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 ERE.net 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 ERE.net 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!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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, www.abcrecruiting.com/engineering-jobs/senior-software-engineer as opposed to something like www.abcrecruiting.com/careers/223850928945?. 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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Tips for Building, Handling, and Strengthening Clients Relationships

By Sarah Gawrys

colored-note-padsI recently was able to attend the NAPS (National Association of Personnel Services) conference that was held in Houston, Texas. Each day held many sessions with many topics that were pertinent to independent and agency recruiters. One session in particular was extremely interesting and titled, “Recruit Stock,” as a pun on the old Woodstock festival. Next Level Exchange filled the hour with amazing tips to stand out as a top of the line recruiter, and I want to share some of this information.

First and foremost, here is a good list that highlights how to handle client demands.


  1. The client states that they only pay a flat fee—they only pay ___ rate. To this demand, do not simply accept it, but counteroffer by asking for exclusivity on the search. If there is push back on this, then request that the exclusivity is only for a limited time.
  2. “We won’t pay a conversion fee.” Counter demand and ask for a faster payment cycle to this client demand.
  3. The client states that you must go through human resources. Counter demand by asking for additional business.
  4. The client tells you that you have to follow their process for hiring the candidate. Counter demand that they provide you a testimonial letter or referral in exchange for following their processes.
  5. The final and most common client demand will be that they must see multiple candidates prior to making a decision. For this, counter demand a meeting with the owner/VP/executive to be able to place yourself as high as you can while being able to collect more information. Otherwise, ask for a retainer depending on how many candidates they wish to see.

Another good tip in regards to securing clients by Mike Gionta is to secure permission to educate them on the problem or frustration, instead of blurting out to the hiring manager what they need to do. “Mr. Hiring Manager, are you open to hearing about what probably happened in that situation?” By asking, you are respecting the relationship.

Finally, to build clients, use the Super Seven secret by Scott Love. Write down seven existing clients or prospects that you want to move forward, then write specific action steps to move that relationship forward. These could include scheduling a lunch, having a conference call, submitting a candidate, etc. Be very specific in your actions and abide by them to create stronger relationships.

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Do You Cha-Cha?

By Veronica Scrimshaw

ballroom-dancer-femaleToday’s guest blogger is Gary Harvey, the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or gary.harvey@sandler.com. Gary is also one of the featured speakers for the 2015 NPAworldwide Global Conference.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

A few weeks ago, I was in Southern California on business, and I walked by a shop that had the following sign outside:

“An optimist is someone who figures taking a step back after a step forward is not a disaster –it’s more like the cha-cha!!”

I love this phrase and took a picture of it.  I have always considered myself an optimist – I have to self-monitor with a dose of realism at times so the optimism stays in check at least a little. Admittedly, that is a challenge for me; I prefer the glass half-full to the glass half-empty.

What came to your mind when you read the above quote? What was your instant reaction? Did you agree? Laugh? Did it support or not support your belief system. Did you say to yourself, “Oh sure, that’s easy for some to say.” Did you say, “But who wants to cha-cha?” Did you view it with optimism or pessimism? Hopefully, it made you ask yourself, “How do I view obstacles?”

I mentioned I’m an inherent optimist. Example: “I heard there’s a recession; however, I have decided not to participate in it.” My dose of realism adds that I’m not advocating in both business and sales you put your head in the sand and hope you survive it. Hope is not a strategy.

Acknowledge that it has been a challenge out there – so what?  Odds are, it might be a challenge for some time for some sectors of the economy. What do you do then with that reality? Is the glass half full – there are still plenty of prospects in this economy to still call on and I just need to go find them? Or is it, “No one is buying so why bother prospecting?”

Note earlier I didn’t use the words it’s “tough” or “difficult” out there in this economy. These to me are very negative, energy-draining words. I prefer to use the word “challenging.” Say the words out loud, “tough” or “difficult.” Note how your body feels. Drained? Depressed?

Then say the word, “challenging.” Notice any difference in not only your tone but how you feel when you say that word? Do you say it with optimism as many of my clients do when I coach them in this exercise? Or do you say it with pessimism?

Business and sales in particular can be laden every day with challenges. Some days, you take a step forward. Some days, you take a step back.  That’s realism. My question to you is, “Do you cha-cha or sit on the side lines and watch the others have fun dancing?”

