Wednesday, November 12, 2014


The recent announcement that the U.S. economy is on pace for its sharpest year of labor expansion in 15 years, combined with the fact that the unemployment rate dropped to the lowest rate in 6 years (5.8%) confirms what many have already felt -  2014 was good, but 2015 can be great.

Now is the time of year when many leaders begin to project revenues for 2015.  As you are gazing into the revenue projection crystal ball you may want to take some time to rethink how you manage your sales professionals.  If you are using the same approach to sales leadership you did 5 years ago, you may find it difficult to realize your maximum revenue potential.  Let’s review some critical elements of sales leadership:

Gone are the days when you look for the most extroverted, most able-to-work-a -room person that can charm anyone.  Look for critical thinkers that can carry on a difficult business conversation with the most difficult personality.

Understand that the difference between extroverted and introverted largely hinges on how they recharge their batteries.

The extroverted person recharges their batteries by being around others, being social – drawing their energy from the energy of others.  An extroverted person would look forward to going out for a cocktail with coworkers after work or basketball with friends to unwind. The introverted person recharges their batteries by spending time with themselves – going for a run or a simple dinner with their family.

Both of these types can do very well in sales.  As a matter of fact, there have been a number of recent studies that show introverted salespeople may actually do better.  Personality types that lean toward introversion don’t feel the need for people to like them (or get distracted/frustrated when they don’t) and can focus on calmly discussing needs, goals and solutions with decision makers.

When hiring, look for people who like to win and set goals in order to be able to do so.  Ask about past failures and how they were handled.  You want to hear how the failure frustrated the candidate and the plan they put in place to get back on top.

Additionally, look for an independent person that has a demonstrated ability to work well with a team.  Avoid the person who feels the need to run for help or provide updates after every call.

It is a globally shrinking world and unless your business really demands your sales staff be in a specific location, consider the possibility that your sales professionals could be remote employees.  This may be out of state talent or talent that simply works from home.

Long gone is the reality that “face time” means productivity.  Having your sales staff in the office can often result in lower performance.  They are easier pulled into unplanned meetings, distracted by office politics or general reindeer games.  You want salespeople who value every minute and see some of the office games (official and unofficial) as distractions and impediments to their productivity.

Standards of Performance for revenue generating professionals are the product of outdated thinking when it comes to managing sales leaders.  Sure, if you are training brand new salespeople you need to instill good habits as a part of the training.  If you have a seasoned professional, SOP’s act as a micromanagement tool of a bygone age.  Instead simply focus on the desired revenue goal.  Did the salesperson meet or exceed the goal?  That is the only important factor.  If they did meet their goal, nothing else matters – leave them alone, brainstorm with them when needed, congratulate often and ask them what they need to continue to be challenged.

If the goals were not achieved, meet often, brainstorm and mutually set mini-goals to get back on track.  As an example, for my business I look at sales goals as a quarterly number.  If a person did not meet the quarterly goal, I may want to focus on a monthly mini-goal.  You may also want to review their approach and mutually set goals around activities that will get them back on track.  If those mini-goals are not met then hold accountable – reset mini-goals with more brainstorming.

“Brainstorming” is the critical word for both productive and non-productive sales professionals.  This partnership approach to tackling the challenges of sales is more centered on how business can move forward, rather than what a person is or is not doing.  However, if a salesperson is simply not putting in the work then a discussion will need to be had.  At the end of the day, sales is a numbers game.  If someone tries to tell you otherwise, be very careful.

Your sales staff should have the most up to date technology in the organization.  If your sales team is client facing, make sure they have the latest model of laptop or tablet – rotate their older models with non-sales staff if necessary.  This will maximize their productivity (personally & in front of clients) as well present a solid professional image with clients.  Nothing creates a less than desirable first impression during a client presentation than the spinning rainbow wheel of frustration holding up the start of the meeting.

Make sure the CPU, RAM & drive speed are maximized so that they can efficiently utilize the most up to date tools.

Be realistic.  Set two goals with the members of your team – the goal and a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).  Know what you want to do, what you think you can do and what the expected percentage of growth of your industry.  If what you want to do and think you can do is significantly above or below the expectations of your industry then you should be able to logically articulate why your goals differ.  There may be a logical reason, and that reason needs to be understood and supported by the sales team.

