Recruiting Resources

5 Ways to Shorten Time to Make Placements

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 of the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.

Time kills deals in our business. Anything you can do to move things faster will help you win the battle against time. Read the rest of this entry »

US Hiring Plans for Q1 2020

by Sarah Freiburger

We’ve all heard a talent shortage exists. However, what are employers reporting in regards to the first quarter of 2020 hiring? Manpower has released their projections for the first quarter that answer that question. More than 11,500 interviews were conducted with employers within the United States, including all 50 states,the top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), theDistrict of Columbia and Puerto Rico, to measure hiring intentions for the first quarter of 2020 My post today will provide an overview of the findings. I encourage you to review the survey results in more detail.

% of Employers Expecting to Add Payrolls

Employers in 22 percent of U.S. businesses surveyed expect to add to payrolls in the first quarter of 2020, with 5 percent anticipating a decrease and 72 percent expecting no change. It is definitely a job seeker’s market with these types of results.

Top 5 Industry Sector Results

While Employers in all 13 U.S sectors expected to grow payrolls during the first quarter, these 5 industries had the largest increase expected:

  1. Leisure & Hospitality (+30%)
  2. Construction (+22%)
  3. Professional & Business Services (+22%)
  4. Wholesale& Retail Trade (+22%)
  5. Transportation & Utilities (+19%)

Regional Comparisons
The Midwest Outlook takes the lead by matching the strongest reported since 2001, with 23% of of employers expecting workforce gains. Regionally after that was:

  • South (21% net employment outlook)
  • West (17% net employment outlook)
  • Northeast (15% net employment outlook)

Global Outlook

Manpower also surveyed a total of 58,000 employers across 43 countries to report on a global outlook and employers in 42 of 43 countries and territories surveyed expect to grow payrolls. The strongest labor markets are anticipated in Greece, Japan, Taiwan, the U.S. and Romania, while the weakest hiring activity is expected in Panama, Argentina, Costa Rica, Italy and Spain.


What impact does this have on independent recruiters? While many exist, I suggest the following:

  • As an independent recruiter, bump up your business development efforts to retain new clients affected by talent shortage.
  • Employers unwilling to work with recruiters during the past four years may be more willing now to seek the professional assistance of an independent recruiter with such a tough candidate market, new techniques need to be employed to uncover passive talent.
  • If you are focused on one niche only, consider changing your niche or adding to your current niche, especially in areas where the market is not as tight.
  • Develop a recruiter networking group of trusted trading partners around the world to assist you with filling difficult jobs and placing candidates who can’t find a job locally.

Recruiting Blog Year-End Reading

by Veronica Blatt

top recruitment blogsToday is the last post for the Independent Recruiter Blog for 2019 – we’ll be back on Tuesday, January 7th. As you wind down for the holidays, here are some of our top recruiting blog posts from the year so you can catch up on any you’ve missed.

Replace No with Yes, But … In recruitment it is not always easy to get what you want or even what is needed to deliver top talent. Sometimes you just need to walk away and say NO to something that is headed the wrong way. Before sealing the deal’s fate with a NO, why not try what some refer to as the evil twin of YES, AND…try a YES, BUT.

Three Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Interviews: How to Create an ATS-Friendly Resume … While software automation has simplified the recruitment process for recruiters, staffing specialists, human resources professionals and employers, it has made the hiring process much more challenging for job seekers, applicants and candidates. Nowadays, Application Tracking Systems (ATS) are becoming continuously more sophisticated each day, and as a consequence, a resume won’t get selected to move forward and be reviewed by a human unless it satisfies a custom-programed, specific set of keywords and criteria for a particular position.

The Number 1 Thing to Do in an Interview … What’s the number one thing to do in an interview? It’s so simple and effective! We talk about doing sufficient research about the company, preparing for an interview with answers for the most likely questions and of course being ready with your questions. However, none of this is going to work if you don’t do one thing. Smile!

What Happens if You Receive a Counteroffer? … Changing jobs can be a huge source of stress, even when you *know* it’s the right decision. It’s common to feel sad or anxious, or even a little bit guilty even if you are excited about the new opportunity. On top of all those emotions, you have to actually resign – you know, tell your boss you’re leaving. And that’s when they hit you with the counteroffer. Maybe you didn’t see it coming, or maybe you should have, but either way it’s on the table and now you have to deal with it.

