Stay Close to the Money!

By Veronica Blatt

Today’s guest blogger is Bill Benson with WilliamCharles Search Group located in Grand Rapids, MI. WilliamCharles is an executive search and professional recruiting firm specialized in finding managerial and executive talent in finance, HR, operations, sales/marketing as well as president/CEO roles. They have a concentration of clients in Michigan but they also work across the US. Bill is the chairman-elect of the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.

One of my bosses in the 80s (dating myself) would always say ours is a simple business, “It takes a job order and a candidate,” and, “If you’re on the phone, you’re making money – let’s not overcomplicate it.” Hard to dismiss entirely because he is now CEO of Robert Half International. In those days, not being on the phone meant a quick path to the door.

So let’s all agree you can’t have a discussion about success in our business without working hard and being on the phone! Find a way to plan out and measure your calls and amount of time on the phone.

Focus on the right stuff is key, so let’s talk jobs, clients and candidates – they are not all created equal in terms of value. The euphemism I’m using is “high currency jobs” and “high currency candidates.” High currency translates to high likelihood of a resulting placement. If you’ve been recruiting for 5-10 years, this should not be a new concept. I’ve come to understand that improving is often not learning something new but being reminded and refocused. Simply put…if your business is not focused on high currency jobs or high currency candidates, then you need to evaluate your business model. I see too many recruiters working in low currency spaces.

For the new and need reminding recruiters out there…here is a guide for what “is” high currency.

High Currency Jobs:

  • Job orders where the client has paid a retainer (commitment fee) or “exclusive”
  • Client is counting on you
  • Job specs and salary align
  • Client is the hiring manager not a recruiter
  • Job has not been posted
  • Job is fresh (yes, jobs are perishable)
  • Candidates can be found (not saying easily found necessarily)
  • Client returns phone calls and gives feedback on resumes

High Currency Clients:

  • Clients that have ongoing hiring needs
  • Client where you have ad recurring success
  • Middle tier companies that don’t have large talent acquisition departments.
  • If a large company, then a consistent approach to using recruiters. Often private companies are less inclined to constantly re-engineer their approach to talent acquisition.
  • Large public companies with large TA functions are not consistent and reliable clients. Building a business with this as the foundation is like building a house on sand.

High Currency Candidates:

  • Candidates whose background is in demand – this is a common denominator
  • Hard-to-find candidates (staff to manager level)…every industry and function has them
  • Candidates that are not answering ads and posting their resume
  • Candidates that are “actively passive” or passive but motivated to make a change
  • If active and high demand then work with them exclusively
  • High-quality candidates (degreed, quality company experience and track record)

Here are some truths to consider.

Posting jobs and working active candidates…hoping to race the resume in front of the client before their own TA person finds them is not adding value and will not be sustainable over time. C’mon man.

The path of least resistance will not lead to high currency anything.

You can’t build trust with clients or candidates over email.

Hard to find candidates/high currency candidates are not recruited electronically.

You can’t build a long term relationship with a large company TA department. They are always trying to do things on their own and they have a larger budget than you do.

High currency candidates know other high currency candidates.

Adding value leads to more referrals both with clients and candidates – find ways to add value.

The good news is that you can develop a business model that fits your strengths and preferences. If you don’t like to grind for candidates, then build a client development engine and find great partners who will turn your jobs into cash.

If your recruiting focus is high quality candidates but not necessarily hard-to-find candidates, then you need to find the right partner who can host your capability. This is especially true if you prefer to do “targeted recruiting.” These opportunities exist but they require finding that right trading partner and building a relationship.

If you have success recruiting hard to find candidates, you can find a trading partner within that niche and let them turn that candidate into cash. You are better off spending your time on sourcing/recruiting and filling your pipeline with other hard-to-find high currency candidates. Again, stay in the work where you excel and find enjoyment.

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