Advice For A New Recruiter

Had a guy reach out to me - he's looking at recruiting jobs, and asked for some advice. Here was my off the cuff thoughts. 

First  - check out the archives from StlRecruiting.com, specifically 2005-2006. I talked a lot about staffing because that was my job at the time.

 

a) My Recruiter and Me. 

b) Do you know enough math to be a contract recruiter?

c) What to do when a candidate asks for more money after the offer.

Second -  Focus on your metrics.
1) Look at as many resumes as you can and keep count

2) Interview as many people as you can on the phone and keep count (never let a call go longer than 30 minutes
3) Interview as many people as you can in person. (never let it go over 30 minutes).
4) Make it a practice to make 100 phone calls a day.

 There is no substitute for pattern recognition in this business. Get it in early, and you'll understand recruiting faster than your peers. Being smart doesn't help. It's about repetition. 

Third - Buy a mirror and put it on your desk. As the phone rings, smile at it. An old secret but a good one.

Fourth - if is your plan to stay in this business, you have to proudly identify yourself as a recruiter and a salesperson. There are no extra points for being a good recruiter in a sea of bad ones. Understand your job is to make introductions, and try not to take it personally when clients and candidates lie to you. Over time, your successes will outweigh your failures. Never apologize for being a recruiter, and never apologize for other recruiters. That will suck the life out of you, and you'll start looking for exits. 

 


Retained Search Is About Hiring. Contingent Search Is About Power.

I came late to the retained search game, starting only a few years ago as a reaction to the social media hiring market. 

After getting burned on a series of contingent searches that took months of time, only to end up with nothing, I switched over to a retained agreement and didn't look back. 

In hindsight, it's the only model for a small firm. 

A retained contract is a staffing solution where a company pays a headhunter a deposit upfront for their services. The deposit is then credited against the eventual placement.  In essence, the company is giving exclusivity to one recruiter whose job it is to find ideal candidates and close them. 

A contingent contract is a staffing solution where a company pays a headhunter only after an offer has been made and accepted, and the candidate actually starts at the position (and in many cases, that fee is not paid until the end of a guarantee period, even when the contract says otherwise).

Any search taking place without any contract in place is what is known as damned foolish, and usually only happens once in a recruiter's career. 

I like the retained search because it levels the playing field, is the most honest and fair, and allows the recruiter to serve the interests of client and candidate and internal recruiter equally.  What does that mean?

 

A retained seach levels the playing field by requiring everyone to put skin in the game. 

    The company pays up front.  The headhunter must deliver, as they've taken partial payment.  The internal recruiter can focus on following the process, and the candidate trusts everyone involved.  If it costs the company nothing up front, they have the option of not taking the job search seriously.  They can hold out for the perfect candidate.  They can decide to wait on hiring.  They can play games with salary.  A contigent search is a game of what if that many different people inside a company can affect.  A retained search has money going out the door, which means everyone has a stake in failure. This tends to concentrate focus. 

A retained search requires balanced service levels. 

There is a misconception from candidates that recruiters work for them.  It's not true because recruiters are paid by the company, and thus work for the company.  Under a retained search, the recruiter truly works for the company, and not against competing interests. 

Rather than explaning, I'll give some examples. 

1) The internal recruiter is still looking for a placement. 

    Internal recruiters are seldom rewarded for making awesome placements, but they are certainly penalized for having to use outside firms.  In many HR cultures, using an outside firm is an admission of failure.  An internal recruiter that needs to use outside help always has an incentive to hire their own candidate.  The argument made internally is that a third party firm should be providing a better candidate if they want to get paid. That's true, but how do you judge two candidates side by side when the choice of one candidate affects the interviewer more than the other?

What this means is that the outside firm has to deliver a clear winner.  Anyone in hiring knows this isn't how decisions are made.  This means the best candidate doesn't always win. 

