Pinnacle Perspectives Live 2010
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Pinnacle Perspectives Live 2010

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Panel from the Fordyce Forum 2010, including Jenifer Lambert, Dave Staats, Tom Keoughan, Rick Rush, Fernando Espinosa.

Panel from the Fordyce Forum 2010, including Jenifer Lambert, Dave Staats, Tom Keoughan, Rick Rush, Fernando Espinosa.

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Pinnacle Perspectives Live 2010 Document Transcript

  • 1. Recruiters: How to Get More Business in a Down Economy Learn how to connect better with your buyers and build critical relationships and credibility that will lead to more business. Part 1 of a three-part series. By John Vlastelica and Jenifer Lambert
  • 2. Page 1 Recruiters: How to Get More Business in a Down Economy Learn how to connect better with your buyers and build critical relationships and credibility that will lead to more business. By John Vlastelica and Jenifer Lambert Insights Into the Buy-Side First, we don’t need to tell you that it’s rough out there. Companies are downsizing or staying flat and HR and Hiring Managers are busy, often trying to do more with less. Growing – even maintaining – business in this economy isn’t easy. In this three part series of articles, we’ll focus on… • What you need to know about your buyers’ mind-set to get business in this kind of market • How you should engage with corporate recruiters and HR managers so that you’re top of mind when they’re ready to hire an outside recruiter • How to address the misperception that companies don’t need you now How do you address this “I understand that you would like to fill this position on your own. common perception held by Corporate HR and Hiring In this market, I have no doubt you’ll get a lot of response to your Managers? posting. However, I have a candidate who won’t be responding to your posting because she’s not actively looking for work. “Many of the resumes I’m She’s currently employed and succeeding where she’s at. She is getting from recruiters are working through me on a confidential basis to be kept aware of unemployed, active job seekers. I can find those people on my opportunities that could be the next step in her career. I’d like to own. Why pay a fee?” have you speak with her as a comparison to the candidates you surface on your own. If you find a stronger candidate, there’s no harm done. You only pay a fee if you decide that she’s the right choice for this role. Are you willing to have an exploratory conversation with her on that basis?” D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. Urbandale, IA 50322 w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 7 7 . 3 8 6 . 3 3 2 3
  • 3. Page 2 Best Practices for Developing Opportunity & Demonstrating Value Good news! Companies are still hiring. Thousands of new jobs are being posted each week. But to convert these opportunities into closed business, you need to be savvy about uncovering the opportunities and demonstrating how and where you add real value. 1. Leverage technology. Set up job search agents on your job boards and on your target clients’ corporate career sites to learn Instead of asking for the about new openings. Watch for jobs that have been posted exclusive search, offer a for more than 30 days. It’s quite possible that your client may really strong candidate as a have hit a wall with their own efforts and they will be much comparison to their internally more receptive to your offer of assistance. Also watch for roles that were posted, then taken down, and then reposted weeks or generated candidates. months later. The company may have frozen hiring temporarily, and – therefore – lost internal sourcing momentum. The fact that they’ve reopened a job may tell you that it’s a critical opening (or a bad hire was made); the HR team may need significant, immediate help to generate candidates. 2. Be prepared to audition. When responding to a posted position, you must 1) do something to differentiate yourself from every other recruiter who saw the same posting and 2) overcome a general reluctance your buyer may have to see candidates from an outside recruiter. Do this: Instead of asking for the exclusive search, offer a really strong candidate as a comparison to their internally generated candidates. 3. Put a “game changer” on the field. Look beyond just chasing open requisitions and use high-value candidates to create Talk about the niche candidate openings. For any company, in any economy, there are some sites you use, the personal candidates they simply can’t afford not to hire. Ask a hiring networks you’ve developed over manager: “What direct competitors do you want to target? Are there key people that you know by name that you haven’t the years and your success at been able to successfully land in the past? Describe the type of pulling passive candidates out candidate who could make a huge difference in your business.” of top companies. Once you know what type of talent this hiring manager will find irresistible, have recruiting conversations with these candidates. If they’re open to making a move, you make the introduction and reap the rewards. 4. Show your sourcing expertise. No one wants to pay you to post their job on a job board, and route them screened candidates; they can do that on their own. Give your clients insights into your sourcing expertise and tools in your toolbox. Talk about the niche candidate sites you use, the personal networks you’ve developed over the years, your success at pulling passive candidates out of top companies, and the speed at which D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. Urbandale, IA 50322 you can develop a quality slate of candidates. w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 7 7 . 3 8 6 . 3 3 2 3
