How Successful Recruiters Set Goals

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Setting-Goals-Tony-RobbinsToday’s blogger is Amy Teske, NPAworldwide Membership Engagement Manager. Amy joined the NPAworldwide staff in June 2015. We’re happy she’s here, and happy for the extra blogging horsepower as well!

With the end of the year drawing closer, it is important to evaluate progress, efforts and accomplishments. Hopefully you experienced great moments of success when looking back on the past year.

When a new year approaches, so does a new set of recruitment goals and plans. There are many different techniques to goal setting. Without goals, we don’t always have a defined path to success. Setting goals is a proven way to increase accomplishments and it is important to have a plan in place.

Here are a few techniques that show how successful recruiters set goals:

  1. Set Goals that Motivate You
    Why is your goal important? Motivation is the key to achieving goals. Be optimistic that you will fulfill your goal.
  2. Set SMART goals:
    Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound.
  3. Set Goals in Writing
    Writing them down makes your goals real and tangible. Maybe you would like to earn a certain amount of money next year, or close a certain number of deals. Write it down so you have it documented.
  4. Make an Action Plan
    Don’t be so overly focused on the outcome that you forget to plan the steps that are needed. Lean on peers, networks and business associates for advice. Perhaps your goal is to complete one global placement. What do you need to do to accomplish this recruitment goal?
  5. Stick With It!
    Use reminders, regularly review your goals and make sure you stay focused. How many conversations, send outs, and interviews will it take? How will you obtain a global job opening? Push yourself to stick with the goal you set.

As you set your recruitment goals, think about the things that you want to achieve. What drives you to want to accomplish your goal? Is there anything standing in your way? What can your recruiting partners do to add to your success?

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Holiday Recruiting – Understanding the Cycles

By Sarah Gawrys

“Timing is everything” the old saying goes, and a true statement as we head into the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 for hiring. Sometimes, business success can be attributed to knowing and understanding these annual recruitment cycles and planning out accordingly. Each quarter should be detailed in your business plan, accounting for a heavy start, quiet summer, and strong close if you are recruiting in the United States.

“Hiring managers and bank CEOs will typically try to reduce their operating profits by incurring search fees towards the end of each year, to avoid paying taxes,” says Josiah Whitman, an executive recruiter with Financial Placements of Lake Oswego, Oregon in an interview with Monster. His firm’s job orders are distributed this way: first quarter, 23 percent; second quarter, 21 percent; third quarter, 20 percent; fourth quarter, 36 percent.

However this is not always true, especially in executive search. According to an article by Monster, major industries classified as information, financial services, and professional and business services, having hired heavily in the second quarter, see their lowest level of hiring in December. In these industries, the first quarter of the New Year will bring a wave of hiring, and if you are a professional looking, the best time to get in is right at the start of these peaks. You will not be alone though, as January brings the greatest influx of job applications as many are looking for that “new start” to the year.

What this means for independent recruiters is that during these surges, the demand may outweigh the availability talent and strong candidates, so many companies may look to hire firms to source the talent for them. As a recruiter, stay on top by ensuring you are mobile ready. In 2015, the company Eligo reported that 24% of the applications and resume/CV uploads were completed via mobile. If you do not currently have a mobile friendly site for your job searches now is the time to get that in place. At the very least, make 2016 the year your firms stays relevant with technology and trends. A recent study by LinkedIn stated that “72% of job seekers visited a company website from their device (whilst) 45% have even applied for a position from their device”.

All in all, it is most important to realize that 2015 is not quite over, and there is plenty of time to hit those business goals before setting them over again in 2016. Ignore holiday excuses and get searching!

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How to Make Your Fee Agreement Airtight

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Jon-GuidiJon Guidi is the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Hirabl, a Big Data startup known for its “Fee Catcher” reporting service. Jon founded Hirabl to ensure recruiters get paid for the hard work they do, and have the tools necessary to grow revenue at their agency. Prior to Hirabl, Jon was CEO of HealthCare Recruiters International, a leading US recruiting firm. He previously spent 10 years with Morgan Stanley and UBS in sales and trading, leaving UBS as a Senior Vice President. He lives in California with his wife and 2 daughters.

Recruiter-Client relationships often run deep.

Unfortunately bad things can happen in recruitment, like backdoor hires (when your clients hire your candidates without your knowledge).

