Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


Build Your Brand Through Content Marketing

Content market 2015

You have a presentation in one hour and you need more material. Your natural inclination is to “Google” it. Bingo — you run across a well-prepared whitepaper with just the detailed information you require. Here it comes – - the contact form. You think, “Is it worth giving my name and email to get this report based on a new study?” If the report is enticing, you give your address and dig into the juicy data so you can get your presentation done.

What happens next? Do you get a follow-up email with an offer from the firm that published and so generously shared the whitepaper? In my case, I get a follow-up email only 25% of the time. I wonder about the amount of energy these companies spend to produce high-quality content marketing materials, only to let those emails languish in the abyss of their database.

Even if the firm does not follow-up with those who provided email addresses, having a library of high-quality, relevant whitepapers will boost the firm’s credibility. If they do this over a period of time, they promote their image as an expert on these topics. There is value in that alone.


Lessons Learned From My Years Interviewing and Hiring Sales Professionals

sales target-free

I was blessed to have lunch a while ago with two of the brightest young minds in the city of Denver. They were both candidates of mine I placed as sales reps with the same client just about a year ago. The day they were both onboarded, my client of 20 years expressed his gratitude to me, coated with a blanket of caution.

Dave, the VP of sales at this prominent data storage industry institution, told me that he was certain one of the two would go on to be a superstar. The other, he suspected, I would likely need to replace within about three months per my (retainer) agreement with this wonderful client of mine. The challenge, of course, was to quickly discover which one would be future hero, which one to be goat.

Fast forward to my lunch meeting, where we celebrated their success and their recent closure of one of the biggest new deals in the  company’s storied 17-year history. Turns out both of them were, and still are, prolific

Ask Barb, Motivation

How Do I Motivate Them When I Can’t Motivate Me?

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

Missed hearing you last year. I need my annual “Bruno fix” in order to stay motivated and enthusiastic which leads me to my question for you. How do you stay motivated and positive as an owner of a staffing and recruiting firm?

There are days when I just want to tell everyone around me to stop talking and go away. There are days when I don’t want to pick up the phone, so how do I motivate others to do what I don’t want to do? My team depends on me to motivate them and quite frankly I’m tired of motivating everyone else. I have three full-time jobs and I’m not enjoying any of them. How do I motivate myself daily, get off the hamster wheel and start hiring people who are not so dependent on me?

Dennis N., Sarasota, FL

Dear Dennis:

Your frustration is felt by many working owners in the staffing and recruiting profession. I remember once making a statement that I felt all my recruiters were attached to me by an umbilical cord. I then realized I had created the monster I was complaining about. If your recruiters are too dependent on you for motivation and answers, you need to ask yourself why.

Industry News, Marketing

How Did Mobilegeddon Treat You Today?

Screen Shot Google mobile friendly search

Did you notice any change in visitor traffic to your website today?

An untold number of sites have, the result of Google changing how it ranks search results for users on a mobile device.

Today Google unleashed its newest search ranking update, giving priority to mobile friendly sites and demoting those that aren’t. We first told you about this coming change last week. The change only affects the results presented to users when searching on a smartphone or other portable, but not tablets or desktops. That’s enough of a change to be noticeable, since 50% of searches now come from mobile devices.


5 Keys to Building and Maintaining a Powerful Online Presence


In the past, an online presence was a luxury – but as society’s focus and attention has shifted to the digital arena, it has become an absolute necessity. A carefully crafted website and fully-operational social media profiles can lay the framework for business success, whereas disorder and dysfunction can lead to outright failure.

Cautionary tales abound of businesses that merely established an Internet-identity, but failed to capitalize on their foray into the online market. Your website and social media outlets should serve as the technological extension of your face-to-face efforts. If the goods and services you provide are the award-winning entrée, your digital persona is the host that greets your patrons — and many a dining experience has been ruined by a poor first impression.

Fees, Jeff's On Call!, Legal

85% Of Fee Agreements Are Defective. Is Yours?



Thank you for the opportunity to get a response.