Is the Cover Letter Dead? … On our recruitment network forum, one recruiter asked recently asked: “Do you read the Resume or Cover Letter first?” The overwhelming response was, with all the applications recruiters receive, most do not have time to read a cover letter at all. So, does that mean a candidates shouldn’t write one at all? Not at all.

Are there particular topics you’d like to see us discuss in this recruiting blog? Drop a note in the comments below! In the meantime, we wish all of you a very safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Recruiters, Pause Busywork to Think

by Liz Carey

The end of the year is a great time to look back at your processes and see what’s working, what isn’t, what can be improved, etc. It can be hard to reflect and make a change when you’re trapped in a cycle of constant demands – which is especially true for recruiters, who are so busy it’s often hard to “come up for air.”

An article about resolving to do less busywork has been floating around our office. In the article, from Associations Now, it suggests that to grow professionally, you have to stop spending so much time on “busywork” – i.e. logical tasks that don’t require much brainpower and are often done while distracted.

In the recruiting world, what comes to mind is the endless daily “to-dos” and quantitative goals to accomplish (i.e. send X # of InMails or emails, make X # of cold calls to prospective clients, checking social media, entering candidates into your ATS, pulling reports/data entry, etc). But while you’re glued to the phone trying to achieve a certain amount of phone calls, you might “look” busy but actually be achieving nothing.

“Busywork” often does have inherent value and needs to be completed, but tends to not create “new value.” The article stresses you need to carve out time to just think. It’s easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of calls and emails, but it’s important to step back and create time where you can reflect on the bigger picture. Block out an hour say on Thursday morning to work on something that will get no attention unless you break free of the email catch-up game.

This is an opportunity, the article states, to focus on “deep work” opportunities, which create new value, improve skills, and his hard to replicate. For a recruiting firm, a good activity to ponder might be your current marketing processes or business development strategies. If your team each had an hour or two each week where they were free from the phone/email, it would allow them to research, brainstorm new ideas, and possibly create new processes for your business that could save time and/or money, or increase productivity. It also places value on the employee – for their skills and thoughts, and encourages them to think outside the box, rather than thinking they’re just another cog in the wheel.

Do you have a process in place to allow yourself time to just think?



6 Ways to Improve Production in 2020

by Sarah Freiburger

marketing-leftover-candidatesIn today’s world, business keeps moving faster and faster. Staying current with technology is a challenge in and of itself. So, who has time to analyze the past?

Bill Benson, Chair of NPAworldwide’s Board of Directors, believes in taking time at the end of the year to take inventory on what is going well and what could be going better. A recruitment firm owner needs to ask themselves what are they expecting next year. Let’s assume that your competition is improving and business may be tougher to get in 2020. Thinking this way forces you improve your game.

  1. Get back to basics! Conduct a self-audit to make sure that you are continuing to do the little things right – small details can make a big difference! Look at your processes for interviewing candidates, presenting candidates to clients, prepping candidates for interviews, reference checking, qualifying candidates and clients. Ask the hard questions of your clients and candidates in order to further qualify Interest levels. This is a good time of year to ferret out any bad habits.
  2. Use social media to help stay more connected to your clients. You don’t need to be a social media maven to use technology to your advantage. Skip Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and focus on Linked In. “Like” your clients on linked In. Set Google alerts for your clients to stay informed when they are in the news. This insight will give you angles and opportunities to communicate and even pitch a candidate. Share articles that you believe are informative to your client personas.
  3. Start dating your clients again. We often can get busy focused on current assignments and fail to stay more connected to long standing clients. Understand you have competitors that you didn’t know exist that are calling on them. Take them to lunch over the holidays or call them to simply see how they are doing. You build trust with your clients by showing this type of interest.
  4. Schedule follow-up calls. Use your calendar system to give yourself reminders to make calls. An Example: Set a 30, 90, 180 and 360 phone call reminder with your placed candidates. Why? If a problem exists… some early intervention might avert a fall off! This follow up also shows you care as much as you hoped they believed when you placed them in the first place. These people are your best referral sources. Set similar call reminders with your clients, referral sources and key NPA partners. Set a 12 month out call every time you take a job order. Do this whether you fill the position or not. It might be a cyclical need and your 12 month out follow up call might hit at exactly the right time. You will more likely hit your call goal if you have a rolling list of these phone calls popping into your calendar every day. Anything you can do to structure your day will give you positive results.
  5. Stay focused! Let’s face it…most of us have attention or focus issues! Block your time into hourly segments of “focused time” to work jobs and stay on the phone. Start each day with a list of calls and 2-3 jobs where to place your focused time. Set goals that help you track daily progress. Daily planning and phone discipline are still the top predictors of success in our business.
  6. Training. Use a training platform to help you “sharpen the saw.” This is Stephen Covey’s Habit number 7. At WilliamCharles Search Group we use Next Level Exchange. Also look for webinars and other training material. 