  • 4. Page 3 5. Strategically approach fee objections. In general, you never want to reduce your fee. But, if we’re realistic, we know that sometimes we must (especially to get into the door with new clients in this economy). If you decide to offer a lower fee, don’t do it from a position of weakness. Instead, acknowledge their budget issues, and let them know that you’re willing to temporarily work for a reduced fee during this first search (the “audition period”). But don’t just give it away. Negotiate something in return, like some money up front, faster payment terms, or a testimonial that you can use in your marketing materials upon placement. And, when you go to invoice them, show – right on the invoice – your regular rate first, then the special discount, and then the final fee. Remind them that they’re getting a special, temporary deal (it can also make them look like a cost cutter with the finance organization). About the Authors: John Vlastelica is a former Corporate Recruiting Director with Amazon.com and Managing Director of Recruiting Toolbox, Inc., a consulting and training firm focused on helping corporate recruiters and hiring managers recruit better. www.RecruitingToolbox.com Jenifer Lambert is a VP with Terra Staffing Group, a Pinnacle Society recognized Executive Recruiter, and President of Elevate Performance Systems, LLC, a consulting and training firm that helps third party D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. recruiters grow their business. Urbandale, IA 50322 www.ElevatePerformanceSystems.com w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 7 7 . 3 8 6 . 3 3 2 3
  • 5. Recruiters: How to Get More Business in a Down Economy (Part 2) Learn how to connect better with your buyers and build critical relationships and credibility that will lead to more business. Part 2 of a three-part series. By John Vlastelica and Jenifer Lambert
  • 6. Page 1 Recruiters: How to Get More Business in a Down Economy (Part 2) Learn how to connect better with your buyers and build critical relationships and credibility that will lead to more business. By John Vlastelica and Jenifer Lambert In the first article, we talked about how to get around the perception by some HR managers that they don’t need to pay a fee for talent in this type of economy. Now, in Part 2, we’ll share best practices for demonstrating your expertise as a recruiter, building trust with your buyers and getting more business. “It’s silly to me that these recruiters – who claim to be experts How do you address this at sourcing – are cold calling me, with no research into what common frustration by our company does, who I am, or what kind of people we need. Corporate HR and Hiring They just start selling. Their lack of research and listening Managers? skills are a real turnoff.” Best Practices for Demonstrating Expertise, Building Trust and Getting Business As you pitch me your recruiting Just like a candidate’s initial interview forms a first impression with a hiring manager, your initial contact with a potential buyer of your services, I’m thinking, “Would services is a demonstration of your competence as a recruiter. If the I want to work with this person value you promise to your client is based on your ability to source high- caliber talent and artfully persuade them to consider a career move, this if I were a top candidate?” and is an opportunity to demonstrate that skill. Quite simply – the research “Do I want this person working you did, your understanding of that prospective client’s business and needs, and your tone and approach on the phone are an audition. on our behalf, representing our firm’s opportunities?” Unfortunately, many recruiters respond to a tough market by treating their client development as a numbers game. The thinking goes like this: if I just make more calls, I’ll eventually stumble upon the few who are hiring. The problem with this approach is that to increase the volume of calls, recruiters forego any sort of thought or pre-planning going into the call. When your potential buyer feels like a number you can forget D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. about winning their business. The best recruiters use intel to accelerate Urbandale, IA 50322 the sales process. w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 7 9 . D I C E ( 3 4 2 3 )
