Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


Entrepreneurship, The Business of Recruiting

4 Tips to Becoming a Market Master


First tip is, have you worked in your industry? It’s very important to walk the walk and talk the talk.

I have been in retail all my life–  salesperson, manager, owner, buyer and recruiter. When someone asks me for a DMM I know that means a Divisional Merchandise Manager, and that they supervise buyers. Someone outside the industry would not know what a DMM is or an OTB (Open to Buy).

So the way to master your market segment is to be an insider in that


Why I Left Corporate Recruiting

Matt Lowney
Matt Lowney

Matt Lowney

As you may have read in my previous post, “Staffing Agency Pitch: ‘We’re Different.’ Employer: Yawn.” my belief is that there’s not strong differentiation in the staffing vendor world. Too often sales pitches don’t strongly reinforce their key differences in building a business case. Said another way, most firms seem to be focused on business development and not recruiting quality.

That’s a broad brush to paint the industry with and there are certainly several very strong local and national firms, but that seems to be the overall client perspective of staffing firms. With that in mind, I recently decided to move out of corporate recruiting and start a recruiting practice (actually two different firms) with an eye to doing things differently.

Business, Entrepreneurship

Is Your Business Model the Right One For You?

2 minute coaching logo

In my one-to-one coaching sessions with firm owners, I periodically deal with someone who has clearly chosen the wrong business model for themselves and are now suffering either mentally or financially as a result. In terms of designing your business model and org chart, the old adage, “measure twice, cut once” would save loads of heartache for those willing to think strategically about what kind of business to build. Most new owners erroneously believe that “bigger is better,” and make poor decisions regarding hiring, adding office space, increasing expenses, etc.

As a starting point for understanding which business model is best for you, it’s important to understand the various roles an owner must perform. Michael Gerber (author, business skills trainer) tells us that there are three roles that every business owner must be able to fulfill either himself or with the help of employees. The three roles are:

Business Development, Entrepreneurship

Data: 9 Out Of 10 Jobs Get Filled By Niche Recruiters

Sean Bisceglia_Headshot small
Sean Bisceglia_Headshot small

Sean Bisceglia

If you receive job orders outside of your specialty should you even bother taking them? How about going after them proactively?

The answer is a resounding “No.” Data that my company, Scout, analyzed from more than 333,000 candidate submissions over a 12 month period shows that 91% of all jobs filled by third party recruiters are filled by specialty recruiters.

Unless you’re in the lucky 9%, you should forget about orders outside your specialization. You’ll spend valuable time learning new industries and jargon, sourcing new talent, and probably presenting candidates that aren’t a great fit, potentially damaging client relationships.

Business Development, Entrepreneurship, Staffing

Adding Temp To Your Services? Here’s How To Market It


marketingCompanies across the United States want to streamline their processes. Flexibility, efficiency, and cost savings are necessary to survive in this new economy. Contract staffing allows companies to achieve those goals and become productive at the same time.

There are three pieces of good news here for recruiters. One is that the companies you are already working with for direct hire placements probably need contractors, and you already have those business relationships established.

The other piece of good news is that any recruiter, regardless of size, can add contract staffing to their business model if they use a full service back-office provider. The back-office should handle the financial, legal, and administrative tasks so you don’t have to deal with funding, contracts, time sheets, payroll, taxes, workers compensation, background checks or any other administrative issue.

Business, Entrepreneurship, How-To

The No Excuse Way to Do Your 2013 Agency Budget


There are no more excuses. You are almost out of time. But even with just these few days left in the year, you can still put together a budget for 2013!

Budgets give you the vision of where you are headed and will provide you the compass to ensure you get to your goals. Budgets will make you aware of your performance and force you to reorient yourself to your business plan.

I said, no more excuses! No matter the size of your firm, if you want to be in business you must have a budget. The reality is “cash in the bank” is not a good gauge of where you are and whether you are profitable. How many times have you had that false sense of security only to have it diminish after the next accounts payable and payroll run? A working budget will allow you to work with intentionality and focus, and will help alleviate the peak and valley production cycles. And I believe those peak production cycles are what make budgeting so critical to our industry. Budgets will help remind you that you still have a business to run.