Finally, always remember that when you go back to the start of the placement (way back to when you received the job order) and take it all apart, you find things that could have been done better. Good luck to all recruiters in the New Year!

Thanksgiving Thoughts for Recruiters

by Liz Carey

Here in America, it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and a time to reflect and express gratitude for things that give your life meaning. In the recruiting world, this may be a time where candidates assess whether their work gives them satisfaction and if they find it meaningful. With the start of a new year coming up, candidates may be at the point where they want to make a change if they don’t feel they are making a positive impact in their current job.

I recently read a great article that suggests steps employers can take to help keep employees satisfied with meaningful work, which ultimately will help ensure the retention of top talent:

Similarly, recruiters can take this time to reflect and express gratitude for all the people and tools that help make you successful. A quick email blast with a Thanksgiving wish can help remind candidates that they aren’t just a number to you… and it will reinforce that personal connection that makes your work meaningful.

Recruiting can be stressful and time-consuming, but take the time to remind yourself of the success stories of finding a candidate their dream job, or fulfilling a difficult need for your client, or sending a lead to a trading partner that helped them land a new client, and it may help you appreciate the hard times and realize how rewarding this line of work is.

Be thankful for your candidates, clients, and trading partners; when you make your next placement, they’ll surely be thankful for you.

Building a Better Recruitment Database

by Veronica Blatt

We are beginning the process of transitioning to a new association management software tool. This creates a terrific opportunity for us to reconsider our database structure, processes, and workflows. We will look to create new efficiencies, while reducing or eliminating inefficient, duplicated, or manual work. If you’re considering a new ATS product, you may have some of the same opportunities to critically review your recruitment database. Here are a few things we’re exploring that may not be “top of mind” in your business: Read the rest of this entry »

Which Recruitment Conference Should You Attend?

by Veronica Blatt

recruitment conferenceAttending a recruitment conference can be an excellent opportunity to hone your craft. There are dozens of events held every year – there is a good list on this site. It can be difficult to decide which one(s) to attend. Many 2020 events are already scheduled; for example, early registration is currently open for our Global Conference. Here are some tips to help you decide where to spend your time and money:

Start with the content

A recruitment conference is likely to have a specific purpose, mission, or theme. Learn what that is and whether it ties into specific goals you have for your desk or firm. If it’s an event about sourcing but your job is business development, it might not be the best fit for you. Some events focus more on personal networking and relationships. Others provide a classroom training experience.

Who else is attending?

Is there a specific trainer or speaker you’d like to hear? Does the event offer appointment scheduling? Does the recruitment conference include clients or job seekers you can help? Are you likely to meet a lot of new people, or reconnect with old friends? How about the event sponsors? All these groups of people offer valuable connections.

Where is it?

Conference destinations are always interesting. We spend a lot of time thinking about destinations that are intriguing, accessible, and affordable. We survey our members and keep a close eye on where other organizations are holding events. So from a business standpoint, we try to be very tuned-in to destinations that are likely to draw a healthy number of attendees. But, there are other reasons why people attend. Sometimes it’s to visit a client or do some business prospecting. Sometimes attendees piggyback on to another event that is being held nearby. Still others have an opportunity to visit friends or family or use the conference destination as a way to build a memorable vacation.

How much does it cost?

Many attendees look at the cost of a recruitment conference before they look at any other factor. It is also important to calculate value and/or return on investment (ROI). Viewing a recruitment conference as an investment instead of an expense can help you make a better decision about attending. Professional development is an investment in your career. Some investments show their ROI in a short amount of time; others take longer. If you are able to learn one or two tips that save enough money or time to recover the cost of your attendance, you’re in great shape. Investing in your skills makes you a better recruiter and makes your business a stronger competitor.