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Add Video to Your Passive Recruiting Strategy

By Veronica Scrimshaw

woman-thinking-at-deskToday’s guest blogger is Justin Mosgrober, Marketing Coordinator at InterviewStream – the pioneer in online video interviewing. Since 2003, InterviewStream (an NPAworldwide Alliance Partner) has helped companies generate great candidate experiences and remarkable returns through Web-based video screening, interviewing and preparation. InterviewStream provides a scalable approach that fits with customers’ unique business needs to achieve breakthrough results. Clients rely on InterviewStream for the perfect combination of proven value and endless possibility.

So you’re ready to fill a job req, but after conducting many interviews you’re still not convinced any of the remaining candidates are right. According to recruiter.com, traditional hiring costs an organization between $1,500 and $5,000 per hire, making hiring one of the most important investments a company can make. In addition to those expenses, organizations have to spend more money to provide appropriate training and development. It simply costs too much for organizations to make a bad hire.

The best recruiters court passive candidates to help companies make the right hire the first time. 79 percent of working professionals are passive candidates, meaning they’re employed and not actively looking for new opportunities. But if you can make a top performer from another organization interested in your open position, then you might have just found the best option.

Generally, passive candidates are perceived as better talent than active candidates, because they are already bringing a positive impact to their current organization. With many companies looking for the best talent, organizations will do everything in their power to keep their star workers.

When pursuing these candidates, many recruiters depend on LinkedIn or other social media channels to connect with potential candidates. Emailing the candidate is another option, but your email may get lost in the shuffle. One way to effectively get a passive candidate’s attention is with video technology because of its flexibility and accessibility.

For candidates not actively looking for a job, video technology can be the perfect way to entice candidates considering different possibilities. Once you have built rapport with a candidate, invite him/her to complete a video interview. If a candidate isn’t interested simply move on, but the option to take a video interview is attractive to some candidates because they can take the interview on their own time instead of missing work.

In addition to solving the scheduling problem, video interviews also take away the hassle of traveling, making geography a nonfactor.  And since many candidates are hesitant to tell their current employers about interviews (in case they don’t want to pursue the opportunity), pre-recorded video interviews allow potential candidates to explore their options discreetly while giving recruiters and hiring managers a chance to get to know the candidate better.

Video interviews can also be utilized during down periods in hiring. Whether a position is open or not, recruiters can build their pipeline with a collection of video interviews from top prospects. Once a position is made available, you can either share their previous video interview with the hiring manager or ask the candidate to complete another interview that focuses specifically on this new opening.

You never know, you could build a great relationship with a candidate who may be perfect for a placement down the road. But either way, video gives both recruiters and passive candidates the flexibility to explore new options without interrupting their current work.

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3 Ways to Improve a Failing Recruitment Process

By Sarah Gawrys

puzzle-piecesAfter researching endless solutions to common independent recruitment problems, recruiters may find themselves more frustrated, and unable to see why their system is just not working anymore. Too much to process with a lack of resources can slowly, yet surely, cause damage to your recruitment brand. Here are three suggestions to improve your brand and recruitment process:

  1. Do you have a consistent brand? This is the first question to examine as you begin to look at your recruitment firm. When you Google yourself and your firm name, is there a clear brand and message across all pages? For example, Smithsonian Recruitment Services should not read Smithsonian Recruiting Services or Smithsonian Recruiters on any webpage, that is not your brand, and could potentially be infringing on another recruitment firm’s trademark that may not have a good reputation. Consistency and simplicity are the keys to developing a web presences that candidates need to navigate. Candidates do not need it to be an endeavor to locate information about your firm, or jump through endless hoops providing information to reach you.
  2. Are you ignoring your candidates? I had a very successful marketing director tell me that his first experience with an independent recruiter left him upset after the recruiter failed to make any contact or provide any feedback to him after his interview with the client. When he decided to seek a new opportunity, now a very well established professional, he again was sourced by this recruiter and immediately decided not to work with him due to his negative experience. As an independent recruiter, your process is likely not working if you don’t respond to applicants. Even if they do not receive an offer, they deserve to know. Candidates now are much more likely to post experiences to social media, and tarnish your brand.
  3. Are your tools working for you? As an independent recruiter, most times you cannot possibly handle taking on any more, even when you are not satisfied with your success. You can only use more applicants and a higher retention rate. A good applicant tracking system can greatly reduce the time spent reviewing the value in a resume, and they can automate posting to job boards and candidate emails. In his recruiter blog, Raj Sheth highlights these key features your ATS should have:
  • Resume management: collects resumes and cover letters in any format en mass from emails and upload them to the system in bulk.
  • Applicant tracking: Not only should you be able to track an applicant’s progress, you should have the ability to auto-archive them if they simply didn’t fit the position, or search within their candidate profile for more information.
  • Career site management: an ATS should be able to publish to your career site as well as to social media and search engines to optimize your company’s visibility.
  • Collaborative recruitment: Easily share candidate profiles with other members of your team for a cooperative hiring process.

