When the Networking Well Runs Dry

By Sarah Freiburger

19196324.thbBecause it’s a competitive market for job seekers, recruiters can find it tough to find the right candidate for a role they’re trying to fill. This can be especially true when there is a very specific requirement or  the pipeline of potential candidates has dried up. The longer a position stays open, the costlier the open position becomes due to the time, energy, effort, and productivity expended to hire a candidate. If it’s been days, weeks, months, and that job order is still open, it might be time to change up your approach and use a different method to find that needle in the haystack. Read the rest of this entry »

How Small Recruitment Agencies Can Beat Larger Firms

By Dave Nerz

boerboel-672749_1280-300Big recruitment agencies have some real advantages. But with size come some traits and characteristics that are not always as positive as they may seem. Small recruitment agencies have some distinct advantages also, but a strategy must be put in place to exercise these strengths in order to outposition the big firms. Here are some thoughts on how small can beat big…


  1. Recognize the advantages small recruitment agencies have and make the most of these advantages.
  2. Learn how to minimize the big agency advantages.
  3. Put a plan in place and work your plan.

Advantages for Small Recruitment Agencies to Leverage:

  • Information. Being close to the customer has advantages. Small companies have a natural advantage in this area. Get close to your customer and keep the flow of information into your agency moving both ways.
  • Time/Speed. Big companies have a difficult time doing anything quickly. Small companies can do more in the first hours of the day then a giant competitor can do in a week.
  • Focus. Big companies must spread their attention to the whole of the market. Small independents can focus on one segment and become expert. While the big agency must increase scope to remain in a growth mode, small recruitment agencies can remain focused on the customer.
  • Innovation. Big companies need to have endless meetings to get everyone aligned around the smallest changes and shifts. Being nimble and flexible have great advantages to your customers. They want weekly billing…you can do it. They want daily reporting…you can do it. These small requests can rarely be handled with ease by the big agency.
  • Scale. Big companies need big markets. Find the things that big agencies are unwilling to learn, do or service and do them with excellence. You will create a market with little or no competition from the big guys.

Be aware of big agency strengths and do what is needed to minimize those strengths. Have a specific plan in place to combat each area of strength. Be prepared for when the big agency attacks your small business. Understand your response before the attack happens. Whenever possible, band together with like-minded small businesses so that in spite of your unique size you are a part of something bigger. There are many associations and recruitment networks that will allow you to operate as a small business but gain the advantage of being part of something larger.

Big is not always best! And as the story goes…David can beat Goliath when prepared and armed with the right tools.

Independent Recruiter Blog

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

By Veronica Blatt

highway-lights-300Today’s guest blogger is James Seidel with James Seidel & Associates located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. JSA is an owner-operated firm with clients across western Canada. The firm primarily places candidates in I/T, engineering, and sales. James is a former leader of our IT Trading Group and is currently serving on the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.

In our business, that prize is a placement and a customer who walks away with a product they feel good about for a price they feel was worth it. If you are good at this business, as in any business, you charge more for your services than someone who is average. Your customers expect more from you for that price, and you deliver. That’s how business works.

Expecting more from us means our customers expect us to provide better candidates, faster than our competitors. That’s the service we sell. They’ve generally done their best to fill the role before they reach for the phone, and they expect us to quickly better their efforts.

To be the best, they expect us to have toolboxes with more tools than they have. They have many of the same tools, sometimes more expensive ones, but still look to us with our toolboxes because somehow we manage to produce. Often we have a deeper database, years of experience in a niche, tireless work ethic, boundless creativity, and all that. But we may have something else that they don’t. A really competent group of affiliates who also work in that space. Who also have deep databases, niche focus, and the mindset to succeed in a competitive business. We can instantly multiply our efforts by 3 or 4 or 5 by a few quick phone calls to people we know can deliver. The ones who have done it in the past. In sports terms, your points leaders are generally the same people this year who did it last year. Those are the folks we get involved. Those are folks our clients don’t have access to and that make US look GREAT to our customers. It gives them the knowledge that a supplier can somehow deliver every time. It keeps them coming back and it keeps us separate from the pack.

You don’t lose half of a fee with a split placement. You GAIN half of a fee with a split placement. You GAIN an affiliate who will help you again the next time you ask. You GAIN the chance of the other affiliates helping you again as they saw the success with your client.  You GAIN a client who had their order filled by a premium recruiter before someone else did. You GAIN the chance to do it again with them. An added bonus? You will meet some really cool people and you’ll likely GAIN some friendships that will last a long time…

Still worried about splitting a fee? Not if you have your eye on the prize.

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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 (myonlyconnect.com), 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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What can a corny motivational poster teach you?

By Veronica Blatt

Today’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!

How are you engaged and inspired? Have you ever associated your engagement and inspiration with a message from a motivational poster? Probably not…but sometimes as corny and outdated as it seems, the message can be a thought starter and a way to reflect on certain situations we face in our careers.

Imagine sitting in a meeting, and noticing the classic gold-framed inspirational poster; courage, challenge, opportunity, progress. But, what do those words really mean to us as business professionals?

