Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession

Michael Gionta

Michael Gionta (mike@theRecruiterU.com) is sought out by owners of recruiting firms, both solos and offices with recruiters, who are frustrated; passionately wanting more from their business. Bonus Tip: To enroll for FREE in his seven part audio series, "The 7 Deadly Sins MOST Recruiting Firm Owners Make That Cost Them Tens of Thousands in Lost Profits & HIGH Turnover? & How to Avoid Them!" visit TheRecruiterU.com. This will give you more ideas on planning and running your recruiting firm especially in a tight economy. You can also visit his blog at TheRecruiterCampus.com for free articles on managing your recruiting firm. Your first module will be emailed instantly and you will learn strategies you can implement immediately to build a search firm generating several million in revenue from some of the simple mistakes made and witnessed by Gionta in his 20 years building his own multi-million dollar firm.

Articles by Michael Gionta

How-To, Motivation

If All You Do Is Think You Should Be Doing Better, You Won’t


When I was 16 years old I came home from a particularly hard day’s work at Burger King where I commanded a wage of $3.35 per hour. (Yeah, minimum wage.) My very loving and supportive mother asked me how my day was and I remember answering, “It was long, difficult and hot…  I should be making A LOT more to do this job!” I was expecting a supportive hug, a “Keep it up honey, they’ll recognize your worth.”… Something like that.

My mother’s response floored me; I’ll never forget it. She said in a pretty terse tone, “NO you shouldn’t! You DON’T KNOW ANYTHING YET!”

Wow! I felt the blood drain from my face and felt very humbled and a bit humiliated, honestly.

As Tim Russert wrote, “The older I get the smarter my father  seems to get.” Substitute ‘mother’ in that sentence and that is how I feel now. You

Industry News

Recruiting Trends You Need to Know


The recruiting industry is growing and evolving, yet I see many recruiters with their head buried in the sand!

In all honesty much of the structure of recruiting firms now mirrors the look and feel of a firm in 1975. Sure we have added PC’s, job boards, LinkedIn, etc, yet most still use the same tired structure and processes as the industry used decades ago.

Business Development, Relationships

To Work With Great Clients, Teach Them To Be Great


Are you frustrated with the way most of your clients treat you? Frustrated with their process? Fees? Terms? Do you ever wonder why we are treated the same poor way over and over?

We often mistakenly think if we speak to enough prospects and fill enough job orders an ideal client that “gets it” will emerge. Sure, that happens once in a while, but not enough to create a predictable, sustainable business full of companies you LOVE working for.

After years of being a frustrated recruiter myself I began to strategically identify what the key elements of a great client look like for me.

Business, The Business of Recruiting

Show Them More Than the Money


I like to challenge my clients to move out of their comfort zone; to push the envelope on everyday “recruiter” and “owner” thinking.

In this vein, I challenged all of my Platinum Coaching clients to an assignment, read the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink, and be prepared to discuss the key concepts, and how they apply to running a recruiting business while at our two day retreat some months back.

It’s amazing what happens when you put together a group of forward thinking recruiting firm owners and challenge them with some new ideas! One of the many concepts we discussed was the age-old philosophies on compensating our recruiters.

One of the most common questions I get asked as a coach/consultant to recruiting firms is, “How do you pay your recruiters?” Or, “What’s the best way to pay recruiters?”

For Managers, The Business of Recruiting

Your Big Placement Just Blew Up. Your Biggest Biller Just Quit. Now What?

Recruiter U logo

You have just spent the last seven weeks doing an in-depth search; provided a short list of outstanding candidates; were persistent with your client to drive the process forward; acted as a therapist to your finalist candidate; and, he gets an offer and accepts the position. CONGRATULATIONS!

Fast forward two weeks later. You come into the office the Monday morning your candidate is supposed to start. There is a voicemail from him time stamped 4:45 am (he KNEW I wouldn’t be at my desk that early!) which starts: “Mike, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I really need to do what’s best for my family. I won’t be showing up at XYZ Software today…” We’ve all received that call, several times, no matter how good we are.

Next situation, you as a recruiting firm owner, have tried to do everything right to retain your best billing recruiters. You have a training program, benefits, 401K, aggressive compensation plan, company trips, personal concierges, etc. One day (probably the same day as the fall-off above) one of your biggest billers walks in your office closes the door and says “We need to talk.”

