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Courtesy of Recruiting & Staffing Solutions magazine, March/April 2009 issue
Leveraging Your Network for Survival, Profitability & Growth
by Manny Rao, Chairman of the Board of Directors, NPA
Use your network to:
- Find work
- Expand the market you serve
- Seek advice and coaching
- Cut costs
- Benchmark results
These times are no time to go it alone. Businesses are failing at record pace and the current economic conditions are not likely to quickly recover. So, all business leaders, including recruiting and staffing executives are smart to examine new and creative ways to leverage existing assets to deliver improved results. Looking for ideas, help, feedback, and coaching from your established peer network is a logical first step. Recruiters that have built a strong network of industry partners will benefit from the knowledge and expertise these networks can provide with the challenges ahead. Read the rest of this entry »
by Jason Elias
It is a truism that relationships are the key to success in economic downturns. Naturally your relationship with your NPA partners will be more important than ever; just ask Jim Sullivan who survived the 9/11 aftermath by working closely with NPA partners. Here are a few reasons why a strong recruiter network likeNPA is more important now than ever:
- Getting jobs on is getting tighter; your NPA partners are an instant source of active qualified openings.
- Developing new business is harder; your NPA partners can offer warm leads into existing clients to provide recruitment in your industry or geography.
- Pitching for business is trickier; NPA provides you with a comparative advantage over your competitors. Tell your clients you are willing to give away half your fee to help them find the right candidate.
- Business issues get complex; why not brainstorm with other owners or consultants whose experience and fresh perspective can solve your problem.
- Great candidates are coming out of the woodwork, but you may not have a role for them now. Share with your partners and convert opportunities into placementshappy candidates and clients lead to repeat business.
- You are never too old to learn; keep up your skills and brush up on the all too easily forgotten basics, with NPA’s training and webinars.
- Maintain the relationships in your recruiter network in a great collegiate atmosphere at meetings and conferences.
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. Read the rest of this entry »
One technique Beck/Eastwood has frequently employed as a best practice over the past 10 years has been to utilize contrary logic in order to pinpoint what exactly a client is looking to employ as a skill set for high level positions.
Huh? I know, it sounds bewildering. For us, it works like this:
When we take on a new assignment (we often work across the board in every discipline for our best clients) we ask for and receive the company published job description. This is one of the least helpful documents in talent acquisition in my humble opinion. Read the rest of this entry »
How many times have you been asked to provide more resumes so your client can make a hiring decision? As annoying as it may be, we have to look at this from the client’s point of view. How you react to this request should be dependent on how well you know your client. Read the rest of this entry »
Gary Eastwood, Beck/Eastwood Recruitment Solutions, Valencia, CA
The beauty of the NPA experience is that there’s no wrong way to work successfully with a trading partner, if the importer and exporter are on the same page. Following is a case study in developing a new trading partner met at an annual conference and developing a partnership that yields multiple split placements.
In my experience, the backbone of a great NPA partnership is finding a process between importer and exporter that is efficient, particularly if you’re working with several different types of positions with different clients. In my case, I met Jeff Kortes from Human Asset Management in Milwaukee at last year’s Nashville conference.
Jeff is an ideal importer for me, as he’s a one-man-band, with more clients than he has time to satisfy with great candidates. I’m more or less, a pure NPA exporter, doing candidate ID and opening the relationship to Jeff, the Primary to the client. Since the meeting, we’ve hit four splits together (3 acceptances in one week!). And, none of them has been particularly easy, with three being relo situations, home sales issues, etc.
The first one was a Buyer. She had issues with the initial offer, but also required sponsorship, so we were able to handle the salary compression issue by managing her expectations, pointing out her opportunities with other companies were limited by her lack of citizenship.
The second one was months in the making, an Engineering assignment with the candidate experiencing every concern in the world, from fear of change, to collecting a November bonus, to the sale of his home in small town Iowa. The client went to bat to iron out all of his issues, including allowing him to work from their Sioux Falls office while he unloads his home, to giving him a January ’09 start date so he could collect the bonus he’s earned in ’08. Jeff and I supplied so much intel to the hiring manager, that this one was a true three-way partnering, with the hiring manager REALLY going the extra mile to bring it home.
