Interview Preparation for your Candidates: Another Easy button to Get More Placements   1 comment

By Jon Bartos

banking_2OK you’ve worked hard. You’ve found the perfect to almost perfect candidate.  Finally! Everything the client wished for is about to walk in that interview-room door. But now is not the time to start daydreaming about the ways you might spend your hard-earned fee. Because odds are, if you didn’t prepare the candidate to guarantee a successful interview, it’s about to blow up in your face and you start that painful processes all over again.

My experience has taught me that if you put two perfectly suited people together in an interview, they’ll find a way to screw it up. Because so many recruiters fail to emphasize thorough preparation with candidates, the interview is, without a doubt, the riskiest time in the entire search process.  Statistics show that 94% of all hiring decisions are based on that face to face personal interview. It’s time to take it really seriously.

The Big Billers know this. They don’t simply put a candidate and client together and hope that magic happens. They know they must properly prepare both candidate and client in-depth to properly close the deal. They never leave their hard work to chance. 

Interview prep should be a top priority for every recruiter. It is the single most important step on the road to more placements. Preparation makes successful interviews, and successful interviews make successful recruiters.

Pre-Interview Prep
3d human with a red question markBefore the interview, the candidate must do some work. There are two reasons for this. One is they need to show you and the client company that they have real interest in the position and the organization… that they’ve got skin in the game if you will. The second reason is more direct: they need to acquire useful information for the interview.

Topics to research include the company itself, its goals and objectives, its corporate culture, and any recent news it has made. Today’s candidates are lucky because they have so many resources at their fingertips. A company’s website is a wealth of   corporate information. A candidate can learn about products, services and offerings. Important news is often posted, including senior-level promotions, customer wins, acquisitions and new product offerings.

Candidates should Google the company and the interviewer(s). This is the single best way to learn more about both. It not only establishes a level of confidence and preparedness, it often reveals valuable personal information about the interviewer. The candidate may learn that the interviewer is a championship poker player, or that he volunteers at his kid’s school. It will help paint a clearer picture of the interviewer(s), and that means a better chance to build rapport during the interview.  

Introduction and Rapport Building
buildingrapportMom was right: you will never get a second chance to make a first impression. Coach candidates to make sure they know how to impress the hiring authority before they even shake hands. Go over basics like appropriate dress, what to bring to the interview, and how to greet the interviewer. Don’t be afraid to stress the importance of a smile and a positive attitude.

Recruiters and candidates should identify commonalities with the interviewer prior to their meeting and use them to establish rapport and to create chemistry. Suggest questions to candidates that will get the interviewer talking. It’s Sociology 101: people like people who are like themselves and people love to talk about themselves. I once placed a gentleman with a Fortune 500 company because he was a competitive biker.   Don’t get me wrong: he was highly qualified for the position for which he was interviewing. He had a great professional track record. But for some reason he wasn’t impressing the interviewer and he knew it. In desperation, he related a story about his competitiveness as a cyclist and it resonated with the interviewer. He got the job and gained an important advocate in the company. Why? Because I had mentioned to him in interview prep that the interviewer really enjoyed … you guessed it…….cycling.  Commonalities sell. 

The Resume Review
manwomanlookingatresumeThe best indicator of future success is past success. That’s why an in-depth resume review is a given in almost every interview. Prepare candidates to be comfortable when discussing all aspects of their professional life. The interview is going to touch on past duties and responsibilities, challenges and how they met them, accomplishments and why they left each position.

I interview people all the time. Many candidates have no clue as to what there accomplishments have been at each organization.  The job of a successful Recruiter is to help arm our candidate with that ammunition.  Go over each position and help  the candidate make the list the accomplishments.  Another mistake many job seekers make is the over-explained answer to, “Why are you planning to leave your current position?” Or the deer-in-the-headlights look in response to, “Why did you leave XYZ company?” These questions are to be expected and should not be a surprise to the them. Coach candidates to simply, succinctly state the reason for any job change listed on the resume, never going into details unless asked. They should not badmouth a previous boss or organization. If possible, they should give specific support and examples to illustrate valid reasons for leaving an employer. Tell them to stick with the facts, no personal attacks or excuses. If necessary, they can explain how they would do things differently in the future.

