Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


For Managers

Performance Evaluation: Rewarding Excellence and Fostering Positive Change


Annual employee performance review meetings are standard in many workplaces and serve as a method to formally document an employee’s contribution and to identify development opportunities. However, this is just one aspect of performance evaluation and management.

Recognizing good performance and coaching employees to develop new skills should occur throughout the year. This ongoing interaction includes a variety of communication techniques. When communicating, be consistent in your treatment of all employees.

Here are a few tips for rewarding excellence and fostering positive change.

Business Development, RPO

Win Your Client’s Trust and Business With Full Immersion Recruiting


Editor’s note: Miriam Ziemelis initially aimed this article at RPOs. But one look and you’ll see her advice is even more relevant for independent recruiters who want to work more closely with their clients and potentially develop an exclusive relationship.

I’m a recruiter. Specifically, I am an IT recruiter. Even more specifically, I have been an IT recruiter in the consumer goods, health care, cosmetics, spirits and wine, industrial mining, insurance, banking and publishing industries, to name a few. Years of experience have taught me that to be a successful recruiting consultant you have to immerse yourself in your client’s business and industry. Once you’ve done that, your client will pull up a chair for you at their table and welcome you as their business partner.

Know Your Client’s Business

“What do you know about us?” It’s such a basic and open-ended question. But how you answer it will define your relationship with the client. It will mean the difference between being a mere “recruiter” and a recruiting business consultant: your client’s business partner. What do clients expect

For Managers

Look Beyond the Trees to Check Your Competency


Not seeing the forest for the trees?

This old cliché refers to a circumstance where an individual is so close or involved in a situation that they are incapable of maintaining their perspective or view of the big picture. This cliché applies to many owners and managers within the staffing industry.

Our rebounding economy is creating an environment in which many staffing firms are enjoying increased growth in sales and profits. However, much of that growth is due to external factors versus internal competencies. Although this may appear to be acceptable with our current  economy, it could spell disaster when the economy slows and demand for services decreases.

Now is the time for owners and managers to look beyond the trees (external demand) and see the forest (internal competencies). In many

Business Development, For Managers

Have You Thought of Using ‘Participation’ As Your Sales Metric?

Sales Participation chart - free

Ongoing management — low performers, mid-level performers and even high performers need it. It does not assume high performance, and once high performing, does not assume it will always continue. Everyone needs to be managed on a consistent basis. In sales, the goal of ongoing management is participation rate.

Whether your agency has a separate sales team or every recruiter is dialing for clients, a critical metric is participation rate. Participation rate is the percentage of team members who are at or above plan. For a sales team, participation rate is easy to calculate. On a team of 10 people where four are above their sales plan on a YTD basis, the participation rate is 40%. 

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

Business, For Managers

Four Ways to Quickly Lose A Client

Courting-David Castillo Dominici-free

Courting-David Castillo Dominici-freeIf there’s anything that’s close to certain about our industry, it’s the fact that clients aren’t easy to get. Like that pretty girl you’d like to date except that she’s always surrounded by guys vying for her attention, clients, especially good ones (and we all know who the good ones are, don’t we?), don’t have to take the first bumbling, average-looking suitor who comes along offering some flowers, a Netflix movie on her Dad’s couch, and maybe a take-out dinner from Subway (Dutch, of course).

No, they can hold out for oh so much more – and they do. They hold their ‘Bachelorette’-like contest until they get what they feel is the best of the best – the best rates, the best reputation, the best service, and the best employee pool. Finally, one lucky agency lands the client of their dreams and they walk off, hand in hand, into the sunset of eternal happiness together… right?

Not always.

Yes, it would stand to reason that, once a staffing agency has jumped through all the hoops it takes to finally land a solid client, they would do whatever it takes to keep that client. Fortunately for all the other agencies/suitors out there, that isn’t always the case.

For Managers

Attention Owners: Want a Vacation? Get a System

2 minute recruiting new

What’s the owner’s freedom formula?

It’s very simple: Systems = Freedom.

If you as the owner of your firm go on a four week vacation, what happens to your business? What happens to the quality and quantity of activity? Some leaders have defined the strength of a small business as being directly proportionate to how much of it can continue to operate in the owner’s absence. Whether you own a large firm or a micro business, having simple and effective systems in place will make it much easier for you to step away from your office without waking up at 3 a.m.in a cold sweat.

What Is A System?

A system is a documented way of performing a task that solves a problem

For Managers, Motivation

Does Your Office Have A Scorecard?

horse race illus-vectorolie-free

So it’s tax time again. While I don’t have much to offer in the area of taxes (I’ll leave that to the accountants), I will tell you this: While none of us likes paying taxes, in a weird convoluted way, I’m much happier when I pay a lot in taxes. It means I’m making a lot of money. When you think about it, what we pay in taxes becomes the ultimate scorecard for how we’re doing  —  and that’s a subject worth talking about.

True champions have one basic quality in common — they love competition and they love keeping score. Personally, I love horse races. The thrill of watching the thoroughbreds cross the finish line is exhilarating. True racing fans tingle through the entire process — the starting gun, jockeying for position, the push to cross the line, and of course the smell of roses at the end isn’t bad either.

It’s no different in our business. We want measurable results and we want to know how our results rank against our peers and the rest of the field. Of course there are those who become obsessed with winning at all costs and cross the lines of good judgment and ethics. I’m not talking about those people. But at the end of the day, a good healthy dose of competitive drive


Need Money? Know the Basics Before You Borrow


borrowingHave you ever found yourself strapped for cash and wondering what your best options are for borrowing money? And did you find that in our business it is sometimes difficult to borrow?

The first option for borrowing is “unsecured.” If you have solid personal credit, unsecured debt is usually the easiest to obtain and involves the least amount of risk to you. Because the debt is not backed by some form of asset or collateral, lenders consider this type of debt more risky to them so it usually comes at a higher cost as compared to secured lending. Unsecured debt will also be limited by lenders, the amount of risk they are willing to take on an unsecured basis will normally be below $50,000 and in many cases below $20,000.


Bullhorn Survey: Agency Growth May Be Slowing After Strong 2014

Bullhorn-revenue by recruiter type

Bullhorn-Comp by agency typeIndependent recruiting firms of all types and size had a good 2014 and 9 out of 10 of them expect an even better year in 2015.

On average, 77% of the firms participating in Bullhorn’s annual North American Staffing and Recruiting Trends Report said they met or exceeded their 2014 goals; 89% expect to increase revenue this year.

Yet, says Bullhorn, there are signs that the rapid growth of the last two or three years may be leveling off. Pointing to the 79% of agencies that reported more than half their income coming from repeat business, Bullhorn wondered if the rise from last year’s 61% who said that might “signal a reduced focus on expanding the client base.”