Recruiters always ask me how many jobs I work on at one time. And they
seem surprised when I answer that I only have the capacity based on my
solo-operator to work on two or three at most.
If I had 15 or 20 recruiters on staff which I did when I managed a
Spherion branch office it might make sense for me to write lots of job
orders and put them online or into my company's database.
But I'd try to be careful not to ratchet up my workload too much. Unless
you have the capacity to handle a lot of orders at a time,
over-extending can rob you of the resources you need to cover the jobs
that have the best chance of getting filled.
It's All About Coverage
Let's suppose that five people interview for an open position, and one
of them happens to be your candidate. Statistically, you've got a 1-to-5
coverage ratio, or a 20 percent chance of filling the job. If two of the
candidates are yours, you have a 40 percent chance, and so on.
My question is: Why not be the recruiter who refers all the candidates?
That way, you'd have a 100 percent chance of filling the job.
"But wait!" you say. "I don't need that kind of coverage. My candidates
are superior to those of other recruiters. They have stronger skills,
they're better prepared to interview, and they're much more motivated."
Well, that's the way I used to think until I got my butt kicked enough
times. Like any other sales endeavor, recruiting is a numbers game. If
the employer has lots of choices, it's impossible to predict which
candidate will be offered the job. The only thing you can control is
your coverage ratio. And nothing beats 100 percent.
Victoria's Secret to Success
Last year, Victoria Cole of Culver Careers billed more than $1 million
an increase of more than 300 percent from the previous year. How did she
Simple. She applied the fundamental laws of capacity and coverage.
That's not to take anything away from Victoria, who's one of the
brightest, most focused recruiters you'll ever meet. But what elevated
Victoria to super-stardom had more to do with the way she played her
cards than with her talent, intellectual bandwidth or mastery of the
Early in her career, Victoria worked extremely hard to fill esoteric,
high-level jobs for technology start-up companies. But when she took
stock of how her resources were being utilized, she felt like she was
killing flies with a sledgehammer, one by one.
With the full force of a 200-recruiter company behind her, Victoria
reasoned that instead of filling one or two jobs a month, she could be
filling dozens. So she scrapped her boutique business model and replaced
it with one that focused more on volume. And that's when the perfect
By drawing on her company's enormous capacity, Victoria increased her
coverage. And at that point, she realized that she could also leverage
her efforts. By seeking out clients who had duplicate, like-kind
openings, Victoria was able to multiply her placement activity, without
writing more job orders or working herself to the point of exhaustion.
Not every recruiter has the resources available to Victoria. But we all
have the ability to work smart, leverage our assets and play to our