Success Is In the Numbers. But Which Ones?

Dart board - freeWe all have heard and most believe, “Knowing your numbers is critical in this business.” Also known as metrics, what are the most important metrics to follow? Tough question since all are important and all build upon each other. Without the desk-builder metrics of job order and candidate presentations there would be no sendouts, and without sendouts there would be no placements.

As a double bred numbers guy (CPA and banker) I have lived my life believing and analyzing numbers. After eight years as owner of an executive search firm — $8,570,487 in collections, 300,982 attempted calls, 33,523 SMP connects, 1,640 first time sendouts, 313 placements, and more falloffs than I want to remember — I am now more than ever convinced the numbers in our business never lie.

This is a human and emotionally charged business. So how is it that the numbers can be so consistent? I think it comes from what I learned from Scott Love’s training: “Humans will do one thing consistently; that which is in their own best interest.” I believe it is this one truth that will give you and your numbers consistent outcomes.

Now I will admit two other factors are important for consistent outcomes. Your metrics will be influenced by two factors:

  1. First, a stable micro and macro-economic environment is necessary. In a strong market your sendout to placement ratios will tighten, in a weak market they will widen.
  2. Secondly, and very important, is “you.” Metrics are good if you are consistent in your skill implementation and execution. If you quit pre-closing for example, your sendout to placement ratio will widen.

But, that is what is beautiful about tracking the numbers. If your ratios begin to show a divergence from normal, you can analyze and determine what you are doing differently. And in most cases, can re-train early in the cycle and execute what is needed to “right the ship.”

For example, the first half of this year my office ratios were off the rocker. My wife and I built a new home and were extremely distracted. Our office sendout to placement ratio is normally five first time sendouts to one placement. By the fifth month in construction I noticed our sendout to placement ratio was over 10 to one. Ugh!! We implemented new closing training and heightened awareness to closing. Six weeks later we had the best 45-day period in billings in the history of the office.

The other thing on your metrics is to be consistent in your definitions. For example, we consider:

  • Submittals are either done over the phone or via email. (Our office preference is over the phone so we can address objections.)
  • First time Sendouts are for each “different” position for which the candidate interviews. In my office, I usually require a different hiring manager for it to be considered a first time sendout vs a second sendout. Phone interviews are always first time sendouts. Again, office consistency in definitions and in numbers.
  • Placements are celebrated once we have a defined offer, acceptance and start date. However, for my office numbers I only include those placements we get paid for.
  • Falloffs occur either before start date or after start date. Again, those that we never get paid for, I do not consider them placements for our internal metrics.
  • Turndowns are when there is a valid offer presented but not accepted by the candidate.

Below is a quick review sheet of different areas of measurement and corresponding metrics to analyze. Also listed are some suggested areas to assess:

Lack of inventory production

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  • Daily time over 3 hours?
  • Daily connects at 15 or better?
  • Call reluctance?
  • Presentation skills?
  • Ability to connect and influence people?
  • Overcoming objections?

High Inventory – few submittals

  • Balance of SMP and RC presentations?
  • Job orders to placements ratio.
  • Matching skills?
  • Presentation skills?
  • Organizational skills?
  • Qualifying skills?
  • Trusted adviser status to clients?

High Submittals – few interviews

  • Number of candidate matching presentations to first time sendouts.
  • Number of submittals to clients to first time sendouts.
  • Matching skills?
  • Qualifying skills?
  • Industry knowledge?
  • Phone presentation submittals vs. email?
  • Presentation skills?
  • Overcoming objections?

High Interviews – few placements

  • Sendout to placement ratio.
  • Qualifying skills?
  • Discipline to qualify every job order, even repeat clients?
  • Matching skills?
  • Pre-closing and/or closing skills?
  • Overcoming objections?

Offers – few placements

  • Turndowns to offers
  • Qualifying skills?
  • Trusted advisor status to candidates?
  • Active vs. Passive candidate flow?
  • Ability to control the offers?
  • Lack of back-up candidates?

Tracking the numbers doesn’t have to be complicated, simple Excel spreadsheets will do fine. The important thing is that they be done regularly and consistently. Using metrics will help you guide you and your office through the perils of the recruiting business. And this business gets to be a lot more fun and profitable by assessing and understanding the ratios.

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Bill Gibbens is managing partner and co-founder of Global Recruiters of Victoria, a contingency search firm headquartered in Victoria, Texas.The office achieved top honors in 2010 as the leading firm in revenue for GRN?s 180 office global network. The office has been home of four National Rookie Search Consultants of the Year and home of three National Search Consultant?s of the Year. Gibbens has twice earned the National Manager of the Year honors.

A CPA with a background in banking and accounting with KPMG, Gibbens currently operates a desk and is growing his firm. He frequently shares his experience speaking at national recruiting engagements and training forums and may be reached at bgibbens@grnvictoria.com.

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