I swear by the benefits of role-playing or practice interviews. Run through questions with your candidates and hear their answers before the interview. The ultimate goal is to help them sound confident and at ease, not scripted.    

Question and Answer—Interviewer
questions-and-answersWhen the resume review is over, the questions really begin. During this phase of the interview, the hiring authority wants to see if the candidate has the skill sets and experience to perform the job, and at what level. If we did our jobs right up to this point, we know exactly what the hiring authority is looking for. The job order or needs analysis should tell you everything the candidate needs to know to prepare for the interview. Again, role-playing is critical here.  

The salary question is one that most candidates handle wrong. People often feel uncomfortable directly discussing financial issues. At JSI, we coach our candidates on this question very specifically. Compensation plans for organizations vary greatly, from high salary/small leverage plans to exactly the opposite and everything in the middle. Coach candidates to respond to the salary question with something like: “It’s more important to me to find the right fit in an organization. If I am the right person for the job, I am sure you will make a fair offer.”   Or  “Most important to me is to find the right position and organizational fit. I am currently compensated with an X base salary and a Y bonus. However, it’s more important to me to find the right fit.  I am sure you will make a fair and reasonable offer when the time comes.” 

Question and Answer—Candidate
Q&AAt some point during the interview the candidate will have an opportunity to ask the hiring manager some questions. I recommend taking notes during this phase, but a candidate should first ask permission from the interviewer. (Good manners count.) I coach our candidates to be prepared to ask 10- 20 questions designed to make them look good. Most questions should be focused on gaining a better understanding of the position, on what it takes to be successful at the job.

It is okay to come up with a question or two that showcases candidate strong points. For example, if a candidate is interviewing for a sales position and she has a great track record in establishing new accounts, she might ask, “How important is selling new accounts to the account executive position?” Hiring authority: “Well it’s extremely important.  Without new accounts our company growth would slow and we would not attain our objectives in 2007.”  Candidate: “That’s good to hear, because over the last five years I brought in new accounts that resulted in over $5 million in new revenue for my employer. 

In a first interview it is very important for candidates to stay focused on the interviewer and the company. They should avoid at all costs any implied or spoken “What’s in it for me?” questions. That includes salary, benefits, vacations, or established accounts. I’ve interviewed people who want to know how big their office would be before we’ve even finished discussing their resume. They don’t get the job.

Inappropriate, me-centric questions can kill a thriving interview. If a candidate needs to know anything further after the initial interview, the recruiter should handle it; and only after the hiring authority is thoroughly convinced the candidate is right for the job.

One thing to keep in mind: sometimes hiring authorities will allow a candidate to ask questions at the beginning of the interview. We coach our candidates to ask something like “What traits are you looking for in a successful vice-president of sales?” Or “What are some of the qualities your top executives possess that make them successful in your organization?”  It’s like being given the answers to the test. By asking these questions at the beginning of the interview, the candidate can focus his responses on any applicable experience and skill sets.

Concerns or Potential Objections
objectionsNever underestimate the power of the unspoken word. In this phase of the interview, candidates have the chance to control their own destiny. Coach candidates to flush out any concerns during the interview. If concerns never make it onto the table, they cannot be resolved.

Hiring authorities often remove candidates from the hiring process due to false concerns or impressions that could have been easily corrected. That is why the following question might be the most important one for any candidate to ask, “Are there any concerns about me that may keep me from becoming a top performer in your organization?” This pro-active approach gives the candidate the chance to overcome objections.  Always address, never dismiss, issues raised and then ask, “Are there any other concerns?” until there are none. Then transition to the value proposition.