  • 7. Page 2 1. People first. Companies don’t buy anything. People do. And people who work in companies would prefer to do business with people they like and trust. Obviously, you are going to do some research to understand the company. Go one step further and use social networking tools, general web searches and your personal Hiring managers are being connections to do some preliminary research on your target decision bombarded with cold calls from maker. Here are some factors to consider when approaching this hiring manager: hungry recruiters. Research is key to warming up an otherwise • What does she emphasize in her own background? Technical competence, leadership skills, educational cold call. background, the social impact of her work? Understanding what she emphasizes may give you insights into what she values most in a candidate. • What does her past employment and career progression tell you about her? Does she come from big, more stable multinational organizations or small high-tech startups? • Beyond title, what is the scope of her role and size of her department/function at the company? How does her role fit into the organization’s primary goals? Is her department/function likely to be impacted by recent company announcements? Does she likely hire for many different types of people, or just one primary profile (i.e. Test Engineers or Program Managers)? Does she hire in multiple locations? • What professional organizations does she belong to? Do we have people or groups in common? Armed with this information you’ll be able to make a better, warmer Personal networking and connection with her when you call, better understand the business context for any needs she may have, and get a jump start on her work history can give you candidate preferences. great insights into common 2. Get referred. While most recruiters understand that referrals connections you may have with are the lifeblood of their recruiting efforts (we have no problem your target buyer. asking for candidate referrals), many fail to leverage the power of referrals when it comes to developing new business. What works for accessing hidden talent is equally effective at opening doors with hiring managers. All of the people with whom you interact (placed candidates, active candidates, existing clients, colleagues, etc.) are potential referral sources. You just have to ask. As you are researching the hiring manager (see #1), you will uncover information about her that you can use to make credible connections to other people in your network. Use personal networking to uncover groups to whom your target is already connected: • Industry user groups • Business networks • Academic, professional, company and alumni associations • Service, social and philanthropic organizations The best referral is a personal introduction. So, asking someone you know to introduce you to the Hiring Manager is obviously your best bet. Short of that, simply dropping a mutual connection’s name is likely to get your call returned. It’s a good idea to check in with your referral source before using their name since your prospect may D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. check in with them first before calling you back. Urbandale, IA 50322 w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 7 9 . D I C E ( 3 4 2 3 )
  • 8. Page 3 3. Fish in a stocked pond with a baited hook. In what other profession do potential buyers advertise their intent to buy? Think about it – employers who are hiring often make it known publicly through job postings and other forms of advertisement. You can cut out a lot of unproductive cold calls by calling companies you know Recruiting is a great vocation. are hiring. In what other profession do Average recruiters approach the hiring manager with an obvious potential buyers advertise their question: “Would you like some help recruiting for this opening?” intent to buy? and they get an obvious answer: “No.” Instead, approach the hiring manager with an informed opinion of the market (“here’s what I’m hearing from my clients in this market”) and a solution in the form of a candidate that you believe is qualified for this position. Here’s the formula: A. Identify the need: I see that you are currently recruiting for an XYZ position. B. Diffuse the objection: I assume you are getting a lot of response to that advertisement. C. Create differentiation: I wanted to connect with you because XYZ searches are one of my areas of specialization. D. Demonstrate your market insight: My clients are telling me that they’re getting more quantity than quality in this market and that the high performers they need are still hard to find and recruit. E. Provide a solution: That’s when they call me. I am working with several very strong XYZ candidates that I thought you may be interested in hearing about as a comparison to the response you’re getting on your own. 4. Let your candidate open the door to new target companies. Candidates with specific knowledge of a particular market or industry are not only valuable to your client but also to you. The best recruiters leverage the power of a well-connected candidate to get referred, create opportunity and to provide inside information that builds your credibility. Enlist your candidate in helping you create a target list of companies. “Based on your knowledge of this industry, you must know companies where you can make an immediate impact or bring some strategic value.” Have him articulate specifics about what he knows about each of the companies on his list and why he thinks he would be a good hire for that company. This helps you deliver a credible presentation to your target hiring manager and has the side benefit of testing your candidate’s job search seriousness and industry knowledge. 