Ike Davis, 1st baseman for the NY Mets hit his 2nd home run this year, a 3 run homer against the Atlanta Braves last night, possibly reversing a “slow start” to his season in grand fashion.  To wit, Gary Cohen, one of my favorite sports announcers of all time commented (paraphrase here) “Ike handles both his successes and failures the same way, his demeanor does not change, he’s got the perfect personality for Major League Baseball”. 

He went on to say “After all, baseball is a game of failure!”

Shocked at the statement at first, I quickly recognized how true it is.  Get up to bat 3 – 4 times a game, swing the bat a minimum 12 but more often over 20 times a game, get 1 hit per game, and you are on a hitting streak to the joy of your team and fans alike.  1 Hit in 20+, IF you’re doing well! 

That’s a “hit” mind you, not a home run.

The parallels’ to recruiting are obvious.  Barbara Bruno (renowned recruiting trainer) uses a ratio of 20 conversations per day equals a productive day when starting out in recruiting.  That’s “conversations” not calls.  For 20 conversations, one could make 100+ dials in a day.

That’s “every day”.

Those outside recruiting, if they knew the “ratios” we live by would call us “crazy”, asking why would you do that… why (or how) could you stick with it, with a “failure” ratio like that?

At 4:30 AM this morning, while laying in bed awake pondering my children’s future, the bills I had to pay, the candidate I was interviewing at 8, the client meeting at 12, and whether I’d ever have enough money to retire some day, (I’m guessing I’m not alone in this ritual these days) that little voice in the back of my head reminded me, …with 1 swing of the bat today, you could change… “Everything!”

One good swing today could be the difference between a banner month, or a flop.  One good swing today, could be the difference between another Disney Vacation, or a weekend at the in-laws (how’s that for incentive).

One good swing today…

Of course, we take steps to mitigate the peaks and valleys, and it’ll take more than “1 good swing total”,  to close a deal, but truth is, few jobs I’ve had in my career (and I’ve had more than a few), offer the “subtle rush” locking in a solid appointment, or “adrenaline rush” closing a big deal brings. 

Few jobs anywhere, offer the employee the opportunity to change “everything”, on any given day. 

All you have to do, is bring with you the demeanor of a Major League Ball Player, recognizing, you’ll need to “swing, swing, swing” each and every day, knowing you will not get a hit with each up at bat, and knowing (viscerally) that that’s OK!

If you ask me, Recruiting is a game of failure, same as Major League Baseball. Like Major League Baseball, not many have the skill to survive the cut, with fewer the skills to play with the All Stars. Nor do most have the demeanor to “turn” a slow start to a season (or quarter) knowing, success can only be achieved, if you are willing and able to keep getting up to bat each and every day accepting the seemingly daunting ratio’s, and “swinging” through the blisters, and the years, till you get to the point where you really “know your pitch”.

For then and only then, will you be able to consistently “hit them out of the park”.

Views: 2866

Comment by Nick Lagos on April 19, 2012 at 11:44am

Thank you Jeremy, appreciate your comments very much!

I once had a prospect I was trying to impress say "HeadHunter"... isn’t that term a bit… dated...


Comment by Ronald Peterson on April 19, 2012 at 1:48pm

Professional traders in currencies, stocks, commodities, etc., fully expect to take more hits than make more scores, so it does become a game of patience. Traders know that when they focus on the money they take their eye off the ball, they stop focusing on the markets and let something extraneous enter their decision psychology, a sure indicator of a mistake to come. Having done both trading and recruiting I think they're parallel professions and being able to make a lot today or not has no significance.

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on April 19, 2012 at 4:50pm

Recruitment shouldn't be a trading profession.

It's people's careers/lives we're dealing with here.  FFS.

Bottom line is this - if you are retained, you're more likely fill the job better.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 19, 2012 at 6:40pm

@ Mitch

"Bottom line is this - if you are retained, you're more likely fill the job better."



Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 19, 2012 at 6:49pm

If how you get paid determines how good a job you do, just call yourself a recruiting whore and go on down the road.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 19, 2012 at 6:58pm

So in every other profession people are paid (after the fact) for the goods / services they provide. Lawyers are the only other professionals I can think of that charge money up front (retainer) before providing a service. While there's nothing wrong with that, there's also nothing wrong with clocking in, manufacturing your widgets, and getting paid for your work. What's the big deal about recruiters performing a service then sending a bill?

Comment by bill josephson on April 19, 2012 at 7:25pm

No big deal. really.  However, lots of unusual things have been happening over the last several years regarding receiving much tougher assignments including relos and numerous purple squirrel assignments, question of corporate urgency to fill, and bottom line is the recruiter's the one not getting paid whose time is at risk.

If a company is willing to pay some up front money it ensures, IMO, there's at least a seriousness on their part to fill the position.  Otherwise, they might be tire kicking and/or there's no candidate meeting their hiring criteria, which typically changes during the process.


So it's really insurance as a sign of sincerity the company has urgency to fill a position, again, IMO.

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on April 20, 2012 at 3:05am

Really good counter argument, Sandra.  Well done.

Amy, if you as the recruiter own the vacancy, you're primary concern is to fill the job with the best person currently available.  When you're one of several recruiters trying to fill the vacancy, you're primary concern is to fill the vacancy with your candidate.

Having a vested financial interest in the outcome of a job vacancy isn't a healthy scenario when people's careers, and in some cases livelihoods, are at stake.

Comment by Vaughn Welches on April 20, 2012 at 8:19am


Appears to me you have a case of tunnel vision when it comes to the subject of retainer/contingency recruiters.  I am saddened that you have such a low opinion of so many people working in contingency search who are just as professional and work just as hard as you do, AND achieve results just as respectable as yours.  And the clear evidence for what I am saying is the check recieved from a satisfied client AFTER the work is done.

Comment by bill josephson on April 20, 2012 at 8:39am

I see little difference between contingency and search professionals and neither approach guarantees filling a position.

However, receiving up front money ensures one thing as I see it--a seriousness on the company's part to fill a position.  Again, I've been recruiting coming on 32 years.  With all the difficulty in the past several year's economy/lack of private sector jobs creation and all the challenges that uncovers within the recruiting process there's been one constant that I've found.


In good times the candidates pose most of the obstacles, in bad times it's the companies.  Can't trust the companies today as you can't take to the bank anything they say.  Doesn't matter who/what title level you're dealing with.  In this economic climate I've found companies are almost dysfunctional when it comes to hiring, at least with recruiters.  Unrealistic hiring criteria, salary, 'open ended' interview/hiring processes, lack of urgency, disagreement on candidate experience required/role, lack of communication, lack of decision making, and really the bottom line.......wanting 100% of their needs met underpaying the market wage believing everyone wants the job simply because they have an opening.

It's classic in a down economy.  In a good economy candidates want a blue phone, white carpet, and a 30% raise.


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