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: 2875

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on April 20, 2012 at 9:03am

Vaughn, me having a low opinion of contingency recruiters is something you have inferred, not something I have said.

One professional recruiter working on filling a job will do it better, both qualitatively and quantitatively, than several all racing to shoehorn their candidate into the process.  Doesn't matter if that job is for a senior exec or a junior salesperson.  The attraction strategy remains consistent as does the benchmarking and candidate assessment.  There are numerous other advantages to both the client and the candidates too - which I don't have time to list now.

The only time that contingency is a better option for the client is if speed is critical.

So far, all I'm getting back from most people is indignation at what I've said rather than any coherent counter argument,

Comment by Jerry Albright on April 20, 2012 at 9:10am

Mitch - I appreciate your perspective.  I don't know why a few seem to be getting uptight about it.  If we don't have a conviction that what we're doing is "the way to go" chances are we'll fail. 

Glad to see you here. 

Comment by Vaughn Welches on April 20, 2012 at 9:17am

Well, Mitch YOU JUST SAID IT AGAIN . . . .

and I quote, "One professional recruiter working on filling a job will do it better, both qualitatively and quantitavely . . . . . . than several all racing to shoehorn their candidate into the process . . . "

Your statement here is a clear example of your tunnel vision on this subject.  Also, your statement ASSUMES that all those applicants being "shoehorned in" will somehow pass right on through the client's evaluation and background checks.  Your statement makes a clear imposition that the retained recruiter is a professional and the contingency recruiter is not.  Let me be even clearer on this with you, Mitch.  Your OPINIONS are only YOUR opinions and have absolutely no substance to support them.   I have over 25 years of experience to prove that your statements here are misguided and untrue.   And, I have no intention of wasting any more of my time on this with someone with such a shallow and prideful mindset on this subject.  Have a nice day!!!!!

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on April 20, 2012 at 9:18am

Thanks Jerry.  I have no problem with recruiters choosing to only work contingency if that suits their work style better.  Like you said early, having the ability to bail is a valid reason not wanting to take ownership of a piece of recruitment.

But contingency simply doesn't stand up to any comparative logical scrutiny alongside the retained or exclusivity option - regardless of the level of the position.

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on April 20, 2012 at 9:20am

You too, Vaughn.

Comment by Jerry Albright on April 20, 2012 at 9:26am

I'll add though - we are also a contract IT firm.  So we've got contractors/consultants working at clients all the time.  Therefore - all is not lost if a search does not turn into a placement.  There are times when my efforts are FAR MORE rewarded if I switch gears and work on filling an urgent contract role.  If I were committed to a retained search I just couldn't turn my ship that quickly.

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on April 20, 2012 at 9:35am

The contract market has a very different set of rules.  I wouldn't recommend the retained approach in most of those cases.  Everything I ever talk about regarding recruitment is always in respect of the white-collar perm market.

Comment by Alasdair Murray on April 20, 2012 at 9:35am

I'm the Cal Ripken of copywriting (I recall the name from being at Shea on opening day one year) if that helps?

Comment by Jerry Albright on April 20, 2012 at 9:44am

Mitch - I was able to put that together....:)

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on April 20, 2012 at 9:48am

I'm sure you were, Jerry :)

I just wanted people to know that this belief in retained over contingency isn't myopic.

Now bugger-off and let me do some work.


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