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Recruiting & Candidate Development

Teams Win - Solo Recruiters Struggle

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There’s been a lot of struggle going on in the recruiting profession since about 2008-2009 when the downturn began accelerating and taking form.

I can tell how it is impacting the industry, even though my observation is based on not necessarily the most scientific findings: I can tell from how many independent solo-recruiters ceased to earn a living and encountered serious, business (and life style) threatening difficulties.

I learned of many unfortunate circumstances simply from the volume of unsolicited resumes coming in through the website and via my direct email (for those slightly more astute recruiters that invest time to find the email address which I make slightly difficult to locate).

The pattern is the same even though the stories change from individual through individual. I also went through one of my personal driest spells this March and April where at one point I called friends in the business and began to wonder if I picked the right profession.

Everyone is trying to “do it on their own” in an internet and multi-media age where doing it on your own is next to impossible.  If you are reading this and you are a “solo” recruiter I’m here to assure you that you are loosing over many tens of thousands in fees by those leveraging technology and teams to their advantage.

The paradox we have is this:1.    Sophisticated recruiting software – But overly complex, slow and user-unfriendly for an actual busy recruiter to use on the fly.
2.    Hundreds of job sites, aggregators, distribution applications – but scant one or two candidates from each source
3.    Computers becoming more complex and unfriendly while cell phones make locating people at home next to impossible

When I first started in this business everything was the opposite of today:1.    A few large national sites to advertise which produced several hundred replies (such as Wall Street Journal, New York Times, etc.)
2.    The telephone was the only means of contact – the person was either there or they were not. Simple.

Today we have thousands of websites to source, scan, decipher and scour but a scant individual that will be suitable from each.

We have multiple means of communication – which no one seems to be paying attention to such as:·    Linkedin
·    Facebook
·    SMS text
·    Cell
·    Multiple email addresses...some content.

As a result while we have more electronic tools – we have to use more of these tools to ensure we’re connecting with our recruits or clients. Is it easier? No. I feel we’re actually forced to working much harder for the same results.

That’s where an assistant becomes vital in breaking the bottleneck.

If I were to spend time actually updating applicant tracking records I’d never get my calls in. So that’s delegated. Cleaning up of resumes is also delegated as is list development, intelligence-gathering, lead development, training, prepping and I could go on and on.

I want to handle placements. As a result I tend to work in thirteen directions so rapidly that many of our placements go from contract, to candidate submission and hire/start date before information is ever uploaded into the “system”.

If anything we’re often working extra after the placement to help the “system” keep up with us.

Teams are more powerful than working individually for all the electronic and communication reasons outlined above.  And I haven’t even mentioned accounts payable, receivable, collections, invoicing, billing, accounting, tax preparation, etc. etc.

Lessons Learned

  • You need a team. Working solo is recipe for slow death.
  • Your team should consist of
    • Website professionals
    • Search Engine Optimization professionals
    • Social networking media mavens
  • You need a good research assistant
  • Using technology, research, media will help better in a team environment.



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, 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 order page and buy a handful to share with your clients. 704-243-2110.

Frank’s FREE “Audio Download” page provides an opportunity to “be a fly on the wall” and listen in to live calls, messages, conversations with clients and candidates – look for it on .   His “Maximizing Search Firm Success” book has helped recruiters lock up partial and full retainers between $5,000 to $40,000 by standing out from crowd.


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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.

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