Keep perspective- don’t be impressed with high activity for activity sake.  The frantic person is not always the productive person.  Instead value planning, results, and the ability to work effectively with other members of the organization. 

Salespeople value 3 things.  These are not in any particular order and can vary based on the person you have on your team.  Realizing what is important to them will allow you to keep them a motivated and a committed member of the team.

Compensation – It doesn’t need to be the top end for your industry, but it does need to be a structure that provides unlimited potential based on results.  If you try to under-compensate your sales team you will lose revenue you never knew you could be bringing in.

Recognition – Winners want to be recognized as winners.  Tell them often, personally and publicly, that they are a critical part of the team and recognize their results.  When they bring in a big piece of business or meet goals be sure to make a big deal about it.  Publicly they may act like it is not a big deal, internally they will thrive on the kudos.

Flexibility – Top performing sales staff must feel that they can come & go and make their schedules based on their needs.  This control trade-off will pay huge dividends in loyalty and results.  As a side note, top performing sales professionals will not respect you if you allow under performers to have this flexibility.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


According to the RPO Association, three quarters of employers plan to hire in the next year and half of them are considering RPO – outsourcing all or part of the recruiting process.  Choosing the right RPO partner is critical to successful results.  There are number of factors to consider when evaluating the right potential partner.

UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WANT TO CONSIDER RPO – You may need to decrease the time it takes to fill positions, increase the quality of candidates or build a stronger employment brand.  The reasons can be numerous, but it is essential that you understand why so that you can set goals accordingly and measure potential providers based on your needs.  Significant cost savings is often a result of an RPO program, however it should not be one of the primary reasons.

IS EVERYONE ON BOARD – Not only does you’re your management team need to be on board with the idea of RPO, in order for the process to work they also need to be on board with the vendor that is chosen.  Have key managers sit in on some, or all, of the meetings or conference calls with potential vendors and listen to their input.

WHAT IS YOUR POTENTIAL RPO PROVIDOR’S APPROACH TO RECRUITING – Ask them what their method of operation is.  When they first get a requisition from a hiring manager what is their strategic approach?  You will want to hear them talk about how they will connect with the manager to find out what key skills & experience are really needed as well as what personality fit will be best.  Listen for them to describe specifically how they would develop a recruiting plan.  If they talk about a long list of the places they will post the position…go speak to another vendor.  You want to partner with a provider that is an expert at sourcing and recruiting, not posting and praying.

HOW WOULD THEY SUPPORT YOUR NEEDS – Once you have given prospective firms what your hiring outlook is, ask them specifically how they will support your organization.  How many people will they put on your company to support you?  What roll would each person play?  Who would handle day to day direction of your account?

ASK WHAT THEIR CLIENT ON-BOARDING PLAN WOULD BE -  You want to find a business partner that will take the time to set up the process, and relationship correctly.  An experienced business partner will first want to take some time to completely discuss your current hiring process and how they will integrate into that process.  If changes need to be made in the hiring process an experienced partner will outline recommendations with explanations of why the changes will enhance results.  How will the provider get to know you and your managers?  What are their thoughts on taking over searches in process?  Look for a provider that has a well defined approach to getting you set up for success.

WHAT DO THEY SPECIALIZE IN – Does the potential provider specialize in any particular type of searches?  If they do, will they be able to handle your needs outside of the specialty?  A large number of outsourced recruiting providers do not specialize, and there are a number of benefits to considering a firm of general recruiting experts.  In those cases ask specifically how they would recruit for your typical needs.

PRICE – How does the potential provider price their service?  Some outsourced recruiting providers bill on an hourly basis for their services allowing your costs to fluctuate with your needs.  Firms may also charge a flat monthly fee.  There are also fee per hire approaches as well as hybrid arrangements such as a flat monthly management fee with a per hire cost.  What you want to see out of a firm is one that will structure the pricing model in whatever way makes the most sense for your organization and situation.

WHAT TRACKING & METRICS DO THEY PROVIDE – Ask how often you will receive reporting and specifically what reporting will be provided.  Look for an organization that will provide you with an overall weekly report on activities as well as a review of the metrics associated with the goals that have been set.  These metrics should be provided and reviewed monthly, quarterly and annually.  Additionally, these metrics could be broken out by region, location, department and even specific manager.  You will also want to feel comfortable that firm can provide you with solid guidance on what metrics should be measured to line up with your desired expectations.

