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The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession

Articles tagged 'personalproductivity'


How to Say No When They Ask “Got a Minute”


Got a minute?

The fact is, unless you are a great rarity today, you not only don’t have a minute, you have a yawning deficit of minutes. There is work unfinished on your desk. You have personal aspirations of all kinds that you never find time for and obligations you barely find time for. You’re already stretched for time, so no, you don’t have a minute.

Yet when almost anybody asks, “Got a minute?” you automatically answer, “Sure, how can I help?”

How do you stop doing that?

Ask Barb

Manage by Numbers and You’ll Hit Them

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

Our sales are inconsistent and even my managers have accepted the fact that we will have at least one flat month every quarter. That’s four flat months out of the year and obviously my expenses don’t decrease during those flat months. I’m out of answers on how to get more consistent production out of our team.

I know you speak at many conferences and do some in-house training and consulting with owners. Because of your exposure to companies all over the world in our profession, do you agree that flat months are just a reality of our business?

Donna F.
Houston, TX

Dear Donna:

I don’t believe that you should accept the fact that every year you are going to have four flat months. This proves the concept: If you think you can or if you think you can’t you’re right! The only way to guarantee consistent production is for everyone to hit their individual result standards on a daily basis.

Often, a flat month follows a record month because during the record month your sales team is focused on prepping, debriefing, closing, and celebrating. They stop doing the basics that guarantee consistent production (recruiting, marketing, presentations, etc.).

If you monitor sendout totals, you can accurately predict production. It is extremely important for you to manage by numbers because numbers don’t lie. When your team is having a great time, encourage them to stay on the telephone because they are on a high and will obtain great results.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

How-To, Motivation

The 3 Elements Of A Proactive Daily Plan

2 minute coaching logo

When I first started in the business back in 1994, I was fortunate to hear Peter Leffkowitz speak at a recruiting seminar in Los Angeles. One of the sections of his training that particularly stood out to me was his approach to time management and planning. He described the two main ways that recruiters tend to work a desk:

Reactively working a desk: This is the method that 80% of recruiters use to work a desk. This method can best be described as S-T-R-E-S-S. This is the land of soaring peaks followed by deep, dark valleys. It entails little planning, sporadic execution and lots of reacting.

Reacting to incoming email, incoming calls, interruptions, client demands etc. It involves chasing deals, working from adrenaline and a production-oriented focus. Essentially it’s a neurotic way to work a desk and often leads to burnout.

Proactively working a desk: This is the method that 20% of recruiters use to work a desk. There is a subtle but powerful difference in focus. Instead of simply focusing on production, proactive recruiters concentrate on building the activity that generates production. This involves planning and then executing from a proactive stance.


‘Time At Work’ Is Not a Success Metric

image source: Letheravensoar

image source: Letheravensoar

He can’t be serious, Jim thought. Jim been recruited away from a Fortune 500 firm by a fast-growing start-up, and it was his first day. The president of the company had just handed him a BlackBerry and said, “Keep this with you at all times.”


That Saturday morning, one of the founders sent an e-mail to the senior leadership team. By 5:00 p.m., there were more than 30 replies.

Jim soon learned that at this company, there was no concept of detachment from work. He grieved the loss bitterly, and his friends would mock him for stepping out of the bar to check e-mail at 10:00 p.m. while they were out for a few pints of beer. In a matter of months, Jim’s job began to seriously interfere with his relationship with his wife.

Ask Barb

One Word Advice: Sendouts, Sendouts, Sendouts

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

I recently attended a conference where you participated on a panel. I felt you were the most honest and straightforward person on the panel, and loved your honesty. It was refreshing to hear a trainer who admits they were not an instant success. I had a terrible first year, but I’m doing much better now and would love to ask you for the best advice you would offer someone trying to increase their production and income.

Thank you for always being authentic and for always giving us ideas we can easily use.

Kathy P.
Indianapolis, IN

Dear Kathy:


Here’s How to Stop Putting Important Things Off


ProcrastinationHere’s a secret about procrastination: everyone is guilty of it.

Even that super achieving, highly organized CEO will put off a task that really needs to get done. The difference between those people and the rest of us is that for the them, pprocratination is a rare event. They have what psychologists refer to as high conscientiousness. They will self-correct.

There are chronic procrastinators; people who put off all sorts of important tasks, both professional and personal. For them, professional help is necessary to help resolve what is, or will become, a debilitating habit.


Pose Your Way to Greater Confidence and Bigger Production

2 minute coaching logo

Research by social psychologists at Harvard and Columbia universities has revealed startling facts about how simple shifts in posture can have profound effects on how well you present yourself in client meetings, fee negotiations and marketing presentations.

Research had already shown that the mind can influence the body. For example, it’s common knowledge that if you’re feeling depressed, there’s a high likelihood that your immune system will be depleted. But what researchers Amy Cuddy, Dana Carney and Andy Yap wanted to find out was could the opposite also be true; could the body influence the mind?

They discovered an easy exercise that anyone can do that can change not only others’ perceptions of them, but the way they feel about themselves by spending two minutes “power posing” before a stressful situation. I’ll explain how the “power pose” works in a minute. First I want to explain the experiment itself.

Business, Motivation

Why the December Holidays Are Great for Recruitment

productivity - free

productivity - freeYears ago a recruiting colleague of mine and I had a difference of opinion.

We placed in exactly the same specialty niche, but we disagreed about which time of the year was the most productive for our business. He thought that the end of the year was the best for making placements. I thought the summer was best. So, he always made placements during the winter months and I did not. And I always made placements during the summer months and he did not. It wasn’t our niche that was operative here—it was our perception. We were living the life of self-fulfilling prophecies.

Now when recruiters call to ask my thoughts about shutting it down for the December holidays, I always relate that story. I remind them that salaries are still being paid and interviewing is still taking place. And then I add what I remember of an article I read some years ago discussing the reasons why recruitment flourishes during this time of year:


Taking Time Off Can Make You Happier and More Productive

Overworked worker - free

Overworked worker - freeKmart’s decision to open its doors at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day sent shockwaves throughout the nation. Though bargain-seekers were thrilled, many are questioning the retail chain’s decision. In recent years, such “Thanksgiving creep” has inspired multiple protests from employees, with one petition calling it “inhumane and inconsiderate.”

And unfortunately, this problem doesn’t just exist in retail establishments around the holidays. Across all job types and industries, Americans are working more than ever.

According to a 2011 Workforce Management study, since the great recession, 55% of employees have seen their workload increase, and 27% say it’s doubled. The constant pressure to do more with less, coupled with the belief that being busy means we’re important, is creating an unsustainable pattern.

Ask Barb

A Look At What Top Producers Bill

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

I’ve only been a recruiter since last November and I’m now the second highest producer in my office. I think I could actually beat our top producer, but I have no one else to compare myself with. I’m in Houston, TX specializing in oil and gas permanent placements and was wondering if you could provide me with what is considered top production.

Susan M.

Houston, TX

Barb Responds

Dear Susan:

First of all, I want to congratulate you on your early success.