Activity versus Result... the task driven recruiter

In an agency recruitment environment, the old adage is activity = revenue.  I would say that any recruiter worth their salt is doing the required amount of activity to reach their targets and meet their commission goals, but what happens in a mature environment where the focus is switched from result - to activity?


So often we see the task driven recruiter tick the pages of their KPI sheet, feeling they have achieved something, even when it has not led to any new or succesfully closed business! Why do managers take this route when it only works in certain high churn large agency environments?


A while back I had the privilege of working with a true industry professional who believed every consultant in the business had to be managed differently.  Not left alone - but managed.  They would go out of their way to ensure a process driven consultant was tasked with an end result, not small little checklists for every activity. 


As a people industry, its so sad that we have such a high attrition rate - and it all starts and ends with activity managers.  What would I look for in my next manager? Experience managing people not activity.  Lots and lots of it (and I mean more than 4-6 years!)

Views: 227

Comment by bill josephson on April 27, 2011 at 1:42pm

Melissa, only question I'd have is are you over screening?  In other words, could you have more activity if you submitted more of what you have? 

Otherwise, be on guard that the "nice run" you're having isn't just a temporary phenomenon, ensuring it's a permanent one.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 27, 2011 at 1:55pm

Submitting more candidates on a position can sometimes give you more targeted information on exactly what the client is looking for.  I may submit 4 to 6 candidates on a job with my take on how i would rank them based on my understanding of the criteria  provided by the client.  I will ask the client to give me some initial feedback as to their ranking to see if we are on the same page.  If they rank them differently than i have then i know more about their focus.


Sometimes i also pick up another job that has not been listed if one of the candidates is not a fit for the level position i am working on but the client has something else they may fit.  If it is a sales position and one of my candidates is light in experience many companies have sales support or account managers that are the training level for territory sales.  I can cut a fee a little bit for a lower level position that would not normally be listed with a recruiter and fill the position i am working on at full fee at the same time.  More choices - more placements.

Comment by Melissa Zentgraf on April 27, 2011 at 2:21pm

I totally admit to overscreening at times.  I actually ask myself that several times a day.  Somedays I am, and others, well, it was just that kind of day.   And I'm totally aware that this could be a good run.  I've worked sales and I know how it goes.  That's why I do stick to my method.  There is a method there, it's just not what anyone else around me does. 


I've actually gotten a lot of mentoring from this site.  And I'm not just saying that to bs.  I get zero coaching from my team and I've come to depend on this site a lot for tips.  So a lot of the things I do are straight from what you guys say.  Like the other blog post about the head hunting call.  Most of my roles require me to source passive candidates.  Reading that post helped my check what I was doing (thankfully, not that!).


Anyway, I've taken your comments to heart.  I'm always trying to see what I can tweak to get better.  I know I'm new and I need to always keep my eyes and ears open.  What works for me this year might not work for me next.  I need to have a full bag of tricks ready and waiting.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 27, 2011 at 2:34pm

Not to worry kiddo, i have been around since tennis balls were square and i can promise that we all have to rethink or tweak what we are doing.  The thing that makes this business fun is the same thing that makes us all a little crazy.  It's a roller coaster ride. 


 When things are working, the salmon are running and everything we touch turns to gold we feel like the smartest cat in the jungle.  A month later when everything we touch turns to owl poop we wonder if we have somehow bumped our heads on a jagged piece of sky and need to be a Wal-Mart greeter.

Comment by Mary Ann Fenters on April 27, 2011 at 5:14pm
Melissa:  I've been in this business since 1984 and it sounds to me as if you have a good understanding of what your client's needs are and you meet those needs without burying your client in resumes.  Congratulations, as this is not always an easy task to do.  
Comment by Sarah Calverley on April 27, 2011 at 6:39pm

Love all the activity and comments on this, and Melissa; keep up the good work! Im also a relative newbie and currently get no mentorship - so I rely on industry experts who blog to help me refine my recruiting.  I have to say that if you are getting results, over and above what your colleagues report, you are doing something right, and by increasing your activity slightly you can and will increase your billings. 


I dont dispute that every recruiter needs to seriously understand and use metrics as a guide, but I disagree with the micro-management of activity.  If you force new consultants to do a certain amount of client visits per week, guess what? They will do them but there will be little quality. 


The other thing about recruitment and metrics, is you constantly need to assess what is working and what isn't.  It's an ever changing game.  I got into this industry because I believe there is a lot of talent and skill required, not just activity for activity sake.



Comment by David Jansons on April 28, 2011 at 5:31am
I agree with Jerry. He echoes my experience
Comment by Barbara Goldman on April 28, 2011 at 9:14am

Making the numbers keeps you abreast of the market. When training new recruiters, compare market knowledge from week one to week 16. The numbers are also personal, some people are better than this than others. The numbers are a way to keep focusing on the process, and not focus on placements. Numbers are also a nice soft pillow to cuddle when you know this past week of failure meant nothing, it's just the numbers, and your placement is just around the corner.


Large numbers don't necessarily equal success this week, but over the long haul they work.

Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on April 28, 2011 at 12:03pm
I try ti always keep my interview numbers up. With out the interview there are no deals!!Just my 2 cents
Comment by Joe on April 28, 2011 at 4:28pm

I agree with many of the comments about numbers and quality.  I worked with an excellent recruiter that submitted only a handful of resumes each week and she had the most placements month after month.    The manager could not understand that this was due to quality.  This recruiter was NOT a pre-madona and was well liked by the team.  This 'numbers only' manager decided one day that he should enforce the higher submission quota and it backfired on many levels.  She maintained the high quality of her usual handful of submittals but the remainder of them to hit the quota were crap.  She was still the number one in the office but got tired of the numbers manager that she went off to another company.  


Yes, numbers are important BUT its not the ONLY important thing.


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