The one skill great recruiters nail every time

There has never been a more critical time for recruiters to focus on prioritising their job orders. Clients are tentative and decisions are slow to come, so we simply cannot waste our time on briefs that were never real in the first place. Working with clients who are not ready, willing or committed to hire is a disaster.

Indeed, making sure you apply yourself to where you will get a return is the mantra we all should be living by every day. I wrote on this blog about tight talent selection, and also about the art of job order triage, and asking qualifying questions, and it might be wise for all of us to review the sentiments expressed there.

But still I find recruiters are too ‘generous’ with their time. Every order is treated as equal. Every client is king. This is wrong (Indeed we need to fire some of those clients!), and this little checklist on qualifying job orders, put together with a lot of help from Firebrand Director Simon Lusty, is a great place to start increasing your productivity. (Click on the thumbnail to enlarge)

It is a recruiting skill to actually dig into and expose each of these criteria, and maybe I will blog separately on that in future. But for today, from now on, run every job you take past this template. Be honest. Be brutal. If you don’t know the answer, then get it, before you start any work on a new order.

If you can’t rate every question, then don’t work the order.

Then rank all your job orders by this scoring system. If you have plenty of jobs in the 19+ bracket… well... only work those! Don’t be distracted by unqualified, hard to fill orders with uncommitted clients.

Better to work on 8 jobs and fill 6, than slave away on 20 messy orders and fill two!


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Views: 11205

Comment by bill josephson on March 6, 2012 at 9:29am

Greg, enlightening piece. 

I've found in this market it's hard to make an assessment on whether or not to recruit for a position as one can't take to the bank what one's told.  You think you have a hot fillable job to work on only to find out during the recruiting/hiring process you really don't. 


And it then becomes apparent you wasted valuable time.  And this is irrespective of whoever you're dealing with in a company.  The VP is 3 levels above the activity and no one below listens to the VP anymore in a matrix oriented environment.  Director defers activity decisions to the manager.  The manager defers decisions to his/her senior technical people.  You don't and aren't given access to the senior technical people.  And HR knows only what all of the above want them to know.


So the streamlined process you established going through the checklist and qualifying that job you discover it isn't going according to agreement plan after a month, maybe two.

Comment by Greg Savage on March 6, 2012 at 10:10am

Agreed Bill, I have never known a market where it is more difficult to get commitment from the client..and to be confident of follow through even after commitment is given



Comment by bill josephson on March 6, 2012 at 10:21am

Greg, instead of a streamlined process for effectiveness we get a full participatory process where everyone gets into the act.  Instead of 3-4 key members interviewing, you have 7-10.  Thus no one passes all 7-10 members, decisions are to "pass" on the candidate or not get made so "we're going to keep looking." 


And they don't tell you the Janitor will be part of the decision making process at the outset, but "we included him cause he happened to be emptying the barrel at the time."  Amorphous process, rudderless decision making process, difficult position, at best, to fill, and time keeps marching on........

Comment by Greg Savage on March 6, 2012 at 10:25am

Bill, we are experiencing similar roadblocks this side of the world..its a pervasive tentativeness, uncertainty and reluctance to make a decision. We are taking a reasonable number of orders. But my mantra to the troops is "are they real?". "If we put a qualified candidate in front of this client , will they make a decision to hire". Turns out the answer is often, "no"

Comment by Edward Nau on March 6, 2012 at 12:42pm
Greg, good call on this ability to recognize a good instinct for great recruiters. Curious to know what your qualifications are for your job order process and what determines when to walk away from the client.
Comment by Russ Recruits on May 9, 2012 at 11:23am

Nice - As an external I used a similier method, as an Internal I still could do with undertaking the check list as some of the managers I work with are as un-committed as any external client!

Comment by Maya Saric on September 18, 2012 at 10:15pm

Good, insightful article Greg.


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