The one skill great recruiters nail every time

There has never been a more critical time for recruiters to focus on prioritising their job orders. Clients are tentative and decisions are slow to come, so we simply cannot waste our time on briefs that were never real in the first place. Working with clients who are not ready, willing or committed to hire is a disaster.

Indeed, making sure you apply yourself to where you will get a return is the mantra we all should be living by every day. I wrote on this blog about tight talent selection, and also about the art of job order triage, and asking qualifying questions, and it might be wise for all of us to review the sentiments expressed there.

But still I find recruiters are too ‘generous’ with their time. Every order is treated as equal. Every client is king. This is wrong (Indeed we need to fire some of those clients!), and this little checklist on qualifying job orders, put together with a lot of help from Firebrand Director Simon Lusty, and our very good friend Susie Hall of Vitamin T, is a great place to start increasing your productivity. (Click on the thumbnail to enlarge)

It is a recruiting skill to actually dig into and expose each of these criteria, and maybe I will blog separately on that in future. But for today, from now on, run every job you take past this template. Be honest. Be brutal. If you don’t know the answer, then get it, before you start any work on a new order.

If you can’t rate every question, then don’t work the order.

Then rank all your job orders by this scoring system. If you have plenty of jobs in the 19+ bracket… well... only work those! Don’t be distracted by unqualified, hard to fill orders with uncommitted clients.

Better to work on 8 jobs and fill 6, than slave away on 20 messy orders and fill two!

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About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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29 Responses to The one skill great recruiters nail every time

  1. Eva Wilson March 6, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Excellent!

  2. Alan Allebone March 6, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    What an excellent subject Greg! well done!!

    The job order qualification is something I have seen back in my London days and my former employer use to use a similar check off list.

    I think the majority of us if we are honest with ourselves tend to have many many jobs but only perhaps a third are really worth having. the rest are just time wasters. just makes our order book look impressive!

    Of course our biggest competitor is our clients and our future clients..this check off list I do believe will save a lot of time and precious money.
    Thanks again Greg!

    Kind regards

    Alan

  3. Clare Verrall March 6, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Spot on Greg

  4. Deborah Musolff March 6, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Completely agree! I like that table – I just printed it out so I can quiz each job order against it. 🙂

  5. Denise March 6, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    You always know how to bring a recruiter back down to earth Greg!….so easy to get carried away feeling busy on fools gold… thanks for the reality check

  6. Josh Teperman March 6, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Thanks Greg!
    *printed, will be brought out for regular reference

  7. Sharon Jackson March 6, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Thanks Greg. Very helpful.

  8. Eva March 6, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I am SO going to use this, thanks Greg!

  9. Lucas March 6, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Sadly, this doesn’t represent overall business opportunity at a client. If there were a line added in for that and weighted correctly, it becomes infinitely more useful.

  10. Paul March 7, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    How would this checklist differ for contract assignments?

    • Greg Savage March 7, 2012 at 1:07 am #

      It would in a number of ways Paul. But for me, that may be addressed in another blog. But I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic ..or anyone else?.
      Cheers Greg

  11. Paul Landry March 7, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    Greg,
    I am very conscious of what jobs to work on and which jobs “aren’t real” or are too much of a headache to accept. This list provides a very tangible way to determine which ones to keep and which ones to drop. I just sent this list to the entire firm! I believe it will be very valuable to everyone here.
    Thanks!

  12. Alan Allebone March 7, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    To have qualifications for contract assignments would be extremely useful I think for all of us. it would certainly need to have some indepth thought and planning put into it. A very interesting topic. Good thinking Paul!
    Perhaps we can all put our heads together and see what we can come up with.
    Alan

  13. Bart March 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Brilliant & relevant!

  14. Scott Thompson April 2, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    This is an excellent summary of the process that experienced, successful recruiters do mostly subconsciously. It’s helpful to see it spelled out, and new recruiters should read this as a first principle of recruiting and never forget it!

  15. Prezola April 3, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    Hi Greg,

    I have a question if a client has an in house recruitment team who are trying to fill the roles directly but they also use agencies than as a Recruitment Consultant even if they gave it to me exclusively the fact that I am up against the in house Recruiter should I still be working on it as its a 50/50% chance of filling it?

    • Greg Savage April 3, 2012 at 8:21 am #

      Hi Prezola

      I would not call this a “qualified” order. You do not have the role “exclusively” because you are “competing” with the in-house team. You will need to take into account many factors before you decide how much effort to put into this role – for eg how much do you want to work with this client long term, how much other work you have etc, but the fact is this is bound to be a very hard to fill role -thats why they gave it to you as well as keep looking themselves, and for sure your candidate will have to be “super-special-dooper to be considered above their own, regards Greg

  16. Prezola April 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Thank you Greg for your feedback on that I think I was attracted to the volume of vacancies they have and they are all low level roles assumed they are easy to fill but this national client has a lot of HR process which delays everything and my candidates get annoyed as well as the managers. I have made a lot of placements with them and worked very hard for the volume because I was setting up my own business but I think after reading your blogs I need to now aim higher and not feel bad to let this client go as its more headache then itsa worth and being up against the inhouse team even though I clearly do a better job then them according to the managers feedback lol. Thanks Greg

  17. Yuriy Shevchenko April 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Just printed the chart off and taped it onto my desk.

  18. Ravi Janardhan April 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Thanks for the excellent post Greg. We made a few copies of this, for all our team.

  19. Terry June 26, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    Greg
    Another great blog, thanks for sharing and keep them coming

  20. Caroline McClure August 13, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Another fantastic article, Greg. I run a business providing community and thought leadership to in-house executive recruiting leaders. I believe in a mixed model as there are times the in-house team isn’t the right service provider. I completely agree that both entities should not be working a search at the same time and so particularly applaud this item on your check list. If the in-house team has been working on a search and the decision gets made to outsource the project, the in-house recruiter should turn the search over to the new service provider and be willing to help in what ever way the new orchestrator needs. The same is true vice-versa. Collaboration between an in-house and an external recruiter can be very powerful, but one or the other must be the lead with the other in a background supportive role.

  21. Jody urquhart September 29, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Fire your clients. I love this, as some do waste your time. It is a lot of work recruiting, it may as well be for clients who care

  22. Yuriy Shevchenko March 17, 2015 at 11:20 pm #

    Greg, what do you do if your employer resolutely insists that you work on jobs which you know to be complete and total garbage?

    I’m in a bit of a quandary because, other than this one small sticking point, I actually like where I work!

    • Greg Savage March 18, 2015 at 6:21 am #

      Its tricky one. The starting point, which you have probably done, is a sit down chat with your boss about the value of your time and the fact that if you focus on quality orders, you will make more placements. The skill of qualifying briefs, prioritization etc needs to be examined. I have written 5 or 6 blogs on this (George Cloony, etc). Maybe search them out and ask him/her to read them. If s/he does not get that, then there really is a bigger issue at stake, and you will need to address whether you work in the right place

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