HOW THEY WOULD SELL YOUR COMPANY & SELL RELOCATION TO YOUR LOCATIONS – Based on what the potential provider knows about your company, ask them specifically how they would sell it to someone who has never heard of your firm and not expecting a call about potentially working there.  Also ask them how they would sell relocating to your market(s).  Look for a provider that can articulate why your company is strong.  Have they researched the local Chamber of Commerce,  Economic Development or school district sites to sell someone on relocation?

LOCATION OF THE STAFF – Are the recruiters domestic or offshore?  How will they adjust their recruiting style and hours to accommodate supporting your locations in different times zones.  Some firms will work their normal hours, however you will want a provider that is accustomed to having their recruiters adjust their schedules to reflect the market and industry they are recruiting for.

HOW WILL THEY SOURCE YOUR POTENTIAL CANDIDATES – What would their sourcing strategy be?  How do they use technology and how will they use social media?  Beware of firms that focus too much on posting positions to numerous sites.

ASK TO VIEW LINKEDIN PROFILES OF MEMBERS OF THEIR RECRUITING TEAM– This information is easily out there to find, so beware of a provider that is hesitant to cooperate.  You want to make sure the profiles show true recruiting and sourcing experts.  Look for solid tenure and how they sell themselves.  A recruiter who can’t feature their own experience in an exciting and sellable way will not be able to make your positions exciting or sellable either.

WHAT IS THEIR ABILITY TO SCALE WITH YOU – If you suddenly decide to grow, or pull back on hiring, what is your potential providers ability to scale their support up and down with you?

IS YOUR POTENTIAL PROVIDER OPEN TO A TEST RUN – Look for a partner that is open to proving their capabilities.  If they are open to a pilot program give them several different types of positions to search on, or even one specific location.

DETERMINE IF THEY FIT YOUR STYLE -  Are the players involved enjoyable to work with?  Are they flexible and entrepreneurial enough to adjust to any of your needs…or rigid in their approach?

Deciding to outsource all or part of your recruiting may seem stressful, but if you take the time to pick the right partner it will be a tremendously beneficial situation.  Your positions will take less time to fill, you will have higher quality of candidates to choose from, your employment brand will strengthen and your managers and HR team will be able to accomplish more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Real Cost of a Recruiting Department

While outsourcing your entire recruiting operation may sound expensive, when you break down the costs of a highly functional internal recruiting team you may be surprised. There are also several factors beyond cost that should be evaluated when considering the benefit of an in-house recruiting function versus outsourcing this strategic element of your business. The six critical areas of an internal recruiting operation are: Internal Labor Costs, External Labor Costs, Advertising, Administrative, Facility and Opportunity Costs. Lets take a look at each of these.

• Recruiting Manager – Someone has to be in charge of the overall direction of the recruiting team as well as manage the day-to-day operations of the department. This person is also responsible for hiring, training and developing the recruiting staff
• Recruiters
• Sourcing support – These are your internet, big data, find candidates under hard to find rocks members of your team
• Administrative Support – The members of the team that help schedule interviews, coordinate background checks, generate reports and keep the team running smoothly
• Labor Overhead – Employer paid taxes and benefits will run between 25% - 40% of your actual labor costs

• Contract recruiter fees and expenses • Contingency recruitment fees – these range from 20% - 30% per search

• Annual subscription fees to sites like LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Dice, Indeed and Ladders can be has high as several thousand dollars per person utilizing the service
• Unique website fees
• Fees associated with employment websites specific to a geographic area
• Print advertising
• Career Fairs
• Social media marketing expenses

• Applicant Tracking System expenses – These will be recurring monthly expenses as well as additional fees for specialized reporting or customization
• Background Checks
• Reference Checking

• Physical Space – Every employee tied to recruiting needs 225 – 250 square foot of physical space. Multiply this by your per square foot rental cost or building operational cost.
• IT expenses – It is estimated that the average employee costs a company $7,000 per year in overall IT expenses. These expenses include: computers, phones, phone utilization, IT supplies and internet expenses.
• Office Supplies – On average an employee uses $200 per year in miscellaneous office supplies.

