The Value of a Recruiter

By Dave Nerz

silver-clock-with-coinsRecruitment organizations are being challenged from all sides. Employers and candidates are looking for alternate ways to locate talent or to seek employment. Specifically, as it relates to employers, the age-old recruitment model is being threatened by in-house recruiting functions, recruitment technology tools, off-shore sourcing models, and low-cost posting options. All of these tools, methods and services are about the “finding” component of recruiting. These options are all based on the premise that “finding” is the key to a successful new hire for employers. While this can be true for lower level and entry level jobs, the facts are that for the more mission-critical types of roles at the key contributor, manager, director and above levels, finding is the easiest component of the recruiting process. The key to success in these competitive and mission-critical roles is in the “selection and persuasion” of candidates. That is where the value of a recruiter is greatest.

Ask yourself how many times you have been “found” by a sales agent of any sort…telephone companies, computer service providers, gyms, weight loss services, make-money-from-home employers, and hundreds more. They found you, they email you, some even start calling you. Have they converted you to a customer? My guess is that in most cases the answer is no. Have they spent any time doing more than repeating their message daily or weekly via email or voice messages? No, they have not. They are concentrated on “finding” but are ineffective at converting you through the power of conversation and persuasion. In fact, there is little time spent or invested in the “selection” process. They have no idea if you truly need what they offer, they just keep banging the same drum regardless of need or fit.

Many recruitment models are like these online and phone sales agents. They fail to leverage the value of selection and persuasion but rather focus only on finding targets. This is where recruitment organizations earn the fee. Recruiters are capable of selecting the right targets from a collection of many targets. Recruitment firms are experts in using their skills to select based on the criteria and fit characteristics shared by the employer. Once the right targets have been identified, a professional recruitment agency will then begin the process of persuading a candidate to consider a move. This is not as easy as calling the candidate and saying, “Want a new job?” It is an exercise in courting and persuasion. It typically begins with a complete understanding of what would motivate this candidate to make a change. Absent any motivation for change or perhaps the wrong motivation for change (money only, about to be fired, et cetera) the finding of a target is a dead end. The work begins after the right target is identified and a motivation that is appropriate is discovered.

As an employer, if you want the candidates that are easily distracted, ready to jump ship, have little motivation or the wrong motivation for change, then a process that excludes a professional recruitment organization is acceptable. If you want the best fit candidates, with appropriate motivation for change, to be selected and sold on you as an employer, then pay the fee to a professional recruiter and let that recruiter earn the fee. The value of a recruiter is that they can “select” the right candidates to target and will “persuade” those candidates to consider you as an employer. I have not seen a website or electronic service that can do those things effectively.

When do you find value in using a recruiter?


Make Split Placements Part of Your Recruiting Business

By Veronica Scrimshaw

keypadIt’s the time of year when entrepreneurs are developing next year’s budget for their recruiting business. If you are the owner of an independent recruiting agency, you should seriously consider adding split placements as part of your business mix next year. Split placements, where two recruiters from different agencies share the client’s fee, can be an effective way to more effectively serve your clients and candidates.

Market your “leftover” candidates. When you present a shortlist of qualified candidates to your client and only one gets hired, what do you do with the others? It’s a candidate-short market. If you have qualified candidates, there are recruiters out there who can place them!

Expand your business coverage. Are you turning down jobs because they are outside your normal vertical or geographic market? Split placements can allow you to confidently say “yes” to more jobs. If your client needs a .Net developer and you typically provide accountants, consider split placements. Or, if your local client needs help filling a role in another country, reach out to a split placement partner for assistance.

Level out market fluctuations. Split placements allow you to complete more deals. More deals = more money and that’s good news in ANY economy. If your niche is soft (or slowing down), reaching out to split placement partners can pay the bills until your normal market recovers.

Fill more jobs without increasing overhead. If you have more jobs than you can fill, but don’t want the overhead associated with hiring your own recruiters, split placements are a great solution. You’ll gain instant access to more recruiters without having to train them, pay them, or invest in the tools to support their activities. Even better, you only pay your partners when you need them.

Split placements can be a lucrative addition to your recruiting business. It takes time to find the right partners and create the working relationships that allow splits to flourish. To be really successful, you’ll want to start building your network before you need it. There are a variety of options for making split placements, from figuring it out all on your own, to loose affiliations or groups on LinkedIn or other social media, to joining a formal recruiting network. There’s no right or wrong way to build your network of trusted partners, but if you want splits to be part of your business next year, start now!