5. Balance preparation with execution. With the amount of information available with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, there’s no good excuse to approach a potential client blind. At the same time, some recruiters get so bogged down in the research, they never find the time to actually act on it. All the information in the world is useless if you never actually initiate contact with a prospective buyer. D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. Urbandale, IA 50322 w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 7 9 . D I C E ( 3 4 2 3 )
  • 9. Page 4 The best recruiters strike a healthy balance between planning and action by reserving large scheduled blocks of time to initiating contact and dedicating separate time for planning and research. Top performing recruiters spend Jenifer studied some of the top producing recruiters in the U.S. and 1 hour on research and planning found that they spend approximately 1 hour of research and planning for every 3-4 hours of actual contact. While they have a strong bias for every 3-4 hours of contact. for action, they understand that a little targeted research makes their contact time even more productive. The adage that your calendar reflects your priorities is true. Carve out separate blocks of time in your calendar for calls and for research and you’re essentially making an appointment with success. About the Authors: John Vlastelica is a former Corporate Recruiting Director with Amazon.com and is currently Managing Director of Recruiting Toolbox, Inc., a consulting and training firm focused on helping corporate recruiters and hiring managers recruit better. www.RecruitingToolbox.com Jenifer Lambert is a VP with Terra Staffing Group, a Pinnacle Society recognized Executive Recruiter, and President of Elevate Performance Systems, LLC, a consulting and training firm that helps third party recruiters grow their business. www.ElevatePerformanceSystems.com D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. Urbandale, IA 50322 w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 7 9 . D I C E ( 3 4 2 3 )
  • 10. Recruiters: How to Get More Business in a Down Economy (Part 3) Learn how to connect better with your buyers and build critical relationships and credibility that will lead to more business. Part 3 of a three-part series. By John Vlastelica and Jenifer Lambert
  • 11. Page 1 Recruiters: How to Get More Business in a Down Economy (Part 3) Learn how to connect better with your buyers and build critical relationships and credibility that will lead to more business. By John Vlastelica and Jenifer Lambert In the last article, we talked about best practices for demonstrating your expertise as a recruiter and building trust with your buyers. Now, in Part 3, we’ll address one of the biggest issues to create friction between corporate HR and outside recruiters. “Why do recruiters insist on going around the process? While I appreciate their interest in making money, end-arounds How do you address this don’t help them. I want a partner that I can trust (especially common frustration by since I use recruiters for confidential searches or high-visibility Corporate HR? searches), not just some money-motivated recruiter who’s in it for the short-term sale.” Best Practices for Building Profitable Client Relationships Based on Performance and Trust In Stephen Covey’s best-selling “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” he advocates the habit of “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” If ever there was a situation where that habit could be applied, it is in the sometimes tenuous relationship between corporate HR and outside recruiters. Too often these relationships are viewed by one or both parties as unnecessarily adversarial. Bad intent is inferred where none may exist. Assumptions are made about motives, boundaries are broken and trust eradicated. This is a recipe for a dysfunctional relationship at best. Worst case scenario—the recruiter is locked out of that company for good. D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. Urbandale, IA 50322 w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 7 9 . D I C E ( 3 4 2 3 )
