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The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession

Articles tagged 'client management'


How to Get Better Information From Hiring Managers

yes no man- renjith krishnan-free

yes no man- renjith krishnan-freeI asked the question — open-ended, curious, and fearless — setting the stage for an answer with little information. It was the wrong question to begin with and I was in for the wrong answer: “What kind of candidate are you looking for?”

This question is a complete head fake, and opens the flood gates to irrelevant intake information. Instead, lead the discussion and better focus your questions. Do not succumb to 5 minute explanations of the perfect candidate, who lives down the street, happens to be upset with his current manager, and is willing to take our position for less than market value. This is a candidate scenario and is not relevant.

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.


Do Your Clients Recognize Talent?


Candidate-freeAll too many times, we conduct a very difficult search, stretching every possible resource to find the right person for a certain job order. Countless profiles, emails, calls, and referrals consume our day-to-day to identify “the one” our client will hire. Despite our best our best efforts, there will be instances of a hire made through other means and the requisition closed.

Over the next 1-45 days, we keep an eagle eye on LinkedIn only to one day exclaim, “They hired this guy?!”

It’s an all too common problem among corporate and agency recruiters

The Business of Recruiting

Don’t Become the Back-Up to the ‘Real Search’

White Tiger - anankkml - free
While you’re working contingency,
I’m working engaged or retained…
With your client!

Something interesting happened a while ago. I received a call from a recruiter who was self-employed out in the Western region of the U.S. I looked her up (on LinkedIn) while we were speaking to one another and we had a friendly chat.

After an initial exchange of pleasantries she stated the purpose was to “…seek out help…” on some searches she’s having difficulty with.  She wanted to know if I’d consider a split.

It became evident that at least two of the three positions sounded very familiar. I mentioned the name of one specific company and she confirmed it was indeed that company.


5 Tips For Managing A Hiring Manager’s Candidate Dreams

praying hiring manager-123RF

praying hiring manager-123RFI’d like to live on Lake Washington: 5 bedroom house, 3 bathrooms, a pool, chef’s kitchen, and sport court. The purchase price must be less than $200,000 and it can’t be a fixer upper.

Anyone from the surrounding Seattle area knows you can’t live on Lake Washington for $200,000 without an extreme fixer upper.

So what happens next? Do I search for the “perfect” house only to be let down time and again when my offers are rejected? As silly as this may seem to savvy home buyers, this is a strategy used in recruiting and it can hamstring hiring managers.

Cold Calling, Jeff's On Call!, Relationships

How To Turn Client Criticism Into A Win

Placements and the law logo

Although it’s rarely discussed openly, the most pervasive problem in doing search is internalizing criticism from employers. It causes recruiter burnout, limits options, stifles creativity and results in low self-esteem.

That is why overcoming objections is such an important part of any placement training program. But overcoming objections doesn’t overcome the effects of destructive criticism. This PTL column will show you how to do so and improve your bottom line.

Let’s start with your role in the placement process. With few exceptions, the relationships between the recruiter and the client are transitory. You’re in a “what have you done for me lately” business. You’re only as good as your last placement. Don’t perform, suffer a massive ego stroke, or overcharge and you’ll be history. This is a reality of business; it’s a value-for-value relationship. That’s why you charge for your services, and that’s why they pay. For this reason, satisfied clients are the key to a satisfied, successful you.


It’s Not A Job Order Until You Get These 7 Commitments


The Seven Commitments are important in gauging how “hot” a job order is. You need to verify the commitments in every conversation, using various different approaches. If you don’t have all the commitments, it does not mean you should not work the job order, it means you should figure out how to get the client commitment.

1. Hiring manager contact

Only the hiring manager has an emotional investment and feels a sense of urgency to get results. Second-hand information makes it impossible for you to impact the decision-maker and quality is compromised by inaccurate information. Providing a quality service and your ability to close depend on hiring manager contact.

Fees, Jeff's On Call!

Send Only ‘Blind’ Resumes Or You May See Your Fee Runaway


Mr. Allen,

Hello, it is good to be ‘speaking’ with you. I was told of your website when I first began in the executive search business many years ago, and I have benefited from visiting your site again, recently, by being able to read the scenarios that occur in our business.

In particular I appreciate your Q & A about referring resumes and doing so in a manner that protects us from losing a fee in the referral process. A recent experience has taught me I need to more closely follow your suggestions about masking a candidate’s identity, and so I shall.