The recruitment conference landscape is rich; you’re sure to find something that meets your needs. Make 2020 the year you invest in yourself!

Recruiters, What Are Your Values?

by Veronica Blatt

Today’s guest blogger is Laura Schmieder of Premier Placement Inc., specializing in manufacturing especially engineering, operations, supply chain, sales and marketing roles globally. She currently serves on the NPAworldwide board of directors.

I recently read an article in Network Magazine titled Why Best Practices – Aren’t by Mike Myatt. An interesting premise, his thesis was: don’t copy, create. He felt to evolve and be successful, one needed to think outside the box – beyond accepted methodologies, processes, rules, concepts and theories. It was an excellent read and thought-provoking for both recruiters and other business professionals.

As I read it, I thought well that’s all fine and good; however, recruiters still need to work within a framework of standards and policies. He did say that he did NOT recommend a blatant disregard for rules and methodologies but fostered the belief that one needs to challenge the status quo.

Long ago I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It’s a philosophy/travel book that mixes discourses on Eastern and Western culture with the blessings/burdens modern technology bestows on us. It’s a quirky book but I often go back and think about the lessons I learned reading it. Repeated throughout is the conviction that you must live a life of quality but also give quality to life around you.

There are many precepts about life throughout the book. Things about not allowing technology to take over your life but using it to your advantage – to produce good work. To instill patience, care and attentiveness in my work, are to achieve peace of mind. Peace of mind produces right values that produce right thoughts (stay with me on this!). Right thoughts produce right actions that produce quality work.

Examine Your Equipment

What is emphasized is the need to examine oneself and the equipment that carries you through your life journey – where have you been and where are you going in the road of life? Is your motorcycle capable of taking you the 200 miles you want to go the next day? Do you have the tools to make the fine adjustments necessary for a smooth and efficient ride? Have you checked your tire pressure, oil level lately? How efficient is the engine that moves you? Computer and telephone systems, wireless headsets, smart phones, resume databases, social networking sites – all great technology but in the end, they are only tools…tools to help you reach out and communicate with prospective candidates, clients or split trading partners – back to basic conversation, picking up the phone.

If you don’t periodically take the time to educate yourself, stretch your mind, share your experiences and expertise, meet new people—you will find yourself in a rut with at least a flat tire (no one to send in for interviews) or worst, a blown engine (offer turned down and NO BACKUP!) Think about it…ALL major professions require continuing education credits. Where are you getting yours? ALL motor vehicles need yearly or bi-yearly inspections – when was the last time YOU inspected your placement machinery and systems?

Networking and training meetings or nowadays, the many webinars or conference calls available…are like the preventative maintenance necessary to run all systems. If you don’t tend to them, then you will be constantly fixing, as oppose to preventing, breakdowns.

Learning new technology, fine-tuning existing systems, reiterating the basics of how to develop candidates and new clients – sometimes it takes getting off the desk and phone, even out of the office completely to gain the full benefit of training and education. Find out how other recruiters are succeeding in this economy (don’t be jealous, LEARN what they are doing that YOU aren’t!). Come back to your own desk with a fresh attitude, with enthusiasm to try that new technique.

Communication Matters

Another example is how lack of communication affects the process. Look at what happens when candidates don’t tell the recruiter or the prospective employer what they really need to make a change OR when the resume is not well-thought-out or the presentation complete. When employers don’t give recruiters feedback throughout the process—for that matter when split trading partners don’t communicate—the process fragments and ultimately can break down. It leads to the breakdown of quality work: negative action instead of positive, forward-moving action.

Avoiding Breakdowns

The lack of honesty, truth and integrity corrupts the process and leads to breakdowns. When you lie about a career opportunity to a prospective candidate or hiring authority and they learn the truth, their trust in you and the entire industry is broken. When candidates pad their resumes with false accomplishments or dates of employment and are found out, the process breaks down. When a client or split partner receives a candidate’s resume from a recruiter but chooses to see if they can find them in a candidate database on their own using that original referral, the process is corrupted. When a hiring authority expects a bribe before sharing job orders —and certain recruiters provide them—the process is corrupted. Negative action instead of positive, forward moving action.