Sometimes I will read something classified as “inspiration” but it provokes no thoughts or no inspiration. However, when it applies to a situation I’m dealing with all of a sudden it moves me and that message has a whole new meaning!

For example, I attended a leadership training several years ago. Everyone was in the room for the same reason- to increase their knowledge, skills and leadership acumen. Attending a training like this allows everyone to take something different from it—just like those motivational posters.

One of the facilitators was addressing the group on a topic and said, “How are we supposed to move forward, when your foot is on the brake?” I really got thinking about that in connection to a project I was working on. We really weren’t making the progress I wanted to see. Then it dawned on me: one of my team members was pumping the brake. I realized it needed to be my objective to find a way to motivate her to hit the gas pedal instead! She wasn’t engaged or inspired on the project in the same way I was. The motivation to complete the project didn’t have the same effect on her.

There are many good motivational quotes that can be applied to the daily routine:

“We cannot direct the wind, we can only adjust the sails.” We don’t always have control around us. But we need to try to control the things we can.

“You can’t have a one-person army!” We rely on our business associates, friends, co-workers, and corporate partners to help lead us to success every day. Without our business allies in our lives, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

“Teamwork makes the dream work.” I have laughed at this statement, but also agreed with it and embraced it in my career. It is saying without our supporters and partners around us working together in the same direction, we wouldn’t get as far and meet our goals.

Here is what you should ask yourself and your team. Are you moving forward directing the sails, hitting the gas and working as a team? Or are your putting your foot on the brake?

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Sourcer and/or Recruiter Debate

By Sarah Freiburger

agency recruitingIn an online recruitment group on Facebook, many heated conversations tend to happen, with each person having an opinion or comment on the question asked. This one I found quite interesting, “If you were teaching someone brand new to the industry what the difference was between a recruiter and a sourcer, what would you say?” As I have heard of independent firms using sourcers overseas to collect candidates, I was interested in diving further in to the conversation. Here are some of the thoughts I came across of varying opinions:

  1. If the sourcer is then screening the candidates she generates, then she is the recruiter and the recruiter is actually more of a sales representative who sells the search.
  2. Sourcers find and phase one qualify, and recruiters interview and close. However, some sourcers can do the full cycle, and some recruiters can source.
  3. The best sourcers or recruiters that also source are the ones that cannot just find people or send inmails on Linkedin, but get talent on the phone and start talking to them.

My personal thought links closely with what Keith Bailily in a Linked-In post also stated, “The difference is depth, depth of conversation, depth of knowledge about particular companies and specific roles. Often times the sourcer will master the details about a company or a generic .NET role and qualify potential candidates and create a “pool of talent.” The more senior the sourcer, the more the depth and better quality the recruiter will initially get on the handoff.” What I have walked away with in the battle of sourcers and/or recruiters is that people all agree that they are most appreciative of those individuals that engage the passive and even active candidates and get them far enough across the line so that a hire can be made. To achieve success, you must not only find the talent, but conduct effective interviews, as well as be up to speed on the latest in employment law and compliance, and then be able to promote the company to the candidate. The skills required of these individuals, while at times interchangeable, can also be different and not always compatible. In this era of talent shortages, sourcing and recruiting have seemed to become separate specialties, or at least available as separate specialties. Looking at them separately, sourcers’ skills are akin to marketing as opposed to recruiter’s skills more similar to the sales disciplines.

All in all, I think ere.net summed it up best with, “In a profession that requires its professionals to be multi-talented to keep up with increasing demands for top talent; good recruiters better be good sourcers and sourcers should be ready to get into other facets of recruitment if needed.”

Final Countdown for Email Platform Change!

By Veronica Blatt

Blog-Computer-KeyPlease be reminded that effective Monday, January 12th, blog posts from NPAworldwide will be distributed exclusively via Jetpack. Currently, we are running in a dual-distribution environment through both Feedburner and Jetpack. The Feedburner distribution will be shut down on January 11th. Any blog subscribers who have NOT re-subscribed to receive email from the new provider, Jetpack, will stop receiving new posts from us. RSS subscribers are NOT impacted by this change.

Although change can be disruptive (and we know that asking you to re-subscribe to our blog is inconvenient), we are excited to move to a more stable platform. Jetpack was developed by Automattic, the developers of WordPress. Our site is a self-hosted WordPress site, so we feel good about the long-term availability of Jetpack and its obvious compatibility with WordPress.

If you have not already done so, please take 30 seconds to click the link below and re-enter your email address. You will then receive an email with a link to confirm your blog subscription. (Check your spam and/or junk folders if you do not receive this email within a few minutes of submitting your email address.) Easy-peasy!

Thanks for your support of this blog! We appreciate our readers and will work hard to keep delivering valuable content to you.


Please Re-Subscribe to our Blog!

By Veronica Blatt

subscribe-newspaperEffective Monday, January 12th, new posts on this blog will be delivered to email subscribers via Jetpack Subscriptions (we are currently using Feedburner, which is no longer a supported service). So that you don’t miss out on any new posts, we are asking you to please re-subscribe to our blog via the button below.

