The Laws of Motion in Recruiting…the Gravity of Broker Status, Healthcare Style

During a recent honey-do session over the holidays, for some reason, I began thinking about Sir Isaac Newton. His Laws of Motion can apply to just about anything. Take recruiting, for instance. Sometimes the funniest coincidences turn out to discover great insights about life.

As a recruiter, have you ever been abandoned by one of those so-called great candidates . . . you know the ones… they talk a great story only to take your money, time, advice, or anything else that’s not nailed down. Well, don’t despair. Apparently, if we sit under the right apple tree long enough, things will begin falling our way.

Sir Isaac Newton discovered that “each object in the universe is being attracted to the other.” It’s about Gravity. Are you working in concert with or trying to defy the laws of gravity at your recruiting desk?

Last month, I was waiting to facilitate a HealthCare Recruiter training session for about 20 recruiters. The topic was “How to Find and Collect the Most Qualified Candidates in HealthCare.” A hot topic to say the least, but everybody was sharing that they had a much bigger problem … eliminating tire kickers, people on fishing expeditions, or people with little or no commitment. And I remember thinking, that’s as easy as stepping on the scales and watching the dial spin.

I am a HealthCare Recruiter and I’m constantly surrounded by emotionally driven candidates wanting something that they can’t put a finger on. They’re not driven by their careers. They are care givers. They focus on others more than they focus on themselves. So they can find themselves (unconsciously) underappreciated, in the wrong environment and not knowing how to correct their path. The gravity of my recruiting operation is pointing out career problems to them (what I call, “pouncing”) and then placing them on the right track. Sincerely leading them to make a change that will benefit their careers is the most important thing and candidates are attracted to that sincerity. They find our connection rare (perceived value). It’s natural and like a breath of fresh air! Like the laws of motion, some things you just can’t fight. Let me take you deeper into my world.

The Laws of Motion in Recruiting

M(a) = Clay the Recruiter
You see I know what I’m doing. Any candidate that comes within a mile of me knows that. I communicate in a way that conveys this information.

M(b) = Sally the Healthcare candidate
Sally knows her stuff as well. She’s the best in the game. And maybe the only candidate left on the planet. Sally loves her job including the people she works with and the patients she serves. But she’s not really looking to make a change.

F = Broker Status
The old-fashioned way of leading a professional candidate towards their next career change.
A means of slowing down long enough to keep the candidate in the back seat, with their seat belt properly fastened. The process of the Candidate appointing the Recruiter to drive or lead the entire process, WILLINGLY!

G = Perceived Value
Both the recruiter and candidate are attracted (equally) to each other for very different reasons. But, in an odd way, they couldn’t achieve the same level of benefit without the other.

r2 = Urgency felt between the two people
The Laws of Motion in Recruiting can not exist without a felt urgency between both the recruiter and candidate. Balanced with F, creates a seamless placement experience for both the recruiter and candidate.

Broker Status = Perceived Value between a Recruiter and a Candidate / Urgency²
F = G M(a) M(b) / r²

If the Earth and Sun are not in balance, we cannot survive. If the balance of their rotation is ever off by more than 500 feet, we’ll either burn up or freeze to death from the imbalance. I argue that the science of recruiting is equally as sensitive. What I have done to greatly reduce working with the tire kickers is to create a proper balance of what my candidate wants, after I have led them there! It’s not a card trick or smoke and mirrors. It’s knowing healthcare and the people in healthcare well enough to lead them. I make direct contact with each candidate using interview techniques that probe deep into the candidate’s life to establish a thorough connection.

Here’s a typical day in the life of Clay Abbott:

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I will be on the phone over 6 hours a day. And I average from 35 to 40 calls per day. (I’ve tried to do more, but the connection that I make with each candidate is diminished when I increase my call count, which in turn lowers the urgency with my candidates … contributing to a lower perceived value in our relationship.) When I stay in this balanced zone, I interview 18 candidates about every two days, and then I select the one candidate that has the strongest urgency, has responded to my complete broker status and has even given me an exclusive.
I average 2-3 committed candidates per week; after which, I take their specific needs to the market. My marketing goal is to only collect those job orders that relate to the candidate’s needs. I will then review each of the best job orders with the candidate, referring them to the one or two that will place them on the right track. With this balance, I experience a 1½ to 1 placement ratio. Of those placements, the average length of stay of those candidates in those positions is 5 years. Everything is in balance: Connection, Urgency, Broker Status!
My employers do not resist the average fees I charge of 29% to 32% because they have told me that they spend an average of $5,000 for each candidate that they interview. If they had to interview 15 of my candidates to find one worth hiring, then they couldn’t afford to pay me the fees that I charge. So you can image they’re delighted when they only have to interview 1½ candidates to hire one. They’re curious about my selection process because they compare it to “a sure thing.” They know that when I send them a candidate, it’s a placement for the candidate and a fill for the employer. From my experience, if the employer senses this kind of value from my services … the offers will come easier, problems with the employer go down, and relationships grow faster. Everything is in balance: Connection, Urgency, Broker Status!

I know that those last two paragraphs may require even more explanation, but understand that the way I recruit in the HealthCare industry is a by-product of this industry. I can’t say that it will work for all industries, but many recruiters have allowed themselves to be convinced that they can survive, or even thrive, by floating from one placement to another. They seem to believe that gravity and balance don’t apply to them. They want to push big numbers, get rich fast by limiting candidate contact through email, abbreviating candidate interviews, and/or loading up employers with large groups of candidates to increase the chances of a placement.

I can’t afford to run my desk that way and healthcare candidates or employers won’t allow me to. If I don’t make a real connection with my people in the placement process during that first impression time, I know from experience that it’ll never work. It’s akin to the earth rotating 5 miles farther out in space … I’d be a popsicle before I knew it. There are just some things that can not be disputed in this world.

I find it amusing when I hear people discussing the lack of candidates in Healthcare. Because I know that they are all over the place. You just need to know how to talk with them. You need to talk their language. You need to understand that these people are looking for a sincere, honest, and committed recruiter to lead them somewhere other than down the primrose path to disaster.

Zig Ziglar put it best in his best selling book “See You at the Top” when he said, “I can promise that you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” This is so true for the recruiting business as well.

Many recruiters, however, have decided that the best way to protect themselves from the tire kickers is to disconnect, or abbreviate their contact with each candidate … becoming more quantity, than quality driven. Well, that’s just not a successful formula. Experience has taught me that the road to real lasting success comes with me having my feet planted here on a balanced earth, by establishing a balance in perceived value, broker status and urgency through connecting with each candidate.

As Paul Hawkinson once told me, “Recruiting is still a full contact sport!” How true! If you’re afraid of trading some bark with a candidate, or getting a little bruised from the contact, then it’s only a matter of time before your world turns you into that Popsicle. Take a lesson from Sir Isaac Newton, and apply a little science to your desk…I think you’ll find that getting back to the old traditions of recruiting will be like a breath of fresh air to your candidates, and your production … thus making life, for you, more like a tropical beach than an iceberg.

Clay Abbott is one of the HealthCare Recruiting industry’s leading recruiters, trainers, public speakers, and consultants. He has 20 years of healthcare experience and has successfully developed the only guaranteed Home Study HealthCare Recruiter Training programs in the industry. And many solo recruiters’ and recruiting managers are finding the cross over into healthcare possible with Clay’s leadership and knowledge. To learn more about his training products and services, visit his web site at: Clay can be reached at (812) 522-2992 or e-mail him at


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