2) The candidate wants more money

    In a contingent search, a candidate can ask for more money with relative certainty of having negotiating power.  They know the search was difficult for the company.  They know the recruiter doesn't want to put all that time in only to lose at the last second. The company, in addition to lost time, fears not finding another candidate.  This is a structural flaw in the contingent model.  

In retained search, the recruiter has the resources to keep a pipeline open until a placement is made.  Even when the search is looking almost complete, the retained recruiter continues making calls.  We have to have the power to cut a candidate off for playing games (and a good retained recruiter has already covered salary negotiation prior to submission).  This limits last minute power-plays, common in high-demand areas. 

3) The manager isn't sure what they want

   When it comes to new technology, and new skills, searches on the cutting edge are very dangerous for contingent recruiters.  Managers who are not involved in a heavy vetting process quite simply don't know who they want to hire.  They're skittish, because they're trusting someone else to know more than they did, often to their detriment.  Ideally, every manager wants the perfect employee at half of their market value, smart enough to do the job, but too dumb to know they can make more.  Contingent search gives managers that option, allowing then to pick and sift for the perfect candidate at the less than perfect cost. This is manifesty unfair to the recruiter, but it makes perfect sense to the manager, whose job is to minimize risk.

4) The recruiter is the only game in town.

Managers in dire need.  Managers in small companies.  Managers who just lost a key employee. All of these situations give power to the recruiter, whose day-in, day-out job is surveying the job market.  Managers lack the information recruiters possess, and the more immediate the need, the less power they have.  When you need someone now, you'll grasp at straws.  In a contingent situation, the manager is often left taking what they can get, both in terms of the staffing salesperson and the candidates they offer.  

In the videoblog Importance of Salespeople in Staffing, I discussed how salespeople are really information brokers greasing the wheels of the employment market. Our job is to identify what companies need to hire, so that we can service those accounts.  As companies only pay us when we're successful, they are dependent on what salespeople call them.  As many managers find out, the salesperson is only as good as their recruiter network, which is to say that just because someone is good at getting you on the phone, doesn't mean they deliver what you need.

Like men who only date women who make the first move, managers often end up the victims of those salespeople who do call. 

Retained Search is only a small part of the market. Companies quite frankly prefer the contingent route because they fear getting taken advantage of, and they overestimate their ability to manage the damage of choosing a recruiter. You can't measure the cost of lost time as well as you can a failed search.  And recruiters do themselves no favors, failing to sell their services at a premium and many afraid to ask for payment up front.

This isn't to suggest contingent recruiters aren't as good.  In fact, there's often more money in contingent recruiting precisely because more companies are willing to give you a chance.  If you're a recruiter, you have to ask yourself, do you want the chance to work for free? 


Is A Reference Check In A Sales Call A Sign Of Weakness?

What is the purpose of a reference check?  Whether it's for a candidate or for a sales call, a reference check is designed to give some level of comfort to a buyer/hirer that the process they just completed was legitimate. 

It's checking to make sure that what you were told was the truth, and that you were not sold a bill of goods.  

Some people will say references are an important part of any sales process, of any interview.  It shows a thoroughness on the part of the checker - a covering of all bases. It is a risk management tool that serves as a warning to fraudsters and con men that they have to do more than spin a good yarn.

But enough with the metaphors, and on to the sales lesson.  I'm not here to talk about the importance or wisdom of references. I'm here to share a story about bad salespeople, who require references. 

I was learning at the foot of a master salesman.  The guy had been around, knew how to close, and most important, was willing to teach.  Sitting in his office, we would wait for sales agents out in the field to call in during client presentations.  The call was a necessary part of the sale.  Salespeople had to get authorization on their deals.  Anyone who has bought a car understands why this works, and its importance in negotiation. 

The strong ones called in and laid out the deals they were negotiating.  They used the call as a tool to show a process of buying.  That process made the clients comfortable.  It showed the salesperson had a company behind them, and the call was part of that process.  They weren't asking for permission to close, they were playing a role to create urgency.   