Even if a concern is valid, the interview needn’t be over. The candidate can, in many cases, recover. Coach candidates to focus on skill sets and professional experience to counteract concerns. For example, the interviewer mentions that the position description calls for someone with three- to five-years experience, and the candidate only has two. The candidate could respond, “You are right. I do have two years experience in cost accounting for a distribution organization. However, in those two years I became the lead cost accountant overseeing three senior cost accountants based on my performance. I am sure I would quickly do the same for your organization. Are there any other concerns?”

Interest Statement, Value Proposition, and Close for the Next Step
Closing-The-DealAfter all concerns are addressed, and the interview is wrapping up, the candidate should make an interest statement followed by a value proposition and close. This should start by conveying the candidate’s real desire to join the organization. It should also answer the ultimate interview question: “Why hire this candidate as opposed to all the other alternatives the hiring manager is looking at?”  The interest statement, value proposition and close for the next step happen at the end of the interview and are presented in one, succinct and powerful statement.

“Mrs. Hiring Authority, after learning more about you, your organization and this   position – I am even more excited about this opportunity than before I walked in the door. Based on my five years in cost accounting and two years in distribution cost accounting leading a team of three individuals, I would be a great fit to help you and xyz organization reach its goals in the accounting department. What do we need to do to move to the next step in the process?”

Getting ready for an interview is like prepping for the big game. It takes research, coaching and practice to win. Our job is to make sure our candidates show up prepared, pumped-up and ready for anything. After prepping, role playing and then prepping again, I send my candidates into the arena with a few final words of wisdom: turn off your cell phone ,focus on the interview and have fun. Oh, and don’t forget, keep your head in the game to win.

How to Double Revenue in 90 Days – Using the Easy Button   Leave a comment

“The Top 5 things that are guaranteed to make the difference”

By Jon Bartos

ManonPhoneMany recruiting firms and recruiters have ended 2012 in a market slowdown and started 2013 with lackluster growth as well.  Hiring in many sectors has not picked up after the election as expected and most recruiters everywhere are trying to get traction.  “It’s hard every day!” said a tenured recruiter I recently interviewed as a candidate for a position on my staff.  I admit, it will be hard every single day – if we continue to do the business the way we use too.  Before when times are good, the market is in high growth mode where demand is high (Job Orders) and supply is low (“A” Candidates), the game is easier.  If you ever participated in one of these markets, it reminds you of a piranha feeding frenzy.   Hiring is at its precipice, interview activity goes nuts and you seem to be ringing the bell every day.  In those markets we can make mistakes, not make marketing calls and not qualify every search you get called in. However, in today’s market, you can never get away with any of that without decreases in productivity and results. 

In many of markets, the Supply (Candidate) is low and the Hiring Demand (Actual Hiring) is even more cautious.  The hiring managers will interview, but if your candidate is not perfect, we hear that too familiar……”Who else to do have?”

Increasing revenue in a recruiting and staffing firm in any market is no easy task.  Doubling revenue in this environment, many would claim to be almost impossible.  However, I truly believe it’s probable if you are willing to strictly adhere to and focus on the 5 activities that will lead you to that promise land. That is doubling monthly revenue in 90 days.  I call these 5 things – the “Easy Button of Recruiting” due the fact they make recruiting so much easier once performed consistently and here is the secret…. “They really are easy to do!” 

1.  Ensure You Qualify each Job Order

MagnifyingGlass-smallRealize each job order you bring in can be a blessing or a disaster in disguise.  Unless you qualify each job order and insure that is an “A” job order, the disaster will be a potential outcome.  In 2010, I was so excited to get 7 retained searches from a major manufacturer in the Midwest.  I had my recruiting team and I in meetings with the client management team, we set expectations on working together, we got the job specifications and were very excited to get going on the searches.  We thought we would quickly make some placements, ring the bell and put money on the board.  To make a long story short, after 90 days we had submitted 30 candidates that were a fit, but due to the hiring process, location, compensation and lack of sense of urgency from hiring managers, we had not had anyone make it to get an offer.  No one was even close.  We had two people on the searches and by the end of 180 days we had a placement and had one recruiter quit due to not making any money.

