Are You Stuck In Neutral?

  By Michael Gionta  |    Wednesday December 27, 2012

Category: Expert Advice, Motivational, Recruiting


Admittedly, nothing can feel more unbalancing for a recruiting firm owner than being stuck in neutral. 


This phase can happen for a variety of reasons:

You’re ready to take your recruiting business to the next level, only you’re not sure what the best steps are to take.

Your current business model is leaving you stressed out and hyper-busy, but without the income to make it worthwhile at this pace.

Every time you think you took a “great new search” you are frustrated with the prospects lack of response, their “pickiness”, or simple apathy to filling the open position.

You keep hearing, “I need to fill the position”, only they don’t.

You have a ton of ideas from conferences, trainers, etc.  but they feel jumbled rather than feeling like a clear plan of action.


If any of these sound familiar then take heart! Not only is this a phase (and yes, like all things, it too, will pass) but you’re also probably closer to a solution than you might think.


My advice? Follow my 3 simple tips to help you find your footing again. Once you do, you’ll have all of the clarity, vision and steps to move forward quickly. And you’ll begin to see the income streaming in as a result!


Step #1 Clarify Exactly Where You’re Getting Stuck


When you’re in the midst of feeling stuck in neutral, everything can seem overwhelming and unclear. Your best bet is to first identify exactly which decisions you need to make, and in what order. Then, you can move forward making these decisions quickly.

For example, let’s say you’re attracting clients randomly, making it difficult to feel any sense of security regarding your income. This is a very common problem for many recruiting firm owners and recruiters in general.  For starters, in this situation, the decisions you’ll need to make are:


Being well-planned.  Knowing EXACTLY how many prospects you need to reach to get an assignment.  Is this done before you leave for the day?  I have been coaching owners on performance for over five years now and I can honestly tell you most under or average performers simply show up in the morning, make some calls, react to situations, and put out fires.  I am always surprised that they are surprised by their self-defined mediocre performance!

Determining if your marketing is reaching enough of the right people.
Are you hiding out behind your computer, spending the day on company websites, LinkedIN, etc. hoping prospective clients will magically flow in when you should be creating massive visibility by calling, emailing, connecting LIVE with these prospects?  Our business is numerically sound!  Each desk specialty, each recruiter, when measured, will develop the knowledge of how many marketing presentations are needed to get a search assignment.  My experience is that number varies VERY LITTLE quarter to quarter, yet most recruiters stubbornly refuse to track this along with the other key performance indicators (metrics).

Determining if your recruiting is reaching enough of the right people.  See above!  Is your philosophy that “If they aren’t on LinkedIN, they don’t exist?”   Many outstanding candidates are pulling their profiles off LinkedIn because our profession is bombarding them!  Also, if you find them on LinkedIn why are you telling them that is where you found them?  I am not at all suggesting that you lie, but use the term “through networking I came across your name…” Create some intrigue, some mystery…. 


Step #2 Recognize What You May Be Afraid Of


Recruiting firm owners are likely to get stuck right at the moment they are beginning to up level their business. Why? Because growing your business stirs up old patterns of self-doubt and fear of failure.

The solution is to recognize an old pattern for what it is: the ego (or what Seth Godin calls, the “Lizard Brain”) trying to do everything in its power to keep you small.  This fear is an instinctual survival mechanism that protected us from getting eaten by dinosaurs thousands of years ago.  No one is going to “eat you” if they aren’t hiring or considering a new career opportunity!   Recognizing it gives you the keys to your freedom because with this awareness you can say, “No thanks!” and make a new empowered choice.


Just remember that moving forward is going to feel more uncomfortable than staying put! So don’t let common excuses such as “It doesn’t feel right” or “I’m waiting for a sign” keep you stuck. Substitute phrases such as, “I can do this!” and “Feeling uncomfortable means I’m on the right path” and even something stronger such as “I refuse to give in or give up!”


Step #3 Practice Making Decisions Quickly

I learned a vital success strategy from one of my favorite mentors.  The strategy is to put a timer on your decision making.  Any decision you need to make can get done in 30 minutes or less. Most can be accomplished in 15 minutes or less. Speeding up your decision making will re-energize you and begin to give you the momentum you’re seeking.


Remember, Neutral Is A Holding Pattern, Which Means You Want To Either Ease — Or Burst! — Through It As Quickly As Possible


Quickly, grab a pen and fill in the answers to these simple questions:

I’m in neutral (stuck) because _______________.

The decisions I need to make are ____________.

The things I am going to implement now are __________.


Getting out of neutral feels awesome and yes, you can do this by implementing your new strategies IMMEDIATELY!  I predict you will mess these new strategies up a bit.  This SHOULD be expected.  Make some quick alterations and continue to move forward, mess up these new strategies, and, again, continue to move forward.  Like the old shampoo commercial, “Wash, rinse, repeat”!  Each time you leave your comfort zone with some progress you will build confidence and, by default, expand your comfort zone.  


Stop living small, you’re probably bored anyway.  What do you have to lose?

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