The weak ones used the call for backup.  The sales manager knew this, and would tell me before the call what would happen. 

"He's going to call in, tell us it's a good deal with an interested client.  He's going to say, 'They're almost ready to sign, but they want to talk to some references first.'"

And just like the sales manager was some kind of prophet, that's exactly what would happen.  The sales guy would call in, say he had a good deal, and explain that references were all that was needed to close the deal. 

Here's what I learned. References never close the deal.  If you cannot close the deal by yourself, references are not going to do it for you.  That's why they're called a reference check, and not a reference close.  

1) Only a durned fool gives bad references.  While I've seen it happen for candidates, that's because candidates have learned that a lot of companies don't actually check references.  In sales, that doesn't happen.  That means that only positive references are given.  What use are those? 

2) It's not the reference check that's the problem.  It's the idea that it has power.  Reference checks are designed only to make the checker feel good in their decision. 

What's the proper way to handle a request for a reference in a sales call?  This is what I was taught. 

Sales Manager:  Tell them this.  Tell them of course you're going to give them references, but you're sensing there is something else going on. Do they have concerns about the project?  Are they prepared to buy right there?  If we call and get the references on the phone, will they sign upon hanging up?  We ask because references have to be protected.  They've graciously allowed us to use their name, but it's not their job to sell for us.  So again, tell them of course they can check references, but let's make sure that there isn't anything else stopping them from signing. 

It's a beautiful understanding of the sales process, and the response of the prospect would tell us all we needed to know. 

1) Just give us the references, and we'll call them: This meant they were stalling, and asking for references was their way of ending the sales meeting without having to sign a commitment. 

2) They admitted their were other factors in place: including time, budget, and/or revisions to what we intended to sell them:

3) They got belligerent: This was usually followed by the suggestion that a failure to provide references was a sign we were hiding something. 

This was always the most interesting, because it told us the problem was not the product.  Those who got belligerent fell into two camps - those that had purchased a similar product and had been burned, and those who did not trust the salesperson.

The belligerence was based either on fear of getting burned again, or distrust of the salesperson.  In both cases, it showed someone who could be sold by the right person.  

In no case, and in no time since, has a request for a reference check in a sales process ever led to a sale. Reference checks asked before the conclusion of a deal happen because the salesperson failed to unearth relevant information about the prospect.  While it is entirely normal for a prospect to ask for them, the time and manner in which they ask should serve as a signal as to whether or not you will close the deal.   

 


I Want To Be Indispensable

I was 25 years old, and had spent two years at my first office job.  After years in catering, restaurant, and retail, I was working at a desk in an office with computers and printers and an undefined role. 

At the time, I was a marketing/IT/sales/management hybrid, developing a mapping project for outside salespeople to use in collecting leads while in new markets.  With the help of the 3rd fastest computer in the company, and a whopping 4 GB of memory, I redrew the United States into walkable sections based on business lists purchased from ABI. 

In addition, I handled special marketing projects, served as a liaison to other departments (shipping, sales, marketing, enterprise, customer service), served as a buffer between  my boss and the sales floor, and for a while, I sang in the choir. 

I was in a growing company, and had won my spurs in the first year, placing in the top 5 salespeople dialing 125 times a day setting up appointments with car dealers, mortgage companies, retail stories, and distributors on selling an incentive program. 

This is all brought up because I just noticed Seth Godin has a book called Linchpin, Are You Indispensable?

Indespensable.  At the age of 25, that's all I wanted.  I remember standing in a bar on a Friday explaining to a group of 8-10 people what I actually did.  The answer was everything.  Anything my boss wanted me to do. Anything I saw that needed to be done.  Anything other people wouldn't do.  From recruiting to admin to training to reporting functions to IT Help Desk to UX work - my job was simply to solve problems. 

And so when they asked, I told them my job was to be indispensable. 

One guy - a real stud, both in sales and in life, looked at me with sympathetic eyes and 10 more years of experience and said, "No one can ever be indispensable."

