The Q Factor

  By Kathleen Kurke  |    Monday May 14, 2019

Category: Columns, Expert Advice


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The Q Factor

My coaching clients are often asking about the magic that makes for a star recruiter. Or, the sprinkle dust that creates a big biller. They ask as if there is an “it” factor. Nope. No such thing. But, there is a “Q Factor”. 

It’s the “Q Factor” that makes the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. And, the “Q Factor” is comprised up of a blend of three distinct components: Quantity, Quality and Qi. 

Let’s look at each of the components before we consider the blend. 


Quantity: This is the easy one. We’re all used to counting things in life and it can be an easy way to keep score. In our business, focusing on quantity can feel punitive when it’s limited to ‘you didn’t make enough calls’. But, measuring quantity also applies to: 

  •  Number of sendouts
  •  Number of job orders
  •  Number of placements
  •  Number of dollars you’re bringing to the bank
  •  Phone time
  •  Number of pre-closes
  •  Confirmation of commitments
  •  Points of inquiry in each call
  •  Number of touches with non-active CA and CL
  •  Points of contact within current accounts
  • ? What else?


Quality: This one often becomes the excuse to ignore quantity under the delusion of a misguided pursuit of perfection. Perfection is both overrated and unattainable in our business because we’re dealing with other people and circumstances over which we have no control. But, we still want to do high integrity and high quality that makes a positive impact on our clients and candidates, so we want to pay attention to:

  • Relevance of conversations to true business issues
  • Executive level business related conversations
  • Making matches based on match on needs and interests and benefits, not just features
  • Always getting better
  • Diagnostic questions that add insight 
  • Working on mission critical roles
  • Depth of commitments you make and expect
  • ? What else?



Qi: Urban Dictionary gives a hat tip to Qi by defining it as: “A short word commonly used in Scrabble to piss of another person. More often than not, it plays off of an I that lays next to a triple letter score, scoring an absurd amount of points for such a small amount of effort.”, but then adds a more helpful definition of “vital force or energy”. That’s the Qi that contributes to the “Q Factor” I’m talking about.  No matter how many times or how well we do any single part of our job, neither makes a difference unless we’re doing it with energy and life force. Here’s how Qi shows up in our work: 

  • Being present 100%  (Work when you’re at work, or go home.)
  • Being open and asking for help
  • Being accountable: 
  • Recognizing the distinction between can’t do, won’t do or too confused to know what to do
  • Paying it forward
  • Operating from a philosophy of abundance and not scarcity
  • Authentic intentions
  • Honest ears
  • Focus
  • Patience to listen – even when you (think) already know the answer
  • Getting comfortable with your own discomfort 
  • Facing your fears
  • Helping others get what they need
  • ? What else?


So, as you work toward improving your own performance, think about where your emphasis when balancing your Quantity, Quality and Qi. Can you find your sweet spot to leverage your “Q Factor”?

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