  • 12. Page 2 The bad news in a tough market is that many recruiters, desperate to make a placement, fail to understand the importance of building trust-based partnerships with HR. Even if they are fortunate enough to win the battle (make the placement), they lose the war (long-term The bad news in a tough client relationship). The good news is that for recruiters who invest market is that many recruiters, the time and energy necessary to forge a productive partnership with their corporate counterparts, they can create a differentiation that pays desperate to make a placement, dividends. fail to understand the importance of building trust- 1. A little empathy goes a long way. based partnerships with HR. Empathy is really nothing more than the ability to see something from another’s perspective. Relationships without empathy will never succeed. It’s difficult to have empathy for someone you view as your enemy so the first step is to realize that HR is not your enemy. They don’t exist inside a corporation to serve as a roadblock for your business development efforts. In fact they spend a lot less time thinking about you than you imagine. Their first priority is the same as yours—to be productive and stay employed. If you start from that understanding, you can now look for opportunities for genuine cooperation where you can both win. You need to understand: • What does she want to accomplish by working with an outside recruiter? - How can I help her meet her goals? • How will this affect her personally and what are her concerns? - Is she under pressure to fill a key role that I could help with? - Is she under pressure to reduce her company’s total spend on recruiting? - Is her hiring manager struggling, and not taking enough personal responsibility for recruiting the right kind of talent? • What has been her past experience working with recruiters? - Has she been burned by recruiters who’ve ignored the candidate submittal or screening process required by HR and legal? - Does she feel she has paid fees to recruiters who didn’t earn their fees, but just got lucky with shotgun pitches to her managers? - Has she had a tight partnership with outside recruiters, and leveraged them as a strategic resource to make her look good and help her managers find the top talent D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. they need? Urbandale, IA 50322 w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 7 9 . D I C E ( 3 4 2 3 )
  • 13. Page 3 2. Respect the process. As a good recruiter, you probably have a methodology or process that you use to get repeatable, consistent results. Most companies have You may need to ask HR to their own process for the same reason. While most hiring managers are modify their process so that less concerned with the hiring process than the end result, that doesn’t you can get a passive candidate mean that you should ignore established processes altogether. engaged and on the hook with An HR process is in place to protect the company from unnecessary fees the opportunity. (i.e. paying a fee to an outside firm for a candidate already discovered by the company). An HR process is in place to create the right candidate experience and protect their employment brand (i.e. all candidates talk to someone in HR about the company, the job, immigration, relocation, work culture before being presented to a hiring manager). And a process is there to address compliance and diversity goals. Sometimes HR’s typical process is not conducive to landing high- demand, low-supply candidates. If you are doing your job properly and surfacing candidates who aren’t actively seeking new employment, you may need HR to modify their process to attract a candidate who isn’t throwing himself at the opportunity. Instead of ignoring their process, which will be perceived as disrespectful and will erode trust, take the opportunity to recommend process changes that will help your HR contact get what she wants. Here’s the formula: A. Acknowledge the process. “I know that your process is typically to have the candidate go through a phone screen with HR first so you can spare the hiring manager from wasting time with unqualified candidates.” B. Provide market data. “This candidate is currently employed and was not actively looking to make a change when I contacted him. He’s intrigued by your opportunity, but at this point has questions that are going to be best answered by the hiring manager because they are so specific to the role.” C. Suggest a process change. “What do you think about having the candidate talk to the hiring manager first, to get his questions answered and get him invested in this role and opportunity? After that, if he is interested, we can put him through the standard process.” D. Show her how she wins if you get pushback. “I don’t want to put you in the awkward position of trying to D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. answer questions that you couldn’t possibly be expected to Urbandale, IA 50322 w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 7 9 . D I C E ( 3 4 2 3 )
