Guess What? It?s Not The Hole!

By now everyone has heard the story of the weekend handyman who visits the local hardware store to purchase a drill bit. When the wise old sales clerk asked him what size drill bit he wanted to purchase, the handyman said he wasn’t certain. The clerk then asked the key question, “What size hole do you need to make?”The moral of the story is that the size of the drill bit should be determined by the size of the hole that needs to be drilled. The objective is the hole and not just the drill bit. However, after careful consideration, I believe there should be more to this story. The overall objective is more important than the right size hole. It includes the need for the right size hole to provide a means for achieving an even greater objective, i.e., stringing an electrical wire, holding a pipe, hanging a lighting fixture, providing ventilation, etc. The possibilities are determined by the overall objective of the project. The properly sized hole, albeit important, is merely a means to achieve the larger objective.Drawing a parallel to our business, the drill bit is analogous to the candidate or temporary, while the hole represents the job opening or assignment. Unfortunately, for many recruiters and their clients, these are the only parallels identified in this story. Yet the most important parallel and the one that should be the first one identified is (are) the outcome(s) that must be produced through the position.In a previous article (TFL 06/02 “Implanting The DNA For Success”) we stated that:

“Nothing else has real value, if the newly placed employee does not properly perform the essential functions of the position and consistently deliver to your client performance outcomes that meet or exceed their expectations.”

So, guess what? It’s not the hole (candidate). It’s what the candidate can do for the client’s organization that is the ultimate objective.Telling the story of the drill bit and hole while building in the third element is a great way of illustrating to a prospect that your process is client centered and focused on the ultimate objective. You can establish a qualitative differentiation by going beyond asking a series of questions that define the “hole” . . . the position. Rather, your initial questioning is focused on defining with your client the specific job related, performance outcomes that must be achieved through the position in order to produce a successful hire. By utilizing this approach, you help insure the prospect understands that you are not just about filling openings. Rather, your objective is to impact in a positive manner the performance capacity of their organization. That’s quality differentiation.Your focus is not on the drill bit (candidate) or hole (open position), for that would merely represent a transactional mindset. Rather, you and your client focus on the most important element of the story, the ultimate objective, defining what constitutes success through the position.If you have any questions or comments on how to utilize this story to build stronger positioning with your prospects, just let me know. Your calls and e-mails are always welcome.

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Recipient of the Harold B. Nelson Award, Terry Petra is one of our industry's leading trainers and consultants. He has successfully conducted in-house programs for hundreds of search, placement, temporary staffing firms and industry groups across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, England, and South Africa. To learn more about his training products and services, including PETRA ON CALL, and BUSINESS VALUATION, visit Terry can be reached at (651) 738-8561 or click to email him.


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