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Truth From The Trenches: The Perils of Abundance by Kathleen Kurke

The headlines are filled with articles the about the skills shortage, the talent gap and the resulting difficulties companies are experiencing. For many in our industry, our clients’ distress has resulted in an abundance of open Job Orders and us feeling like thanksgiving is now a year-round holiday. But rather than sitting back and gazing at our cornucopia of many openings, I suggest some discretion and moderation. Buzzkill, I know.

Not all Job Orders are created equal. 

Instead of treating each new Job Order like it’s the latest photo on your Tinder feed, I recommend you spend time getting to know the back story behind each Job Order so you better determine which one(s) will create the highest payoff. 

Too often, we evaluate a Job Order by its most obvious features: the size of the fee or the nice factor of the Hiring Manager. In truth, neither of those attributes and in any way predictive of the likelihood that you’ll successfully find a candidate that matches their criteria and addresses their need that they’ll actually hire, keep and pay your invoice. Just as your Tinder feed shows but one element of a prospective connection, so does judging a Job Order on fee potential give you real insight into it being smart to work. 

Let’s peek behind the blinding allure of the “fee potential” curtain and identify the other variables that are far more likely to determine whether or job an open Job Order makes sense to work. 

Let’s be real. “Fee potential” is never out of consideration when determining what level of effort you’ll invest in working a Job Order, but raise your hand if you (like me) have been burned when you’ve put lots of time and effort into a high-fee potential Job Order, only to have it never go anywhere because the hiring committee didn’t agree on the profile and they never got enough agreement to make a hire. Wait. Is it only me that’s been in that sad situation?

Take a broader perspective and realize that our likelihood of placing and collecting on a successful placement is a function of much more than just the glitzy fee potential. Score each of the open Job Orders on your list against the following: 

Urgency:  The speed with which the client will move in filling the position.

1: Eventually: Start Date is more than one quarter out, “as soon as possible”, whenever”, or some other non-decisive timeframe.

10: Now: Required start date is within one month and the hiring process will be completed within two weeks

Criticality:  Degree to which the client values finding the “perfect” match over filling the position quickly. 

Extremely Picky; Client will wait forever rather than risk hiring someone who is not a perfect fit

Accommodating: Client is willing to be more flexible in the hiring profile because it is so important to fill the position quickly. Client concentrates on “knocking in” rather than “knocking out”

Cooperativeness:  The working relationship between recruiter and client. 

Reluctant: Client has made it clear they would prefer not to hire through a recruiter

Fully cooperative: Client has given you an exclusive, takes your calls, trusts your judgment and sees candidates specifically on your recommendation

Fee Potential:  The earnings potential from completing the search.

Reduced: Deeply discounted fee, extended guarantee and/or payment schedule

Full: Full fee with no exceptions to guarantee or payment policy

Hiring Process:  Client’s commitment to predetermine the hiring process and their willingness to deviate if necessary

Unprepared: Client will be creating hiring process as you go along

Concise & Committed: Hiring process is clear, you understand it, client is committed to the process and is willing to deviate when necessary

Sell in v. Screen out:  Degree to which the client takes ownership for selling candidates on taking the job

Blasé: Client believes that “it’s the candidates’ job to sell me on them”

Great Pitcher: Client will be aggressive in pursuing or “selling” candidates on taking the job

Job Appeal:  Level of attraction the job will have to prospective recruits

Not Appealing: Major red flags around dimensions of the job, eg compensation, benefits, company reputation, travel or commuting requirements, duties and responsibilities

Enticing: The job is easy and fun to describe; compensation and benefits are attractive; the company has a good reputation in the candidate marketplace

Recruitability:  Ease with which you’ll be able to identify & access the target candidate population

Difficult: Hiring profile is so attribute driven or generic that any human being qualifies

Easy: You have a You have a clear road map to the function/title and/or company affiliation of the desired candidate and are already connected on LI

Key Account Potential:  Importance of this search on a long-term & repeat placement relationship with client

Low Return: Working on this search won’t do anything to help you get future business with this client

High Payoff: This client offers potential for 5+ placements per year and working on this search is critical to continuing the relationship

Desk Builder:  Degree to which new candidates from this project will reduce cycle time on other searches

Limited: Candidates generated during this search do not and are not likely to match any other searches

Leverage-able: You can present candidates from this search on at least two other current Job Orders

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