It's been 12 years since, and I'm now inclined to believe him. Companies move on, more often than not.  When they lack personnel or lose someone important, they move to different things.  Whether they fail aor succeed, they move on.  How can one man be indispensable in a system that adjusts itself through sheer inertia?  Whatever satisfaction you get from helping the company win or watching it lose, the result is temporary.  Indispensable simply doesn't last forever. 

That desire never left me, and so in 2006, I started my own company.  Ultimately the only way to truly be indispensable for any length of time was to do it all yourself.  To date, I'm still indispensable, but I'm actively working each day to make myself obsolete.  It will be a joy the day I can sit back for six months and watch the company work on its own.  How crazy is that?    

I'm out every day looking for employees that are indispensable.  I'm out every day looking, and not finding, because on thing is true - people who want to be indispensable can't reach their potential working for others.

Clearly I've yet to read Godin's book, but the title struck a memory chord, and a strong one.

Are you indispensable?  Is it even possible to be?  


Predicting The Future Is Easy. Complaining About The Future Is Getting Old

One of the lamer trends that pops up every six months are so is the column from an industry stalwartbemoaning the rise of social media in the human resource community.  Having watched this unfold for over ten years, the pattern of behavior as social media invades yet another walled fortress makes this really boring to me, but the earnestness in which social media is denounced and accepted compels me to write something about the situation. 

Social media is all over the place because it's scary.  With a public (that consists of both B2C and the general public) that craves information and now has learned to share it, the ability to tightly control information is no longer possible.  In fact, once social media has breached the walls, attempts to control information actually increase the growth of adoption as people learn they don't have to take it anymore. 

This is very damaging to the old guard.  It first hits pundits, who find themselves forced to cover social media, but only at a distance.  Later it progresses to consultants, who explain that social media is important, but not as important as the basics they teach. Finally, it reaches executives who have not prepared their companies for change, and are terrified of what it portends.  It's true in every industry, starting with the media, and continuing on to marketing, sales, customer service, and of course human resources.  It's about the only thing we can count on in today's economy.  That order is also the order of outrage, with first pundits, then consultants, then executives taking to blogs and online magazines  (ironically) to decry the barbarians at the gate.  "You Lack Experience," they proclaim. "You Can't Show Your Results," they mock.  "You Need A Steady Hand" (one they provide at hundreds of dollars an hour), they beg.  And many people cheer them along, grateful that someone is there to protect them from LinkedIn invitations and Twitter searches.

And then another year passes, and the naysayers turn around to find themselves surrounded with change, as social media participants in their company, supply chain, customer base, and competitor's sales force ignored their warnings and just dove in.  Without consultants and without direction, working off slivers of information provided at conferences and online, the companies and people of the world are doing more on their own, without the hallowed gatekeepers giving them the go ahead.  The peasants are revolting, without even bothering to ask for permission. 

It's as if the early adopters, in using their imagination and testing out new technology, sparked the use of creativity and imagination among the workforce, who in their day-to-day activities realized their customers were already using social media.  

It's as if early adopters, far from being the catalysts for change, were simply noting that the world was changing, and that paying attention to those changes might be important if a company didn't want to get lost. 

What we now know, is that early adopters are not special.  They are not super talented gadget freaks with magic social powers.  We know this because the masses who came after them are exhibiting the same behaviors once exposed to the platforms.  In other words, paying attention to the early adopters and their actual use of social media, was a pretty gosh darned good way to predict what would happen. 

These trends aren't difficult to see in hindsight.  It wasn't that long ago that people didn't use credit cards online, and certainly wouldn't swipe it to a mobile device.  Now?  We're on the cusp of using our phones as the credit card.  Mobile check-ins seemed a huge invasion of privacy, until you start checking and realizing that the information you need about a place was left by the last 10 people who were there. 

