Managing a recruiting team is not unlike that of managing a major league baseball team. The tenured manager understands how to get rookies off to a good start by developing the proper habits to achieve big league success. Once a rookie gets seasoned, the focus shifts to other skills that continued to be worked on based on specific achievements, or lack thereof.
How can you tell when one player is doing well and another is struggling and needs some attention? It is often initially apparent in the results. The outcome itself, however, may not provide an explanation and to really understand it is necessary to evaluate the stats. The times at bat, the averages, the on base percentages, etc. Yes, the true answer lies in the numbers. For recruiters, we refer to these as the metrics.
Leaders who learn to manage by the numbers have a better understanding of their team’s strengths and weaknesses and individual skill set deficiencies, and they know where they must spend their time to improve both team and individual performance. They also have the ability to see trend lines – both positive and negative which allows them to predict the future. That’s right, predict the future.
Preseason Conditioning – Activity Metrics
When a rookie comes to play in the recruiting arena, a good manager knows that the first focus has to be on getting his players ‘at bats’. The more at bats they will have, the better chance they will have of success. The tenured recruiting manager knows that his first job is to get his rookies at bats by getting them on the phone. If the new recruiter does not get enough “at bats”, they will fail. Contrary to popular belief – even with today’s social media, resume grabbers, aggregators, spider engines, job board alerts, and much more at our finger tips today – recruiting is still a phone business. Developing the habit of being on the phone and not off the phone is a critical objective in the first 90 days for all new players. This conditioning must take place to develop the habits necessary for success in recruiting. Managers must also institute “minimum” levels of expectations on the critical activity metrics that lead to recruiting success. What are these critical metrics?
Number of calls/Day and Market Connect Time
Managers know that if they can focus their team on the Pareto principle things (that 20% of activities that get 80% of the results), these two metrics are the most important. It’s a fact: the top players in the recruiting world average between 3.5 hours and 5 hours of phone time each day – the average being closer to 4.0 hours.
Many players come and go in recruiting, the ones that average 4.0 hours of connect time are the ones that stay in the big leagues and have the ability to continue to improve their game. The ones that do not succeed in their connect time, usually end up a casualty of the game.
Being a new player in the field of recruiting and initially logging four hours of market connect time seems to be an insurmountable task. This is not as easy as it sounds and goes back to the conditioning process and the critical metric of number of calls per day. The first goal a manager should give a rookie is to plan effectively to make a MINIMUM of 80 calls per day. Two key items here –one, being effectively planned, and two, the word minimum.
I just came back from an industry conference at the end of October and I can’t tell you how many times I heard from the group…
“There is no way you can make 80 calls per day. You have to source, do the research, find the numbers then make the call and have quality conversations – all in about 8 hours? Impossible!”
I am sure that many of you reading this article are thinking the same thing. The truth of the matter is that most of the recruiting industry struggles with this concept and it’s one of the main reasons why nine out of ten people don’t make it their first year as a recruiter.
Yes, it would be difficult to do the sourcing, research, and make calls at the same time. This is where the “effective planning” comes in. A good manager understands this and ensures that at the end of the day, his team spends the time needed to develop an effective plan that allow for a minimum of 80 calls to be made the next day. Typically, managers focus the team on planning for following day’s recruiting at the end of the day around 4:00 pm. This means everyone gets off the phone and works to prepare a solid call list, making sure they have an effective plan for over 80 calls for the next day. Most successful Recruiters have 100-125 calls ready before they show up for work the next day. Verification and research is done during this time as well. When a recruiter tries to create the plan and research while recruiting, the day ends up completely unproductive.
When effective planning is utilized and the call numbers have reached over 80 calls per day consistently, the next thing a manager should do is to do is focus on Market Connect time, the second key metric. It is quite normal that a new recruiter will make lots of calls, often have poor quality conversations, and see very little results. Just as rookies develop their stats as they get more experience, the same holds true for new hires. The better the planning, the more consistency in call volume and the better chance of quality conversations developing that lead to increased skill and success.
Quality conversations are the key to increasing Market Connect time as well bottom line results. An inverse relationship happens with phone calls and market connect time. Once the phone call numbers are being achieved on a weekly basis, and then the focus moves to increasing the quality of the conversations –which ends up increasing the length of the average phone call – which eventually decreases the number of dials needed to make to hit the Market Connect Time goals.
After we developed the right habits to plan properly for the number of dials the next day and we start hitting some strong Market Connect Time, we can start to focus on the other activity or quantity metrics that will lead us to success.
In the age of technology in which we our living, it is somewhat ironic that it is easy to create lists of numbers and to make a lot of dials and yet not get anyone on the phone. Yes, we can develop the habit of making 80 calls per day but if a recruiter never talks to someone, how will they ever get the chance to present the wonderful opportunity they are so excited about? This is why the next metric is so crucial. Actual conversations need to be measured if we want to get results. A conversation simply means we connect live with someone on the phone – a hiring manager, potential candidate, or potential referral. During an average day, a manager wants to see 20 – 25 conversations.