Here are three best practices you can use to make your fee agreement airtight:

  1. Ensure you get paid no matter how your candidate is hired. Include wording that specifies that if your candidate is hired full-time, as a consultant, or as a contractor, you are still owed a fee.
  2. Extend the length of candidate ownership time as long as possible. Clearly state that if your candidate is hired within 12 months of your LAST presentation a fee is owed according to the specified pay structure.
  3. Protect yourself from out-of-control legal expenses. Ensure the debtor agrees to pay attorney and collections fees if the account is placed in collections or litigated.

Want a free audit of your contract? Email and we’ll schedule a time to audit your contract, as well as send our Fee Collection Toolkit.

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Can a Recruitment Firm be Built to Last?

By Veronica Scrimshaw

green-blocksToday’s post is from Nerissa Reyes from AVANTI People Partnership International in Manila, Philippines. Nerissa is currently serving as chairman-elect on the NPAworldwide board of directors and was previously both secretary/treasurer and a regional director for the recruitment network. She lives and works across several countries including Jakarta, Sydney, London, and Manila. 

AVANTI People Partnership provides executive search and staffing for various multinational companies across functions. In the fast-growing “business process outsourcing” arena, AVANTI provides cross-border recruitment solutions on a global scale.

Did we ever go to university thinking we would like to be a recruitment consultant? It does not follow a prestigious degree like law, doctor, accountant.

So why do we do this? Why did I become a recruitment consultant after obtaining a professional qualification in accountancy? Did I see this as an interim job? Why did it last for 20 years? Accountancy is a good discipline, but dealing with people provides deeper gratification & meaning to everyday life.

But can we make a recruitment firm sustainable and built to last? I believe if the leader of the company follows through with a vision/ mission that goes beyond themselves, the business can continue to prosper. A recruitment firm that follows a culture according to authentic personal values is reflected through the recruitment staff & appreciated by candidates. The  clients see your difference and offer repeat business. A network of associates sharing similar values expand the business.

Maintain a culture of authenticity. A values-grounded management is truly concerned about the welfare of staff. The  head of a small recruitment firm sets the vision and determines the working environment. Walk the talk in the workplace and the recruitment staff will care for the company like their own.

After 20 years in the industry, our legacy lives on. I recently opened a Facebook posting from the company’s first group of recruitment consultants, a team photo in our first office with the caption, “the good old days.” Our consultants have moved on, but the learning and experience is something they will carry with them…and they are always proud to have been part of the team and eager to refer repeat business.

Nowadays, we are tempted to make shortcuts. Clients push us to do mass production and treat candidates like a commodity. Nevertheless, our core values as recruitment consultants should not be compromised in the process. The recruitment process is not just about the KPI’s…it’s about  the person. Unlike  any other business  it affects people’s long-term careers and livelihoods.

Do not be afraid to tell the truth about employment market conditions. If we have reservations about a client’s cultural fit with a candidate & vice versa, we should be in a position to provide relevant, sincere advice. Remember, relationships are long-term…we may miss this placement opportunity, but it comes back a hundredfold. Ultimately, they appreciate the honesty. This is our main differentiation over searches done just using technology tools.

No task is ever so daunting if we maintain that authenticity in the recruitment workplace. Our recruitment company will take on the challenges brought about by the industry ups and downs. But we will be “built to last” because our core values are grounded.

“The only truly reliable source of stability is a strong inner core and the willingness to change and adapt everything except that core.”
― James C. Collins, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

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Why Split Placements Are Good for Global Recruitment

By Veronica Scrimshaw

pocket-knifeAs companies continue to pursue global expansion to gain market penetration or just a general increase in revenue, the need for global recruitment will also continue to increase. There are plenty of large multinational recruitment organizations who can provide this service to their clients. What’s a small, independent recruitment firm to do? Two words: split placements. Here are a few ways in which split placements are good for global recruitment:

  1. Local knowledge. A split placement partner in the locale where your client is hiring will know the local language, culture, and business customs. This can be invaluable especially when it comes to interviewing, structuring an offer, and ensuring compliance with the local employment laws.
  2. Speed. Your local split placement partner should be able to find candidates more quickly than you can (especially in a country where you have little familiarity and/or a language barrier), as well as scheduling phone screens and interviews.
  3. Save money. If you engage in split placements on a contingency basis, you won’t pay your partner until a hire is made. This also means you aren’t paying a recruiter of your own, plus all of the associated overhead. Moreso, you don’t run the risk of hiring a contractor in a non-compliant way or worse yet, have to set up an international business entity for what could be a one-off transaction.
  4. Confidently say yes to more opportunities. As an independent , it’s tough to say yes to global recruitment assignments from your clients – after all, you don’t have a current pipeline of candidates, aren’t sure how (or *if*) you can develop one, don’t want to stay awake 24 hours a day trying to talk to people on the other side of the world, and sure as heck don’t know what the employment laws are. Split placements mean you can say yes to client without worrying that they will look for another recruiter.

