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?


Why Do Employees Quit?

by Dave Nerz

I just saw a Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey that listed the top 6 reasons employees leave your company.  They listed the following reasons:

  1. Higher Compensation 61%
  2. Long-term Growth Potential 44%
  3. Geography 32%
  4. Better Title 25%
  5. Alignment with Company Culture 19%
  6. Flexibility to work from home 14%

Why-Employees-QuitWhile the survey was done and the result captured, I find it difficult to believe. I think that compensation is an easy excuse to cover the more complex reasons impacting employee retention.

In 2013, NPAworldwide did a similar survey called “NPA Global Retention Survey.” We asked recruiters to report on actual hires made in the prior year and the motivation for employees leaving the existing employer. If you know a little bit about recruitment professionals, most will start by understanding the employee’s motivation for exit. If it is exclusively money, that is a red flag and indicates a high risk recruiting scenario. The reason I place more faith in this employee retention survey is that in these instances a recruitment professional dislodged a passive candidate and moved them to a new company. For obvious reasons, employees who are not fairly paid will leave to seek new employment. Let’s assume, to better understand the true motivation of an employee, your company fairly pays its employees. That means your employees are passive candidates, not really looking for the next job but if properly approached by a recruitment professional, they may consider a new employment situation. What is the top risk in that for your passive candidates?

Our survey found that passive candidates left because they were seeking growth/challenge/change, had unsatisfactory career progression, or were lacking job stability. Only 5.3% of respondents mentioned compensation as the reason for change. Many took accepted comparable pay rates to get to a better situation. Of the respondents, 47.9% listed an organizational issue as a primary motivator and 41.5% listed a job specific factor as the reason for change.

The most interesting part of this is that these top three issues and motivators are all very much within the control of employers. Don’t rush to judgment and say that employees leave because of compensation. Take a deeper look. Obviously competitive pay is a requirement to keep employees, but quality management, a great culture and job stability are motivators that will make a huge difference in employee retention.

The full NPAworldwide survey is available here.

Winning, Losing, and Recruitment Karma

by Veronica Blatt

image of shooting star representing recruitment karmaToday’s guest blogger is Meri Laird Jones of Davidson Laird, Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky with a remote office in northern Michigan. Meri is a current member of NPA’s board of directors. Davidson, Laird Inc. places technical, operations, sales and manufacturing professionals, primarily in the renewable energy, automotive, paint, plastics, chemical and processing industries.

Anyone in the recruiting business has probably heard: One thing for sure, candidates lie and clients lie.

We recently lost a placement due to a little of both. I admittedly lamented, complained to my colleagues (and husband and dog…) and heard suggestions on how to be tougher, more mercenary to survive “this industry.” It got me thinking. Isn’t it what we do that counts? I’ve always been a big believer in karma and The Golden Rule (do unto others…) and work to practice that in my business and personal life.

It seems simple and often those things we do in business with karma in mind are the same guidelines most follow working with clients and with other recruiters. The really tough decisions lie in the gray areas. Your heart and your head collide. Our recent fall off triggered a memory I hadn’t thought about in years as the candidates’ circumstances were so similar.

A company we had been targeting finally gave us the opportunity to work on a search that just happened to be perfect for a candidate we’d had on file. When we called him he said he was approached by another recruiter on this same exact search a couple of months prior, but at the time he wasn’t ready to move. He emphasized they had not presented him. But now his circumstances have changed so that he is interested and he gave us the go ahead to present him.

My first thought was “Yea – mine!” Then that recruitment karma thing kicked in and I asked him some questions about the other recruiter (who was not in my network and who I didn’t know), how it came about, etc. Turns out she recruited him specifically for this job and sounded like she did a great job working to qualify him and pique his interest. So, I had the right to present this guy but the other recruiter had earned the right to present this guy. Ugg.

I sent him back to the original recruiter. He was surprised, even made a comment about how recruiters are supposed to be mercenary. I quietly wondered if I were an idiot.

They hired him. I lost that fee, but gained a client we placed people with for years. We demonstrated our professionalism to a company that meant something to and gained their loyalty. I didn’t know it until much later, but the other recruiter was going through a really bad patch and that placement fee had been a lifeline. So even if we didn’t get the client, it would have been worth it.

So this week I lost a deal. It triggered a wonderful memory. It reminded me that while candidates lie and clients lie, not all of them do all of the time. It’s how we operate consistently that really matters. What’s your favorite recruitment karma story?

image of explore membership button

Independent Recruiters: 8 Principles of Recruitment Success

by Veronica Blatt

ToolboxI was doing a little early spring cleaning at work last week and found a postcard with Ross Clennett’s 8 Principles of Recruitment Success. I have no idea where this postcard came from or how long it’s been on my desk but I was happy to find it and thought it would make a great blog post for independent recruiters. Ross Clennett, The Recruiter’s Recruitment Expert, is a seasoned speaker, trainer, writer and coach and ‘has been an in-demand expert on recruitment in the Australian recruitment industry.’  I’ve outlined Ross’ 8 Principles of Recruitment Success for you below.