I’ve been in recruiting for a few different industries since 1980: healthcare, insurance, manufacturing. and have done not only contingency but also retained searches.

Recently, after being away from the search business for a few years I’ve discovered something new to me. On many occasions I will contact an executive in a company, make a candidate presentation, and that executive will agree to receive and review the candidate’s resume. I also have on many occasions arranged for that executive’s ‘gatekeeper’ to receive a candidate’s resume (with the understanding I am in the search business and that a fee would apply upon hire of the referred candidate), and subsequently print it and put on that executive’s desk for review. (This has worked and gotten me a hire although I’m thinking you probably don’t approve.)

Business, Business Development, How-To

Fill Ratios Define You As A Recruiter


I had a lively e-mail exchange awhile ago with a seasoned recruiter on the subject of tracking job order/search assignment fill ratios. To date, this successful veteran has not tracked this particular ratio although he does track several others. When I asked “why” he did not find value in tracking this number he replied:

The reason I never track fill ratios is this: Let’s say that I write a JO and it’s last minute. They have three candidates coming in on Friday and I get one last person in on the same day. He doesn’t get the job.

Or I write an assignment and some internal ‘water walker’ shows up from Australia where he’s been at a different division for two years and gets the job.

Or I write an assignment and the position goes on hold due to bad 3rd quarter earnings. All real situations that I cannot control.

As far as fill ratios are concerned, I most certainly understand, and have lived through every example he provided, and, in some instances, many times during my early career. Those experiences notwithstanding, I have learned my lesson well and this has been further validated through my consulting and training work with thousands of recruiters over the years.

Fully Qualify the Assignment First

Lesson: Most job orders/search assignments go unfilled because they were poorly qualified by the recruiter at the beginning of the process.

  • The recruiter had not established a positive working relationship with the right decision maker.
  • The recruiter had not taken the time to fully understand their client, the client’s organization, and the outcomes that must be associated with successful performance in the position.
  • The recruiter had not established realistic, job related selection criteria.
  • The recruiter had not gained a commitment from the client to work within an interactive, adaptive process which mirrored mutual commitments.

All in all, the recruiters had not differentiated themselves to the point where a privileged working relationship could be established.

Sometimes, Just Say ‘No’

However, where all of these exist, you find nearly one-to-one fill ratios, exclusive working relationships, and many times, front-end money. Nevertheless, almost all of this can be accomplished on a pure contingency basis if the recruiter has the training, competence, and confidence to say “NO” to business that does not meet strict, but realistic standards.

Remember: You should know the criteria that must be met before you will accept a piece of business from a client. This sets the stage for everything that follows

This topic is a hot point for me. I have written volumes on the subject. Yet, in our industry today, most recruiters are still working the “low hanging fruit,” have fill ratios of 1 in 5 or higher, and are satisfied with mediocre income based on annual production of $250K or less, which typically reflects fewer than one filled order/assignment per month, which I consider to be an absolute MINIMUM for someone with more than one year in our business.

Have A “World Class” Ratio

Yes, I am sounding off a little bit. However, I have never met an achievement oriented person in any field of endeavor who didn’t keep their eye on the standard, whether self-imposed or an industry standard. In our industry, that standard is client satisfaction, i.e. how many of the openings they place with us do we actual fill successfully? This ratio, more than any other factor, will ultimately determine whether or not we retain the client long term, and under what circumstances that retention occurs.

If your goal is to build a reputation as a “world class recruiter”, you need to begin by defining “world class.” Against what standard will this definition be formulated? It better be a standard that defines “world class” to your clients and if it does, it most certainly will include your fill ratio. In essence, this ratio will ultimately define you as a recruiter.

As always, if you have questions or comments about this article or wish to receive my input on any other topic related to this business, just let me know. Your calls and e-mails are most welcome.

Ask Barb

Ask Barb: Showing Value to Your Clients

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

I’m working on a direct hire marketing script and want to communicate the idea that we save employers money. I think it is important to show that in numbers. I keep running into data on the Internet that states the average cost to hire an RN (for example) is $2,500. That 20% fee on 70K does not appear to be a savings. Do you have any information on your site that speaks to this idea? Or, any advice in general? Thanks very much!

Victor D., Madison, WI