Download our free checklist to help you evaluate split placement networks here:

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End of Year Motivation For Recruiters

By Sarah Gawrys

50-Motivational-Business-Quotes-c-Epreneur-TV-300x172Every independent recruiter or entrepreneur has had one of those days, weeks, or even months where the road to success can be full of bumps and dead ends, and ultimately seem like a lonely game. Especially here, where the end of the year is coming close, and holiday gatherings with family and friends will start taking you away from work, and it may seem easy to write off time, thinking that you will regain momentum next year.

I encourage you to keep going. I challenge you to pull out the business goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, and if you have not hit them, realize you have over two months left to crank out some results, or set up your business to perform better in the upcoming year. If you have a running list of vendors, marketing programs, or recruitment networks you planned on checking out, invest the time now. If you had plans to hire more staff, or devote more time to certain tasks, invest in that planning now.

It will take many failed attempts to eventually hit the business model that fits in with your vision and goals, as well as lifestyle. When I find myself struggling in business or lacking motivation, I turn to inspirational quotes to regain focus and change my mindset to positive. Here are my some of my favorites:

  • “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” ~ Henry Ford
  • “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” ~Warren Buffett
  • “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” ~ Steve Jobs
  • “People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” ~ Swami Vivekananda
  • “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” ~ Henry Ford
  • “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison
  • “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” ~Mark Zuckerberg
  • “Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” ~ Frederick B Wilcox
  • “If you don’t value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Value what you know and start charging for it.” ~ Kim Garst
  • “Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.” ~ David Rockefeller
  • “Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” ~ William Durant
  • “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” ~Warren Buffett
  • “If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”~Jeff Bezos

Do you have any that I did not include that you turn to personally? Share them in the comments!

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Why Do Employees Quit?

By Dave Nerz

I just saw a Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey that listed the top 6 reasons employees leave your company.  They listed the following reasons:

  1. Higher Compensation 61%
  2. Long-term Growth Potential 44%
  3. Geography 32%
  4. Better Title 25%
  5. Alignment with Company Culture 19%
  6. Flexibility to work from home 14%

Why-Employees-QuitWhile the survey was done and the result captured, I find it difficult to believe. I think that compensation is an easy excuse to cover the more complex reasons impacting employee retention.

In 2013, NPAworldwide did a similar survey called “NPA Global Retention Survey.” We asked recruiters to report on actual hires made in the prior year and the motivation for employees leaving the existing employer. If you know a little bit about recruitment professionals, most will start by understanding the employee’s motivation for exit. If it is exclusively money, that is a red flag and indicates a high risk recruiting scenario. The reason I place more faith in this employee retention survey is that in these instances a recruitment professional dislodged a passive candidate and moved them to a new company. For obvious reasons, employees who are not fairly paid will leave to seek new employment. Let’s assume, to better understand the true motivation of an employee, your company fairly pays its employees. That means your employees are passive candidates, not really looking for the next job but if properly approached by a recruitment professional, they may consider a new employment situation. What is the top risk in that for your passive candidates?

Our survey found that passive candidates left because they were seeking growth/challenge/change, had unsatisfactory career progression, or were lacking job stability. Only 5.3% of respondents mentioned compensation as the reason for change. Many took accepted comparable pay rates to get to a better situation. Of the respondents, 47.9% listed an organizational issue as a primary motivator and 41.5% listed a job specific factor as the reason for change.

The most interesting part of this is that these top three issues and motivators are all very much within the control of employers. Don’t rush to judgment and say that employees leave because of compensation. Take a deeper look. Obviously competitive pay is a requirement to keep employees, but quality management, a great culture and job stability are motivators that will make a huge difference in employee retention.

The full NPAworldwide survey is available here.

What to Tell Your Slow-Hiring Clients

By Veronica Scrimshaw

image of woman preparing for a job interviewIf it seems like you have plenty of jobs to work on, but aren’t making lots of placements, you’re not alone. We’re hearing it anecdotally from our members and now the Dice-DHF Vacancy Duration Measure has validated it as well. It’s taking longer to fill jobs. Average time-to-fill is now 25 days, according to the Dice report, the highest it’s been in 13 years. Among large companies (>5,000 employees), time-to-fill jumps to a shocking 58.1 days.

