Successful Recruiter Hiring: Realities and Actions

Finding and hiring top recruiter talent is the toughest search assignment to work. It is also the most profitable. You will receive a fee for a successful search assignment; however, a successful placement of a recruiter in your firm will create an ongoing annuity based on the increases in sales, client development and an increased candidate database. Further success will be realized in the internal momentum and synergy among your recruiters that comes with the addition of another productive recruiter.

Of primary importance is starting a recruiter hiring process based upon a solid understanding of the truths. Armed with knowledge of the realities, you can plan and execute a strategic hiring process with great success as a predictable outcome.

More will fail than succeed. Good times, bad times; this is a challenging business fraught with pitfalls and variables. An average individual will often “fold” under its weight. A proven prescription for the best individual formulation of characteristics and experience is paramount but not a guarantee against failures. Employ recruiters in multiples and raise the odds of successful recruiter hire. Some of the dynamics of hiring two or more recruiters at once are:

– Peer pressure to perform. Each recruiter measures their daily successes against the others. The inherent competitive nature of top producers will manifest itself in the group dynamic created by the peer group.
– Efficient and wise investment of in-house training
– “Pledge class” camaraderie (most recruiters work well together when they started together).
– Letting a recruiter go does not put the staffing plan back to square one.

Hiring recruiters is inexpensive; it is not firing them that will be extremely expensive.

Recruiters are typically paid in a high end, incentive-based plan. Hesitating to fire a failing recruiter out of “sympathy” deprives the non-starter of the opportunity to find another job to which he or she may be better suited. It is human nature to give a break to a failing person. Keeping a failing or unmotivated recruiter brings an air of failure to those on your staff who are succeeding. Appraise each new recruiter consistently and react accordingly.

The old adage applies; “people do what you inspect, not what you expect.”

Recruiters are, by virtue of their work and if selected correctly, aggressive and dynamic people who make things happen. You may not like the best candidate for a recruiter role in your business. Hiring only people you like (as opposed to those who produce results) is the biggest mistake you can make when building a business. Your mentor, your staff and your own experience at the desk can lend assistance in screening for the “hunters.”

You need relationship builders seeking the big score, not telemarketing “order-takers” or others who may be looking for a “deal a day” transactional “fix.”

How to find recruiters

Nothing will have greater impact on increasing your profit like a good recruiter. To limit your search for recruiters to friends and personal contacts is a limiting way to build a business. Friendship is a welcome spin-off benefit of effective recruiter hiring; it is not the major criteria.

An empty desk is a drain on income. (You still have to pay expenses to maintain an empty desk and its resources.) However, it is not significant when compared to the cost caused by a failing recruiter at that desk. Here are some suggestions:

Successful recruiters are:
– Aggressive
– Willing to take calculated risks
– Can stand the stress of occasional big deals, as opposed to daily small deals ($18,000 a deal vs. a “DEAL” a day for $125)
– Handles rejection and opposition (give your potential recruiters a hurdle or two to cross)
– Deal-maker (“hunter” personality) seeks opportunities to create success and wealth and shares little concern over guaranteed income.
– Street-wise (“sixth sense” for what’s going down or as golfers will say, “they can read the green.”)
– Business-wise (aware of hidden agendas and corporate politics)
– Effective communicators and listeners with professional demeanor (how will your clients and candidates react to this person?)
– Tenacious and overcomes obstacles
– “Half-full” versus “half-empty” personality
– Focused; avoids distractions
– Record of past accomplishments

– The “people” person, who wants, more than anything else to help people
– Burned-out corporate casualties
– The financially desperate who cannot function under the stress of financial need
– Burn-outs from other recruiting firms
– “Gold-diggers from other recruiting firms who want a higher commission rate versus a more fruitful environment and resources that aid in creating wealth

Best sources for finding high-potential candidates:
– Successful sellers of other high-end services (real estate, brokerage, insurance, investments, high-end capital sales, etc.)
– Telemarketers wanting a step up, but not qualified to take it because they lack the characteristics and abilities of top billing recruiters)
– Parents with sales experience who have been out of the labor market for several years
– The retired professional who is not ready to fully retire but seeks an easier route to income than they have had before
– Those to whom $40K-60K is a serious and reachable goal (an average recruiter will create much more than that level of income

And what about advertising?

Advertising is not a first step, passive, or primary avenue to viable recruiters, however, advertising can provide additional recruiter candidates. Be sure to limit the contact information provided in the ad to your personnel services firm’s name and telephone number. This is a phone intensive business. Those who would hesitate to pick up the phone and “sell” themselves are not suited for this career. A suggested text and format for an effective ad on a website, blog or other venue would be:

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Aggressive communicator needed to master an executive search practice. Corporate training and development provided. 2+ years of search or sales-oriented experience is desired but not paramount to success. A proven track record is a must. The desire to earn high income is essential.

Your inquiry will be treated with the highest confidentiality.

Call (your firm’s name) (telephone #)

Ads can provide too many non-qualified “lookers.” Limiting contact to a telephone for first interviews can help screen out those who do not qualify with a minimal time investment. An individual’s verbal skills and listening capability are critical qualifiers. Remember that most client and candidate relationships are developed by telephone conversations. Call strong possibilities after normal business hours.

Personal networks can add candidates. Let your contacts in on the fact that you are expanding your business and need talented people. Follow up on these networking calls (most people think of the right person later . . . and might not call you back on their own).

Days are often interrupted by salespeople who would like you to buy copiers, supplies, printing, etc. Keep their cards. Call them for referrals. Salespeople with higher sales skills often know one another. (Finally, remember salespeople willingly do favors for potential customers.)

Be careful about who you hire. The challenge of being a search recruiter requires 100% commitment and intense mental focus. The personal and financial investment you will make in the effort to develop billing recruiters is a major one. (Conservative estimates range from $8-12K per hire considering base income and expenses) Another consideration of mis-hiring is the loss of revenues while trying to develop a lost cause candidate.

Food for action, not thought
– The demand for our services is historically high.
– There is little reason to foresee it falling apart in the foreseeable future.
– The conditions and realities of the recruiting marketplace present us with the best of times to build our firms and increase our revenues, right now.

The well-advised owner knows that building a staff of highly productive recruiters is the only failsafe strategy to creating equity in your business. When it comes time to consider selling your enterprise, the buyer must see a going concern in your absence. Great tools and investments in technology pale in their potential to create wealth and equity when compared with what top producers bring to your business.

Doug Beabout, CPC, CSP is a veteran of recruiting since 1977, an industry guru, speaker, and trainer. As a working owner, Doug spends a large part of his time in the trenches of his own recruiting practice. His evolution as a recruiter has been the result of his adaptation to an ever-changing recruiting services marketplace. Doug speaks with hundreds of recruiters each month. He works with many successful recruiters and owners as a recruiting coach and in-house consultant and trainer. As an in-house consultant, Doug has worked with aggressive owners to build equity and success in the firms. Contact Doug on how he can bring you the leverage and advantage of his own success in building hundreds of recruiting firms. Call Doug Beabout: (850) 398-4302 or (850) 398-1688

Doug Beabout?s recruiting career spans 20 years of expertise in recruiting, personnel services firm ownership, and training. His tenure in recruiting includes building four highly successful recruiting businesses and establishing hundreds for others worldwide. He speaks to state, regional, and private recruiter associations. He is a consultant to many corporations and personnel firms. He is currently owner and president of the Douglas Howard Group, a professional recruiting firm, and conducts several online training programs for recruiters and researchers. He can be reached at 850/424-6933 or


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