Chat with us, powered by LiveChat 14 Signs It Might be "Parachute Time" on a Recruiter's Search

14 Signs That It Might be “Parachute Time” on Your Search

by | Jun 25, 2015 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

In recruiting, time should be a closely guarded ally, one that is treated respectfully and with care.  Because wasting time is more than a productivity issue—it strikes at the very core of what we do.  It can put a career in free fall.

We have all found ourselves engaged in uphill battles, attached to a bad job order.  We can’t or won’t admit defeat, end the search, and move on to another assignment.  This is not simply about our paychecks, because to undervalue this most precious commodity can cost much more than money.  It can mean an end to a promising recruiter’s career.

A few years back, my office concluded a search that took nine months.  Looking back, we should have declined the moment we heard the numerous, exacting search requirements, because things only got worse from there.

The interview process was arduous and frustrating.  The pay was sub-par.  And gradually, as our best efforts yielded no viable candidates, we realized we were engaged in a losing battle.  There were less than a handful of qualified candidates in the entire northeastern United States.

Since this was a retained search, we were committed to doing whatever it took to make it happen—no matter what.  Life or death (and at times it seemed the latter was more likely).

By the end of the search—we did finally place an individual—the casualties were heavy.  Two of my recruiters were so frustrated with the search that they resigned.  They had earned no money and we had burned 1,000 hours (that’s 125 eight-hour workdays) on one search.  For what?  A $25,000 fee.

I vowed that this was never going to happen on my watch again.  As a manager, I let my people down.  I didn’t “parachute in” to save them.  The opportunity costs make me cringe just thinking about it.

Taking bad search assignments and working too long on bad searches costs our industry hundreds of millions of dollars annually.  But as an account executive, manager, or owner, how do you determine the “parachute time” or when to stop working on a bad search?

I heard the term “parachute time” from Lil Rushing Roy, a longtime MRI Network vice president who has helped some of the largest recruiting firms in the business reach their potential.  Throughout modern history, paratroopers have parachuted in to assist ground forces struggling in battle.  They are truly lifesavers.

In recruiting, it is up to those in positions of authority to “parachute in” to rescue other recruiters.  As Rushing Roy put it, “parachute time” is the time it takes a manager to realize that a recruiter is working on a bad search, and the time it then takes for the manager to “parachute in” to save a recruiter from the search itself.  “Parachute time” is ideally within two to three weeks, but realistically, it is way too often months.

Below are 14 signs that it might be “parachute time” on your search:

  1. Candidates you submit are already in process.
  2. The candidate acquisition process is taking an abnormally long time.
  3. An internal candidate surfaces and is suddenly in process.
  4. You discover that other recruiters are engaged in the identical search.
  5. You aren’t working with the hiring manager directly, but HR.
  6. The interview process is too lengthy.
  7. Requirements are very specific, tough, and almost impossible to fill.
  8. Hiring managers are inflexible.
  9. The client is slow to return calls.
  10. The job specifications repeatedly change.
  11. The client experiences repeated fall-offs and turndowns.
  12. The client rejects candidates for less than sound reasons.
  13. There’s a change in the hiring manager or hiring process.
  14. A merger or acquisition is taking place.

These are some potential indicators that it could be time to make a very tough call.  Any one of them may mean that you need to quickly stop working on the search and start working on a higher-priority position.

Remember: value your time over everything else!

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Jon Bartos, a guest writer for the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Blog, is a premier writer, speaker, and consultant on all aspects of personal performance, human capital, and the analytics behind them.  In 2010, Bartos founded Revenue Performance Management, LLC.  The RPM Dashboard System is a business intelligence tool used worldwide for metrics management for individual and team performance improvement.  In 2012, Bartos achieved national certification in Hypnotherapy, furthering his interest in learning the dynamics behind what motivates others to achieve higher levels of success.  Click here to visit Bartos’s website.

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