Five Tips to Survive a Tight 2009 Market

We have never experienced this type of economic strife in our business before. There is no handbook for these times. Unemployment has exceeded 8%, the highest level in 26 years, and experts say it will grow to 10%.

We must be in survival mode, each and every day — focusing our time and energy on building new relationships with clients and candidates, working on deals that are closest to the money, and working with peak performers in your industry will keep your desk in motion and your boss off your back.

Here are five tips to surviving in a tight market:

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  1. Be selfish with your time. Professional, but selfish. Protect your Platinum Six! Typically they are 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, many recruiters are coming in earlier and/or staying later to reach their clients, candidates, and professional goals. Whatever your daily work schedule, be certain to protect your Platinum Six and stay on the phone. Utilize your time in the office to accomplish what you have planned. Work in blocks of time throughout each day to get the most out of each day. Make one more call. Just before lunch, and again at the end of the day, make just one more call. Remember, there are only 20 to 22 business days each month, and you only have time and your reputation in this business. Protect both.
  2. Every Send Out counts. Regardless of the outcome, getting motivated candidates in front of decision-makers is the only way to succeed in our business. Treat every candidate with respect and professionalism; never be afraid to ask the tough question, as you will be representing them in your marketplace. The definition of a tough question is any question that you are hesitant to hear the answer to. Don’t interrogate, just ask! Being thorough early saves a lot of time and money throughout the placement process. Your matching skills play a critical role in getting more Send Outs. Capture all of your data into your database, and use your intelligence to your benefit by recalling candidates and situations that fit now from former conversations. An average of three Send Outs a week will put you in a leader role within your office or network.
  3. Plan effectively. Without a track to run on, it’s very easy to get off track. Take planning time seriously. Either before you leave your office or before you start making calls early in the morning, take 30 to 60 minutes to set up your plan; do not use a tactical list but a comprehensive and strategic plan to attack your niche market. After over 100 recruiter-office visits in the past five years, the top performers take planning very seriously. In fact, some million-dollar producers take up to two hours a day to plan. An effective plan that is executed will take you places that you’ve never been.
  4. Do your homework. In today’s recruiting world, you do not want to become obsolete; you want to remain relevant. Know what your organization offers; use your website as a differentiation tool and share your portfolio of solutions with every client and candidate; read today’s headlines and new articles around the industry that you serve; and become an industry insider. The more you are entrenched in your vertical, the more money you will make. You will become the “go-to” person in that marketplace, and referrals to similar clients and candidates will follow.
  5. Make more calls. Work both harder and smarter each day. Working smarter is having a solid plan in place, executing that plan, being able to think on your feet, possessing solid matching skills, and sharing pertinent information at the right times. Working harder is making more calls today than you did yesterday. Focusing and staying on the phone. No making excuses for a lack of performance, rather making solid efforts to move the ball forward today. Not being afraid to come in early, get on the phone quicker, make the next call faster, and stay later. Your work ethic in this economy will differentiate you.

Let’s all achieve our goals in 2009! Keep up your focus and discipline and only good things will happen. Treat people how they want to be treated, and all the chips will fall into place. Make today great!

Mark Krajnik, president of Next Level Solutions, has spent 17 years in the staffing and recruitment industry as a Certified Executive Search Consultant, Recruitment Trainer, and Business Coach. Mark oversees U.S. Operations for Trillium Talent Resource Group, an executive healthcare recruitment and training organization. He is an expert in candidate trends, business development, the recruitment process, behaviors in business, and communication skills. Contact Mark at mark@nlevelsolutions.com.

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