Working on a split placement basis requires a high degree of trust, an attitude that 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing, great communication, and a willingness to invest time building relationships. You can build your own network of trusted recruitment partners, seek out informal alliances, or join a formal split placement network. The method is less important than the relationships. Global recruitment is here to stay – what are you waiting for?

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Stop Multitasking to Improve Recruitment Productivity

By Dave Nerz

multitasking-300Recruiters lead an interesting and often fast-paced work day. The recruiting life consists of phones, emails, ATS searches, LinkedIn profile checks, data entry, live conversations, and co-worker interruptions, just to name a few.

A recent article by Devora Zack, an author, consultant and coach (, highlights a few of the myths we have failed to recognize for what they are. Zack says, “Multitasking is a myth. The brain is hard-wired to do one thing at a time. When we think we are multitasking we are actually engaged in what neuroscientists call ‘task switching’ – switching rapidly between tasks.”

So maybe we do not have all the recruiting super powers that we assumed we had. Maybe we are constantly distracted instead of multitasking recruitment superstars? Want to become more focused and less distracted? Try some of these and perhaps recruitment superstar status will take hold in your business.

  • Avoid distractions. Plan things like phone calls to be done away from the computer screen. Sometimes I will stand up while I talk on the phone for both the health benefit of changing positions during a mostly sedentary day and secondly to remove email and the computer from my direct line of sight.
  • Find great locations. Don’t make a call from a coffee shop, please. Yes, you are focused but you really don’t want to be “that person” that shares how important you are by making calls in public. Sometimes I will make a call from my car when stopped in a parking lot. It is safe and it is very focused. Other times I walk to an empty conference room and make a call. These all keep me focused on the call.
  • Package work tasks. Gather similar tasks and do them in bunches. Email when you arrive at work and perhaps at the bottom of the hour rather than constantly. Or maybe you can manage an on-arrival, just before lunch and mid-day routine? It allows you to work on the important stuff that is not on your computer screen.
  • Schedule downtime. We need time to think. Take lunch or take a walk. Set aside 15 minutes to “ponder” something new and in need of your attention. I like displayed thinking. Fifteen minutes in front of a whiteboard is like sixty minutes in front of a computer to me. Schedule time to do the things that help you break through on tough issues.

I hope you were not conducting an interview while you read this! Please share your favorite tip for recruitment productivity in the comments below.

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Are Your Job Descriptions Search Engine-Friendly?

By Veronica Scrimshaw

There are a lot of things to consider when writing job descriptions. They need to be interesting and compelling, something that will attract the right candidates AND get them to click the ad/apply to the job. They need to be well-written, not just a copy-and-paste of what the client sends you. And they need to be search-engine friendly. What does that mean? Well, it means that the spiders and crawlers that scour the web can find your job description, figure out what it’s all about, and return it in a job seeker’s search engine results. All of this is more art than science.

Not too long ago, the team at Social Talent hosted a webinar for our members about writing killer job ads, and one of their tips really resonated with me. Here is the tip: copy your job description and paste it into Wordle, which is a little program that makes “word clouds” out of text. Words are sized in order of frequency – so the words that are used the most will be the largest in the word cloud. This is a great way for any recruiter to visually understand how Google and other search engines “see” your job descriptions. I’ll show you how it works.

Let’s say I’m interested in digital marketing jobs. I would probably go to Google and type in something like “digital marketing jobs in Michigan.” And most likely, the top results for that search would be from Indeed, Careerbuilder, SimplyHired, Monster, or other large job boards and aggregators. That’s great for a job seeker, but it might *not* be so great for a boutique recruitment agency. It’s tough to get to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages), because the large advertisers are effectively setting the price for pay-per-click ads. Most recruitment firms have to figure out how to do it organically, and that means you have to think like a job seeker. Here is a Wordle that I created using the job description for a digital marketing director role:


As you can see, the word marketing is the most prominent in the word cloud above. In fact, it appears twice: once with a capital M and once in all lowercase letters. Digital is also fairly large. I can see Director in really small letters. I don’t see the word “job” or “jobs” anywhere, nor do I see any mention of a location. The other words that are fairly prominent:  management, team, drive, Salesforce, etc. are probably not words that most job seekers would use in an initial search. In this example, Google would likely figure out that this content is marketing-related, but it may NOT think it’s a close enough match to my query for “digital marketing jobs in Michigan.” And that means, I’m not going to see that ad.