How-To, Motivation

Stand Up to Work For Your Good Health

Mike Gionta

When it comes to success in the recruiting business, most of us KNOW what we need to do. We simply choose not to do it. We know the path to higher billings is using our working hours to connect with more prospects, clients and candidates. We KNOW checking email incessantly, updating our fantasy baseball team at 11 am, etc. detracts from our productivity significantly, and ultimately costs us money in lost commissions.

If we KNOW more client and candidate contact will increase billings, then why do we consciously choose to not do them in the quantity and at the time we know they need to be done? Because the rewards from our activity (placements and commissions) are off in the future, while the pain of planning, prospecting, and rejection are in the present.

As humans, it has been proven we are more likely to avoid pain than seek pleasure. We are all guilty of this behavior to one degree or another. One of the things I do is help my recruiting firm owner clients on strategies to get past this for both themselves and their recruiters. Once one implements some new tactics the results are sharp increases in productivity and revenue.

Business, Fees

Trends You Can’t Afford To Ignore

Mike Gionta

The recruiting industry is growing and evolving, yet I see many recruiters with their head buried in the sand! In all honesty much of the structure of recruiting firms now mirrors the “look and feel” of a firm in 1975. Sure we have added PC’s, job boards, LinkedIn, etc., yet most still use the same tired structure, and processes as the industry used decades ago.

On the other hand, I have seen some recruiters go 180 degrees the other way by attempting to do all their business via email, job boards, and LinkedIn without really trying to build deep personal relationships with their clients and candidates.

So where is the industry going? What are the trends that are showing that they will alter the way we do business? These are questions I asked a while ago at my closed door retreat and mastermind meeting with 16 of my platinum coaching members.

Because I had recruiting firm owners representing three countries, 10 different states, and multiple industry disciplines the emerging trends and strategies came from multiple perspectives.

Here are just a few of the trends and ideas that emerged:


Fear + Doubt + Worry = Your Personal Slave Drivers

"If not now, when?" handwritten with white chalk on a blackboard

A while back I received an email with the same title from David Neagle, a wealth and mindset coach whose products and services I have invested in frequently. That title made me stop and read more.

David’s column was more on “manifesting” things in our lives. While I fully believe that when we focus on having things in our lives the way we want them we significantly increase the likelihood that we will get them, this is not what struck me about the article. What struck me big time was the title. Why?

Despite the incredibly strong recovery we have seen as an industry, many recruiting firm owners are still letting fear, doubt, and worry run their business. These slave drivers that we wake up with, take to our offices, and then take home again at night are three of the biggest reasons some owners haven’t yet “dove back into the pool” to grow their businesses. They think the pool is empty or still very shallow.

At some level this is understandable. Most recruiting firm owners never experienced business deterioration as deep and rapid as we did in 2008 and 2009. However, it is time to stop looking in the rear view mirror!

Business Development, How-To

If What You’re Doing Doesn’t Work, Try the Opposite

opposites fish

When I opened my firm in 1990, well, I kinda — no I did — SUCK!

In my first year in this business I only cashed in $23,000 personally. Even if you adjust for inflation, maybe if you’re kind, we come up with $50,000 in today’s dollars. I did everything the wrong way — client development, time management, prepping, closing, training, leading, etc.

I remember struggling and watching one of my favorite shows in the 90’s, Seinfeld. In one episode, George was so frustrated with the way his life had unfolded that he figured most of the decisions he made along the way were wrong. He surmised that if most of his decisions were wrong, then the opposite of those decisions was probably correct. The show was hysterical in that it laid out a few scenarios where he did the opposite of what he usually did — and got much better results.


5 Strategies for Getting Your New Recruiters Ramped Up Quickly & Productively


This article is the third and final in a series of confessions of how I really messed up in growing my recruiting firm when I first opened in 1990 and for the first few years of its operation. (You can see the January 2012 and February 2012 issues of the Fordyce Letter for parts 1 and 2.)

The key lesson in all these articles is to learn from your mistakes and failures, take improved action, screw those up … repeat! I have learned that while there are many smart recruiting firm owners out there, the most successful tend to be those who persist.  Persistence, while simultaneously learning from failures, is the most common trait amongst the most successful owners. I have been fortunate to interview many over the years and there are almost always stories of near-bankruptcies in many of their stories. My story is one of them.

I survived my first few years in the business making a living just by making my own placements. Any revenue brought by recruiters I hired was fairly random and unpredictable. Those recruiters I hired who were successful — there were not many — succeeded in spite of me, NOT because of me! However, I made some necessary changes, learned from numerous errors, and built a firm that generated several million dollars without me making any placements.

I shared many of these lessons in the first two articles and now will share what to do after you have made a successful offer to your new recruiter.