calls, surveyed everyone to see what they couldn’t fill.
  • More survey calls
  • More target marketing & face-to-face contact with clients and local candidates for referrals.
  • More training and expansion of my client relationship skills
  • More training of recruiters.
  • More training, education, improving skills
  • More networking and relationship marketing
  • Mostly back to the basics. Better screening of job orders, more old fashioned recruiting and almost total avoidance of job posting boards.
  • Moved into healthcare and engineering. We now import healthcare workers. Export manufacturing and engineering candidates through our affiliation with Top Echelon. We believe the change in IT is structural not recessionary.
  • Much more emphasis on training, new desks
  • Network for sales.
  • New clients (middle market) and new services
  • Worked in different industries
  • Longer hours
  • Increased applicant selling
  • New markets
  • No Slowdown for me!
  • NOTHING IN PARTICULAR. JUST WORK HARDER
  • Our firm never experienced a slowdown, we are busier than we have ever been diversified into temp and temp-to-hire; cut expenses; more marketing
  • Part of our revenue loss came from the downturn in information technology and we lost seasoned search consultants because they left our industry. The rest of are busy, however, the searches take more time to fill, therefore, we are suring up internal procedures and timelines with clients to increase productivity on job searches.
  • PERSISTENT MARKETING, CHANGING INDUSTRIES IF NEEDED, LOOKING AT WAYS TO USE TECHNOLOGY ALONG WITH THE TELEPHONE FOR TARGET MARKETING.
  • Phone Phone Phone and more Phone
  • Cut costs, overhead & staff. Tried to expand specialties
  • PLACED MORE SALESMEN
  • Pray, network, and promise to be more appreciative and thankful when/if conditions improve
  • Praying harder, building attorney and rebuilding IT desks, training updates.
  • Provide better service. Continue to grow already solid relationships.
  • PUSH MORE INTERVIEWS
  • Quit job with telecom recruiting firm to start my own pharmaceutical industry firm, joined a network (IPA), keep better track of my activity numbers, drive call volume up
  • Realigned our entire practice with emphasis on business development
  • Really focused on my “A” clients and their “A” jobs.
  • Reduce costs, increase in training for ER’s, focus on building relationships and filling the orders that we do have
  • Reduce staff, expand services, use investments and credit lines for working capital
  • Reduced Overhead
  • Reduced staff. Eliminate accountant. I will hire outside sales first Quarter
  • Re-evaluated markets served, doubled back on existing client coverage, picked up with clients who were previously candidates
  • Rid the organization of slackers, honed the skills of the professionals thru support and retraining
  • Smothered my current clients with attention, treated every assignment with the utmost urgency
  • Staff layoffs, voluntary salary adjustments, other cost cutting measures, business process upgrades, better strategic planning, better tactical planning and execution. Example is concentration on government and specific financial markets and closer scrutiny of our staff’s efforts and business direction. Also a good dose of training, whether it’s new concepts or reinforcing the standard concepts.
  • Started to place contractors, broaden area geographically
  • Stay focused on taking excellent care of my current clients. Created a new marketing brochure. Partnering with the right organization to get more bang for the buck outside the office (i.e., Society for Information Management – SIM. I am the Membership Chairman and on the Board for the Memphis Chapter. This group is open to the top IT executives and is by invitation only.)
  • Stay lean, work harder
  • Stay more focuses, spent far more time marketing to new prospects … trying to broaden the customer base.
  • Stayed true to my niche, but expanded the business sectors that I contact.
  • Strong marketing campaign of exceptional or extraordinary candidates
  • Suffer, layoff, rethink, recommit, reduce expenses, purchase condo for office.
  • Take a reference which is submitted to the client at the same time as any resume submission. Take two if we think it will be helpful and is appropriate. Be even more selective than we usually are (move up the credential scale) on candidates we submit to our client law firms and corporate legal departments. Continue to refine ourselves as the best lawyer recruitment firm in our area. Put in more hours. Be extraordinary client service oriented. Listen, listen, listen to clients.
  • Training
  • TRAINING MEETINGS TWICE CONTESTS ,FUN DAYS MORE GROUP FUNCTIONS DICUSS SUCCESS STORIES AT EVERY MEETING
  • TRAINING, GUIDANCE, INSPIRATION AND TIGHTER MONITORING OF ACTIVITY, LOWERED COMPANY MATCH TO RETIREMENT PLAN FOR 2003
  • Tried to cement our relationships, better focus our energy and looked more closely @ each deal and the potential of closing better.
  • Used the Internet more, made more calls.
  • Using well-proven and tested techniques, working harder and smarter with more quality time on the phones. Also, we have moved ‘slightly into new disciplines (i.e., healthcare & operations).
  • We are going beyond our Vertical Niche
  • We have spent more time obtaining referrals and target marketing the clients.
  • We’re very flexible in terms
  • Work a lot smarter. Do not waste time with HR people.
  • Work as an “old time” recruiter. Recruit instead of going to Monster or Hotjobs. Also doing more splits.
  • Work harder, increase call volume – look to other industries
  • Work harder/longer hours. Spend time expanding network.
  • Work less, pick assignments carefully, don’t get discouraged
  • Work Saturdays and evenings
  • Work Smarter, look at new areas
  • Work smarter, not harder. Follow system.
  • Work with Better Candidates; Qualify better Search Assignments, get more money down, work longer and harder
  • Worked our buns off and practically groveled. Stayed in touch with more accounts as often as reasonable. Also dabbled in some other industries
  • Worked with strong base of existing clients and market star candidates. Also layed off three people who couldn’t cope with the slowdown.
  • Worked more intelligently. Made more specific calls to known entities.

THE HISTORICAL SCORECARD1985 $51,9001986 $52,8481987 $53,2781988 $57,1841989 $57,5921990 $52,2361991 $52,9141992 $50,0251993 $63,3041994 $67,7211995 $76,4731996 $72,6721997 $87,2941998 $89,1781999 $87,8352000 $93,6342001 $82,0382002 $80,624

Paul Hawkinson is the editor of The Fordyce Letter, a publication for third-party recruiters that's part of ERE Media. He entered the personnel consulting industry in the late 1950's and began publishing for the industry in the 1970's. During his tenure as a practitioner, he personally billed over $5 million in both contingency and retainer assignments. He formed the Kimberly Organization and purchased The Fordyce Letter in 1980.

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