Back to that precept of quality: the conviction that you must live a life of quality, but also give quality to life around you. Are you someone that clients, candidates, your peers turn to because they respect your opinion, your knowledge, your abilities to give sage advice? Do you take the time to share your knowledge and wisdom with new recruiters or students just out of college or outplacement organizations? Sometimes the best way to learn, is to teach a lesson…we are reminded of the adage, “Do as I say, not as I do!” Teaching, or being a mentor, is one way to reinforce what we should always be doing. Have you volunteered in your professional associations or business networks? I think we can all look back in our careers to someone that took the time to teach us. Have we returned the favor and passed on the knowledge and perspectives to be successful in our profession?

Last but not least, do you have peace of mind…have you striven to be the best person you can be? What have you done to improve your mind, your physical body, your soul AND do you avoid actions, people, or situations that are detrimental? In this age of information overload, it’s easy to stray off the path. We have many distractions and it’s up to us to disregard the negative messages and focus on truth, sincerity and integrity. In the end, you only have one life to live. You will have a lot less to worry about if you try to live each day striving to be the best person you can be. It should lead to success in your profession as well. We all want to do business with someone who is not only knowledgeable, but who we respect and trust.

Remember: peace of mind produces right values that produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions that produce quality work…and ultimately a life of quality.

No More Ghoulish Videoconferences

by Veronica Blatt

It’s Halloween this week and let’s face it, we have all sat through some pretty frightening videoconferences. From run-of-the-mill technical difficulties to barking dogs and other interruptions, I think it’s fair to say everyone has had at least one not-so-great experience. While some things will always be outside your control, there *are* things you can do to improve your participation on videoconferences.

Start with the Lighting

Bad lighting is a videoconference killer. You don’t want to look ill, washed-out or have other strange effects, so make sure you spend some time checking out your lighting before you join the call. Natural lighting is best; sit facing a window if you can. If natural lighting is not an option, position a good quality lamp behind your screen – the light source should be in front of you. Avoid fluorescent lighting and overhead lighting, both of which are harsh and can cast unflattering shadows. Never put the light source behind you.

Remember Your Camera Angle

Bad camera angles are also scary. Be sure to check the position of your camera and screen before joining a video call. You want your webcam positioned close to eye level. Other camera angles can make you appear to be towering over the other party or even worse, show an unflattering view up your nose. The angle of your monitor matters too – you don’t want your counterpart to see mostly ceiling and just the top of your head. Aim to have your head and shoulders centered in the camera view. You may need to experiment with raising or lowering your chair or your monitor to achieve the best camera angle.

Check Your Webcam Settings

Your webcam likely includes a basic set of tools to adjust brightness and contrast. Once you establish the lighting you will be using, check the camera settings to see if further adjustments are needed.

Dress for Success

Avoid patterns and wear a bold, solid color near your face. If your clothes are close to the same color as your background, you can end up looking like a disembodied head. Contrast is important for successful videoconferences.

Review at Your Surroundings

Once you have your laptop set up, take a critical look at the area around and behind you. Is there anything visible on-screen that would make a less-than-professional impression? For example, if you’re in a bedroom, is an unmade bed or dirty laundry in the frame? How about personal items or wall hangings that are distracting? Do you have a plant or flowers that appears to be growing out of your head or shoulders? What about a mirror that might be reflecting an odd view? Study the background carefully and move anything that looks awkward or unprofessional.

Watch Where You’re Looking

Making appropriate eye contact can be a bit tricky during videoconferences. During an in-person meeting, it’s normal to break eye contact to write notes, but it can seem very disjointed to do that during a video call. Make sure your note pad and pen are nearby and that you can write without turning away from the screen. DO NOT look at YOURSELF in the split screen view – this takes some practice! Similarly, if you’re looking at the other PERSON on the screen, it may appear to *them* that you are looking down or away. The best place to look is into the camera, but that often feels weird. You may find it helpful to tape some notes to the edge of your monitor, or a picture of the person you are talking to just above and behind the webcam.

Successful videoconferences require practice and a dress rehearsal. Figure out lighting, camera angle, and your surroundings well in advance. Give yourself plenty of time to connect, and have your notes organized and ready to go. You’ll be a video pro in no time!