  1. Make quiet time from your work space to review your progress, set your goals and to plan your day, week and month to ensure you achieve your goals.
  2. Focus on high pay-off activities by being pro-active and controlling your day as much as possible.
  3. Read. Listen. Observe. Educate yourself constantly. Make your expertise valuable and sought after.
  4. The rule of sales is that it takes an average of 5 contacts with a prospective customer before they will give you a sales opportunity. If you forget to call a customer they will simply talk to your competitor.
  5. Ask your customers questions. Listen to the answers. Have a conversation with them. Get into their world.
  6. Be clear on your target market. Do not waste time with companies and people that are not prepared to value your services at the level that you do.
  7. Say ‘thank you’ often. Always create opportunities for timely and appropriate customer recognition and appreciation.
  8. When you don’t achieve the outcome you were seeking look for what you can learn. Accept accountability, don’t look to blame others or make excuses. Top performers focus on results not excuses. When you do achieve the outcome you were seeking – CELEBRATE!

I think these are some pretty valuable, and concise, principles that independent recruiters can incorporate to help achieve recruitment success.

Are there others you find valuable that are not included above?

Ross was a professional recruiter from 1989 to 2003 and worked in London, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne to successfully place over 1,500 people in work. Since 2003, Ross has been a recruitment expert in Australia with opinion pieces regularly featured in recruitment industry magazines and websites throughout Australia and the USA.

Common Screening Mistakes by Independent Recruiters

by Veronica Blatt

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when qualifying a candidate for an open position. Some independent recruiters have a set process they follow and some have a different process for each situation. Personally, I think it’s important for independent recruiters to have a checklist of items that must be completed before a candidate can be presented to a client. Whether you feel the need to complete each task based on the job order or client is up to you. To keep yourself organized a ‘task list’ seems like something all recruiters should utilize. If you start to become sloppy with your process you may commit one of the top 10 screening mistakes listed in the infographic below created by Resoomay.

What is the biggest screening mistake you’ve ever made that reared it’s ugly head later down the road?

Tips for Independent Recruiters – Setting Your 2013 Budget

by Veronica Blatt

As we approach the end of the year here at NPA, we are working on our 2013 budget. I imagine many independent recruiters are in this same position. A budget that is feasible and realistic is probably one of the most important assets that can keep your independent recruiting firm on its feet. In larger firms, there may be an accounting person handling your 2013 budget. But what if you don’t have an accounting person? What if you are the recruiter, accountant, customer service representative, etc? I’ve included a few tips below for independent recruiters who are or will be working on their 2013 budget.

  1. Examine the past year – the first step to developing a budget is to look through the current year’s income and expenses. Deciding what line items are up or down for the year will provide insight and direction as to what may happen next year. Be sure to pay attention to global trends as well. These may be affecting your local workforce in the next year.
  2. Be realistic – if your budget isn’t realistic it’s not going to be helpful to you and it’s definitely not going to be the guide it’s supposed to be for the next 12 months. Be honest about your expenses and income – $1000 here and there add up over time so don’t skip the small stuff.
  3. Set goals – your firm’s goals for the year should really be your high level business plan. Your goals should be realistic because ultimately that will determine whether you meet or exceed your income and expense estimates. This should be something that you reference and check against often.
  4. Track your income and expenses closely –like I said before, be sure to keep track of everything going out and coming in – no matter how small the amount. Look to cut costs where you can and remember to factor in some slack.
  5. Shop around – evaluate your services and suppliers and find the ones that will give you the best deal. Odds are your internet provider is running some sort of ‘special’ that may save you a few hundred bucks throughout the year.

What steps do you take as an independent recruiter to set your annual budget?

Hiring Trends for Independent Recruiters

by Veronica Blatt

This week I read an interesting article by Jason Warner, Founder at RecruitingDash, about trends that are creating a challenging landscape for employers and independent recruiters. Economic factors, candidate behaviors and increasing social media usage is reshaping the way independent recruiters connect with candidates and vice versa. According to Jason, “There’s a bit of a perfect storm that has happened as a result of all the trends that have played out in the last few years.”

Below are Jason’s three key trends. I’ve also included solutions for recruiters to ensure you present your candidates with the best and most consistent client information possible.

  1. Immobile talent pool
    Roughly 25% of American homeowners are underwater with their mortgages due to the housing bubble. Many excellent candidates that are willing to move simply cannot because they are unable to sell their homes. Additionally, companies are working with tighter budgets and often times are not willing to pay relocation costs. One way for independent recruiters to overcome this obstacle is to focus on local candidates that aren’t required to sell their house and won’t need relocation allowance.
  2. Candidates coming in the back door
    The days of surfing online, submitting resumes and waiting for a call back are gone. As Warner says, “candidates are no longer satisfied with going in the front door.” Candidates often know someone who works at the company or will reach out through a social media channel to learn about open positions even if you think you’re representing them. Make sure you ensure them that you are the quickest possible route to the hiring manager. Also, keep your candidates updated on the progress of the search and any new information from the employer.
  3. Greater employment brand transparency
    Because of social media it’s very easy to get an accurate portrayal of the companies work environment and employment brand. It’s becomes easy for candidates to validate, or invalidate, information companies provide about their work environment. Because of this, it’s important that your employment message accurately reflects the message of your client.  Consider sifting through their social media and online presence to make sure the message you are relaying to your candidates is consistent with their published employment brand.

