Why You Need New Clients

Heres a quick math problem I remember from when I was a kid:

If there are five flies on your kitchen table and you took a fly swatter and killed one of the flies, how many flies would be left?

The answer: One the fly you just killed. The other four flew away.

The reason I tell this little joke is because if a recruiter has five job orders on his desk and the recruiter only has the time or the ability to find candidates and schedule interviews for one of them, how many job orders does the recruiter have? The answer is one.

In other words, if four of the job orders aren't worth working on or you cant get coverage on them then for all practical purposes, they flew away and they dont exist. Which means you need to find new clients.

With this story in mind, let's take an honest look at what you've got going on right now.

Sizing Up Your Activity

Your workload and by extension, your profitability can usually be described in one of three ways:

1.You are working at full capacity to fill multiple, high-quality job orders. You have strong sendout activity; that is, the activity is sufficient to produce multiple interviews with each job order.

2.You have at most one high-quality job order and youre getting good coverage on it. As a result, you either have or expect to have multiple interviews scheduled.

3.You have no jobs worth working on, or cant seem to get traction on anything.What I've described is sort of a bell curve, with most recruiters sitting at number 2 in my description somewhere in the middle of the curve. You've got one jobor maybe two jobs that are hot and you're getting sendout activity to cover the jobs. In other words, youre not killing yourself to satisfy a number of equally hot assignments, but you're not totally without business, either.

So how do you figure out how much marketing you need to do, given your situation?
Conventional wisdom would dictate that the amount of time and energy you spend marketing for new business should be in inverse proportion to the quality and the volume of activity thats currently on your desk. And I would basically agree.

Your first obligation your highest priority should always be to take care of your existing clients. If you've made a promise to a responsive, realistic hiring manager to fill a job in which the company has demonstrated a sense of urgency, then it would be foolish to be distracted from the work at hand.

But if the quality of the work in front of you is lowand the odds of failure are highit would make sense not to waste your time on that type of business. Instead, it would be more productive to use your time to find high-quality business, and keep on marketing until you find an assignment thats strong, even if it means side stepping work that fails to meet your high standards.

It's at the extremes of the bell curve that you really need to be careful, and perhaps defy conventional wisdom.

"A skill in recruiting is being able to determine high quality work"For example, if youve got high-quality work up to your eyeballs and youre really cranking, beware of putting all your eggs in that basket. great clients and key accounts can make you rich, but like everything in life, they run in cycles. Eventually, even your best clients morph into oblivion or dysfunction. Just ask any recruiter whose long-term client suddenly brought in a consulting firm, and despite years of mutually productive work, you're busted down to vendor management status and you're required to cut your fee, sign a new agreement and re-direct all your communications through the proverbial Myrtle in HR.

Making Something Out of of Nothing
On the flip side, if you have nothing of value to work on, it would only seem logical that you devote 100 percent of your time marketing until the perfect job order comes along.

I have a slightly different perspective. I feel that there are times in which it makes sense to work a low-quality or low-probability job order. The reason is that if you have something tangible to work on, it puts you into your candidate marketplace with something to talk about.

By making contact, discussing jobs and interviewing candidates, you are now connecting with people and building your candidate files with people who can educate you, work with you as a potential MPC, or even share information about whos hiring, especially if the candidate is active in the marketplace.

The trick is to not lose sight of your goal of trading up; and that once you find a hot job to work on, you shift your attention to filling that obligationand that job order. And strong, high-profit job orders are the lifeblood of any successful recruiter.

By Bill Radin
 BlackDog Recruiting Software Inc.
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