Employers need to know that slow hiring is harmful to their businesses in multiple ways. Dr. John Sullivan wrote a terrific piece on earlier this year on this very topic, offering 12 ways slow hiring damages both recruiting and business results. My favorites are listed below. The full post is quite lengthy, but well-worth the time.

1. Dragging out the hiring process causes the best candidates to drop out. That’s right. The best candidates, especially passive candidates, simply don’t need to sit around waiting for your slow-hiring clients’ tedious process to finish. They’ll either decide to stay put, or they’ll have taken another offer. Additionally, when an employer is seeking a rain-maker, a slow hiring process can send a message that the company is slow about EVERYTHING. Rock-star candidates probably don’t want to come work at a company that is slow to launch new products, slow to innovate, or slow to respond to customer needs.

2. Slow hiring does NOT improve the QUALITY of hire. This is due in large part to the best candidates dropping out (see item #1, above). Slow-hiring clients may ultimately find they are hiring from a pool of average candidates, because the best candidates will be long-gone by the time a decision to hire is made. Are extra interviews REALLY going to turn up some earth-shattering piece of information that cements (or changes) a decision?

3. Slow hiring reduces hiring manager and recruiter excitement. When you ask a hiring manager to get involved in the process and then don’t deliver a hire for months, their enthusiasm understandably wanes. If a position remains vacant for too long, there is a real risk in many organizations of “losing” that position permanently due to budget constraints. Another unintended consequence of slow hiring is that it becomes more difficult to hire good recruiters (both internally and agency recruiters). In-house recruiters will get tired of the bureaucracy. Third-party (agency) recruiters will see your organization as less-than-serious and will turn down future search assignments – especially contingency recruiters, who only get paid when a hire is made.

4. Slow hiring can significantly raise your cost-to-hire. There is plenty of information that poor hires are costly, but there are also real costs to extended vacancies: lost productivity, additional time investments made by those who are conducting interviews, additional advertising costs, etc.

There are numerous reasons cited for slow hiring; fear seems to be the most common. You may need to advise your slow-hiring clients to change their job description process. There is no question that fear of making the wrong hire (“Can she really do the job?”) is a cause of hiring paralysis. However, if more clients focused on writing job descriptions about what the person would actually DO on the job (and less about subjective ‘skills’ the person must possess), it would be easier to ascertain if the candidate can, in fact, do the job. This would lead to a greater degree of confidence in the hiring process, leading employers to feel that they have identified the right person and moving more quickly to a hire.

The good news is that there are some simple steps that could be implemented to speed up hiring. An obvious one is to review the number of people involved in the approval process – if there is no data to support improved hires as a direct result of having more people involved in the decision, look for people who can be removed. Set up timelines in advance to ensure that the vacant position doesn’t slip through the cracks. First and second interviews can be set up a day or two apart, not weeks apart (especially if there aren’t 17 people involved in the interviews). Read here for some more good ideas.

How are you dealing with slow-hiring clients?

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3 Great Recruiting Blog Posts

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Blog-Computer-KeyFor today’s post, I would like to share three recruiting blog posts that are especially relevant:

Let’s Be More Human – Maureen Sharib, owner of TechTrak (and a past paid speaker for NPAworldwide) blogged on about the importance of human interaction and communication and [gulp] using the PHONE. Everyone is overwhelmed with email. Candidates are ‘signing out’ of LinkedIn to avoid the constant barrage of InMail from random, unknown recruiters. She suggests that a change in attitude, from an inwardly-focused one to an outwardly-focused one of “What can I do for someone else” would go a long way to helping overcome the telephone reluctance that has become so pervasive. Recruiting is still about making connections, and electronic ‘communication’ just doesn’t build rapport in quite the same way as voice or in-person activities.

11 Fascinating LinkedIn Usage Stats for Recruiters [INFOGRAPHIC] – The good people at Social Talent (Johnny Campbell has also been a paid speaker for NPAworldwide) have released their 2014 Global Sourcing Survey, and have created this infographic about how recruiters are using LinkedIn to accompany the survey results. You’ve probably heard that 96% of all recruiters have a LinkedIn account, but did you know that almost half of them are using a free, basic account? Only 6% of recruiters are reporting using the phone to reach out to candidates, but phone-users are getting higher response rates than those who are using LinkedIn (InMail or Connection requests). Maybe it’s time to dust off that old relic?