Business, Entrepreneurship, For Managers, Motivation

Confessions of a Big Biller Part 2: Accountability and Communication Make For Success

Jordan Rayboy

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series on building and managing a virtual recruiting team. Jordan Rayboy is a big biller, who, after running his business from an RV, now runs his seven figure firm from a home in rural Oregon. In part one, he detailed some of the mistakes he made in founding and building his firm. Today, he focuses on solutions.  This article originally appeared in the December 2011 edition of The Fordyce Letter.


The biggest mistake I made over the years (besides those from yesterday) was that I DID NOT SET EXPECTATIONS AND HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE.

This should have started in the interviewing process, and continued with an environment based on accountability once on board.

In order to hold people accountable, they have to be pushing towards goals that they have bought into. They will be much more driven to achieve their goals (all that they want to have, be, or do) as opposed to hitting a number that you arbitrarily plucked from the air. Once they’ve shared what their goals are, you should use metrics to establish what activities are required in order to achieve those levels of production.

Here is what the process might look like:

Business, Entrepreneurship

Confessions of a Big Biller Part 1: There’s More To Virtual Teams Than Working Remotely

Jordan Rayboy

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series on building and managing a virtual recruiting team. Jordan Rayboy is a big biller, who, after running his business from an RV, now runs his seven figure firm from a home in rural Oregon. Part two — solutions to the issues he details here — will post tomorrow. This article originally appeared in the December 2011 edition of The Fordyce Letter.


When Jeska and I took off on our RV adventure five years ago, we had a fairly simple plan — to build a successful niche search firm while traveling the country full time and living our dream.

Initially, it was just the two of us and one dog with no employees (we’ve picked up two more dogs along the way). This business is interesting though — you tend to become a victim of your own success. The more client openings you fill, the more they want to work with you and refer you to other colleagues. As we quickly found out that first year, there comes a time as a solo practitioner when you simply run out of bandwidth to deliver and are essentially leaving money on the table.

When it was time for us to expand our team, we naturally gravitated toward a virtual model with remote team members. Is this right for your office? As with most things, the answer is probably, “It Depends!”

With today’s technological advancements in communication and collaboration tools, it’s easier than ever to succeed and interact as part of a virtual team. Some of the benefits of virtual teams include:

Business, Business Development, Entrepreneurship, The Business of Recruiting

When Business Stalls, Follow These 5 Steps To Turn It Around

Help 1

I have taken part in many business turnarounds in my career, and time and again noticed the same problems, regardless of whether the reason for the turnaround was a relatively minor situation or a reorganization after bankruptcy. Here are the five steps that need to happen during any major business adjustment and some of the pitfalls to avoid along the way.

1. Assessing the Situation

Before a successful business turnaround can be implemented, it is crucial to understand what got the company where it is now.

When businesses fail, it is most often due to ineffective management. Since management is usually the problem, it is difficult to use current management insight to determine what change is needed. As outside consultants, we often hear from ineffective management teams that they need greater funding to correct the sagging business, but we know that throwing money at a problem does not work.

The people who created the problem in the first place will not know how to fix it. Providing them greater resources is a mistake: it wastes money and degrades employee morale. Also, failing businesses most often do not have good metrics in use to manage and guide the business. Metrics should not only tell company leaders where they have been but should also be used to gauge future performance. Management should be able to clearly describe how the metrics it uses will predict future results.

Business, Celebrating Successes, Entrepreneurship, The Business of Recruiting

Have Vision. Set Goals. Work Hard. But Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Big picture goals roadsign

I have learned over the years that in order to achieve my “big picture” goals for my business I have to ensure that I achieve my daily activity goals to get the results I desire. I learned a long time ago that “activity breeds activity,” and the more activity we do on a daily basis the better our opportunity to achieve the results we desire.

Recruiting on a day-to-day basis is such a metric-driven business that establishing daily goals and activity levels is critical to the success of any good recruiter. You have to be able to come in every day and knock out your goals on a consistent basis. Just like your favorite football team has to have a solid week of practice in order to perform well on Sunday, a recruiter has to achieve their daily goals on a daily basis in order to be successful.

In our office, each recruiter has daily goals that include number of calls, number of presentations, and number of submissions. We track these goals on both a daily and weekly basis to ensure that each person is hitting the required activity levels to warrant success.

Humble Beginnings

When I first started recruiting I did not know how many calls I needed to make to succeed, but I knew that if I did not make a significant amount of phone calls each day my family might not have enough money on which to live. Recruiting was my first job with a significant portion of my income earned by commissions; I was committed to putting in the effort and activities needed on a daily basis to make sure I succeeded. However, sometimes life gets in the way, and just like my “big picture” goals I would fall short of achieving my daily activity.