I'm not one to give "social media consultants" a pass simply because they're on Facebook, but I do see a value in simply jumping into the pool, and if a business is comfortable paying someone to do so, more power to both parties.  For those who like to complain, I simply wait a few months, and then point out they've added "social media consulting" to their website, despite having done nothing to earn it. 

The world is changing, and that means learning new ways to sell, market, hire, and provide customer service.  When someone tells you that nothing has changed, it's a sure sign they' are afraid of being left on the sidelines.  It's an understandable reaction, but one I've seen too many times.  I may be a social media consultant, that most vile of the barbarian hordes, but at least I'm original. 


Oh Noes!! I've Been Fake-Fired From My Fake Job!

Yesterday, I was fake fired from my fake job at the company I don't work for.  Don't panic, I run my own company, so it's not like I'm actually fired, but we'll come back to that in a moment. 

Several years ago I was speaking with a manager who used to work at Boeing.  When I say, used to, I mean it had been 9 years since he worked there.  One day he was driving to his current place of employment, and pulls into the parking lot, and realizes, he's at Boeing.  His brain had gone back in time and driven him to the employee parking lot of his previous position.  That's a work habit. 

My father was always an early riser.  Years on a farm and then the military ingrained in him the desire to wake up around 5:00 in the morning.  I could never understand this, but years after he needed to, he would still rise every morning, out of habit.

I worked in a cubicle for 9 years myself.  Different jobs, but a cubicle nonetheless.  So when I moved into new office space in April that had a cubicle, I set up my computer and was hit with the strangest emotion.  Fear. I was afraid a boss was about to come by and tell me what to do.  That was a habit. 

I've run my own company for six years.  I've had an office for the last three, a retail space in Ladue that was very nice and most important, mine.  When I moved to Dallas, I tried the home office, but decided to sub-lease some space, and the first available was a row of cubicles inside an office of a friend of a friend. I figured it would be fine, so I took it.  And after a few days, the "boss" feeling went away, and I worked 10-12 hours at a clip. 

So imagine my surprise when the guy who rented me the space walked up to my cubicle and asked to speak with me, privately in his office.  I walked back to his office, and he told me that I couldn't sublease anymore.  The office management was notified of new keycode access, and when they realized it was a sublease, pointed out they weren't allowed to do this.  It wasn't a big deal - in fact I had my eye on an executive suite two blocks from my gym I was going to move into in August, but the next 10 minutes were surreal. 

People wouldn't meet my eye when I walked by.  When I handed in my keys, one asked for the mouse I had borrowed that morning.  I exchanged addresses with the guy I had become friendly with, and promised to stay in touch.  I took my Red Bull from the fridge, dumped the salad I had saved for later, and erased my data from a whiteboard behind me. I had to box up my stuff, and when I was done, they cut me a check for the unused portion of my rent!   Short of having a security guard escort me out, what happened was exactly what would have happened if I was actually fired.

But, there was no emotional aspect to it.  It was like I was being fired on the day I hit the lottery.  It was comical, not sad.  I called my wife and we had a good laugh, and drove to the executive suite to secure a place for the next day at the same price but with more privacy.  30 minutes after leaving, I had a new, better place.  I was fake hired and a new fake job.   

And yet, lingering in the back of my mind, is the recognition that if I had been employed there, if I had needed the job, my emotional response would have been much different.  I haven't ever been fired, but I have fired people, and I've been there when others were fired.  

Yes, my story ends well, because I was never in danger.  And yet, l can't quite shake the feeling that yesterday, I was let go.  Call it an old work habit - a ghost from days past when the threat of losing your job every day was real.  Even though today it is my responsibility to hire, manage, and make a payroll, old habits die hard.  From Boeing parking lots to early rising to bad coffee in the breakroom - every day at work is creating a habit in who you are.  


How Do You Describe What You Do?

I was having a very pleasant meal last night, and thought I'd share a conversation.

JD: What do you do for a living?  

Dinner Companion: I work as a radiologist.

JD: A Radiologist?