What are some of the trends that you are currently facing? And, what are the solutions you employ to get around these challenges? To read the full article, click here.

International Recruiting News Round-Up

by Veronica Blatt

If you are interested in keeping abreast of international recruiting news, here are some recent stories to add to your reading list:

Indeed.com has been acquired by Recruit Co. Ltd., a Japanese human resources and information services company. The acquisition is widely hailed as a bold move by Recruit to become an international recruiting powerhouse.

The oil and gas market remains strong in many global sectors, according to The Hays Oil & Gas Global Job Index. International recruiting opportunities are especially robust in China, Russia, and Australasia.

Mobile recruiting sites are not keeping up with mobile use by job seekers. Virtually none of the companies listed on the FTSE 100 (the 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalization) offer a mobile-optimized career site.

By now, it’s not news that more than 5 million iPhone 5’s were sold in the first three days of availability. Watch for continuing hiring needs in all phases of the mobile market – from user interface to hardware to app developers.

A new survey from MyHiring.com indicates that hiring in India’s smaller cities and metro areas is likely to increase through the end of 2012. There were over 1,000 survey respondents from 12 industry segments including healthcare, infrastructure, IT, construction, and more.

There is a huge demand for expats in Russia, with a need for “several hundred thousand” qualified foreign specialists including engineers, technologists, and middle managers. Some expats can earn up to 50% more in Russia than they can in their home country, which could mean plentiful international recruiting opportunities.

Do you have a favorite resource for international recruiting news? Please share it in the comments below!


Membership in a Global Recruiting Network Is One Way to Reduce Cost

by Veronica Blatt

I recently saw a “pin” on Pinterest about everyday ways to save money. The list included things like hang your laundry to dry, use coupons, re-evaluate your car insurance, try DIY projects, make your coffee at home each morning and bike and walk more and drive less. The article got me thinking about ways recruiting firms can reduce their costs. I did an Internet search about ways to reduce or save on recruiting costs and came across a post by SilkRoad. I’ve included a few tips below that are both practical and relatively easy to implement.


  • Improve retention – You don’t have to spend money hiring new people if your existing good employees stick around. Study retention, track it, and continuously work to improve it.
  • Stay on top of new sourcing technology – Let’s face it, sourcing is your mainstay. A continual investment and investigation of the latest tools and techniques will pay off.
  • Use social recruiting – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all free ways of building a brand and seeking candidates.
  • Assess value, not cost – One of the biggest recruiting costs is hiring poor performers. Assess the quality of the hire and go the extra step of asking managers to put a dollar amount on the difference between top, average and poor performers.
  • Join a global recruiting network – This tip wasn’t included on SilkRoad’s list but I think it’s a good one. Instead of hiring additional employees with no guarantee of performance, consider joining a global recruiting network. Recruiting networks, like NPA, allow you to make money without the overhead of managing and monitoring your employees. Plus, you only pay those who perform. Can’t beat that model!

See the remaining 6 tips to reduce recruiting costs at SilkRoad’s website. In what ways does your recruiting firm cut back on cost?

Make More Split Placements with Better Job Descriptions

by Veronica Blatt

Today’s post is from Russ Bray with Southern Recruiting Solutions in Tampa, Florida. Russ is a two-time member of the NPA Board of Directors, as well as a long-time member of the network. Southern Recruiting Solutions specializes in placing engineering and information technology professionals throughout the U.S.

Have you ever read a job description that never seems to end and that no one could possibly qualify for? Or one that really tells you nothing because it’s all generic jargon? Candidates have too—and either no one replied, or everyone replied. We hear so many complaints about poor response to job postings. Here are a few tips that may help you increase your reply from quality candidates. If you are sharing the job with a member of your split placement network, he or she will thank you as well.

  1. A little sizzle to start – ‘Opportunity to join a software development team building new applications using .NET Framework 4.’ Regardless of the industry or job, provide some detail at the beginning to excite a potential candidate. This will set you apart from the rest of the crowd. It will also help your split placement partner get more excited about conducting a search and targeting the right candidate.
  2. Several bullets that clearly state what this person will be doing. There is no magic number, but I like to keep it brief; 5 or so bullets that don’t ramble on forever.
  3. Several bullets that clearly state what is necessary to qualify for this position. Usually this section is the one that seems to go on and on. Try to focus on the top 5 experiences this person will need to qualify for the job. Is a Masters degree absolutely necessary or will the right experience offset that requirement? Do they have to have experience from another chemical plant or could someone from another manufacturer do the job just as well? Don’t make it hard for your split placement partners and/or candidates to figure out what is needed; they’ll just give up in frustration.

If the job description you are working from is much longer, just list the most important bullets and state that more detail can be provided to qualified candidates. Items like ‘good team player’ and ‘excellent verbal and written communication skills’ are a given and not really necessary. Some sizzle, concise and brief, is usually best. Better job descriptions will help you make more placements, including split placements.

If you are sharing the job with a member of your split placement network, he or she will thank you as well.