Three Primary Factors Determine Poor Results

Although there may be an infinite number of factors that influence the level of results you achieve in this business, years of experience working with thousands of Recruiters/Consultants has confirmed for me that, where poor results are concerned, three of those factors are primary.

Let’s begin with an understanding that the two most important components in the search/placement process are candidates (recruits) and clients who are willing to hire them. Nothing else matters if you cannot generate a sufficient quantity of qualified candidates and clients. They serve as the foundation for everything that follows in the process.

Therefore, when dealing with a practitioner who is dissatisfied with their results, I generally begin by asking:

“In almost every instance where there is a lack of consistent results it is due to one or a combination of three factors.”

“First, a lack of consistent focused effort on a daily basis.”

“Second, the individual is calling the wrong companies or is dealing with the wrong contact at the companies they do call.”

“Third, the individual is not doing the right things on their calls or, worse yet, they are flat out doing things wrong.”

“Which of these factors apply to your situation?”

With most of the Recruiters who are truly interested in improving their results, this questions sparks a lively give and take analysis that helps me identify specifically where they need help. Typically, a lack of results involves a combination of all three factors, starting with the third factor.

The Recruiter enters the call with a negative mindset and inappropriate objectives, while using the standard sales and closing techniques utilized by many in the staffing industry. Although initially creative, in most instances, these techniques are so familiar they have become ineffective at best and may actually be offensive to the prospect. Subsequently, the Recruiter experiences increased rejection and, without guidance and/or further training, their calls fall into a pattern (rut) that, although relatively simple to complete, rarely produce qualified results. They are easily “put off” or referred to HR where, at best, they end up in the paper shuffling business.

This is where the second factor comes into play. Discouraged by their lack of results, the Recruiter begins to follow the path of least resistance, dealing with people who can say “no” but who do not have the authority to say “yes.” This results in the harvesting of “low hanging fruit” (See TFL 05/99 – “Beware of the Low Hanging Fruit”) where they concentrate on pleasing processes versus meaningful results.

After a time, since their calls are producing poor results, they stop making them on a consistent daily basis – “factor one.” They become engaged in avoidance behaviors that may suffice for a short time in a good economy, but will be fatal in more challenging economic times. A dangerous downward spiral begins to take hold. With the advent of technology and the Internet, these avoidance behaviors increasingly center upon sending e-mails and checking out Internet sites. Obviously, some of this is necessary as a support function but rarely is it as effective as one-on-one personal contact via the telephone.

If you are experiencing poor or inconsistent results, it’s your responsibility to quickly diagnose the problem and seek help before it becomes irreversible. Do not allow yourself to engage in subconscious self-deception. Take a good look at your performance ratios (See TFL – 09/04 – “Stop Kidding Yourself”). If you have accurately kept track of your activity or if your call accounting software does that for you, these numbers and ratios will quickly identify which of the three primary factors are determining your poor performance.


In all areas of life, achievement oriented people welcome measurement, whether that measurement is against personal or group standards. They realize that accurate and timely performance measurement (feedback) is the best tool for monitoring their progress and professional growth.

Article Continues Below

Since the three primary factors are closely intertwined, in most instances, the heart of the problem is a lack of confidence that stems from a lack of competence. The lack of competence stems from not being fundamentally sound and conceptually secure in the basics of the business. The functional skill sets that should serve as the foundation for professional growth are missing or poorly developed. The good news is these shortcomings can be corrected through proper training and a commitment to personal development. (See TFL – 11/99 – “How Bad Do You Want To Be Good?”). Once in place, the skill sets will build competence, which is the foundation of confidence.

When a Recruiter approaches their work with confidence, they are far more likely to complete their tasks in an effective and efficient manner. This generates positive results which breeds a desire to repeat the tasks and achieve additional results, In fact, the opposite of the downward spiral occurs. The job becomes self-reinforcing, an end in itself.

The first step to improving poor performance is to identify the factors that created it. Once this has been accomplished, a specifically tailored remedy can be designed and implemented. This will dramatically improve your results in the short term while helping you build the necessary skills sets to insure continued professional growth.

All it takes is a willingness to confront those factors that are holding you back from realizing your full potential.


The ten two letter words that spell success: “If it is to be it is up to me!”

Author Unknown

Meanwhile, if you have questions, comments or would like to discuss this topic further, just let me know. Your calls and e-mails are always welcome.

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”, visit his web site at: Terry can be reached at (651) 738-8561 or e-mail him a:

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.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *