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8 Ways to Prevent a Recruiter From “Parachuting”

by | Jul 1, 2015 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

In my previous post for the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Blog, I discussed “14 Signs That It Might be ‘Parachute Time’ on Your Search.”

As difficult as it is to cut ties with a client, the costs of clinging to one can be higher.  I lost two promising recruiters to my own nine-month IT search.  However, I have implemented safeguards to substantially minimize the chances of anything like that happening again.

Below are eight ways to prevent a recruiter “parachuting” from a search:

#1—Have the client sign off on the search profile or search requirements.

A good first step in any search is to get job specs in writing.  A better step is to put down on paper exactly what the customer is looking for, including background, skill sets, track record of success, and work history.  Have the client sign this detailed search profile to verify that both parties understand and agree on what you are looking for.  This helps you prevent the scope or specification creep that cripples so many searches.

If something changes after the client has signed off on a search profile, it really is a new search and should be treated that way.  That means asking for more up-front money because the specs have changed and many times your work has to start all over again.

#2—Test the job order.

I like to evaluate the validity of a job order or search assignment right away.  Once the customer has given you the job order or search assignment, try something like this: “You know, I think I may have the perfect candidate for you right now.  I worked with an individual about a month ago that fits this profile almost perfectly.  I don’t know if he/she is available, but I could call and find out quickly.  Do you have time to interview this candidate on Thursday or Friday?”

I know of no better way to save time and effort than this simple statement.  It quickly determines whether or not the client is truly motivated to hire.  It establishes the real interest level and priority placed on the search.  What you want to hear after that question is anything that sounds like they want to expedite getting that candidate in for an interview.  Like, “Absolutely!  Let me see, let’s book a time right now.”  What you don’t want to hear is any type of delays, excuses, or hoops they want you to jump through first.

#3—Set interview dates up front.

Getting interview dates on the calendar when you take the job order tells you that the hiring manager is interested in moving this process along.  They’re putting some real skin in the game, and that increases your odds of success.

#4—Agree on expectations at the outset of the search.

Don’t allow confusion or misunderstanding to steal your precious time.  Always set expectations up front.  Agree on communication methods, time frames for returning calls, interview time lines, hiring processes, and the roles you each must play for a successful outcome.

#5—Be real.

Ask yourself this all-important question: Based on everything I know, can I successfully complete this search in the next two weeks?  This is the average amount of time a typical recruiter should spend on a given search.  If you can’t envision yourself, for whatever reason, getting the job done in a reasonable time frame, you may need to consider refusing the search.  If you are in the midst of a lengthy search, reassess the situation.  Are client constraints causing the delay?  If so, perhaps a call to the client for clarification is needed.

#6—Do a time line of recruiting (working backwards) and use it as a commitment.

It’s always good to talk to the client about a time line of recruiting.  Here is what that sounds like: “You would like the candidate on board by May 15?  Let’s see if that follows our recruiting time line.  From May 15, the candidate will have to give two weeks’ notice, which works back to May 2.  We need to allow a couple days for the offer, which brings us to the end of April.  The interview process we agreed on will take two weeks, which brings us to April 12.  We need at least two weeks to do a comprehensive search, which brings us to April 1.  In order for us to have a candidate start by May 15, we would have had to start on the search a few weeks ago.  But we may be able to knock off a couple weeks if we work together on it.  Can we agree to go forward in trying to speed up this process on both ends?”

#7—Set a time in the future for a search assignment evaluation.

Every office should set up a time to do an evaluation on a new search assignment with a new company.  This could be an arbitrary time, say, three weeks in the future.  After that initial search period, a formal evaluation gives you a chance to look at the search to see if it makes sense for you to continue.  This evaluation should be done with the individual(s) working on the assignment, as well as someone who is not in the “heat of battle” with the search.

Often, it takes an outsider to make you realize you are wasting time on a bad search.  During that evaluation, the topics should include expectations being met, changes in search, time to close, customer communication, sense of urgency, and realistic forecasted close date.  The bottom line question is “Based on what I know today, does it make sense to continue?”

#8—Discuss any issues with a client and agree on all changes.

If you begin to have conflict or issues with a client, call them on it.  Immediately pick up the phone and address it.  New clients are notorious for not telling you any less-than-positive information about a search, just to get you to work on it.  They may “forget” to let you know there are other recruiters working on the same search.  They may leave out the fact that the offered compensation is 25% below market value.  Or you may not learn until too late that the position has remained unfilled for a year and a half.

If there are issues with compensation, hiring time line, unrealistic requirements, and so on, talk to the client about rectifying them.  The result is a win-win recruiting situation.  When you help a client create a successful hiring culture, you increase client loyalty and your own business.  If a client disregards your advice or refuses to budge on an issue, you may need to start looking around for your parachute.

Recruiting can be like a battlefield, where integrity is prized, valor is rewarded, and time is an ally to be guarded.  The best way to win in our industry is to value your time by spending it only on search assignments that will yield real placements and put dollars in your wallet.

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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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