When Human Resources professionals analyze how much time they have to spend on recruiting activities, the result is often stunning. When a company is going through growth mode it can take up a significant amount of their time. HR professionals don’t always make the best recruiters. Direct recruiting passive candidates is a lot closer to Sales than traditional HR functions and it may not be a strength of some HR professionals. Personally doing the recruiting, or managing a recruiting team, can take away from an HR leaders ability to be a true business partner to the organization. Strategic initiatives, employee engagement and operational effectiveness can be greatly improved by having your talented HR professionals focus on what they do best.

When a true review of the financial expense of running your own Recruiting Department is reviewed against the costs of outsourcing this function to the right vendor, it often becomes clear that outsourcing can provide significant cost savings. In addition to the financial savings, companies find that by utilizing a vendor that provides highly skilled recruiters, they can increase their quality of hires, decrease turn-over, improve time to fill, as well as make their HR team and department managers more productive and functional.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Below is an article from the July / August Harvard Business Review. Interesting thoughts. Jeff IT'S TIME TO SPLIT HR by Ram Charan It’s time to say good-bye to the Department of Human Resources. Well, not the useful tasks it performs. But the department per se must go. I talk with CEOs across the globe who are disappointed in their HR people. They would like to be able to use their chief human resource officers (CHROs) the way they use their CFOs—as sounding boards and trusted partners—and rely on their skills in linking people and numbers to diagnose weaknesses and strengths in the organization, find the right fit between employees and jobs, and advise on the talent implications of the company’s strategy. But it’s a rare CHRO who can serve in such an active role. Most of them are process-oriented generalists who have expertise in personnel benefits, compensation, and labor relations. They are focused on internal matters such as engagement, empowerment, and managing cultural issues. What they can’t do very well is relate HR to real-world business needs. They don’t know how key decisions are made, and they have great difficulty analyzing why people—or whole parts of the organization—aren’t meeting the business’s performance goals. Among the few CHROs who do know, I almost always find a common distinguishing quality: They have worked in line operations—such as sales, services, or manufacturing—or in finance. The celebrated former CHRO of GE, Bill Conaty, was a plant manager before Jack Welch brought him into HR. Conaty weighed in on key promotions and succession planning, working hand in glove with Welch in a sweeping overhaul of the company. Mary Anne Elliott, the CHRO of Marsh, had had several managerial roles outside HR. She is overhauling the HR pipeline to bring in other people with business experience. Santrupt Misra, who left Hindustan Unilever to join Aditya Birla Group in 1996, became a close partner of the chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla, working on organization and restructuring and developing P&L managers. He runs a $2 billion business as well as heading HR at the $45 billion conglomerate. Such people have inspired the solution I have in mind. It is radical, but it is grounded in practicality. My proposal is to eliminate the position of CHRO and split HR into two strands. One—we might call it HR-A (for administration)—would primarily manage compensation and benefits. It would report to the CFO, who would have to see compensation as a talent magnet, not just a major cost. The other, HR-LO (for leadership and organization), would focus on improving the people capabilities of the business and would report to the CEO. HR-LO would be led by high potentials from operations or finance whose business expertise and people skills give them a strong chance of attaining the top two layers of the organization. Leading HR-LO would build their experience in judging and developing people, assessing the company’s inner workings, and linking its social system to its financial performance. They would also draw others from the business side into the HR-LO pipeline. After a few years these high potentials would move to either horizontal or higher-level line management jobs. In either case they would continue to rise, so their time in HR-LO would be seen as a developmental step rather than a ticket-punching exercise. This proposal is just a bare outline. I expect to see plenty of opposition to it. But the problem with HR is real. One way or another, it will have to gain the business acumen needed to help organizations perform at their best.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Employee Handbooks - What to Include & Common Pitfalls

Allison Carter, a colleague of mine, wrote this article about Employee Handbooks.

Why are Employee Handbooks Important?

An employee handbook serves as an important document that not only informs employees of Company policies and expectations but also provides the Company with protection against potential lawsuits and complaints.  Well-written handbooks can minimize both litigation and liability.  As your company changes, so do the federal, state, and local laws, therefore so should your handbook.   Maintaining and updating your handbook is something that should be tended to on a regular basis. 

