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 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?”

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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, 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 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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How to Collect $25,000 on Placements that You Have Already Made

By Veronica Scrimshaw

past-due-stampToday’s guest blogger is Wilson Cole. He is the founder and CEO of Adams, Evens & Ross, the nation’s largest credit and collection agency designed exclusively for the staffing and recruiting industry. In 2008 he was inducted into INC Magazine’s, “INC 500″ for being the CEO of Adams, Evens & Ross, the 307th fastest-growing privately held company in America.

Clients are starting to tell us that the economy is picking up, and for the first time in years they are starting to feel optimistic. This is a good thing. I am seeing cash flows improve from debtors as well, so we will all keep our fingers crossed and hope that this positive sign continues.

One of the issues that I have seen a very large increase in is back-door hires and conversion. I would be willing to bet that if I had 100 clients go back and check their candidates, 25% of our clients would find that at least one of their candidates was hired over the last 12 months. Yes this is a problem, but it is also a big opportunity. If you are willing to take the time and spend an afternoon checking LinkedIn, I would bet that you could find $15,000 to $45,000 in placements.

The reason I bring this point up is because the economy is improving, and debtors now have more money in their bank accounts. The chances of them paying you once you bring the hiring of your candidate to their attention has greatly increased from a few years ago. Then, debtors used to prefer to hold on to their money and prefer that you sue them because it bought them more time. Now, with sales increasing and cash flow improving, the debtor will more likely just cut a check vs. having to spend the money on an attorney.

So what should you do if you learn that one of your temps or candidates was hired by your client? The following suggestions may be helpful:

  • Pull an inventory of your paperwork. Do you have a signed agreement? Do you have an email trail? Can you show clearly that the client knew it was your candidate and if they hired that individual, then a fee would be owed?
  • Reach out to the hiring company and inform the company of its unfortunate “oversight.”
  • Send the company an invoice. If you have to guess what is owed because you do not know what they are paying your candidate, then take an educated guess. Use the higher side of your best guess without being out of line of course (if the candidate’s potential hire meant the company had to pay the fee, then contact the former candidate to find out what he or she is being paid).
  • Send an invoice with a specific date. For example, don’t have the invoice say net 10 days or due upon receipt. Have your invoice read 5 – 10 days from the day you cut the invoice. If today is March 2 then you would put Due March 12 — 20XX.
  • Send the invoice, and wait until the first day after the invoice was to be paid.
  • Then call and send a letter giving the client 5 days more. Give an exact date.

Click here for more.

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How to Make Sure You’re Hiring the Right People for Your Startup

By Veronica Scrimshaw

male-entrepreneur-laptopOur blog today comes from Nick Bowditch who has recently joined Forsythes Recruitment. Nick has come to Forsythes from Facebook where he was their Regional SME Manager (AUS/NZ). He has re-launched Forsythes’ IT/Tech/Startup recruitment division out of his home office on the Central Coast. He is currently managing recruitment assignments for Instagram, Twitter and Telstra just to name a few. Nick works with innovative startups and small businesses in Australia and internationally, presenting at conferences and inspiring others to take the leap into their own startups, as well as working with big brands helping them connect to small businesses and their communities better – both offline and online.

So your recruitment company has given you a shortlist of candidates to chat to about the vacant position with your startup. So how do you know you are hiring the right person? Think about these 4 things:

Are they doing something that you can’t?

Often in the startup phase you are bootstrapping the business or under some financial pressure. I am a big believer in hiring what you need rather than what you would ideally like. So the first hire – after you and the other co-founder(s) – is often the most important one. Will this next hire mean you can get some money in to then recruit further? Is the role that they will fill something that you and people already in the business could do if you were really pushed? I think hiring for skill gaps in your business is the way to think about it.

Do they share your vision?

Let’s face it, nobody is really going to share your vision, not the way you do. But you can reasonably expect them to be on board at least with what you are trying to do and what you think their role is in that. Unfortunately a lot of startups find out their new employee doesn’t share their vision for the business until they have sapped a lot of your resources and finances and it’s too late.

Do they need structure and a hiding place?

Startups are scrappy. Sometimes you are doing your job and sometimes you are doing stuff you never would have dreamed doing. The scrappiness of startups both attracts and frustrates people who work in that space but it can be a very rude shock if you are not prepared for it. If you work out that someone is used to working in a big corporate space where they can hide all day without it being obvious then you are probably not hiring the right person for your startup.

Understand what motivates them.

What do they want to achieve? What’s going to get the best out of them? What will totally frustrate them? Most importantly, are both you and they aligned on these things? You don’t have to know everything about them but understanding what motivates them is the number one way to ensure you are getting optimal performance from your new startup employee.

What’s been your experience with hiring the right – or wrong – people? What would you change next time?

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What’s Wrong with Active Candidates?

By Veronica Scrimshaw

hire-meThere is so much hype about passive candidates vs. active candidates. It seems like most recruiters, when pressed, will tell you that passive candidates, i.e. candidates who are not looking for a job but might be interested if the right opportunity came along, are the ‘gold standard’ of recruiting. Active candidates are sometimes overlooked or written off as undesirable, and I’m not sure that’s the smartest approach.