Each Job order you receive CAN be a blessing or a disaster.  It must be thoroughly reviewed to insure it is “WORTHY” for you and your team to work on.

Most recruiters today don’t achieve their recruiting potential;
not because they don’t make enough calls, but due to working on
poor quality job orders that have a low possibility of ever converting into placements.

Those recruiters find themselves working on poorly defined roles, non exclusive business, a lack of sense of urgency positions from hiring managers and organizational hiring processes that are impossible to keep candidates engaged.  Don’t be that recruiter!

Use a tool to help you measure your job order quality.  Bob Marshall came up with the Job Order Matrix and I modified it a few years ago.  CLICK HERE   Use it or something like to ensure you are getting great work in.

2.       Only Work on “A” Job Orders or Search Assignments

PathtoChoose-smallOnce you measure your job order quality – insure you and everyone in your office only work on the great “A” job orders.  Here is why.  To waste a recruiting cycle on a bad search is like taking $6000 to $10,000 and throwing it out the window.  That’s what it cost you once you put in overhead, management salaries, building, benefits, etc.   Do the math.  How many handfuls of cash are you going to continue throw out the window by working on less than “A” work? You are simply making an investment decision.  Do I spend $6000 in overhead on a gamble with low risk of paying off or do I invest in a search that is guaranteed to pay off if I find the candidate they are looking for.

If the search is measured to be less than “A” work, don’t just toss it out or let it sit on your desk.  Go back to the hiring managers and ask to make changes so the work is of high quality enough for you to pursue.  You can ask for changes to make this work for you and the candidates.  Exclusivity, Hiring cycle, compensation range, title, interview process, job duties all are fair game if change is needed to make them “worthy” of your recruiting time.   Only work on “A” job orders and life as a recruiter starts to get fun again.

3.       Deliver Two Candidates Every Day on your A Job Orders

 Now that you have great work in – it’s time to deliver.  Make sure you plan before you leave, use all the technologies tools (linked in, your database, external databases) to plan before you leave or get to work in the am.  While at work, have a great recruiting script where everyone wants that position.  Sell the sizzle on it. People want to hear about opportunity and future potential. If you can execute your plan and get two candidates of high quality to submit per day, you are cooking with Gas baby.  Two per day should be the metric to target if you are planned appropriately, have a great script and execute your plan. 

Not getting call backs?  Change your voice mail to add a sense of urgency, value and a reason to call you back now.  If you get great work in and deliver on that great work – you are almost there!  You will see a major revenue spike within as little as 30 days. Now it’s really starting to get fun again.

4.       Flip All Recruiting Calls and Reference Checks

man-on-phoneYou should be now talking to candidates and checking their references every day.  Is it ok if we hit the easy button again?   Let’s get more “A” job orders in the easy way, so we can continue to have more fun at this thing called recruiting.  All we need to do at the end of each recruiting call and reference check is ask one more question.  That’s it, just one.

Flipping a Recruiting Call
At the end of any recruiting call – simply add this question.  “I have always wanted to work with XYZ organization (your candidate’s resume).  Who would you suggest I talk to start a recruiting relationship with them?” If you wanted to make it even easier for you – another question to add would be… “Could you help introduce me to the hiring manager so I could have a conversation?”  The majority of people want to help others be successful.  If you build a relationship during your awesome recruiting call, you will have the ability to flip the call with a good possibility of work from that organization.

Flipping a Reference Check
Getting business from reference checks are even easier.  Once you do a thorough job on your reference checks for a candidate’s previous hiring manager, you need to ask the following, “I appreciate your time and only have one question left.  Could you use some “A” players like (reference candidates name) and an organization who is very good at finding them?”  Follow up with “Who would I work with on a partnership?” as well as “Can you introduce me to that person?

5.       Hit your Activity Metrics Daily

It’s critical that once you are working on the right job orders, delivering two candidates per day and getting more work in than you can fill – we will continue to watch our activity levels, results and ratios closely.