Important Policies to Include

Below are the top policies to update and/or add to your Company handbook for 2014:

·      At-Will Statement
·      Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
·      Anti-Harassment & Discrimination Policy along with a Complaint Procedure
·      Non-Violence in the Workplace Policy
·      Progressive Discipline Policy
·      Internet, E-mail, & Computer Use Policy
·      Social Media Policy
·      FMLA (if applicable) and other Leave & Time Off Policies
·      Overtime & Attendance Policies
·      Drug & Alcohol Abuse Policy
·      Disclaimer stating that the employee handbook is not intended to create a contract. 

The last pages of your handbook should contain an “At-Will Employment Agreement and Acknowledgement of Receipt of Employee Handbook” page.  Have the employee and their manager/human resources sign and date.

Common Pitfalls

Below are the most common mistakes that employers make when it comes to employee handbooks:

1.     Using a template or generic handbook -Don’t take the risk by using a “one size fits all” approach as form handbooks may include items that aren’t relevant and more importantly may miss important items that you need to address.
2.     Offering too much information-Employers cannot account for every situation that might occur.  Being more vague allows flexibility while dealing with unforeseen circumstances and situations.
3.    Including policies that conflict with other policies & company documents
4.    Not including a disclaimer and/or employment at-will statement-This keeps the handbook from acting as a contract with an employee
5.    Including items that conflict with federal, state & local laws-Any statements that contradict with federal, state, and local laws are invalid and also can result in the company losing credibility  
6.    Failing to update the handbook on a consistent basis-Companies, laws and guidelines are ever changing and your handbook need to change right along with them to avoid liability & litigation. 

Not sure if your handbook is up to par?  Have it reviewed by an expert in the field to ensure that you have addressed important issues to reduce confusion for your employees, contradiction in policy, and risk of litigation within your organization.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions of 2014

Do you have oddball questions you ask at your organization?  Sometimes, an unexpected question can tell you a great deal about a candidate.

According to, here are the top 25 oddball interview questions of 2014, and who asked them.

1.     “If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?” …ZAPPOS!
2.     “How lucky are you and why?” …airbnb
3.     “If you were a pizza deliveryman, how would you benefit from scissors?”…Apple
4.     “If you could sing a song on American Idol, what would it be?”…Red Frog Events
5.     “Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?”…Dell
6.     “If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would you bring?”…Yahoo
7.     “If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?”…Bed Bath & Beyond
8.     “Do you believe in Big Foot?”…Norwegian Cruise Line
9.     “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?”…Xerox
10. “What is your least favorite thing about humanity?”…ZocDoc
11. “How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the US?”…Factual
12. “How honest are you?”…Alied Telesis
13. “How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the US each year?”…Goldman Sachs
14. “Can you instruct someone how to make an origami “cootie catcher” with just words?”…LivingSocial
15. “If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?”…Mckinsey & Company
16. “You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?”…Urban Outfitters
17. “How does the internet work?”…Akamai
18. “If there was a movie produced about your live, who would play you and why?”…SinglePlatform
19. “What’s the color of money?”…American Heart Association
20. “What was the last gift you gave someone?”…Gallup
21. “What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?”…Applebees
22. “How many snow shovels sold in the US last year?”…Taser
23. “It’s Thursday, we’re staffing you on a telecommunications project in Calgary, Canada on Monday.  Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready.  What are the top five things you do before you leave?”…Thoughtworks
24. “Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seatbelt.”…Active Network
25. “Have you ever been on a boat?”…Applied Systems

To read some of the answers, and view more questions from the above companies, click the link below:,34.htm?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=ODDBL14&utm_content=list

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Practical Time Management for Recruiters

Turnover in the recruiting profession is higher than it should be.  Part of the problem is who our industry hires, part of challenge is our industry's commitment to training and a part is recruiters holding themselves accountable to the best possible daily practices.  Recruiters are social animals, which can lead to all kinds of daily distractions.  Steve Finkel wrote a great article on Practical Time Management that recruiters - that anyone (not just recruiters) who wants to succeed should read.

Practical Time Management for Recruiters
 by: Steve Finkel

What does it take to do well in a today's market?

Certainly skill improvement and perhaps changes in methodology, the manner in which you work a desk, are primary.