Now that you’ve seen what (and how) a search engine sees, what can you do to improve your job descriptions?

  1. First, decide what your most important keywords are. Hint: The job title and the word “job” or “jobs” should be pretty high on your list.
  2. Then, make sure your most important keywords are used with some frequency, and get them towards the top of your job description.
  3. Use your keywords in a “natural” way – that is, work them into sentences in ways that make sense and would be used in regular speech or writing. Hint: don’t just type your keywords over and over or otherwise “stuff” them into your job descriptions. The search engines are wise to that trick, and they don’t like it.
  4. Make your own Wordle – if the biggest words that you see are NOT your most important keywords, you’ve got some work to do.
  5. Read more tips and great ideas from Social Talent here.

Do you have a great tip for creating search engine-friendly job descriptions? Share it in the comments below.

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Is Working with BountyJobs Like Working with a Client?

By Dave Nerz

cloud-speech-bubbleLet me start with the fact that I am not using BountyJobs. My thoughts on this subject are based on  what others tell me, what I read and the posts I have seen on the topic. So if I have something wrong or I am missing an important point of view, please add to the conversation. The point is for all to learn from those who know the most.

BountyJobs as a Client  
Many newer firms, recruiters with less of a passion for recruitment client marketing, those making a move from pure staffing to direct hire placement, those whose market niche has dried up or maybe are in the process of changing niches, are the firms I hear are using BountyJobs with regularity. Maybe there are others or perhaps some other common reasons for using BountyJobs. Searching BountyJobs for jobs similar to client company jobs I am working might be a great way to use additional candidates located for my client company search that otherwise sit in my database. I can also see Bounty as an alternative to split fee placement. That is the niche I am involved in so again, warning! warning! I may not see all the facts that are more obvious to you.

I am told that due to the circumstances of how the client must engage with BountyJobs, the client contact and feedback from clients is not as strong as a direct client relationship; a bit obvious perhaps? I have also heard of situations where stronger relationships with a client were first built inside the Bounty model and the client and independent recruiter later engaged outside that model. So it can lead to a more traditional recruitment client relationship, but I have to assume that is very rare. Some client companies are using BountyJobs as their VMS (Vendor Management System). So the fact that a recruiter must engage in the Bounty model is just a clearer and more consistent way to engage with a VMS.  Instead of a VMS being run by a potentially competitive recruitment brand, the VMS is BountyJobs.

If your strength is search and you hate to do recruitment client marketing, collections and all the other aspects of a direct client relationship, then the BountyJobs model would appear to be a fit. Your speed and skill are rewarded in this model. Every day is a new day and lots of new opportunities are presented every week. The more transactions, the greater the reward.

BountyJobs is not a Client
More established firms with a process for attracting and retaining client company relationships tell me that they would drop a client that forced them to work via the Bounty model. Many recruitment firms expect a great level of client contact and control. In some cases the recruitment company continued the relationship despite the change, but found it too difficult to maintain the prior level of client engagement and eventually abandoned the effort. I am certain there are exceptions and other outcomes possible. It is apparent that when a committed client relationship turns into a competitive battle for the business, the recruiter impacted by the change will have a negative perspective on that shift. It is obvious that a change must have occurred for some reason and recruiter performance was likely to have been a contributing factor.

From those who do not see Bounty as a client, they tell me that they are unwilling to spend time on the most competitive of all recruitment assignments. That is how they view these opportunities.  They say that for the most competitive of their assignments to pay only a portion of a full fee is less than acceptable. I know many BountyJobs can pay a 25% fee and in some cases the percentage retained by Bounty can be minimized if certain conditions are met. These recruiters view Bounty as a job board for recruiters. They would never suggest to a quality candidate that they just post a resume on Monster and wait for success. Instead, they would coach any quality candidate to start by building a plan and then network to a perfect job and use the boards as a tool. They see the Bounty model as one tool but not a complete solution. They may use it, but would not be comfortable becoming dependent on it. They see submittals to these client openings as becoming comfortable with a “post and pray” model of recruitment.

So like most things in life, there is no one right answer and people’s points of view can differ considerably.

  • What has your experience been with the BountyJobs model?
  • Do you see many experienced recruiters using Bounty as a core source of business?
  • Would you find it acceptable for a split fee partner to use a job posted on BountyJobs as an opening to share with you to fill on a split basis?
  • Do you find clients moving toward or away from a VMS model, including BountyJobs and why?