We often get drawn in by the fallacy that activity by itself equals success.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Activity equals activity period.  The right activity focused on the right thing performed the right way equals success.

RatiosIn order to insure we are the latter and not the former, we need to monitor activity, results and our ratios.   Ensure you are planned for 80 calls with 25 conversations per day, 2 candidates recruited and 5 “A” job orders per week.  Watch your ratios to determine how good you are getting at every primary activity in the recruiting game.  Your Marketing Presentation/Job Order ratio tells you how good you are at Marketing. Your Recruiting Presentation/ Candidates Submitted ratio tells you how good you are selling candidates on your positions.  Your Job Order to Placement ratio tells you how good your job orders really are.  Your Submittals/Sendouts ratio tells you how good you are at matching what your client is looking for.   Focus on these activities and results daily – but watch your ratios.  The ratios tell you exactly how good you are now – to help you on a path on where you need to improve.  There are tools that do this for you automatically, like Revenue Performance Managements (RPM) Dashboard.  WWW.RPM-USA.COM  
Look into anything that can help you stay on top and ahead of your metrics.

You can double your revenue quickly and make it easier on yourself and your team by doing these 5 things: Qualify your job orders, only work on “A” work, deliver two candidates per day, flip all recruiting calls and reference checks and finally hit your metrics targets while watching your ratios. By doing these consistently, you will be pressing the easy button of recruiting, every day.

Recruiting is a Simple Science   Leave a comment

“Using Business Analytics (Metrics) to become a top 5% recruiting organization”
By Jon Bartos

MenShakingHandsWhether you are a corporate, agency or temp/contract recruiter, “recruiting effectiveness” will be the key to you and your organizational success.  Even though the unemployment hovers around 7-8%, the professionals whose skills are in demand (the ones we are trying to recruit by the way), are gainfully employed.  They are actually heads down, kicking butt and taking names for their current employer.  A matter of fact, the “A” players are being called, flattered and heavily persuaded by others, not just you and your organization.   Competition has never been greater.  (Please feel free to download the white paper “The 10 Deadly Sins of Talent Management” to better understand the concept of benefits of “A” player hiring – CLICK HERE).

So based on the concepts of “talent management” by Peter Drucker, Jack Welch and Brad Smart, we know if we bring great talent on board, our organization will become an organization of talent giants and we will see unprecedented success.  If we bring average or less than average talent on board, our organization will be become an organization of talent midgets and thus not hit company objectives.  It doesn’t matter if the positions you are filling are “Difficult” or “Easy” it’s just the facts.  So we can all agree that great talent is crucial to the future success of every organization – no matter the effort needed to attain the talent.  

So how does a recruiter win this battle against so many different foes – to win that coveted talent to come on board to their organization opposed to all the other alternatives – including staying where they are?   Simple Math with tell you and the truth will set you free.  

There are really four components to the equation of success in recruiting.  Your Activities, Results, the right Primary Ratios (activity/result), and the Improvement Needed from the deficiency identified.  


ActivitiesActivities are the things that need to be performed in order to do the job of recruiting.  It’s the quantity behind the job.  How much work did I do? It could be ads placed, calls made, company presentations attempted, candidate presentations attempted, etc.  In any performance related position there are activities that need to be performed.  If you don’t get any better than what you are right now at this game called recruiting, if you double your activity, you will more than likely double your results.  This is the not focus of where I’m going, and most do not want to put in 16 hour days, but understanding your critical activities is the foundation to understanding the science of recruiting.


ResultsResults are the outcome of your activities.  Presentations made, Candidate Data Sheets taken, Interviews set up, offers made, placements, etc.  We all focus on the results – to make us feel good and hit objectives – but the results are of secondary importance.  Yes we all need more “A” players on board, more interviews and more money coming in the door, but results by themselves don’t help you get to the top 5%.  It’s the Magic of the primary ratios that will get you to the promise land.