Why Mobile is a Must for Your Recruitment Arsenal – By 2016, we are expected to have more mobile devices in the world than people. More than 90% of adults report having a smartphone within reach at all times. There is simply no getting around the fact that mobile behavior has changed candidates’ expectations for how the hiring process works. Unfortunately, a shockingly small number of businesses offer mobile-friendly websites and application processes. Read this blog for five common mobile mistakes that recruiters make, and how to avoid them.

What’s YOUR favorite recruiting blog? Share in the comments below!

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Split Fee Placement Agreement

Lean Into It

By Veronica Scrimshaw

runnerToday’s installment was submitted by T. Jeff McGraw of Callos Resource, LLC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jeff serves as the chair of the NPAworldwide Board of Directors, and has been a member of the network since 1994. Callos Resource, LLC  provides a broad range of human resource services including recruiting & search, temporary staffing, and PEO services.

No, I am not referring to the title of the second studio album by the American rock supergroup, Mr. Big, released in 1991. Besides, were they ever that well known?

What I am thinking of is a scene in the 2012 movie People Like Us where Chris Pine’s character, Sam, is trying to help another character get through a particular rough spot by providing the six rules of life, with rule number five being “Lean into it.” Sam explains this rule as “the outcome doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are there for it. Whatever it is…good or bad.” Urban dictionary defines it this way; “To do it big, to do or say something to an extreme.”

This brought me back to when I began running. I learned that running, along with hard work and dedication, requires the runner to learn how to run uphill and downhill (believe it or not). Running downhill requires the runner to stand tall but running uphill, and battling gravity, the runner must run with a forward lean or in other words, lean into it.

Running uphill and running downhill can resemble our own business. There are good times (downhill running) and there are bad times (running uphill). When life is good and the recruiting gods are looking favorably upon us, we are running downhill. We are standing tall and the run seems easy. But the experienced recruiter knows that in good times we are not only standing tall, but we are also preparing for the lean times. When the placements are fewer and the fall-offs are greater we must learn to lean into it and do whatever it takes to get back to the top.

Sometimes doing what it takes is not natural. What is more natural for us is having a sense of fear, a feeling of uncomfortableness and a natural tendency to shy away. Leaning into it is to stay present, to be with the now, to experience, to learn, to grow and to be affected.

When I opened my first recruiting business in 1994 I only had three years of prior experience but with this experience I knew that my recruitment business could be stronger (in the good times) and more resilient (in the bad times) if I joined a split placement network. Why, some may ask, would any recruiter want to give away half of a placement fee? For me, it wasn’t giving away fifty percent of a fee; it was about receiving half of a fee that I may not have been able to generate but for the trusted trading partners in my split placement network. And, earning more revenue was only the half of it (pun intended)! This recruitment network brought me comrades in business that could help me to learn, to grow and to shed my feelings of fear. Yes, this network became my global network of independent recruiters who I not only claim as my trusted network of recruitment trading partners but I also claim as some of my best friends. Friends that can support me across the globe.

So for me, “leaning into it” meant joining up with like-minded recruiters that I could split placements with and share the uphills and the downhills of our business. Quoting the lyrics from the Little Big Town song – Lean Into It; “These days are filled with trouble, And the nights feel like they’re all getting longer, These days are dark and grey, Like that storm rolling in across the water, It’s a hard time, But I know I’ll get through it, Just gotta lean into it!”

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A Recruiter’s Guide to Time Management

By Sarah Gawrys

At the NAPS conference in Houston, TX, one of my favorite speakers was Jon Bartos of The Global Performance Group, who spoke on the multi-million dollar producer’s guide to time management. As independent recruiters, each day, we go into work with a clear mind, a set plan of things to accomplish, of calls to make, and business development plans. Two hours later after reading and handling three unpredicted emails and reading on the latest sports scandal, we realize our plans are not quite panning out. Here are some tips from Jon Bartos as to how to manage that time more closely.

Planning is the foundation of your success or failure, and by structuring your day, you can avoid the latter. Reserve the morning for marketing and get the important tough stuff done first. Set daily goals based off of yearly goals, break down that $5,000,000 revenue into smaller targets to stay on point. 80% of sales people waste time selling to the wrong targets, so make sure you know who is taking up your time and market to those that will help you reach your goals.

