Why Recruiters Don’t Work Out

There are key reasons why recruiters don’t work out. The net effect of any of these reasons is poor results: MEDIOCRE PRODUCTION, TURNOVER, and FRUSTRATION on the part of the new hire, management, ownership, and shareholders. As a firm owner, are you guilty of any or all of these mindsets or faulty systems?

1. The “Just take the ball and run with it” mistake.

Firm owners and management within recruiting firms who are burned out from being the lone recruiter or that are not interested in the grind any longer(they may even hate sales!) think hiring new or experienced recruiters cures ALL their problems and the manager can go on his own merry way. You can’t turn the keys over to a new hire and expect them to run on “auto-pilot”.

2.The “All I need is a rainmaker and my problems are solved” problem.

Much like a husband and wife must make preparations before their first child, firm owners have to be aware of the changes that will occur in their company once a recruiter is added – more sales activity (presentations, debrief sessions, brainstorming, target account development, candidate calls etc.), increased emphasis on fulfillment (researchers, account management, administrative support), and general sales “mayhem” follows when a recruiting company achieves new levels of activity. If you’re not prepared for this onslaught of activity, expect to lose this “rainmaker” to a competitor that has more on the ball.

3. What happens after sales turns it over to fulfillment?

If there is a handoff between the recruiter and an account manager, does the finished product (send outs & ultimate placement) resemble what the recruiter presented during the sales process? If not, therein lay a breakdown in communication between the “closer” and the account management team. End result? Unhappy clients, internal strife amongst your staff, broken promises, and a short-term client. Not long after these issues come to light a recruiter puts two and two together and realizes that a lost client means a lost commission(s) and is likely to look for greener pastures. As your firm’s sales leader, have you taken responsibility for owning the recruiting process from start to finish?

4. Wrong compensation.

Your compensation plan should mirror your sales model (do you want NEW accounts or do you want more business from EXISTING accounts?). Regardless of the sales model, match the incentive to the desired result. We’ve found that 75% of the compensation plans REPEL the best candidates when they should be ATTRACTING them.

5. The “They don’t need business cards or brochures” mentality.

Sure, good recruiters can sell without a brochure, but can a recruiting firm go from OK to GREAT without a consistent brand image, a story to tell, a website, or a vision? No. Don’t fault a new recruiter for requesting marketing support – our hiring managers work with us for many reasons – successful sales & marketing campaigns tap into the verbal, written, and emotional mediums to make their case, not just the persistent(and at times annoying!) recruiter that calls on their office every month. Cover ALL the bases, and your recruiters will prosper.

6. The “I’ll know it when I see it” mistake.

Be clear of your expectations and hire against specific criteria as opposed to hiring on the fly – every search we conduct has specific criteria that we operate against. We never benchmark against our client’s best sales person – if we did that, we could never give our client anything better than what they already have. What position other than sales offers a greater opportunity for gain and an as likely opportunity for loss?? Treat it as such and take the time to draw up criteria to judge your candidates against. We never start a search without this step…..ever.

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7. Letting the “BS effect” run your sales meetings.

In recruiting, whether it’s with candidates or hiring managers, you either have a YES, a NO, or a CLEAR FUTURE. If those 4 words tell the whole story, then why do recruiters embellish their pipelines and why does management accept it?? Get on the same page, and get on the same page now; otherwise, your sales pipeline is inaccurate at best, complete fiction at its worst. When we track the behavior of our recently placed hired, we ask specific questions about # of calls, # of face to face calls, proposals submitted, and revenue generated. Our clients can answer these questions within a moment’s notice, because we’re holding them accountable for managing our recruited candidates.

8. Neglecting to develop the salesperson’s skills and knowledge.

80% of our clients have an external, on-going sales specific training program instituted for its new hires and existing sales force. Management is involved as well. When we work with a company, our client has already invested in the training that will ensure that our “trainable” and “high desire” candidates will flourish within the client’s sales model. Like we said earlier, no sales person is perfect. Take responsibility for providing them on-going, sales specific training to work on those weaknesses and to help them magnify their strengths.

9. Failing to pull the plug.

Just do it – if you’re thinking about firing your unproductive recruiters, you’ve thought about it too long! Do it – they’ve already cost you enough money. If you think their performance will improve, keep thinking that thought into the next mediocre quarter. Forgive the bluntness and the cold hard facts – as a recruiting firm specializing in the sales and sales management discipline, we’re intimately aware of the draining effects a less than adequate recruiters has on a firm’s financials as well as on it management’s minds. Abide by employment law when you terminate, but don’t let the process drag out any longer than their mediocre performance – their mediocrity and your unwillingness to expect more has already cost you WAY TOO MUCH!

10. Not communicating expectations.

You can’t have a high level of performance without accountability. You can’t have accountability without a system of measurement. That’s what quotas are for, and not just dollar quotas. # of first calls per day, # of closing calls per week, and # of referrals per month are all measurable activities, ones that ultimately lead to consistent, measurable, profitable business.

Bob Pudlock is the President of Adgrego, Ltd., an executive recruiting firm that helps sales organizations improve their selection process in the areas of sales & sales management. Adgrego, Ltd. was founded in 2003 and was created for the express purpose of maximizing the investment of "direct sales" organizations in the areas of recruiting (sales & sales management), training (sales, sales management, & leadership coaching), and CRM applications.

He can be reached at raisethebar@adgrego.com or at his desk (866) 330-0036.

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