A recruiting network can be a powerful tool in a recruiter’s toolbelt, but you have to work the network. Some have the mindset that they will join and job orders and candidates will fall into their lap… It doesn’t work that way. You have to make working the network a habit, kind of like going to the gym – once you start going once a week, it just becomes habit. Engaging in a network is similar, it becomes habit, and it can make you money!
NPAworldwide recently hosted a topical phone call on “How to Make NPAworldwide a Habit,” hosted by moderator: Anne Downing, Demetrio & Associates, L.L.C., and panel member: Charlie Diana, Advanced Search Group, Inc.
Charlie and Anne, who have been members 20+ years, have done many splits and are very active in the network. How do they get active and stay engaged in NPAworldwide? Charlie says he makes it part of his daily routine.
“It’s not a separate part of my day – it’s all of my day,” Charlie said. “I use NPA for whatever I’m working on – if it’s a job I’m working on and sourcing candidates for myself, not only am I looking through my internal database, but I’m looking at everybody’s candidates in NPA. Like, I got a job order yesterday, and the first thing I did was go into MatchMaker (NPA’s job and candidate sharing board) and look for people with fermentation expertise.”
Charlie said his firm puts nearly every job order they get and candidate they recruit into NPA’s database. Sometimes, there’s a reason not to put a job order on, like if you already have 4 people lined up for interviews that week and you don’t want to waste another recruiter’s time, he said. But overall, it’s important to share as much as you can.
“We view NPA trading partners as if they were sitting across from me in the office,” Charlie said. “It’s more of a philosophy that you have to have going into it – some believe in it, some don’t; some use it as ‘well, if we can’t fill it on our own, we’ll see if the network can,’ or, ‘we have 3 people going in, let’s see if we can get more.’ We don’t look at it that way. Whoever has the best candidate gets priority – if a trading partner’s candidate is better than mine, they go in ahead of mine. Regardless if it is a full fee for us, or half a split fee, that doesn’t matter – money is money, it’s revenue. Every year, for 22 years, 25-30% of my business comes from NPA splits.”
Within a recruiting network there are many tools, such as job and candidate searches and alerts, meetings, trading group calls, member forums, etc. Charlie said that some of the best ROI in terms of time spent has been “being engaged and being part of the network”:
“For newer people out there, it can be intimidating – how do I break in? It seems there’s a perception of a country club mentality or good ole boy network. Everybody trades with the same people all the time, and there’s a perception that you can’t break into that fraternity. That’s just not true. There’s no ‘breaking in.’ If you have a candidate that fits my job, we’re best buddies. If you have a good job order for my candidate, we’re best buddies. Keep engaged as far as putting your jobs and candidates on the site every day. Go to meetings. Pick up the phone and make a call to somebody.”
Charlie said consistency is key, and one of the network tools he thinks is very important is search alerts. “The first thing I do in the morning when I walk into the office is look at new job orders and new candidates; ‘What do I have that fits that job?’, ‘What one of these candidates fits the job I’m working on?’, or I tell my co-worker ‘Hey Mike, Genie Matthews put up a good candidate for your Ann Arbor job.’ That is critical.”
Searching jobs every day, attending meetings, and calling trading partners can seem like a lot of work, but Charlie says what keeps him motivated in the network, ultimately, is his bottom line. Then there are fringe benefits like yearly awards for being in the network’s Top 10 producers, as well as intangible benefits, like friendships.
“The friendship part of it is important,” he said. “The relationships that I have with my affiliates and associates is absolutely priceless. You make that kind of friendship/relationship, where there’s an ultimate trust that you have. If I’ve got something to work on with Laura, I can say ‘here you go,’ and I don’t have to worry about it. And vice versa. We call each other and can tell each other who our clients are — it’s a well-oiled machine. That’s another reason for the friendship part of it. And it’s nice to have friends all over the world.”
Charlie and Anne have been friends for 20 years, and have never made a split together. But their trading partnership is still valuable because they talk to each other constantly about business, ideas, and NPA.
“It could be needing an opinion, learning how they do something, or finding out about a new technology they’re using… Being able to pick up the phone and call someone, whether they’re in the next state or country… Everyone has different information they can share, and that is very valuable. Especially if you’re a solo recruiter or in a small office.”
For new recruiters, it can be intimidating to start off. Charlie suggested making the network part of your daily routine. First, make sure your profile is up-to-date so people can find you. Then, search for recruiters in your niche… use keywords, for example: “C++” and “software engineer.” Lastly, set up an alert for those types of jobs/candidates, and every morning you’ll get an email and see all the candidates and job alerts in that area, and you’ll start to see the same name(s) over and over again. Pick up the phone and call those people.
“You can’t win the lottery unless you buy a ticket,” Charlie said. “You have to post your candidates and jobs on the network, and engage to it. This is part of my daily routine. Make it daily and make it a part of your ‘to do’ when you have job orders and candidates.”