Understand the four quadrants of efficiency to keep your day on task. Schedule your email and handle the important ones first. Here is a chart showing the four quadrants and how to prioritize:









By handling emails and daily tasks according to these quadrants, you are taking care of what needs to be immediately handled and not letting the random email ADHD take over your day and time management.

Track your results with a performance management system to see what activities are powering your business and which activities are unproductive or taking away from building revenue. Do not allow yourself to close a day without sticking to your activities, even the typical, “I’ll do it tomorrow” should be crossed from your vocabulary.

Finally, always remember that selling time should be valued and scheduled the most, because this is your $1000 dollar activity versus your $10 dollar activity, make it a priority and hit those goals, 2014 is not over yet!

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5 SEO Tips for Recruitment Firms

By Veronica Scrimshaw

seo-word-cloudIf you’ve had a website for your recruitment firm for any length of time, you probably have at least some rudimentary knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization). As aggregators become more and more dominant as the main way jobs are distributed online, it’s easy to lose sight of how important SEO still is for your website. I have a sneaking suspicion that “everyone” thinks job seekers head straight to sites like Indeed when they are searching for a new job. I’d like to suggest that a lot of job seekers, maybe even a majority of them, may *actually* start their job searches via Google, Bing, or another “regular” search engine. Did you know, for example, that Google reports more than 124 MILLION job-related searches each MONTH? And that Google Search is the #3 mobile app for smartphones? Or that Google also boasts 87.1% of the US mobile search market? (Thanks to our friends at Monster for gathering some of this data!) That adds up to a LOT of people doing a lot of job searching in places that are NOT aggregator sites. So, here are a few SEO tips for recruitment firms to help you reach some of these job seekers:

1. Make your jobs easy to find. Don’t bury them multiple pages deep into your site. Having a feed of your newest jobs on your home page is smart because, (a) your home page is *probably* your most-visited page and (b) continuously-refreshing content will keep the Google bots coming back to your site to index the new content.

2. Use “plain speak” URLs for your jobs – for example, as opposed to something like Using keywords in real language makes it MUCH easier for search engines to find your content and return it in the search engine results pages.

3. Ideally, make sure each job is contained on its OWN page. Sites with deep content are consistently rated as more authoritative than sites with less content. Combining a well-optimized job description page with a word-based URL is still a great way to improve organic search results for your recruitment firm.

4. Pay attention to the meta description field. The meta description is the short snippet you see under the page title and URL in search engine results. It should be written in plain language, “match” the subject matter in the page title and URL, and be compelling enough that the searcher will click on the link.

5. Don’t forget mobile! If your website offers a poor mobile experience, Google is probably demoting your site in search results (or worse, removing it altogether).

Do you have any SEO tips for recruitment firms you can share?

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5 Key Messages for Recruiters from the Recruitment Market

By Dave Nerz

world-map-relief-goldThe recruitment market is sending signs to us all the time. Here are some of the signs that have been in front of the global recruitment industry for nearly a year. Have you followed the traffic patterns?

Markets are ready to boom. There are growth opportunities all around the world for global recruiters. Places like Asia and South America have been sending signals that they are ready to heat up. North America remains strong and there are varying levels of opportunity that are niche dependent. IT and manufacturing are hot in North America and show little sign of slowing.

Demographics Matter. The baby-boom echo is leading to high unemployment of youth in many markets. This under-utilization of youth will be a great challenge as the baby boomers retire and take years of experience to retirement with them. It would seem the market is ripe for internships and training programs provided by employers, but employers have been slow to respond and invest.

Professional-Level Temps. In markets like the US and Europe, highly skilled and professional staff is required on short-term to medium-term assignments. There are skills shortages that make high-end temporary staffing a practical solution.

New Talent Needed. Global recruiters are going to need to compete for top talent. The best firms will hire and train top sales, marketing and customer service talent from other industries and direct from universities. Recruiting recruiters will become a necessity.

Global Recruitment. The needs of employers are reaching out across borders. The best recruiters will have partnerships, recruitment networks and relationships that allow them to place people anywhere in the world. It will slowly become an expectation rather than an abnormality. Small recruitment firms and independents will need to be connected in order to protect employer relationships from outside competition from the large chain operations.

What signs do you see for the years ahead? Is there anything that recruiters should do to prepare for the market we will face 12 months from now?


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