  • 14. Page 4 have answers for. I know you want to get this position filled quickly with a high-quality candidate and this guy has all of the experience the hiring manager requested. I think it makes sense to get the hiring manager involved in helping to land him. Can we get the candidate on the phone with the hiring manager? ” 3. Earn the right to be introduced. The old adage that “you are known by the company you keep” applies not just to personal friendships but to vendor relationships as well. In speaking with HR leaders about best practices in partnering with agency recruiters, time and time again they spoke of the importance of Access to hiring managers is the outside recruiter being a good reflection on the HR department as well as the company as a whole. Not only is HR willing to give recruiters critical to your success. But that access to hiring managers, they understand the value of doing so, but access has to be earned. Once that access must be earned. The way to get that access has everything you prove you can deliver, HR to do with demonstrating your value and the only way to do that is to can open all kinds of doors for deliver high-quality candidates that the client cannot find on their own. you. Again, look at the situation from the HR professional’s perspective. If they give you access to a hiring manager and you don’t produce, they have just wasted that hiring manager’s time and created the perception that they aren’t skilled at selecting strong vendors. You should always ask for access to the hiring manager. If your HR contact is reluctant to grant that access, be prepared to work directly with HR until you establish a track record of delivering strong candidates. If you are doing your job well, doors will begin to open for you. Direct access and referrals to other departments come from strong performance. Ask again, after you’ve demonstrated that you can deliver the goods. 4. Seek out opportunities to make a contribution. Your goal is not just to make a quick score. You want to provide a competitive advantage for your client and to be irreplaceable. If you want to make yourself irreplaceable, look for opportunities to give. Give information, give time and attention. Above all, give impeccable service. The axiom that all things being equal, people do business with people they like, has never been more true. Being the first to give in a relationship pays huge dividends. As human beings, we are psychologically wired to reciprocate. That means when you extend yourself and give value and service to your clients, you create a situation where they reflexively want to reciprocate. And that’s how bonds are formed. Average recruiters worry about “what’s in it for me,” while top- producing recruiters know that what they give will come back to them tenfold. D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. Urbandale, IA 50322 w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 7 9 . D I C E ( 3 4 2 3 )
  • 15. Page 5 Look for opportunities to bring value even when you’re not actively engaged in a search with your client. Passing on industry information, making them aware of changes inside a competitor (provided you’re not violating any ethical boundaries), and keeping them informed about potential high-value candidates in their industry are all ways of demonstrating your commitment to the relationship and can often surface new business opportunities. When HR comes into the 5. Embrace HR. process late, it’s never good. Now, not only are they not going We know there are plenty of trainers in the recruiting industry who will to be a helpful ally, they are teach you all sorts of techniques and tactics for skirting HR. But that actually rooting against you. Not approach begs the question: “So, how’s that working for you?” When HR comes into the process late, it’s never good. The hiring manager exactly the best way to build a might be sold on you, but the HR professional sees you as a “necessary long-term relationship. evil” and feels forced into working with you. Now, not only are they not going to be a helpful ally, they are actually rooting against you. Not exactly the best way to build a long-term relationship. Forging relationships with hiring managers should remain your goal and proactively making hiring managers aware of top-shelf talent that you believe could make an impact on their department is still a smart marketing strategy. Keep doing that! The only difference is that instead of avoiding HR, ask to be introduced. When a hiring manager tells you that she wants to interview a candidate you marketed to her, arrange the interview and ask her to introduce you to the appropriate HR contact. “I’m sure at some point HR will need to be involved in this process. I’d like to keep that person informed early.” The sooner HR is involved, the less likely they will be to question your intentions. If you have a legitimate business agenda and your goal is truly to be of service, you don’t need to hide from anybody. About the Authors: John Vlastelica is a former Corporate Recruiting Director with Amazon.com and an expert on technology recruiting. Jenifer Lambert is a VP with Terra Staffing Group, a Pinnacle Society recognized Executive Recruiter, and President of Elevate Performance Systems, LLC, a consulting and training firm that helps third party D i c e • 4 1 0 1 N W U r b a n d a l e D r. recruiters grow their business. www.ElevatePerformanceSystems.com Urbandale, IA 50322 w w w. d i c e . c o m • 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 7 9 . D I C E ( 3 4 2 3 )