DC:  Yes.  Do you know what that is? 

JD:  Oh, yes, I love DJ's.  What's your favorite music? 

DC:  That's a good one. 

JD:  It's X-Rays,  right?  You do the x-rays ? 

DC: Close.  I don't take them, I interpret them.  A x-ray technician takes them.

JD:  That makes sense.  Wait.  I have a question.  

DC: Yes?

JD:  You said you work as a radiologist.  You didn't say you were a radiologist.

DC:  hmmm, I never thought of that.

JD: It's an interesting choice of words.  Most people say they are "a blank," or they say they work for someone.  But you said work for.  I wonder if that's because you're not attached to one place, but move around so much. 

DC:  It's possible.  I do work for a single company, but we're contracted out to different hospitals and clinics. 

JD: So it could be that "you work as a radiologist," is a phrase based on the style of work you do.  That's very interesting. 

We moved on from that, but it got me to thinking, who else has interesting phrases to describe what they do?  We know that inflated titles is common, with teachers calling themselves "educators" and garbage men calling themselves "environmental impact technicians," and salespeople calling themselves, "account executives" or "account managers."  But how would explaining your career help a recruiter understand your motivations? 

When someone has ambitions, you hear them say:

"I currently works as a (server, retail associate, accountant), but I'm taking night classes for (insert profession here)."

Technical folks tend to define themselves by title: " I'm a network architect."

Financial folks (corporate) define themselves by the company they work for:

"I work with Ameren, or Citigroup, or Peabody." 

Financial planners just say: 'I'm a financial planner with "company.'"

Small business owners come in three sizes: 

"I own a company" (I've had it for a long time). 

"I run a company. (I work very hard)

"I founded a company" (we're not profitable, yet)

Any others I missed?


Why Our Clients And Managers Say The Things They Do

I once sat in a meeting with a number of staffing firms listening to an executive tell us that he didn't mind putting food on our tables, but he didn't want any of us getting rich off of his company. 

At the time, I, like the rest of the folks there, ketp a stony face, and said nothing, but inwardly, most of us must have either been laughing or indignant.  What business was it of his what we made?  If we provided people at the market rate and they did the job, how exactly did that impact his business?  We didn't benefit from his cost savings, so why should he benefit from ours? 

This isn't the kind of thing you're supposed to talk about in polite company (you're not supposed to question big clients), but I was reading through a book that described why exactly the executive felt the need to say something. 

The book is called Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism,  and it was provided to me long ago by the Princeton University Press.  I picked it back up for some light reading, and saw I had marked some 30 pages, almost all for blog material.  Despite it's title, it is not a leftwing academic title.  It's well-researched, and gives a lot of excellent background on the formation of textile firms, railroads, and other corporate entities in the United States. 

Key to this discussion, and the book isn't in front of me so I'll paraphrase, is the understanding that outsourcing, which used to simply be known as contracting, has a long and glorious history, but it's essential character is to provide costs savings to the corporate parent, without giving the appearance of providing to high of a benefit to the contractor.  While that seems to just be common sense, you can see the same tension I started describing at the front of this post in negotiations between marketing and product finishing in the context of 18th century textile mills in Massachusetts. 

This is a phenomenon we see in many instances, where human beings, using their internal logic, speak based on their position rather than on the general market. This is an important step to learn in business, as we often ascribe false reasoning to our clients and managers based on our emotional reactions to their words, rather than understanding why they make the statements they do.  Understanding where the come from helps us learn how to overcome their objections. 

Let me give you another example, this one internal.  I've had three managers do a very weird thing.  All three were recently promoted into a position, and they needed me to help them achieve an objective I didn't believe in.  In each case, the manager told me it was my job to help them, and that they wanted me on board.  They didn't say why.  They just demanded acquiescence.   Their words were all similar.  

Manager: Are you on board?

Me: Yes

Manager: I want to hear you say it.

Me: I said yes, I'm with you.

