Publisher’s Corner

Thank God the election is finally over. Two years of agonizing nonsense is finally in the past. Now, of course, we’ll have to endure the continual speculation for the 2008 election. Hoo boy!

The day after the election the stock market soared, oil prices dropped and, according to our readers, the hiring market improved significantly. Will it last? Who knows! We sure hope so.

In a recent random mini-poll of approximately 1,000 of our readers, we asked: Do you plan to add to your consulting staff within the next few months and, if so, what skills or personal traits do you look for?

Sixty-six percent told us they planned to add staff; 34% said no. Approximately 23% of those who answered yes said they planned to hire researchers instead of desk-level search or placement people although many said that this was a way to train future consultants.

Some time ago, I wrote “So You Want To Be An Executive Recruiter” for, the career section of The Wall Street Journal. It has been used as a handout and a hiring tool for hundreds of firms seeking to hire new recruiters. But what do our readers seek in their hiring template? Here’s the list they provided us:

  • Ability to make a lot of calls
  • Ambitious, performance oriented, goal oriented …
  • Analytical
  • Attitude and a pattern of success.
  • Bachelors degree. If a recent grad then a “B” student that worked while going to school.
  • Completion of a professional selling skills program (PSS, SPIN, etc.).
  • Computer literate
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Experienced, proven recruiters that can demonstrate having done at least 2 perms. per month during the past year and in the good times 4-5 perms.
  • Failure is not an option attitude
  • Handle surprises well
  • Handle themselves well
  • Highly organized
  • History of achievement.
  • Industry specific background with a customer list of past associates. They will be trained in recruiting methods
  • Initiator
  • Inside sales experience
  • Knowledge of the industry in which we are recruiting
  • Little supervision required.
  • Marketing, retail sales and executive search background.
  • Money motivated
  • New business/cold calling/prospect
  • Non-clock watcher
  • Organized, assertive and people with good telephone and marketing skills.
  • Outgoing, detail oriented, good phone skills, and energetic.
  • Passion for higher levels of success seems to be the tricky part.
  • Persistent
  • Personality
  • Read people, administrative skills,
  • Recruiting experience and someone who has accomplished achievements about which they are proud.
  • Refuse to lose mentality. And if they don’t ASK FOR THE JOB by the end of the 2nd interview, I flush them.
  • Rejection resistance
  • Resilience
  • Risk taker, ability to build relationships,
  • Sales background
  • Sales profiles with a specific specialty area such as accounting, IT, engineering or manufacturing
  • Self motivator, driven by personal goals
  • Selling ability
  • Sense of humor
  • Smart – able to talk with anyone at any level.
  • Solution selling skills
  • Street smarts
  • Strong ego drive and empathy
  • Success history, a competitor with drive to succeed
  • Team player
  • Time management/Organization able to multi-task without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Two to five years recruiting or consultative sales experience in the industry targeted.
  • Work hard and help people

Depending on your own firm’s needs, you may want to use this as a potential checklist against which to compare your prospective desk residents.

We thank those who responded.

Last month, in our “Time vs. Outcome” cover story, we wrote:

The nine major job order or search assignment categories, ranked by the likelihood they will be actually or successfully worked are:

Non-exclusive contingency (discounted fee)

Non-exclusive contingency (full fee)

Exclusive contingency (discounted fee)

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Exclusive contingency (full fee)

Partial retainer or engagement fee (discounted fee)

Partial retainer or engagement fee (full fee)

Partial retainer or engagement fee (full fee + expenses)

Fully retained

Fully retained (plus expenses)

These were ranked by the least attractive modality to the most appealing methodology. But a few called to take me to task about the fact that the reality of their practice was that almost all of their business was based upon the worst type of job assignment. If my terminology was semantically ambiguous, I apologize. Fact is, the crummy modality is the broad part of the typical pyramid and I probably should have inverted the list.

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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