As a recruiter, Teresa not only worked hard, she worked smart.
Each morning, she carefully divided her tasks into three groups, which
she called Now, Later and Never. Anything labeled Now was addressed
immediately. Everything else received the minimal attention it deserved.
Teresa also obeyed the law of "batching." So, whenever she made
recruiting calls, she picked up the phone at least 10 times in a row
before taking a well-deserved break.
Since Teresa considered recruiting time to be sacred, she let all her
incoming calls roll over to voice mail. Interruptions, she learned, were
like the kiss of death, killing off your momentum.
As each day concluded, Teresa returned her unanswered calls, planned her
next day's activities, and allowed herself the creative space needed to
search for candidates, post jobs and follow up on work in progress.
A Fateful Observation
Teresa's exemplary habits didn't go unnoticed; in fact, they made quite
an impression on Brad, her manager and mentor.
Brad was thrilled with her work ethic, her discipline and her ability to
prioritize-qualities he considered essential to success. But Brad was
less than thrilled about Teresa's production, which despite her time
management prowess, was at best, mediocre.
How could it be, Brad wondered, that such a well organized recruiter
could squeeze only an average number of placements out of a desk with a
Teresa's Lesson in Leverage
Eventually, Brad connected the dots. He found that despite Teresa's
uncanny ability to organize her time, something was clearly lacking: her
ability to persuade other people to organize theirs.
For example, whenever Teresa wrote a job order, she wrapped up her
conversation with the hiring manager by saying, "I'll call you when I
find some candidates."
Inevitably, whenever she followed up, the manager was too busy to take
her call, or respond to her emails. And when she finally reached the
hiring manager, it seemed to take forever to get his feedback or get any
On the flip side, it seemed like all Teresa's candidates were asleep at
the wheel. Every time an offer was extended, they had to "think it
over," sometimes for several days before they made a decision. And the
longer they ruminated, the more often they turned down the job.
Finally, Brad called a meeting, and offered a couple of simple
"Teresa, I think you're a dynamo," Brad said. "But your clients and
candidates are total slackers."
"You got that right," said Teresa.
"So, here's what we'll do," said Brad. "Every time you write a job
order, I want you to schedule three interview slots, all on the same
day, two weeks out. Make sure the employer puts them in his or her
"Then, I want you to schedule a progress report a week before the
interviews, at which time you'll present three qualified candidates.
That way, you'll manage the employer's time as well as your own."
"Sound like a plan," said Teresa. "Anything else?"
"Yes. Next time you get to the offer stage, I want you to close the
candidate-in advance. I'm sick and tired of candidates dragging their
feet, or worse. It not only gives the candidates a sense of entitlement,
it hurts our reputation with our clients. After all, they're depending
on us to deliver the talent. And that means making placements. If we
can't do that, we don't add any value."
"I never thought of it that way," said Teresa. "But in the end, I guess
all the time management in the world is pointless if everyone else
wastes my time. If I can manage their time as well as my own-and set
expectations-I'll be ten times as productive."
And that's how Teresa turned a mediocre desk into a million-dollar