Early in my recruiting career, not achieving my daily goals was very frustrating and I felt guilty that I had not stepped up and hit my numbers. My income was dependent on closing deals, and the only way I was going to close deals was by talking to people.

I felt like I let my wife and children down as I knew we could not live off the small base salary I was paid. Consequently, I would find myself in my home office late in the evening, working all hours to come up with a prospective list of people to call. I would come in the next day, get started on my calls, and something would get me side-tracked again from talking to the number of people I needed to each day.

When talking to new recruiters about my life in recruiting, I often tell the story that my family starved for the first fifteen months I was recruiting because I could never get over the hump and achieve my goals. I was starting from scratch, trying to build a book of business, and with very little training, I did not know how to protect my prime calling hours. As a result, I would easily get distracted and not achieve my daily goals. This resulted in few deals in my pipeline and fewer opportunities to close more. My frustration and guilt would grow as I struggled with what to do.

After a year of recruiting, I started to realize that in order to be successful I had to find a way to achieve my daily goals without beating myself up if I did not hit my numbers. Consistently protecting my prime calling hours had to be a priority in order for me to achieve the activity numbers every single day. I quickly realized that no matter what, I had to hit my call numbers every day in order to keep filling my pipeline with prospects and candidates.

Finding Balance

One of the key items was a daily strategy. I had never been very good at developing a daily plan, much less sticking to it during the course of the day. Once I realized the key to achieving my daily metrics was a good plan, and I committed to consistently following through on it, my recruiting life started to balance out.

Balance in my life both professionally and personally was a key ingredient to meeting my daily goals. Mornings were structured so that I was making marketing calls and presentations between 9:00 am and 11:30am with no distractions. My afternoons — from 1:30 to 4 — were spent talking to candidates about job opportunities. My planning period would start at 4:00 p.m. regardless of what I had done during the day.

Much like an athlete who has to prepare and practice for game day each week, a recruiter has to plan and prepare every day to close deals. The athlete cannot merely “show up” to the game and expect a victory, just as a recruiter cannot show up and expect a productive day.

I also learned that I had to take time on a daily basis to evaluate to avoid bogging down in details that would keep me from achieving my goals. One key for me was to commit to taking time for myself to clear my head.

Some days that was exercising. On other days it meant taking a long walk, or spending time with my kids. I knew that I could not keep beating myself up when I did not have a successful day by my personal metrics measurements. By clearing my head, I was able to put together a plan for the next day that would allow me to reach my daily goals.

Being Consistent

Just like the big picture goals I establish at the beginning of each year, recruiters have to develop a plan every day to achieve the results we desire. Life has a way of getting in the way of all good plans. The key is finding an appropriate approach to be consistent and diligent in achieving the daily metrics required for success as a recruiter. It is imperative to work around whatever life throws our way so we can get right back on track even when we miss our daily goal target. Do not beat yourself up when you do not achieve those daily goals, but be prepared to plan diligently and consistently every day.

At the end of the day, as a recruiter, I believe that the best way to measure ourselves in not by the daily goals we set forth, but how we learn and improve upon missed goals.

Recruiting is a numbers game, but there are things that happen along the way that can throw us off track. Be it the hiring manager who needs your immediate attention, the candidate who needs some last minute interview preparation, or personal issues that are creeping up on us during business hours, a solid recruiter learns that sometimes, not hitting your daily goals is not so much about falling down on the job,  but about a chance to learn how to re-direct your efforts to bring you one step closer towards making a placement.

J. Kent Hudson is Director of Project Personnel and Executive Search Services for Strategic Contract Resources, LLC  SCR is an international supplier of personnel to the petrochemical, oil, gas, power, process, and telecom industries. SCR provides highly skilled project-to-project personnel on a defined-term basis, and professional search services to fill client direct hire needs. Kent has 16 years experience working in the energy marketplace, and has been recruiting for eight years in the energy industry. In this role he has focused on the upstream E&P, refinery, petrochemical, and engineering disciplines while building a team of energy industry recruiters to expand SCR’s contract and direct hire placement business. Kent is the former vice president of PennWell’s Petroleum Group, including the Oil & Gas Journal and Offshore magazine, and publisher of PennWell’s electric power magazines and trade shows. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and is a CPA with a Masters in Business Administration.