Primary Ratios

You can provide the prettiest graphs, pie charts, speedometers and dashboards on recruiting.  However, unless they cover the primary recruiting ratios, it will be as effective as a Van Gogh painting.  Beautiful to look at but ineffective for helping you reach the coveted top 5%.” 

RatiosThe magic or real Intelligence comes from the primary ratios.  A primary ratio points to a primary function.  In recruiting it’s the results of functions such as candidate presentations, marketing presentations, matching skills, Interviews to Hires.  A secondary ratio points to the secondary data.  You get a down in the detail manager, and they will want to track everything from the time between phone calls to how many times the recruiter went to the rest room.  The secret with using Business Intelligence is this:

“The more metrics you try to track, the more lost in the data you will get”

No one can focus on more than one or two things per week.  When a manager wants to track more and more data – the data loses its power and effectiveness.  Effectiveness becomes lost in the sea of information.  My suggestion is look at 5 primary ratios.  Like anything, once you find the Pareto ratio (the one that will give you 80% of the results), you will win the game.

Corporate Recruiter:

In a corporate recruiters position – the primary focus is to get your positions filled quickly with “A” players.  (Please see white paper on how to quickly get your organization to Mediocrity – CLICK HERE). Anyone can post an ad and have the unemployed applied.   It’s how I attract the real talent to come to my organization.   Here are some Primary Ratios to Track:

  • Time to Fill (Measures effectiveness of total recruiting process)
  • Calls per Candidate Presentations – (Measures effectiveness of Communication Methodologies)
  • Presentations to Candidates Interested – (Measures effectiveness of Presentation and skills)
  • Candidates Interested to Interviews – (Measures matching skills with Hiring Manager)
  • Interview to Hires – (Measure Matching Skills and Hiring Process effectiveness)
  • Hires to Stick – (Measure your ability to keep players – both sides – company and candidate)
  • Hires/ “A” players  (hitting their objectives after one year – Measures are you hiring the right people)
  • Hires/Length of Employment – (Measures how well your company can keep employees engaged)
  • $/Hire – (Measures effectiveness of money spent)
  • $ to Sourcing Method – (Measures Cost of each sourcing Method – job board, referral, linked in , etc)
  • Sourcing Method per Hire – (Measures what is working in sourcing)
  • Recruiter per Hire – (Measure which recruiter is on top of their game)
  • Length of Hiring Process per Hire – (Measures your hiring process and when you start to lose candidate interest)

Agency Recruiter/Contract Recruiter – Primary Metrics

  • Candidate Presentations to Qualified Candidates – (Measures Recruiting Presentations Skills)
  • New Marketing Presentations to Job Orders – (Measures Marketing Presentation Skills)
  • Submittals to Interviews –  (Measures Matching Skills)
  • Interviews(sendouts) to Placements – (Measures your Job Order Quality, Expectations with the Client as well as Matching skills)
  • $ per placement – (Measure the dollars you  average per placement)
  • Job Orders to Placements – (Measure the quality of the work you take.

RPMLogo-MedIf you are not tracking these today, there is good news to become a top 5% recruiting organization.  There is an inexpensive tool called the RPM Dashboard that tracks it for you.  It’s a customizable cloud based system that allows you to set goals, calculate your metrics (activities, results and ratios), and get a weekly report card on all your ratios.  Then it helps to give you training and development based on company or individual performance.

Achieving a top 5% recruiting organization is not impossible.  Watch your Metrics and get development where the shortcomings are, and in no time – you will join the ranks of the few and the proud.

Is Your Next Competitor Sitting in Your office?   Leave a comment

“How to keep your top producers ecstatic about working for you and your Organization”
by Jon Bartos

banking_2In the Recruiting and Staffing industry, we see it all the time.   After training and developing a rookie, who then develops into tenured top producer over a period of years, leaves and starts their own shop.  It’s one of the reasons that the recruiting industry is full of small boutique shops and why there are not very many 100 plus employee Permanent Placement Search firms.  The problem is, once the producer is trained and producing, the employer value proposition (why work for you opposed to anyone else) is weakened greatly.   The top producer, initially ecstatic about getting 35-50% of the take, now thinks, “Why am I giving up 50-60% of the cash in? For what?  Paying for a name, computer system, phone line and desk?”

