Client Dev & Marketing
One of the things that’s helped me procure a continuous fresh stream of new accounts is my ability to tweak, adjust and prune (or enhance) recruiting services based on the needs of a particular company.
For example, a $290 million dollar company with only a limited HR department consisting of a one-woman-show HR Director will most likely involve more interaction with the hiring executives and more involvement with offer negotiations and language than a $10 billion dollar publicly traded company that has a very specific process of offer proposal/employment letter templates and extending to benefits onboarding, etc.
Similarly a smaller company, such as a 20 person company is going to most likely need a lot more help than just recruiting and finding a hireable individual. Some of these smaller companies not only know next-to-nothing about how to hook and reel in a worthwhile candidate, they may have poor habits and not-so-great practices that might even frighten a candidate sending him/her running for the hills after all your hard work.
Such was the case one month ago when a small company in the central U.S. wanted us to help them. They stated “not being able to hire someone since August last year”. Even though further questioning revealed they had worthwhile candidates in queue, but were just unable to hire.
I arranged an exploratory phone call with the company owner. He was one heck of a nice guy by the way (one of the reasons I provided more time than I would have). I asked the following questions:
- Did you extend an offer?
- Was it in writing?
- Was it only a verbal proposal? (it was)
- What was the specific wording you used?
I found out the crux of their problem. They were using the word “draw” for a territory sales rep position when they should have been using the word “salary validated by production”. Essentially both are the same, but the word “Draw” sends a cold chill down many sales people’s back sending younger candidates running for the hills unnecessarily.
Bob (the owner) and I had a long discussion about how the word salary does not imply permanence of employment. Which he mistakenly thought it did.
I told Bob “You can offer me a $65,000 salary and if I’m not producing you can still fire me in 90 days”. Especially if production goals are written into an employment agreement and “employment at will” clause is spelled out.
I’m not an attorney – but I know of many companies that fire folks for things that have much less to do with production and sales quotas. Even just because they felt like it.
I told Bob I can’t help you if you insist on using the word “draw” in our offer letter. But if you agree to reconsider using language such as salary I may be able to assist.
I also sent Bob a few copies of actual Territory Sales Rep offers made/accepted in the past years that did not use the word “draw” and spelled out a “Salary” that had to be earned by meeting specific quotas.
In order to get this “search” into the realm of reality I was going to have to do some work. Not much, but a little more than usual.
I called Bob to review the offer letters sent him (with confidential names of companies/candidates removed) and discussed them by phone. He agreed that the more sophisticated language being used by savvy competitors was the underlying reason those competing firms were securing offers and he was not.
I offered to provide him help with initial framework of his offer (he would provide details) if he agreed to use these already-proven successful offers as his template.
Bob agreed. We got a fee agreement sent out (was not going to bother with the agreement unless I knew he was willing to make an acceptable offer first). It was signed and 4 weeks later 3 candidates were interviewed and we went into negotiations on offer language for one of the 3.
Bob stated “No other recruiting firm was willing to help me like you did”. That’s why those firms, which were in the habit of flipping resumes like hot pancakes … and doing little more beyond that … did not get the placement. I did.
The other search firms assumed a company president knew how to put together an acceptable offer. I made no such assumption and in fact learned their offer presentation process was the weak link in the chain.
Upon inspection of the Job Specifications I learned:
- The company was reputable with 22 years of sales success
- The owner was honorable and a man of integrity
- There was a Unique Selling Point about the job – involving a soon-to-be retiring partner that was going to be handing over pre-existing business worth millions to whomever came on board
- The location, “Salary” and position would be attractive to the right person that recognized the value of walking into a department with a retiring partner
It wasn’t our biggest hire. And it wasn’t our smallest either. But for the minimal effort of sending a few successful, known-to-work employment offer templates that have secured acceptances in his industry – that turned out to be the gentle nudge in the right direction Bob needed to get his sales manager on board.
I had to adjust the anticipated services expected from an executive search firm.
For a small company with 20 employees, you may have to get your hands dirty and play several roles including:
- Internal HR Coordinator
- Employment Specialist
- Para-Legal Consultant (from a practical perspective and an attorney can always be consulted with separately)
- Contract consultant
- Candidate Career coach
- Travel coordinator
In fact the “search” part of the services was the easiest as most of that was handled by two mass emails that went out to a group of 450 targeted prospects.
By comparison a mid-sized company with sales/revenue of between $20 to $300 million may require less such as:
- Search Consultant
- Presenter of qualified finalist resumes
- Coordinator of interviews (maybe some will have their own coordinator arrange these)
- Assist only with glitches when they arise
Large companies with revenue of over $500 million to tens of billions:
- Submission of finalist/recommended candidate resumes only
- Assist with interviews and start date confirmations
These larger companies have outsourced background checking companies, offer specialist within HR handles employment offers, specialist handling assignment of access to the online medical/benefits setup site, travel coordinator arranging meetings, and even relocation experts to handle relocating new hires.
With larger companies I just sit back and watch it all unfold without much work other than driving the check to the bank.
But small companies require more.
Learn to recognize where intervention and assistance may cause a mistakenly “un-fillable” position to become highly place-able and earn more fees.
Within two years after leaving the corporate world for the search industry Frank Risalvato was earning $21,000 single fees – rivaling his previous annual salary on a semi-monthly basis. He founded www.iresinc.com, the search firm he continues to operate today. Today his fees average $37,500 and he works on multiple positions in the $150k range monthly. His recruiter training site now features his newest book “A Manager’s Guide To Maximizing Search Firm Success”. Click the preceding link or the book cover below for the amazon.com order page and buy a handful to share with your clients. 704-243-2110.
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