I have been in the electrical industry for 23+ years, headhunting for 16+ years. I had a concurrent career as in the US Army, Colonel in the Army National Guard, and an Iraq War Veteran.

We have a small, highly effective search firm.

I’ve been reading your advice in The Fordyce Letter for 16+ years and have benefited too many times to recall. It is simply awesome.

Now to my question: When do you officially determine resignation?

Here are the facts:

  • Written agreement with 90 day “replace” guarantee.
  • Candidate verbally communicated intent to resign prior to 90 days and is talked off the ledge and stays.
  • Candidate presents after 90 days in writing intent to resign. Candidate’s last day of work is after the 90 days.
  • Company communicates to me after initial communication by candidate of intent to resign to initiate replacement search. Found replacement and hired.
  • HR offers 50% payment with rationale that there is a gray area because the intent to resign (verbal) and communication to initiate replacement was prior to 90 days.

Jeff, thank you so much for once again adding value to the recruiting industry. In 16+years in the business this was a unique one and once again you came through.

Appreciate you and your expertise.

Thank you!

Jim Pabis
Saratoga Source, LLC


Hi Jim,

Thanks for writing – and for your service in protecting us all. If it wasn’t for people like you, people like us would be – who knows?

I’m so proud to be assisting you, and appreciate you having a laugh with me in spite of your angst. Truly, the pleasure is mine.


If Your Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly, You Could Lose Big On Tuesday

Google mobile rankings

Sometime on April 21 your website, the one you worked so hard to get on Google’s first search page, may disappear down the rabbit hole, banished to page 2, 3 or worse.

Next Tuesday is when Google implements a new ranking system that rewards sites that are mobile-friendly by elevating them in its search results. The flip side of that is the bad news for any website that isn’t mobile-enabled — it will fall in the rankings.

Exactly how bad will it be? Until Google’s new ranking algorithm is switched on, we won’t know for sure, but the search engine experts are calling it “Mobilegeddon” and “Mobilepocalypse.”


Your Culture Is Your Brand. Is Yours the Right One?


Even though so much has been written about brand building and the connection between a brand and business success, there’s one important aspect of branding that is often overlooked: Your culture is a major part of your brand.

Fifty years ago this was virtually unheard of. Back then a few Madison Avenue types would create a brand, and then use advertising to tell their audience what it was. I’m convinced some of today’s most iconic brands came about simply because decades ago those companies had the means to buy their way into building the brand they wanted.

Today it’s very different. The Internet and technology continue to make the

Ask Barb, Business Development

Be a Value Provider to Improve Margin

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

I plan to sell my business in three years. I added a temp division to increase the value of my company. However, my recruiters have been having a difficult time selling against markups that are ridiculously low. Clients will ask us for our markup, tell us what our competitors are offering and if we don’t bid lower, we don’t get their business. If I’m going to sell my business for the highest return, I have to protect my margins. How can we overcome this objection and make these clients more reasonable? I want to dramatically increase my GMP (Gross Margin of Profit) in 2015.

Frank S., Detroit, MI

Dear Frank:

If you are dealing with clients who view you as a commodity and base their decision 100% on price and don’t consider business value, there is not much you can do to counter this objection. When we are asked our markup


An Interview Should Not Be Like Speed Dating

Panel interview - 123rf

An interview should be as long as it takes to determine the nature of the person you are interviewing. It could be as short as 20 minutes if you feel no connection, but it could last well over an hour if there is a good give and take.

Hiring managers make a huge mistake by not allowing enough time to get to know the person they are seeing. When that happens, candidates, who are rarely in control of the interview, don’t learn enough about the company and people they meet in order to make a proper career decision. And sometimes they actually get offered jobs despite the short interview.

Some time ago I had a senior candidate (general manager) on an interview. I was a little surprised when the firm he was interviewing with scheduled six interviews at half hour interviews over three hours. Aside from being exhausting for the candidate, it is unfair to both parties. The individuals he met couldn’t possibly have found out enough about him to know if they liked him or not.

The purpose of an interview is for both people to get to know each other. The interviewer needs to learn about the qualities of a candidate that would