However, all the improved technique and methodology in the world will not be maximized if enhanced focus and time management does not accompany. As Larry Nobles, well-known speaker and author of the best foundational book ever written for our industry (see Amazon), wrote, "Stop trying to get $300K in production from $100K worth of work!"

In a strong market, it is easy to drift, getting good results from less and less time, concentration, and effort. In today's market, however, things are different. Enhanced focus on time management will yield more substantive impactful time on the phone...and that, combined with improved methodology, is the only way to survive and prosper.

Eliminate Time Theft

Wal-Mart, perhaps the most successful retailer in history, warns their employees of "Time Theft"; this refers to time taken during the working day which reduces accomplishment of the results for which they are paid. Wasting time in the office on totally non-productive activities is thus the equivalent of stealing from your own income, your own family, and your own future.

How much time do you actually spend on the phone generating income? The facts are that when this is measured by monitoring equipment, the average recruiter spends less than two hours a day on the phone. And even top producers rarely hit three hours! Where does the rest of the time go? Let's look at some common answers.

Personal Calls

For many, a major impediment to success is personal phone calls.

If not stopped and stopped quickly, these will grow to excess. The difficulty and cost of this problem goes well beyond the quantitative amount of non-work-related time that is taken on the phone, though that could be considerable. It is the great reduction of intensity that happens as a result of these constant interruptions.

Peter Drucker in his exceptional book "The Effective Executive" made reference to this when he mentioned the fact that every human activity has 3 facets; the beginning, the doing, and then the wind down. Regardless of the length of time one invests, the "beginning" and the "wind down" are pretty close to the same. Thus, according to Drucker, a one-hour block of uninterrupted time is worth not 4 but 10 15-minute blocks of time. Why? Because the doing time, the central portion that yields effectiveness, increases by a factor of 10, though the warm up and the wind down stay pretty much the same.

What this means to us is that a constant stream of incoming non-business calls tend to interrupt and cause us to have to warm up all over again! But how do you eliminate these? You can't very well hang up on nice people. Still something must be done or business will suffer...and suffer badly.

It is, of course, simple to say "But I have Caller ID. I'll just let the calls go to my answering machine". However, it may be a genuine emergency. And of course, many of us don't want to be rude and will automatically answer the phone from someone we know...only to be slightly regretful that we did. So what to do?

Try this ...

Step 1

When a call comes in, ask yourself, is this really critical? The reality is if a nurse calls from school indicating that your child's got a broken arm, you must deal with it immediately. But you won't get many such calls. An overwhelming percentage will not be critical, but just people "calling to talk". Once you figure that out, it is fairly easy to take it from there.

Step 2

Indicate that you do want to speak with this person. "Bob, I appreciate the call. I really do want to talk with you." You want to be polite and friendly to these people, quite obviously. They are probably friends or relatives. However, you have a business to run and things to accomplish.

Step 3

Claim an important conference coming up. "But I am right on the verge of a very important conference. I do want to talk with you, but I have got to get to this meeting. May I get back to you this evening?"

Step 4

Do return the phone call ... after working hours. Over a period of time, if you continue with this procedure whenever a non-critical personal call comes in, it will become clear to these "social" callers that you are busy with work, and can only take important calls. This will eventually stop the non-important ones that drain your time, energy, focus...and income.

This is significant! Between hobbies or non-business interests or friends, many recruiters will get a constant stream of these. If you don't stop it, it will affect your business.

Maybe in a strong market, you can afford these time wasters, but the reality is that in a less-than-good market, things change. Put a sign on the phone if you don't remember to do this to serve as an ongoing reminder. Slowly get them away from calling you - just like that.

Intra-Office Chat

In many offices, there is a clear separation in the determination of the recruiters to succeed in a less-than-great market.

Some recruiters will tighten up, become more focused, work both smarter and harder, and will ultimately fight their way to high production. Others will slow down, complain, become unwilling to make calls, and engage in pointless time-wasting conversation to avoid getting on the phone. Look around your office, and see these two camps. Which one are you?

The difficulty is that the latter group will make a definite effort to interfere with their tough-minded co-workers. Conversation about personal matters, complaints about management and the market, irrevelant erroneous "questions","suggestions" and "ideas" will all increase dramatically. While it is indeed the job of the manager to weed out these bad apples, it is your job to ignore them and go to work with a renewed dedication. And that is not always easy.