NOTE: This is a double-opt in process, so once you add your email address, you’ll receive an email with instructions to confirm your subscription. Check your spam/junk folders if you don’t receive this email in a short period of time.

Jetpack is a WordPress plug-in developed by Automattic (also the developers of WordPress!). Our site is a self-hosted WordPress site, so we feel good about the long-term viability of Automattic, WordPress, and Jetpack (and we do not receive any benefit from sharing this information). Using an unsupported service is really not a go-forward solution, so change, as they say, is inevitable.

A few other notes:

  1. We are running parallel with BOTH distribution systems through Sunday, January 11th. Once you subscribe via Jetpack, you will most likely receive DUPLICATE email notifications every time we post – one delivered from Jetpack, and one delivered from Google/Feedburner.
  2. Once you confirm your new Jetpack subscription and receive your first blog post from Jetpack, you can safely unsubscribe from the Google/Feedburner distribution service.
  3. To cancel your old Google/Feedburner email subscription, simply use the “unsubscribe” link located at the bottom of the email message.

Please drop me a note in the comments if you have any questions. Thanks for your support as we work through this transition!

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Confirm Your Subscription Settings!

By Veronica Blatt

We are migrating to a new email distribution service for our blog in January. Please click the button at the bottom of this post to confirm your subscription via the new provider. NOTE: This is a double-opt in process, so once you add your email address, you’ll receive an email with instructions to confirm your subscription. (Check your spam/junk folders if you don’t receive this email in a short period of time.) Unfortunately, there is no way to automatically ‘move’  subscribers over to the new service provider. If you do NOT re-subscribe with the new provider, you will stop receiving email notification of new posts sometime in early-to-mid January. We are hopeful this new solution will last for years into the future!

A few other notes:

  1. We are running parallel with BOTH distribution systems until early-to-mid January. Once you sign up for the new provider (Jetpack), you will most likely receive DUPLICATE email notifications every time we post – one delivered from Jetpack, and one delivered from Google/Feedburner.
  2. Once you confirm your new Jetpack subscription and receive your first blog post from Jetpack, you can safely unsubscribe from the Google/Feedburner distribution service.
  3. To cancel your old Google/Feedburner email subscription, simply use the “unsubscribe” link located at the bottom of the email message.

Thanks for being patient with us as we work to improve email delivery! Please drop me a note in the comments if you have any questions.


The Value of a Recruiter

By Dave Nerz

silver-clock-with-coinsRecruitment organizations are being challenged from all sides. Employers and candidates are looking for alternate ways to locate talent or to seek employment. Specifically, as it relates to employers, the age-old recruitment model is being threatened by in-house recruiting functions, recruitment technology tools, off-shore sourcing models, and low-cost posting options. All of these tools, methods and services are about the “finding” component of recruiting. These options are all based on the premise that “finding” is the key to a successful new hire for employers. While this can be true for lower level and entry level jobs, the facts are that for the more mission-critical types of roles at the key contributor, manager, director and above levels, finding is the easiest component of the recruiting process. The key to success in these competitive and mission-critical roles is in the “selection and persuasion” of candidates. That is where the value of a recruiter is greatest.

Ask yourself how many times you have been “found” by a sales agent of any sort…telephone companies, computer service providers, gyms, weight loss services, make-money-from-home employers, and hundreds more. They found you, they email you, some even start calling you. Have they converted you to a customer? My guess is that in most cases the answer is no. Have they spent any time doing more than repeating their message daily or weekly via email or voice messages? No, they have not. They are concentrated on “finding” but are ineffective at converting you through the power of conversation and persuasion. In fact, there is little time spent or invested in the “selection” process. They have no idea if you truly need what they offer, they just keep banging the same drum regardless of need or fit.

Many recruitment models are like these online and phone sales agents. They fail to leverage the value of selection and persuasion but rather focus only on finding targets. This is where recruitment organizations earn the fee. Recruiters are capable of selecting the right targets from a collection of many targets. Recruitment firms are experts in using their skills to select based on the criteria and fit characteristics shared by the employer. Once the right targets have been identified, a professional recruitment agency will then begin the process of persuading a candidate to consider a move. This is not as easy as calling the candidate and saying, “Want a new job?” It is an exercise in courting and persuasion. It typically begins with a complete understanding of what would motivate this candidate to make a change. Absent any motivation for change or perhaps the wrong motivation for change (money only, about to be fired, et cetera) the finding of a target is a dead end. The work begins after the right target is identified and a motivation that is appropriate is discovered.

As an employer, if you want the candidates that are easily distracted, ready to jump ship, have little motivation or the wrong motivation for change, then a process that excludes a professional recruitment organization is acceptable. If you want the best fit candidates, with appropriate motivation for change, to be selected and sold on you as an employer, then pay the fee to a professional recruiter and let that recruiter earn the fee. The value of a recruiter is that they can “select” the right candidates to target and will “persuade” those candidates to consider you as an employer. I have not seen a website or electronic service that can do those things effectively.

When do you find value in using a recruiter?


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