This will continue to be the trend in recruiting and staffing firms unless we give value back to our employees.  Here are a few things to help you value pack an employee offering and keep most, if not all, of your best employees and top producers.

1.  Have a defined Career Path and Timeframe expectations

calendarIn the recruiting industry you can have a job for life which is great.  You can do this business from your cabin in the woods, your boat on the Gulf of Mexico or your RV in the Grand Tetons.  However, you may have the same job, for the rest of your adult life.  For too many people this is a daunting thought, doing the same thing over and over without seeing a positive change.

To keep people engaged and a focused on personal and career growth, give them a career path and timeframes or performance criteria.  In my office, there are positions such as Researcher, Project Recruiter, Account Manager, Account Executive, Practice Manager and Partner.  By giving individuals a way to work up to more responsibility, it gives them something to focus on and satisfies the personal and career growth part of the equation that the recruiting industry so direly needs. 

2.  Offer the best training and development available

When employs are asked what they would like most from their employers, a top 5 is always additional training and development.  With the American Staffing Association, NAPS, The Next Level Exchange, all the split networks such as (NPA, Top Echelon, etc) and the franchise opportunities such as the MRINetwork, Sanford Rose, Agent HR, etc., there is plenty of wonderful training available.  If you do not belong to a franchise or split network, look into other avenues to get your people the best they can be. 
NLELogoThe Next Level Exchange, www.nextlevelexchange, has some of the best online training I have ever seen for next to nothing. 

Have training weekly.  Role play through the candidate and client interfacing opportunities.  Keep in mind, the only thing worse than training your people to be the best they can be and losing them – is not training your people and keeping them.  

3.  Put a Performance Management System in Place

RPMLogo-MedA performance management system helps each employee reach their potential at their given respected position.  It connects with the Applicant Tracking System or Recruiting Software and helps collect data to monitor performance.  Like telemetry in a NASCAR race, the Performance Management System helps set goals, gives them a series of dashboards and pin points areas of strength and areas of weaknesses.  Some of them – like Revenue Performance Managements RPM dashboard – give them immediate training and development as well.  This is a strong value added piece allowing employees to continually achieve their goals and the owners alike.  Check out for more information.

4.   Give employees a long-term reason to stay. (Partner, Ownership, or Executive Benefits Program)

If people are leaving due to not having ownership or long-term compensation – give it to them.  There are many programs that can be offered to help keep them in their seats. Many recruiting organizations give real stock or phantom stock once they have reached a certain tenure or performance benchmark. However, if that is not an option, and Executive Benefits Program may work for you in the same way.

An EBP allows you to put money away for your key people under a unique program.  You determine the amount of profit you want to share with your top people as well as you decide who is in or out of your plan.  It allows you to put money away for them every year, and can grow aggressively with interest.  It’s a wonderful option if you don’t have ownership to give, but still have the benefits of for long-term compensation.  The individual who has set up many of these programs all over the country for Search and Staffing firms over the last 10 years is Garnet Wahlund.  He can be reached at or 513-762-7705.

Keeping your top performers happy should be every manager’s priority.  By having a defined career path, giving your team the best training available, implementing a Performance Management System and providing long-term incentive program, you will be well on your way helping your producers stay in their seats.

The Pareto Activity of Recruiting   Leave a comment

By Jon Bartos80-20

We have all heard of the 80/20 rule. Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist developed this principle in 1906 based on the fact that 20% of people owned 80% of the land. He also noticed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. Thus the rule of thumb was born. We can just look around our office and see that 20% of the people produce 80% of the results as a quick example. The principle also works in all areas of business and life.

If we drill down even further, we will notice that there are about 20% of the recruiting activities that also produce 80% of our result. These are the known as the Pareto Recruiting activities. Let’s start with the activity that lead to the greatest results.