The best way to avoid these impediments to your success is simply to be busy. When they walk into your office/work area and attempt to engage you in pointless conversation, just say "_____, I'd love to talk with you, but I've got an assignment I've got to find people for. Let's talk after work" . Then pick up the phone and make a call. Repeat a modified version of the same thing when they try to side-track you away from your desk.

These people may be nice, but your primary function other than improving skills is staying on the phone--regardless of well-meaning distractions.

The High-Tech Time Waster

The internet as a means of identifying potential candidates and clients has merit.

However, unrelated to the internet as a business tool, it is also a major handicap in achieving your financial goals. Even if you have avoided getting involved in playing actual computer games, there is a real probability that you have not escaped other addictions relative to the internet. Consider the following:

· A Nielsen Survey found that the majority of on-line shopping, auctions, stock trading, chat room visits, news reading and, yes, porn traffic, take place during working hours.

· A recent Robert Half International survey found that 60% of executives said that time spent accessing the web for non-business purposes was undermining their employees' effectiveness on the job.

· A recent Men's Health magazine survey of 2,000 subscribers asked the question, "What interferes most with your productivity at work?". The #1 answer (74%)? The Internet!

So what's the answer to this modern high-tech time waster? Easy; get the heck off it!

First, change your computer so it does not automatically hook up to the internet. Then... don't access it until after 5 PM. If you feel you need to research to identify candidates or clients, clump that time together and do it all after 4:30 -- while you're planning....including emails! Barring a real anticipated necessity, open your emails twice a day -- morning and right before planning. Here's a test. Keep track of the emails you receive tomorrow and then ask yourself this question. "'If I didn't read these until the end of the day, how much business would I lose?" The answer? Probably none. But the interruptions? Substantial!l

What do you think would happen without non-essential internet time during prime working hours .. including emails, barring a real anticipated necessity?  Chances are, with all that extra time and reduced distraction on your hands, you'd pick up the phone and make phone calls--lots of phone calls... Maybe you should try it and see.

Maximizing Your Commute

If you commute to work, you already know that it is not the most exciting time of the day. Yet there are benefits to doing so.

Rather than listen to talk radio or top-40 music, take this opportunity to start the day with the right attitude or to improve your skills. Good-quality CD's will accomplish both.

Nightingale-Conant out of Chicago or Success Motivation Insititute out of Waco, Texas, have a number of products you may wish to consider. Among the industry-specific CD products, the best in terms of both content and manner of presentation is the Larry Nobles product "Successful Search and Placement!". It consists of twenty-four 30-minute modules, one for every working day for an entire month, addressing every facet of the recruiting business. Visit or access for complete information on his excellent CD series.

A 30-minute morning commute amounts to a solid ten hours a month of time spent driving to work. A 15-minute commute equals 5 hours a month. The drive to work sets up your attitude for the business day. It is critical to "hit the ground running". If you don't commute, listen to a 30-minute module while you shower or eat breakfast. Concentrating on the material in a topflight CD will allow the morning drive to contribute to your maximizing the time spent in the office.

Early Start

"Well begun", as the old saying goes, "is half done". Moreover, multiple sales surveys have shown that the majority of business sales are made before noon. This applies to us as well.

If you're in the habit of arriving a few minutes late in the morning, reviewing and adding to your Daily Planner ( which wasn't quite completed the night before), organizing your desk, greeting your co-workers one by one with comments to each, having several cups of coffee and then picking up the phone-you're missing out of the best selling time of the day. In our current market, you just can't afford to do so.

Look around your office at the formal starting times, and see who is at their desk and on the phone-and who is still wandering around. Which one are you?

If you're not on the phone--or at least pushing buttons to get through--early, you'd better make some changes. Especially in today's market.


In a forthcoming issue, we may cover planning in more detail, though it is addressed thoroughly in the previously-mentioned CD series and in my own book Breakthrough!. This newsletter is long enough as it is. But I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention that a specific complete written-out Daily Planner filled out at the end of the day is an absolute key to getting maximum results from the time spent in the office. Don't shortcut this!

