And this is just the beginning. If you are still reading and what you have read makes sense then let me congratulate you and say, ‘Welcome aboard!’ Let’s address some recruiting challenge.
Before we dive in, I would like to touch upon the job of recruiter in general.
For many who have not done this work, a recruiter’s’ job appears to be quite simple. More than once I have heard the following: ‘How hard it can be? I know a company that seeks a number of engineers and I happen to know a whole lot of strong engineers. How much did you say they pay per hire? I can totally make a living off of it. I will start selling people and become rich!’
Well. Not so fast. The first and most fundamental thing every recruiter must understand is we are not selling people. We are NOT selling talent.
A good recruiter is a facilitator, a ‘Blade Runner’ who deals with two uncontrollable forces and whose earnings depend completely on the decisions of people he/she has no control over whatsoever. Additionally, the parties on either side can reverse their decisions at any time. Think about it, if you treat your candidates as commodities you sell, then your human products can easily decide at any moment to not be sold. Not a good approach to build a business where the ‘products’ are uninterested in the process and the outcome.
- Tenet number one: You have little or no control of other people’s decisions. Hence you don’t sell people (we will get to ‘what you actually sell’ later on).
- Tenet number two: No matter how hard you work on candidate research, no matter how well you handle all the scheduling, interview preparations and follow-ups – you may end up with nothing. At any time your candidate may change his or her mind, at any time your client can decide to promote one of their current employees, at any time the deal you were working so hard on can turn into a ‘pumpkin’.
Now what? The next thing many recruiters do is to start playing with numbers. When the risk to come out of a deal with NOTHING is so high, a logical reaction is to have many ‘deals’ cooking at the same time to lessen risk with quantity over quality.
Not so fast.
The moment a recruiter starts thinking ‘spray and pray’ is the moment when everything is likely to start coming apart. It is true that the ‘numbers’ approach can work. I know a few very good and successful companies where their entire recruiting model is based on large numbers and an aggressive ‘people funnel’.
The key thing to understand is that the ‘numbers’ approach can work on a company-wide level, but it does not work very well for individual, freelance recruiters. This is so for one simple reason: Working with too large of a net imperils control of the process where a recruiter is dealing with too much unknown and too much chance. It is easier to succeed in Vegas where regardless of individual, effort over time, the house always wins. Same in recruitment.
There is a solution to this conundrum, albeit not an obvious one. To become a good and well-paid recruiter, and over come recruiting challenge, you need to employ the counterintuitive approach of ‘less is more.’ We will talk about this in more detail in the Recruiting strategies section: Less is More chapter, but in brief, I recommend the following approach:
Instead of sending out 50 loosely pre-screened candidates, it is better to spend just a little more time and select the 10 best out of the 50. Single out the top 10 candidates, pre-screen them with laser sharp precision and you are more likely to get five of them interviewed and one of them hired. You can do all this in a week – easily, and thus it is realistic to achieve four placements a month.
Recruiting Academy Chapters: