5 Simple Tips on Cracking the Uncrackable Account

Okay, I give in.  I am going to give you the secrets. I've been the sales person.  I've been the senior recruiter.  I have been the account manager.  I have been the corporate recruiter.  I went back to school to get a Master's Degree and have some HR sense. I have even been a VP of HR's right hand person. 

Recently, I have had a lot of people in staffing asking me how to break into an account. I have heard "They just won't return my call" to "I've tried to be introduced through someone else". I have also heard "HR is just not bringing on additional vendors right now" or "How do I get on the vendor list?".  If you work with a staffing firm, does this sound familar?

So since I have been on both sides of the coin (agency and corporate) and I am truly a sales person, I am going to help you out. I shouldn't, but I will.  Being a corporate recruiter, it pains me to see the countless errors most staffing professionals make.  Most every account can be broken, but you need to know some things if you want to do it.  Here are 5 logical tips.  Give them a try and see if you become more successful and see if your paycheck increases next month. 

1. HR & Corporate Recruiters Won't Help Much-  Truthfully & respectfully, as a corporate recruiter, HR could care less about what you offer.  We get paid the same way.  We don't feel like we need your services.  People are going to question HR and the value we bring to an organization when we use an agency.  Paying you only makes us look like we aren't capable of doing our jobs.  We also have busy schedules and agencies aren't on the top of our list.  Depending on the size of the company, HR departments can receive 10-20 staffing calls a day. There is a strong probability that you won't get called back simply because sometimes we have to prioritize and agencies aren't at the top of our priority list.

2.  If you Go After The Managers That Have Pain, Have a Plan & Make Sure The Company Can Pay You-  As an Agency recruiter, developing the relationships with managers that need recruiting help is important to your success.  HR has a hard time saying no to a manager who has found the candidate they want with an agency.  The managers are the customers of HR and recruiting.  That being said, make sure you aren't crossing any bridges and make sure the company can pay the fees.  If you don't do this, you are wasting your time. 

3.  Kill Them With Kindness & Be Real- So you say your company has placed x amount of people?  I heard it before.  Remember I was the person that pitched it.  If you aren't a likeable person, they won't want to do business with you.  Develop some common ground between the manager and YOU before going in for the kill.  You may get a one time hire by going in and flexing your muscles, but no one wants to do business with people that they don't like, and can trust.

4.  Be Persistent- & Patient  Do you know how many people I see that come and go in staffing every year?  Start early, and remain comitted to your profession.  If you plan on being in recruiting 6 months, you might as well quit now.  If you have to deliver donuts for 2 years, or if you have to send an e-mail every week, that may be what it takes.  Don't give up and don't take the first 10 no's.  The tortus wins the race, not the hare.

5.  Have An Outstanding Reputation- Treat every client, and I do mean every client, like they are your only client.  Word of mouth goes a long way.  If you have treated someone right and have supplied them with good people, then they will be willing to help you out in any way.  It is hard to overcome a bad reputation and you may spend a career trying to fix what you messed up.

Hopefully that helps your career as a staffing profesional.  I have great admiration for you as I have been in your shoes at one point in my career.  You have a tough job and if done correctly, you could help many organizations.

If you liked this article, please share it, follow me on Twitter at @WThomsonJr, and send me a Linkedin invitation. You can read my weekly blogs at http://bit.ly/RqwiMB .  I am looking forward to networking with you

Views: 954

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on February 14, 2013 at 12:23am
1.5 - don't treat me like I'm an annoyance that must be endured and 2.5 make sure the manager you go after has the authority to pay fees. :) other than that I agree!
Comment by Will Thomson on February 14, 2013 at 9:45am

Couldn't agree more Amy.  As a corporate recruiter, you will be dealing with me, so you better treat me right!  You also better make sure we can pay you.  Open, Honest & direct communication.  If you approach a manager, be prepared to get your hand slapped more than a few times.  I get it though, we all need to make a dollar.  I've been on the other side also. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on February 14, 2013 at 9:50am

Exactly! I'm totally cool when a manager introduces me to "their" recruiter, and am happy to play nicely... so long as I have an email from your VP saying "yes we've worked out contract details and the fee is X% please take care of it" No problem! :)

Comment by Malia Jorgensen on February 19, 2013 at 12:38pm

Great post, Will!  I have been in sales, as well as recruiting.  Breaking into an account requires diligence and persistence - but in a respectful way.  Once a key person in your target company gets to know you as real human being they will be more likely to do business with you. 

Comment by Will Thomson on February 19, 2013 at 1:05pm

Thanks Malia!  What you said is so true.  Being a staffing agent can be like someone who calls you late at night for a donation for your college.  People just need to get to know you.  If you are persistant, people will eventually talk to you.  People have a hard time saying no to people who are polite.  My brother is in sales and he says this: "How does your company make money?"  Once the company says they have sales people, he says "I am just doing what they do".  That makes him more human. 

Comment by Ionut Roghina on February 20, 2013 at 6:01am

Thank you Will, very helpful post! 

Comment by Jerry Albright on February 20, 2013 at 9:18am

Gotta disagree on #1.  Strongly.

Just thinking here about my new clients this year.  So far there are 3.  EACH of them is a relationship started through HR. 


Are we stuck in 1988 here?  HR are not the bad guys they once were.  They've come a long way - and you/we BETTER find a way to connect with them.

Comment by Will Thomson on February 20, 2013 at 10:25am

Thanks Lonut! 

Jerry- thanks for the comments.  You are correct by saying relationships with HR and staffing companies have to be made.  It is a partnership. 

Many organizations are cost cutting now though.  Many mandates have been made by larger organizations to cut out staffing costs completely.  Every week at a certain company I was given a report to show agency activity and it was monitored very closely.  People who used an agency were put on a "list". 

I too think that agencies should contact HR first.  My point was, don't be suprised when they aren't jumping for joy to hear from you.

Jerry- you are great at what you do and are a model for most recruiters.  Not everyone, unfortunatley, will be able to crack the account by going straight to HR without one heck of a reputation and a track record.   

Comment by Rebecca B. Sargeant on February 21, 2013 at 3:20pm

Great Post! 


Comment by Will Thomson on February 21, 2013 at 3:45pm

Thanks Rebecca!


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