Manager:  No, I want you to say, I'm on board with you.

Me: I'm on board with you.

On it's own, the conversation hardly bears any merit.  Managers say these kind of things all the time.  But after the second time, and then the third, something was clear.  These managers had nothing in common.  Different industries, different parts of the country.  And yet, they all had a need to have me speak out loud, as to reassure them.  Even though each of them had used coercion to get me to agree to their point of view, and they must have known that I was responding simply because they told me to.

And yet, they sounded the same.

What happened is in each case, a new manager saw me as a leader in the office, and wanted to demonstrate to me they were in charge.  They used the words that gave them the illusion of control, because they knew they didn't have control.  Six months before and six months after, this conversation would not have mattered.  

Do you see?  It was their position that led them to say what they said, just as it was the position of the executive to tell us he didn't want us getting rich (a statement that has at least 200 years of history behind it).  

True innovation, and great salesmanship, comes from differentiating between what is expected, and what is possible, in client relations.  Comprehending why a client, manager, or personal relationships speaks certain phrases is the value of experience.   


The Importance Of Data Entry To A Happy Workforce

I learned staffing the hard way.  After a week of training, I was set in front of a computer with a stack of paper resumes and told to call through, entering information and looking for cablers at $8 an hour so we could charge $13-$15.  My first two months was spent calling people who just graduated with an MCSE and convincing them that a job cabling, while not glamorous, was a good start for the industry.

At the time, my background in cold-calling was very helpful.  I was used to making 125 calls a day, so 60 was a welcome relief, and I was offering people a job, not selling them a product over the phone.  As we entered names into the computer, the job got easier.  We had Personic's EZAccess, which functioned more like an Access database, and less like an ATS, but it was fast, easy, and I was able to track my progress easier than my old way of pencil and a notepad.

Over the years, I used a variety of systems at different employers - none matched the ease of Personic, and my personal call volume dropped each time I changed calls as I got further from pure calling.  At my final job, the system was so bad, I went back to the pencil and paper, using Outlook to track numbers each day - giving me the numbers I needed to add a hire a week from January 21, 2005, to October 15th 2005, when I left on a honeymoon cruise.

In the last half of that year, a new directive came down to add all of our activity to the new applicant tracking system.  The system was slow, had about 10 clicks for every action, and the only way I could get it done was to stay 2 hours after work and enter that data.  That experience didn't make me want to quit, but it did get me to thinking about better uses of my time, which three months later would culminate in me leaving to start my own company.

I bring this up because a similar story was told to me a couple of weeks ago, from a top producer at a different kind of firm.  Their new CRM was difficult to use, and while it didn't make the person want to quit, it did put a seed into their mind that a company that needed you to do busywork might not be the best place for your talents.

I wonder how many times this happens.  Executives purchase a piece of software, and institute training based on what they want entered, and not based on what their top producers need to make more money.  Is your CRM/ATS/DataEntry system built for you, or is it built for efficiency?  Today, I use Sendouts and SugarCRM, but really I use my iPhone, Outlook, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  I look at my paper trail, and wonder if I could ever adapt to another internal system, but then I look at my productivity, and it's the highest it's ever been.

Something to think about.


Brandstorming Store For Small Business Is Live

For those curious as to why this blog is strangely, inactive, I'd like to introduce you to my latest project, a social media training DVD store for small business. The lessons are different than the HR Training store at SMH, as the subject matter is focused almost entirely on small and microbusinesses.

While I've been active in online employment in St Louis and beyond, my firm, Durbin Media has also been engaged in interactive marketing projects for clients. Tapping into my background selling small business marketing, we added the training store to address the lack of relevant information on using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other tools for generating sales.

Social media is a killer app for the small business, but it takes time to learn.  Like my Blogging Boot Camp, the DVD's work as accelerators to that learning curve. 

Take a look, and please consider linking, sharing, or retweeting the store to your audiences.  StlRecruiting now returns to its regular scheduled programming.