Remember; always think first and foremost, “how might this affect my brand?” If you use this mentality when handling candidates, posting on webpages, and creating a recruitment process, you are able to see yourself as others may view the brand, which will lead to stronger candidates and a lower turnover.

Relevant Networking

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Mel-Kettle-PhotoMel Kettle is a communications and social media consultant, speaker, blogger, educator, coach, bookworm, obsessive foodie and eatie, and a budding photographer. She blogs on marketing and social media at www.melkettle.com.au. Mel is passionate about working with organisations to show them how to communicate effectively so they can develop communities, share their stories and raise awareness. She particularly enjoys working with people who want to make a difference to other people’s lives. In her spare time Mel writes a food blog, The cook’s notebook.

I used to go to a lot of networking events – easily one or two a week. And then life got a little busy (that networking was paying off!), and I stopped.

While I do a huge amount of networking via Twitter, and have a lot of referrals come to me that way, I miss the face-to-face interactions that going to a networking event provides.

I’ve decided it’s time to crank up my networking again, and to at least go to one event a month. Maybe two. That’s easy, you think. There are loads to choose from. And yes, there are. However like many solopreneurs, my time is fairly precious, and I want to make sure that the networking events I go to are going to be relevant and help me achieve my goals – business and personal (and no, I’m not looking for a husband!).

How do you choose relevant events to go to, I hear you ask. Well, personally I go to networking events for a number of reasons:

  • to hear a speaker who interests me
  • to meet prospective clients
  • to catch up with a number of friends/colleagues/business associates all at once (it’s far easier than arranging a lot of coffees!)
  • to support a charity that I believe in – particularly if they are fundraising
  • to support the organisers if they are clients, friends or starting out a new networking group that sounds interesting.

Most of these reasons are fairly self-explanatory. However I am often asked, “How do you know that prospective clients are going to be at the networking function you are going to?” There are a few ways to find out:

  • trial and error – go to a couple and see what sort of people are also there (this can sometimes be a bit exxy in terms of time and money)
  • go where your target market goes – one reason I go to events run by the International Association of Business Communicators is because other business owners go (and they are one of my target markets)
  • ring the organiser and find out who has attended previous events – while they probably won’t give you names, they may give you some examples of professions and roles
  • ask the Twitterverse if anyone has been, what they thought, and what type of people were there – the people who reply will also be a good indication of attendees.

How do you choose what networking events you go to? And what are your favourites? And do you like face-to-face networking or do you prefer to do it all via social media?


Maximize Your Social Recruiting with Four Suggestions

By Sarah Gawrys

buildingblocksAs many recruiters attempt to keep up with the ongoing trends in social media recruitment, some believe that just taking the baby steps in establishing profiles on various sites or making “connections” gives them the title of being a social recruiter. While those first steps are important, there are four more suggestions I can offer to take social recruiting to a new level.

  1. Be responsive. Job seekers have a new frustration when it comes to applications that didn’t exist back in the days of handing over a resume in person; the black hole of the internet. In online recruitment, candidates often express that they get no reply to jobs they spend their efforts on. Social media gives recruiters the opportunity to differentiate themselves and be recruiters who are reachable and RESPONSIVE. Even if the candidate may not be a perfect fit for this position, giving feedback can keep them on your contact list for the future, or open you up to referrals from them.
  2. Engage, do not just sell. Social media allows the recruiter to start conversations with candidates. Many times, you will see recruiters simply posting job ad after job ad or using social media as simply an advertising medium, which is missing the golden opportunity of reaching star candidates through topics and questions and engagement.
  3. Build up an asset for your business. If back in the day a successful recruiter was able to build a database of candidate CVs/resumes, then today the equivalent is building a following of candidates on social media. This is now a candidate base you are able to reach out to regardless of how small or large your budget may be. This is now an audience that can prompt candidate interest early in the decision cycle; sometimes your post may be the first trigger in prompting them to consider a career move. Post often, and use step 3 to collect a large following.
  4. Business integration. By giving the candidate more insight on your particular business, you are sharing the culture and this integration will lead to a larger number of successful hires due to the candidates trusting and knowing you and your business.

The final piece of advice is for recruiters to spend at least 2-3 hours per week reading and researching the various forms of social media and the best tips to maximize their visibility and engagement on their pages. The more avid followers you are able to attract and retain, the larger your candidate base will be.

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