More Information

There are several great benefits to reading books on a specific subject. The first, of course, is that you will actually learn hard information and techniques. In our business, these will directly translate into increased production. The second benefit, however, is that simply by reading a serious book, you will concentrate on the subject. To get results, you must reinforce by underlining or highlighting relevant points and then putting signs on the phone to remind yourself to implement. By doing so, you will almost automatically pay more attention to the topics addressed.

There are two books on time management that will expand your knowledge and focus on this subject. They are How to Get Control of Your Time and Life by Alan Lakein and Working Smart by Michael LeBoeuf. See Amazon.

"Reading is to the mind", Joseph Addison wrote, "as exercise is to the body". Nobody ever said it better.

The Two-Front War

It is no exaggeration to view improving production as a (bloodless) war. And if you are to prevail, this war must be fought on two fronts.

First, of course, is changing and improving skills, techniques, methodology.

To do so, however, is only half the job. The other half is to work equally hard at improving your focus, your concentration, your work ethic, maximizing time on the phone. The reality is that to survive today, you must endure some pain by pushing yourself beyond the boundaries of what is comfortable for you. While there will be no injuries in this war, there will very definitely be a fight. And the fight will be with your own motivation and discipline.

By establishing the needed habit patterns and eliminating the bad ones addressed here, you will greatly enhance your results from the other improvements that must be the foundation of your strategy. Combined with this, your increased call volume will allow you to make the most of our current market.

This two-pronged approach of skill improvement plus increased focus on effective time management will guarantee you conspicuous success in the roaring boom market that is sure to follow!

 Check out Steve's website for other solid tidbits of advice:

Friday, February 28, 2014


 Last week Facebook agreed to purchase WhatsApp for $19B.   The real story from the purchase was that in 2009 Brian Acton, Co-Founder of WhatsApp tried to get a job at Facebook and was turned down.  Many of the headlines are talking about how Facebook’s recruiters “Blew it” or “Cost the company $19B.”

I would argue that there is the very real possibility that the Facebook recruiters didn’t blow it, but may have made the right decision.  Lets look at the critical criteria in hiring a new employee:

·      CULTURE: Every business has its own values and way of operating.  You want to hire people that fit into your culture, or the culture you want to move your business closer to.

·      DRIVE: In all businesses, especially startups, you want employees who believe in working hard to over-achieve a goal, and get upset when it is missed.  They believe that every hour…minute worked is an opportunity to make a goal happen.  Look for people who believe that to make something cool happen - you go home exhausted at night because you did your part for the greater good.  Look for people who are excited about what you are trying to accomplish.

·      CONFIDENCE: Does the potential employee seem to have the right level of confidence to get the job done or excel in your organization?

·      PERSONALITY: This is the first cousin to “Culture.” Does the potential employee have the right personality to fit with the company, or the specific team they will be joining?  If this fit is off, then you may have problems.

·      SKILL SET:  Has this person had the experiences required to have the skills to excel in the role?  Don’t confuse this with looking to see if they have done the job before – as that is rarely a good gauge into future success.  You really want to dig into the experiences they have had to make sure they match with what you know will cause a person to excel in this job.

·      CHARACTER:  Does the person have values that align with yours?  Do they seem honest and above reproach?

·      COMPENSATION: Is the compensation they are looking for in line with your compensation structure?

Some may argue that education is missing from the list.

Avoid focusing on education from the standpoint of making sure the degree a person has matches what you are hiring for.  Studies have shown that there is not necessarily a correlation to being successful in a field because that is what your degree is in.  That said, there is a great deal of merit to valuing someone with a college degree over someone without.  A great deal is learned during those years of education beyond the education itself – maturity, cooperation, critical thinking, etc.

At the time of Brian Acton’s interview with Facebook, it is entirely possible that one or all of the important criteria did not match with what Facebook needed.  If that were the case, then the Facebook recruiters made the right decision.  Hiring people that are off on any of the above can be disastrous for the organization.  All it takes is a few bad hires to slow, or halt, the growth of a company.  A few bad hires can also cause your best people to leave.  Great people want to be surrounded by equally great people.

Entrepreneurs have to be hired into the right roles, with the right amount of freedoms to be successful.  If Facebook were not in a place to be able to do that when WhatsApp’s future leader was interviewed then that would have been a bad hiring decision.