Short-Term, Mid-Term and Long-Term Goals for Recruiters

I asked my son’s dentist what motivated her to go into dentistry. “Because I see an immediate result at the end of the procedure,” she said. “I considered becoming a physician, but you have to wait months, even years, before you see the fruit of your efforts.” Makes sense to me, I thought.

I want things to happen faster, too. I wish I could close a deal everyday and see an immediate impact, the same way my son’s dentist does. Instead of filling teeth and going to bed satisfied, our industry is the high-end big-ticket sale which happens every once in a while when the deal gods smile on us, not the daily conclusion of efforts that a dentist might see.

I’ll never forget when my son was three years old and was passionate about fire trucks. He had fifteen toy fire trucks, he wore fire trucks on his shoes, fire trucks on his shirts, fire fighter hats, and posted stickers from the fire department all over the house. We were regular weekend visitors to the fire station, and all the firefighters knew us by name. Sometimes Dagsen would wake up in the middle of the night saying, “Fire truck! Fire truck!” in his sleep. We even had a toddler-friendly jigsaw puzzle (really big pieces) with a fire truck on it. “Dagsen,” I said to him one evening, “to put the puzzle together, we need to see the picture on the box.” I explained to him that we first start with the visual image of our goal, and break it down into individual pieces of the puzzle. By seeing the photo on the box, we know where all the pieces fall in to place.

If recruiters understand the whole puzzle and how all the pieces fit together, then they will be less likely to be frustrated with the ongoing daily routine even when the final outcome has yet to be in sight. When I first got into the business thirteen years ago, I couldn’t stand how long some deals would take. That’s probably why I never tried gardening. I would be tempted to pull the plants out of the ground to see how far the roots had grown. I just can’t help it. I’m part of the microwave generation. But when I started focusing on the action steps more than my production or billing goal, I was less frustrated and started billing more. In other words, I started focusing on each individual piece of the puzzle and made sure that each part of the puzzle was put in the right place. But I never kept my eye off of the photo on the box. I focused on the following three actions and always kept looking at the picture (monthly goals) of my desired outcome:

  1. The number of conversations per hour. (hourly goal)
  2. The number of candidates presented per month. (monthly goal)
  3. The number of face-to-face interviews per month. (weekly and monthly goal)

Olympic-level athletes concentrate all of their energy only on that next foot placement when they’re on the ice in the middle of an event. They don’t focus on the fact that they’re competing in Olympics for a gold medal during their routine. Sure, that’s their ultimate goal; but while they are in mid-stream of their program, they are only focusing on the next action step in their event.

By keeping your eye on the “box cover” but focusing on the specific action steps of your placement, your desk will be impacted in the following way:

  1. Less frustration. A major frustrating issue for rookies is not seeing things happen fast enough. Like my son’s dentist, we all need immediate gratification. Set daily and hourly goals. Your whole year is made up of a series of your hours, and if you make each hour your best hour, you’ll have your best year. Here’s a simple and easy effective hourly goal for you: set a goal for the number of people you wish to connect with each hour. Quit measuring how many times you dial the phone. Set goals only for connects. Connects make you money. Dials are just attempts. Connects count. Dials don’t. This telephone discipline tool can help each hour, each piece of the puzzle, to be your most effective hour ever.
  2. More fun. My son would get a real rush when a puzzle piece fit in the jigsaw puzzle. Me, too! Even though we would have yet to complete the puzzle, we would see it coming together as each piece made our project visibly closer to the desired goal on the box. If you focus on each piece of the process and make that piece your goal, you will have more fun and feel more satisfied because you can start seeing everything come together.
  3. More effective. I have studied sports psychology by reading several books, and this is the most important thing that I’ve learned: if an athlete does not focus on their specific action steps during their routine then they will choke. I have even seen this happen with recruiters when they have multiple deals closing. It’s almost too overwhelming for them, and they forget about having those tough conversations with candidates and clients that are necessary for the deal to close. They start looking at how large their potential fees could be and it’s almost too much for them to handle. So they choke and start subconsciously sabotaging deals. The same thing happened in the winter Olympics in Salt Lake in the women’s figure-skating competition. Two seasoned competitors choked on the ice while the underdog, a very young teenager, said “This is great. I’m at the Olympics and I never believed it could happen. Just being here is good enough for me. I’m going to skate my best program ever and be happy with it,” and won the gold. The other two were thinking, “Oh my. I’m at the Olympics. I’m at the Olympics. Billions of people are watching. This is what I have worked for my whole life and the next three minutes are what I spent the last thirteen years preparing for,” instead of thinking about each individual action step. And… CHOKE! The tears followed, and all of us empathized. We have all been there.

Focus on each action step, each puzzle piece and the efforts of each hour. Set hourly goals for connects, monthly goals of candidate presentations, and weekly and monthly goals for first face-to-face interviews; and like my son’s dentist you will feel satisfied regardless of how long your deals take to close because you will see the pieces of the puzzle bring everything together, one piece at a time. And when people ask you why you became a recruiter, you can tell them it’s because of the satisfaction of seeing the results of your efforts, each and every day.


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