Recruiters: How to Get More Business – Part 1

By John Vlastelica and Jenifer Lambert

Learn how to better connect with your buyers and build critical relationships and credibility that will lead to more business.

Insights Into the Buy-Side

No matter your location or industry, as a recruiter you’re always looking for better ways to do business. You want to work smarter, more quickly and do more with less. Your buyers – HR and hiring managers – feel the same way. To build your business, take cues from this three-part series of articles about:

  • What you need to know about your buyers’ mindset to grow your business
  • How you should engage with corporate recruiters and HR managers so you’re top-of-mind when they’re ready to work with an outside recruiter
  • How to address the misperception that companies don’t need or want to work with you

“ I understand that you would like to fill this position on your own. However, I have a candidate who won’t be responding to your posting because she’s not actively looking for work. She’s currently employed and succeeding where she’s at. She is working through me on a confidential basis to be kept aware of opportunities that could be the next step in her career. I’d like to have you speak with her as a comparison to the candidates you surface on your own. If you find a stronger candidate, there’s no harm done. You only pay a fee if you decide that she’s the right choice for this role. Are you willing to have an exploratory conversation with her on that basis?”

Best Practices for Developing Opportunity & Demonstrating Value

Companies are posting jobs every day that create prospective business for you. But to convert these opportunities into closed business, you need to be savvy about uncovering the opportunities and demonstrating how and where you add real value.

1. Leverage technology. Set up job search agents on your job boards and on your target clients’ corporate career sites to learn about new openings. Watch for jobs that have been posted for more than 30 days. It’s quite possible that your client may have hit a wall with their own efforts and they will be much more receptive to your offer of assistance. Also watch for roles that were posted, then taken down, and then reposted weeks or months later. The company may have frozen hiring temporarily, and – therefore – lost internal sourcing momentum. The fact that they’ve reopened a job may tell you that it’s a critical opening (or a bad hire was made); the HR team may need significant, immediate help to generate candidates.

2. Be prepared to audition. When responding to a posted position, you must: 1) do something to differentiate yourself from every other recruiter who saw the same posting and 2) overcome a general reluctance your buyer may have to see candidates from an outside recruiter. Do this: Instead of asking for the exclusive search, offer a really strong candidate as a comparison to their internally generated candidates.

3. Put a “game changer” on the field. Look beyond just chasing open requisitions and use high-value candidates to create openings. For any company, in any economy, there are some candidates they simply can’t afford not to hire. Ask a hiring manager: “What direct competitors do you want to target? Are there key people that you know by name that you haven’t been able to successfully land in the past? Describe the type of candidate who could make a huge difference in your business.” Once you know what type of talent this hiring manager will find irresistible, have recruiting conversations with these candidates. If they’re open to making a move, you make the introduction and reap the rewards.

4. Show your sourcing expertise. Route your clients screened candidates that you have found. Give them insights into your sourcing expertise and tools in your toolbox. Talk about the niche candidate sites you use, the personal networks you’ve developed over the years, your success at pulling passive candidates out of top companies, and the speed at which you can develop a quality slate of candidates.

5. Strategically approach fee objections. In general, you never want to reduce your fee. But if we’re realistic, we know that sometimes we must to get a foot in the door. If you decide to offer a lower fee, don’t do it from a position of weakness. Instead, acknowledge their budget issues and let them know that you’re willing to temporarily work for a reduced fee during this first search (the “audition period”). But don’t just give it away. Negotiate something in return, like some money up front, faster payment terms, or a testimonial that you can use in your marketing materials upon placement. And when you invoice them, show – right on the invoice – your regular rate first, then the special discount, and then the final fee. Remind them that your “special, temporary deal” can also make them look like a cost cutter within their organization.

Read Part 2 and Part 3 of “Recruiters: How to Get More Business.”

About the Authors:

John Vlastelica is a former Corporate Recruiting Director with
and Expedia, and is a regular speaker at top recruiting conferences. He is
currently Managing Director of Recruiting Toolbox, Inc., a consulting and
training firm focused on helping corporate recruiters and hiring managers
improve their sourcing strategies, employer branding presence, interviewing
process and tools, and system effectiveness.

Jenifer Lambert is a VP with Terra Staffing Group, a Pinnacle Society
recognized Executive Recruiter, and President of Elevate Performance
Systems, LLC, a consulting and training firm that helps third party
recruiters grow their business.

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