You know what I think? I think too many recruiters think “active candidates” = “unemployed candidates.”

The definition of an “active candidate” is one who is actively, currently, looking for a new role. It’s a big jump to automatically assume that candidate is unemployed. Consider the following examples of active candidates:

  • Those who have reached the top of the payscale at their current company
  • Those who have no more room for promotion at their current company
  • Those who are caught up in a merger / acquisition that is likely to impact their job downstream (change in focus, consolidation, etc.)
  • Those who work for bad managers (remember, employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers)
  • Those who are interested in relocation for a variety of reasons

In some ways, I believe recruiting active candidates might be the smarter move — for one thing, you don’t have to convince them to leave what is familiar for something unknown. They have already emotionally separated themselves from their current employer and are ready to move on to something new. There is a high(er) likelihood they’ve already talked with their spouses, so the career move is not an out-of-the-blue shock. They’d probably like to remain employed until they find a new role, which means they probably aren’t shouting out their job search from every available rooftop, job board, or social media channel. Nothing undesirable about any of that, is there?

The goal (I think?) is to get the best person in front of your client. If the best person is someone who has already decided a career move is in order, would you NOT present them to your client? Would your client ‘pass’ on an interview? Probably not. Don’t be so quick to label active candidates or passive candidates; instead, focus on the *best* candidates.

What do you think? Has the “active” versus “passive” debate run its course? Why or why not?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

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8 Great Phone Screening Tips

By Veronica Scrimshaw

man-telephone-headsetToday’s guest blogger is Jason Elias with Elias Recruitment, specializing in placing lawyers throughout Australia. Jason is a longtime member of NPAworldwide, a previous director, and recipient of the 2014 NPAworldwide Chairman’s Award.

  1. Where possible find a quiet place to make the calls with all the CVs printed out/on screen in front of you.
  2. Prepare a series of questions based on the selection criteria, experience and attitude, e.g. why did they apply for this role, what makes them a good candidate?
  3. The aim is not a detailed assessment but rather a “Yes” or “No” as to whether they progress to the next stage, usually a formal interview. Try and be as efficient as possible and remember everyone you say yes to will require interview time, so be selective.
  4. Always ask the essential criteria questions first. If there is a threshold issue such as a degree/qualification, there is no point continuing the conversation with unqualified applicants. Politely notify the applicant that you cannot progress
    and ask if you can keep them in mind about other roles where that requirement is not an issue.
  5. Assess their communication skills. There are many roles that require significant phone time. Does the applicant have the requisite phone presence your organisation needs?
  6. Check logistical issues such as when they can start. If you need someone to start shortly and they need to provide a 3 month notice period, move on to the next applicant. Also check visas/working rights, salary expectations and any other housekeeping issues.
  7. Check what other opportunities they have: there is something comforting about knowing that other organisations are also pursuing the candidate. This also means competition, so you need to know how quickly to move things along. There is nothing more frustrating than selecting the perfect candidate only to find out she has taken a job elsewhere because the other company moved faster.
  8. Remember to keep the good candidates in the loop, perhaps call or email them after the screening and let them know that you are keen to interview and ascertain their availability.

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4 Reasons Recruitment Firms Should Offer Contracting

By Veronica Scrimshaw

professional-employeesMany independent recruiters focus exclusively on direct-hire recruitment, and that can certainly be a successful business model. However, it’s not a bad idea to diversify your recruitment firm’s business mix, and contracting is one way to do that. Here are four reasons recruitment firms should consider contracting:

1. “Annuity” income. Contractors get paid for every hour they work, which translates to a “paycheck” to your firm for each hour as well. Just 5 full-time contractors out at a small profit of $5 per hour would generate a $50,000 annuity each year for your recruitment firm.

2. Even out cash flow. For small businesses of all types, cash flow is king. Recruitment firms, especially those with a contingency model, can suffer from wild swings in cash flow when payment for work sometimes doesn’t happen for 90 or more days. It’s tough to manage ongoing overhead with that kind of ebb and flow. Adding contractors is a way to bring in steady, regular income to help balance the cash flow that keeps your business running smoothly.

3. Provide your clients a way to hire when their “hiring budget” is unavailable. Sometimes your clients will have an urgent hiring need, and their normal budget is unavailable. Maybe there has been a spending freeze. Maybe the budget dollars for the fiscal year have already been spent, and no new monies will be available until the next fiscal year. Offering an employee via contract *may* offer your client a solution. Money for contract/temporary labor is very often in a different line item than money for direct hiring. Structure your deal correctly, and the client can convert the contractor to a direct-hire employee and you can still earn a full fee for the placement.

4. Create a saleable asset. If you’re the owner of a recruitment firm, have you thought about retiring? Are you planning on one of your kids taking over the business? What if they’re not interested? If you don’t have an “heir-apparent” whether in the form of a family member or a longtime employee, your options may be limited to either closing the doors or selling your business. Selling recruitment firms isn’t necessarily a quick or simple process. It can be tough to determine the value of the business. Your database probably isn’t worth as much as you think it is. Contingency clients are not a guaranteed source of future income. But contractors are a different story. Contractors ARE a guarantee of future income and thus, are a tangible asset with a defined value.

Are you currently offering contracting as part of your business mix? Why or why not?

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