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When Trading Partners Work Together

By Sarah Gawrys

blue2-orange-fishAs Director of Membership for NPAworldwide, I am responsible for bringing in firms to our split placement network. Many times, it can be intimidating joining an organization where you are unsure if you are going to encounter other recruiters that have the same clients, have better relationships with certain candidates, or even are located in your backyard. In life in general, the competitive nature of everything we do in both our personal lives and businesses has taken over and caused doubt and uncertainty in ourselves and others. I urge you to release these thoughts when joining any type of network, especially one where working together instead of against each other can turn a good profit. Here is a refreshing story of viewing things differently:

We had a member in Massachusetts USA that worked only retail and there were no other members in the network at the time that worked his industry, his name is Joel. He was a go getter and if he had IT jobs for Nike or any other large retail company he would call the members in the IT Trading Group and ask for help.  At the time, he was one of the top performers in the network.

After a new application from another retail recruiting agency was received, Joel called ready to quit, since he was competition and they shared a lot of the same clients. The other firm was still approved and we called Joel to ask him to give the new member a call to find out what he is all about and what he was working on.

A few weeks later he called me and said he had no reason to worry as it turns out they did have a lot of the same clients but not all the same jobs and they both had several other clients. They ended up making 10 split placements that year and found they could work together and fill the jobs faster and get quicker turnaround on the clients they did not have in common.

Joel called me one day to tell me he and Mike were now joined at the hip, even visiting each others clients when they could.

The moral of the story is that partnering up can always cause more opportunities, better client service, and solid financial return. If you refuse to step outside of the negative line of thinking in a network that you join, or even in life in general, well Christmas is arriving shortly and you can always join the likes of the Grinch and Mr. Scrooge.


Implications of Global M&A activities on SMEs

By Veronica Scrimshaw

2013 Rod smallOur guest blogger is Rod Hore from HHMC. Rod is a 35-year veteran of Australian and international IT and corporate advisory organisations. His executive-level credentials traverse many segments of the staffing and recruitment industry and include corporate advisory assignments, mergers and acquisitions mandates, and C-level advisory to multinational and other public and private organizations. Located in Sydney, Rod founded HHMC to provide local industry acumen and global knowledge to Asia Pacific recruitment agencies. HHMC’s innovative business strategies and well-grounded guidance result in clients realising their personal and corporate goals.

As the year has progressed we have all seen a rise in announcements about acquisitions in the recruitment industry. A rush of consolidation activity is underway between the large and international companies. In a number of cases the deals are enormous and the valuations seem “generous.”

Does this activity have any impact on life for the small-to-medium business owner and manager? Well, yes it does. Here are 4 impacts.

The question we are most often asked is about valuations – does all of this activity create a spike in value for small-to-medium enterprises (SME’s)? Possibly, but not for most.

For most SME’s, HHMC has seen little change in valuations over the past decade. Profit levels have risen and fallen, and the appetite for acquisitions has risen and fallen, but the multiple of profit paid for SME’s has mostly stayed within a set range.

In most circumstances, larger companies cannot justify acquisitions that are too small as the transaction cost and risk is too high for the expected return. The exception may be those companies that have developed a particular niche that is in demand and can prove there is strategic benefit is that niche.

However the rise in larger-scale M&A activity does embolden SME owners and managers to consider acquisitions as part of a growth strategy. These are not reported widely, but the activity level is high.

Global Expansion
The rise in global companies has an impact on SME’s. Not only does it bring well-funded and high-performance organisations into a local market, the global companies tend to have disruptive models compared to local SME agencies. Clients are presented with new solution models and new pricing models that are often beyond what can be provided by the SME’s.

SME’s need to choose their strategy carefully so they are providing services to clients that want those services.

Large works with large
As the recruitment industry’s clients adopt greater HR and procurement-led purchasing models, SME’s tend to be sidelined. Larger companies work with larger companies in most circumstances. This is especially true for international organisations that are seeking single-supplier solutions across counties and across regions – indeed this is driving some of the global M&A activity.

SME’s need to consider where they can best add value and what client type they should target.

Success breeds success
A very positive outcome of the M&A activity is that it puts a spotlight on the industry. This can lead to greater investment activity such as the attention of private equity companies seeking investments in a buoyant industry. It also attracts greater entrepreneurial activity, attracts new management talent, and provides a focus for business advisers.

One would hope the focus and activity will embolden business owners and managers to strive to build the best businesses they can; businesses that will come to the attention of global acquirers or the private equity investors.

That’s good for the industry.

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