Recruiting & Candidate Development

Why Most Recruiting Firm Owners Business Plans Fail

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Much of what we as individuals and owners do in the name of planning and goal setting is a complete waste of time.

Yep, you heard me right.  The process is about as effective as making New Year's Resolutions. Why? Personally and professionally we already know what we should do: Lose weight, quit smoking exercise more, professionally, our plans are loaded with build client/candidate relationships, be motivated make a lot of money.

WE WANT the benefits. WE know what to do and why we should do it and you even know how to do it.  Yet most won't do what's good for them. Let's face it: I can tell you how to thrive in an off market in 3 simple sentences.

1) Do WHATEVER is necessary to speak with 15-20 people a day.
2) Arrange 3-4 first-time interviews a week.
3) Study recruiting and selling technique 45 minutes a day.

In a new book, Strategy and the Fat Smoker by David Maister he discusses why most plans done in the professional service arena fail.

My observation is that most business plans done by recruiters and owners are a complete waste of time. Personally and professionally, we know what to do:

"I need to plan"
"I need to make more marketing calls."
"I need to add value to my business relationships."

"I need to hire"

"I need to hold my people accountable"

Maister continues that many change efforts based on assumption that all you have to do is to explain that their lives could be better, CONVINCE them their goals are worth going for and show them how to do it.

This Assumption is patently false! If this assumption were true, there would be no drug addicts, no alcoholics, and no bad marriages. We would say "Oh, that behavior is not good for me, "I'll stop of course" This is nonsense!  I can’t tell you how many of my clients say things like “I keep telling him/her that they need to stay on the phone, make more calls, study, etc.” My question is “So how is that working for you?”

Yet our planning process and our goal setting exercises remain the same. As managers you set your office goal, and help with your team, and we replicate this same useless structure year after year. "Look how fabulous it would be if you were a fit, exercising, in shape person." To which our usual response is "True, Now shut up and go Away!"

We all know what to do.  Why don't we do it?  THAT is an interesting question!
The primary reason we do not work at behaviors we KNOW we need to improve is that the rewards and pleasure are in the future. The discomfort, discipline, frustration needed to get there in the immediate.

To reach our goals, we must first change our lifestyle and daily habits NOW!

We must then summon the courage keep up the new habits and not yield to old familiar temptations, i.e. email, then and only then, we get the benefits late.  We as humans are terrible at delayed gratification.

How many of you have bought self improvement programs and not finished them?  We end up with "shelf-help" not self help!

That's our pattern: Try a little, succumb to temptation, and distractions.
There is rarely any benefit from dabbling or trying only a little.

  • We can't get half the benefits of better marriage by cutting out ½ your affairs.
  • We can't cure ½ the problems of alcoholism by cutting ½ the drinks. 
  • Losing weight may be the most important to you, but if you aren't willing to make the CHANGES that specific goal requires, its importance is irrelevant.

The same is true in recruiting, especially in a downturn. We can AND DO discuss setting goals, it is fun, it creates a "sugar high", BUT gets no where near the real questions.  That has been my experience with most of the business plans I encounter, that is if there is a plan in place at all!

Improving the quality of the goal setting exercise is NOT where the problem lies. The necessary outcome from these exercises can't be just the goal, but must become RESOLVE!

The ESSENTIAL questions of goal setting strategy are these:

  • Which of our habits are we really prepared to change, permanently and forever?
  • Which lifestyle changes are we REALLY prepared to make? 
  • What issues, i.e. call reluctance, fear of rejection, etc are we REALLY ready to tackle?

That's a different tone of conversation and discussion, and the reason we tend to avoid it.   Discussing goals is stimulation, inspiring, and energizing!
But it feels tough, awkward annoying, frightening, and completely unpleasant to discuss the DISCIPLINE needed to reach those goals.

Just as all diets have flaws, so does each solution you will come up with but, which, integrated into your day can you ADOPT as a central part of your business lifestyle.

There is no shame in being average, to be "competent" if you are unwilling to pay the price of excellence. BUT, don't mislead your spouse, your manager or colleagues, clients, or ... YOURSELF with time wasting, demoralizing attempts to convince them you are ACTUALLT committed to pursuing the goal.



Michael Gionta has been described as one of the most exciting, innovative new trainers in our industry. He opened his recruiting firm in early 1990. He has ranked in the top-10 billing managers several times, ranking as high as second across all MRI divisions with cash in on his desk in excess of $2 million in ONE YEAR. In 2001 Michael, based on the secrets he learned from over ten years in the business, made the strategic decision to grow his firm instead of developing his individual recruiting practice.

After years of learning the WRONG way build a recruiting team, Mike began training his team on the techniques that he discovered and that launched him. The result? He developed an office that ranked in the top 3% of MRI. He was ranked the 11th-fastest growing IT search firm in the country (outside of MRI) and the fourth fastest growing search firm within MRI out of 1,100 offices with almost $3 million in annual revenues, ranking the second largest recruiting firm in the greater Hartford, CT area.

In 2007 Michael founded his training, speaking, and consulting firm, Mike is sought out by owners of recruiting firms individually and in groups who want to grow their revenue but simply need to learn the RIGHT step-by-step system for growing a recruiting firm with VERY predictable revenue streams.

 To enroll for FREE in my 7 part audio series, The 7 Deadly Sins MOST Recruiting Firm Owners Make That Cost Them Tens of Thousands in Lost Profits & HIGH Turnover... & How to Avoid Them! visit This will give you more ideas on planning and running your recruiting firm especially in a tight economy. You can also visit his blog at for free articles on managing your recruiting firm.

Your first module will be emailed instantly and you will learn strategies you can implement immediately to build a search firm generating several million in revenue from some of the simple mistakes made and witnessed by author Michael Gionta in his 20 years building his own multi-million dollar firm. Additionally, Michael is sought out by recruiting firm owners who want to grow their firms but simply the step-by-step process to vault them to the next level of success.   Contact Mike at

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