#1: Marketing – Take Great Search Assignments/Job Orders

If you talk to a group of big billers and even the elite Million dollar producers, most will agree that getting a high quality search is the top Pareto activity that will generate the majority of your success and thus revenue.

A high quality search or job orders is one where you are guaranteed to make a placement if you find the right candidate. Some of the characteristics are: You know the match, the client is motivated to fill the position, you are working with the hiring manager, the hiring process is reasonable, the compensation is within the market range and you are exclusive.

10-1If you are guaranteed to make a placement with the searches you work on, the recruiting game becomes easier. There is a specific ratio that tells us how well we are doing when it comes to the quality of job orders we take – and it’s the job order to placement ratio. In retained search firms that ratio runs around 1.2/1 to 1.5/1. Meaning almost every job order they take, they make a successful placement. In contingency search firms that ratio runs from 5/1 to 10/1. Now if I am working on 10 job orders to get one placement – that’s a long day of wasting time on 9 searches that will not end up in a placement or commission dollars in a recruiters pocket.

So let’s do the math on this so we can really understand the importance of this concept. For time purposes – let’s say it takes us one week to fulfill a search (3 quality candidates delivered just to put a line in the sand). If our ratio was 10/1 – every 10 weeks we would make a placement. If our ratio was 5/1 we would make about a placement every 5 weeks. If we got it down to 1/1 we would be making a placement, every week. If our average fee is $20,000 and we take home 50% of that(just for grins), then here is the difference in our placements and income based on taking better job orders – with the same delivery/recruiting skill set and time in the day.


The above example is assuming we are only delivering three candidates per week. That’s it! Low to average recruiting skills at best. However if the quality of job order is there, the revenue can be incredible based on consistent delivery.

Focus your efforts on improving the quality of the work that you take. If you don’t have enough “guaranteed placement” searches on your desk, it’s time to get back on the phone and get them. Use the Job Order Matrix at to make sure your job orders are the quality of which you would like to work on.By getting better at the Pareto activity of Marketing, you can see your revenue quickly improve, and your path to significance shorter.

“Recruiting Significance”- Bridging from Success to Significance   1 comment

By Jon Bartos

bull_and_bear_2Mark my words, 2013 will be a banner year for many in the Executive Search and Staffing industry. Yes, there are rumors that the first quarter could be slower than expected, much like the fourth quarter of 2012. So why am I so bullish on 2013?

Opportunity! There are plenty of job openings. Career Builder published some very interesting statistics about 2013; 26% of hiring managers plan to add full time workers, 60% of companies are in better financial shape than last year, and the real kicker – 38% of the companies cannot find the talent needed to fill the critical positions they have. That’s almost 4 out of 10 companies who seriously need our help!

The reason why the search industry slowed in 2012 is exactly the reason why many will prosper. Those who capitalize on the opportunity by using the right technologies, techniques and effort – will not have a problem finding the talent and will be extremely successful.

The secret to success in anything is actually quite simple. First and foremost, it is knowing what to do; then, it is about being wanting, willing and able to do it. The key being: the “willing to do” part of the equation. Most failures in life happen not because one doesn’t know what to do, it’s because we just plain don’t do it. Period.

Bob Buford said “Success means using your knowledge and experience to satisfy yourself. Significance means using your knowledge and experience to change the lives of others.”

Thus the reason for this blog; my goal through the “The Clock and the Compass” is to help you achieve success in any market environment. More importantly however, I want to allow you to attain that success as fast as possible; allowing you to achieve “significance” and really make a difference. This blog is directed to the few who are “WILLING TO DO” whatever is needed – to achieve true success.

WhyI encourage you to think about the significance you would like to have in this world. By having a solid idea of what you would like to accomplish gives you a broader perspective and a bigger reason “WHY” you need to get there. Thanks for joining me, I look forward to doing everything I can to help you on your journey from recruiting success to significance.