The third was another buyer, where the candidate was actually light for a Senior Buyer role, but her palpable hunger for this first US job took her to offer. Our briefing and hand-holding and the candidates willingness to accept tactics and positioning made the difference on that one. Then, we were empowered to make a verbal offer at one salary level and in the eleventh hour, were informed that corporate would only sign off on the hire at $5k less. We handled this glitch and the candidate will start in a week.
The most recent, on Friday evening, Halloween night was fraught with potential, as well. The candidate owns a home nearly fifty miles from the office, doesn’t want to move; he drives low mileage vehicles, including a 4 wheel drive truck in Denver, for winter driving. He also had sky-high salary expectations that needed to be met. Once again, Jeff partnered with the GM and the GM delivered the offer as part of a one year plan that indicated he’d be getting a raise with his PE certification, an April review and the very real expectation that in one year he’d be a team leader. He covered the commute by throwing in a small sign-on bonus as a down payment on a higher mileage commuter vehicle and indicated that in his tenure, he would be at client and prospect sites a lot, so it won’t really be a 5 day commute to the office. That was yet another perfect partnership between hiring manager and both importer and exporter.
With the volume of work Jeff and I are doing, we’ve had to grow our process a lot to keep the pipeline for each job order flowing. We both have defined, if shifting roles in the placement process. In some cases Jeff has has the primary relationship with the candidate, in others I handle the heavy lifting on the candidate side. The important thing is, we recognized the clogs in our flow and re-engineered our working process to be able to optimize the volume we do together, and it’s working!
Finally, it’s still all about the clients and candidates. Our partnership on the hiring process has given our candidates faith that not one, but two recruiters are working hard on their behalf. Second, the clients are quickly realizing Jeff’s value in bringing hard-to-find Engineering and Supply Chain people in and closing acceptances where other vendors have failed.
There are a myriad of other ways to have success in NPA, but this partnership has proven to be effective and really fun! See all of you in San Antonio! Good Hunting.
Recent financial events have me thinking about our globally connected world and the importance of diversification. We have long understood the continued globalization of world economies but it is highlighted when China’s demand for commodities has an impact on Main Street. These signs of change can cause many to retreat to our comfort zones and expect that our world won’t really change. Or we assume, perhaps even hope, that what we do will remain unchanged.
If you haven’t been touched by globalization and the flattened world, you are either in a uniquely localized market or in a niche that is insulated from the global economy. Most recruiting businesses are touched, impacted, maybe even clobbered by the growing worldwide influences on our economy and particularly on the industries we serve. Ask someone in the auto industry.
Brackin & Sayers Associates
Following are some thoughts from someone whose been voted off the island many times, but continues to bob to the surface:
The basic principles apply in good times and bad
a. Get closer to your client companies (those who’ve paid you a fee in the last 12-24 months)
b. Service the bejabbers out of them
c. Make a concerted effort to get to know them betteryour friends in hiring companies will see you through
d. Remain very selective in referring candidates
e. Focus on companies that tend not to be cyclical
f. Market outstanding candidates (no company has too many winners). In fact, in a down market many savvy companies seize the opportunity to upgrade their employee talent.
a. Money can still be made if you scrutinize your overhead
b. Alter your recruiters’ compensation package (higher commissionslower fixed salaries/fixed costs) The good ones will survive.
c. Get out of the officego visit some clients (see c above)
d. Expand your practicemaximize NPA for additional jobs and marketable candidates.
e. Identify trading partners within your niche to better service your client base
f. Respond to NPA job orders.
g. Market outstanding candidates to your NPA trading partners who recruit in the candidates’ area of expertise
h. Remain upbeat and optimisticremember the economy is the product of an attitude.
J. Gifford, Inc.
In my role as chair of the International Development Committee for NPA, occasionally I hear comments from US members that lead one to think that doing international placements is hard work requiring a different skill set than is used in the US, or that the international placement activity has relatively little bearing on what the majority of our US members are doing. Both statements are incorrect. Read the rest of this entry »