Not only should conversations be tracked but they should be categorized as well. It is important to determine if the conversation is for marketing or for recruiting and to establish the appropriate quantity of expectations for each. Experience has taught us that it is often tougher to get a hold of a hiring manager or CEO than it is a potential candidate. We look for our recruiters who do both marketing and recruiting to have a minimum of five marketing presentations per day and twenty candidate presentations. A presentation is a live conversation, with a recruiter on the phone presenting an opportunity or a candidate for an open position. Our expectations are for 20-25 conversations per day with five being marketing presentations and 15-20 being recruiting presentations. If a manager sees the numbers not being achieved, then steps can be taken to improve the quality of the presentation, the target people we are calling or the recruiter’s techniques involved with generating interest. Recruiting is still a selling game; sometimes we need more sizzle to generate interest.
Assuming the Recruiter makes enough calls during the day and is able to have several live conversations where presentations can be made, the goal is to generate interest attract candidates to the opportunity that is available. From the 15-20 recruiting presentations achieved each day, a minimum of 1-2 qualified candidates should be identified. Depending on the market and the experience of the recruiter, this number could vary but 1-2 QC’s per day should be the industry expectation. A quality candidate (QC) is a candidate that matches the position requirements and is interested in pursuing the new opportunity presented. If QC numbers are not being achieved, it is easy for the manager to evaluate the metrics to determine what is falling short. Is the presentation solid? Is it being articulated in a way to generate interest? If the presentation is good, the next step would be to verify the number of calls per day to ensure there is enough activity on the go to hit the desired amount of conversations.
Just like the expectations set for recruiting presentations, there should be targets in place for expected results from making Marketing Presentations. Though there are several goals for a marketing presentation, the ultimate objective is to get a Job Order. Out of five marketing conversations each day, we set a minimum expectation of getting one new job order, one per day. These initial job orders are often not of good quality and most probably should not be worked on, but in measuring the quantity that is generated directly from presentations it provides a great tool for measuring the effectiveness of our marketing presentations to hiring managers.
Mapping “EPOEJO” Calls
Another valuable quantity metric that provides essential insight in to quality is the Mapping or “EPOEJOE” call. I call it a matching and presenting call made to the hiring manager. If you have been in this business for several years, you may recognize it as the Employer Presentation on Existing Job Order call.
This call differs from most where recruiters have a brief conversation and then forward a resume of a candidate that may be a fit in hopes of getting an interview. A Mapping call is when you phone the hiring manager – review the job specifications again and then do a presentation on a candidate or group of candidates. The premise behind this – is that resumes do not cover all aspects of a person’s career, knowledge, or experience.
The mapping calls share the specifics of how the candidate or candidates meet the job requirements in detail with your Hiring Manager. This goes a long way to ensure your quality candidates get interviews.
The number of mapping calls is in direct proportion to the number of Quality Candidates presented. The target number for this quantity metric is five mapping calls per week. Again, these calls are specific and not just an email sent with a resume attached and a prayer that interviews will magically happen. Mapping calls directly correlate to sendouts. The more mapping calls made, the higher the percentage of sendouts.
A sendout is a result of all the quantity metrics outlined thus far. Sendouts tell us many things. They let us know if the job order we are working on is good, they can tell us our quality of candidates we are submitting and how good are our matching skills are. Sendouts lead to placements and placements lead to money. Managers need to work with team members to set individual sendout goals based on each person’s income objectives and they should also establish minimum levels of expectations. A strong minimum is five first time sendouts per week. Why five? The average new recruiter’s sendout out to placement ratio is 10:1. With five sendouts per week, the law of averages says that will translate in to two placements per month. If the quality is great – it may lead to three, if the quality is poor, however – it may just be one. The quantity activity metrics discussed are heavily dependent and correlated to the Ratio metrics, which will be outlined in-depth next month.
Placements are the “W” in the recruiting world. Without placements, recruiting firms and recruiters struggle to stay in business. Nine times out of ten, by making two placements per month, a recruiter at any firm remains profitable.
Recruiting is a tough business and there is a lot to learn and do. No matter what is taught however, the industry as a whole needs to acknowledge the true value of the metrics that measure quantity activity as an integral part of the process. The trend has been to use technology as an excuse rather than a coaching technique to assist the players to increase their averages.
Our teams need to be conditioned in the beginning to do enough business to actually stay in business. Most recruiters go out of business too early, due to not having an adequate volume of business to sustain them. It’s time to put a solid game plan in place. It starts with 80 calls per day and then quickly moves to four hours of market connect time per day. Once those numbers are mastered, the focus shifts to ensuring that there are enough conversations, quality candidates, job orders, and sendouts to make the placements. Once the volume of business is there, and only when it is there, can we take it to the next level and work on quality?