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Limitless Learning Edition #33

How to not become a top performing recruiter

Ten things that will ensure you won’t be a top biller…

#1 Talk about how much you’re going to out-bill everybody.

The first rule of being a biller everybody hates is telling the rest of the recruitment team that you’re going to out-bill them. 

We’ve all worked with one (or two) of these people in our lifetime.
If you’re someone who does this, please stop.

#2 Take advice only from “experienced” consultants.

Although the sentiment of only taking advice from experienced people makes sense, a top biller mindset is about taking inspiration (and information) from your surroundings. 

Don’t underestimate the power of a great conversation with someone more “junior” than you or someone who doesn’t work on the sales floor. 

#3 Put too much emphasis on clients.

We’ve said it thousand times over.

If you put your clients on a pedestal and don’t focus on anything else, you will only suffer in the long run. 

Your clients are your candidates and vice versa – so having the mindset that clients rule the world is wrong. 

You’ll never reach top biller status if you spend all your time chasing clients. 

#4 Use too many (or too little) KPIs.

There are two types of people in recruitment (who don’t become top billers).

Person A, The KPI hater. This individual never gets far because they feel “restricted” by KPIs and see them as the enemy.

Pearson B, The KPI Obsessive. This individual never gets far because they have to measure themselves so vigorously that it takes over their day. 

Things like phone times and dial-outs are a thing of the past.

Instead, a TRUE top biller will look for smart KPIs that are measurable, sustainable, and motivational.

#5 Blame mistakes on other factors aside from yourself.

True top billers know they aren’t perfect and aren’t the finished article. 

Making mistakes is a part of the recruitment rollercoaster, and blaming your mistakes on others to appear to have a “clean slate” is no way to be in work (or life).

The best recruiters will always hold themselves accountable the minute you start pointing the finger at other people; you’re going to struggle.

 

#6 Use “The Wolf Of Wall St” as your only source of inspiration.

Or American Psycho, Succession, or Suits. They are satirical and drama’s for a reason – not real life!

#7 Don’t read or listen to podcasts (or educate yourself)

Although listening to a podcast won’t automatically guarantee you are hitting top biller status, what we do mean is to focus on continuous education to improve yourself – through one external medium!


#8 Get your team to do your “dirty work” for you.

You should be a source of information, inspiration, and guidance for your team. 

Being a billing manager is one of the most challenging and most rewarding roles out there, so getting your team to do your “dirty work” – admin, making you coffees, setting up meeting rooms; is a reliable way to becoming the most hated billing manager on the sales floor. 

 

#9 Become complacent.

You smashed your target, so you took your foot off the gas and stop doing everything that helped you achieve the record month. 

The quicker you become complacent, the quicker you will lose

 

#10 Don’t prioritise your candidates.

Like we said earlier, a great top biller will value their clients and candidates equally – because, in effect, they’re the same.

 

#11 A final bonus one for you.

Possess the mindset that you have ‘completed’ recruitment after however many years you have been in the industry.

You will never complete recruitment & the learning never stops.

All of the best recruiters will share this mindset.

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Limitless Learning Edition #32

Building sustainable habits in recruitment

How to cultivate a “top biller” mindset

Let’s be honest – everybody wants to be a top biller at some point in their recruitment career! 

Not only is it an excellent achievement for yourself, but it’s also an incredible accolade to have within the agency that you work for.

But, there can only be one “top biller” – so what makes them so unique? What enables them to achieve year-on-year?

I’ve unpacked the top 10 things you can start doing today to cultivate a top biller mindset.

 

Let’s dive in.

 

Top 10 things to cultivate a top biller mindset

#1 I’m looking at mistakes as learnings instead of what I did wrong.

Top billers aren’t perfect. 

In fact, some of the biggest billers in recruitment have made huge mistakes. It’s part and parcel of being a recruiter – some days are good, some days are bad. 

However, the “top biller” mindset is looking at these mistakes as opportunities to learn instead of opportunities to beat themselves up. 

Reframing your mindset towards mistakes and “bad days” and viewing them as learning curves is such a vital skill to cultivate. 

#2 I’m humble & don’t think I’m better than others.

Confidence is different from cockiness, and having a bad attitude won’t get you far in the recruitment world. 

Being humble and seeing others as peers instead of competition is an incredible way to think, and enables you to focus on yourself rather than on what others are doing. 

#3 My clients & candidates are equally as important.

It can be very easy to put all of your time and energy into clients and business development, when the reality is that your clients are your candidates, and your candidates are your clients. 

Top billers don’t see one as more valuable than the other, instead – they view them as equal. 

Investing the right amount of time in each will pay you dividends in the long-run. 

#4 Long-term gain over short-term wins.

Your mindset should always be focused on what you can achieve in the long term. 

We already know that the myth of earning £100,000 in your first year and becoming a top biller at the same time is pretty much unachievable; instead – this takes time, dedication, and patience! 

Top billers always focus on the future and how they can keep top biller status year-on-year. 

#5 Team work is key (and so is cross-selling)

Achieving incredible billings is made a hell of a lot easier through teamwork – and that means cross-selling! 

Becoming an expert in your market should be priority #1, but priority #2 should be familiarising yourself with what other markets complement you, how you can work together, and cross-pollinate with clients. 

#6 There is enough business out there for everybody.

Similarly, with competing against others – top billers don’t feel the need to infiltrate others in an organisation and instead know that there is an abundance of work out there. 

Even in a market as saturated as the recruitment world, there is so much business to be won. 

#7 I know my worth & when to say “no”.

Working multiple jobs at any one time isn’t actually as impressive as meets the eye, especially if you aren’t qualifying these jobs and most importantly, filling them. 

Knowing your worth is something that we’ve touched upon multiple times in this newsletter – and learning how to say “no” is what will take you to that top biller status. 

Whether it’s saying no because the rate isn’t right, or it’s saying no to a candidate because you know you can’t help them right now – top billers master this early on and are incredibly honest with themselves about what they can deliver on. 

#8 I’m always looking at how I can improve.

Always be learning. Whether it’s books, podcasts, workshops, events, or talking to others in the industry – top billers know that they aren’t the finished article and are constantly looking at ways in which they can level up. 

Recruitment is incredibly fast-paced, and the industry is ever-changing. Make sure you’re learning to stay ahead of the curve in every aspect.

#9 Feedback is key in every aspect of my work.

Top billers want feedback. They want to improve. 

Feedback is crucial – from clients, candidates, peers, and team members. 

Requesting feedback enables them to improve quicker, and also realise that feedback (however negative it can sometimes be) can be used for good. 

#10 I set boundaries with my time & my energy.

Top billers are aware of boundary setting whether this is in their personal or professional life. 

Learning how to do this can be in the form of saying no as mentioned earlier, but it can also be recognising how valuable your time is and being stricter with it. 

Are you attending pointless meetings? Are you being efficient with your day? Have you reviewed your day plan? 

These are all important things to consider and look at. 

And finally, know that being a top biller takes time, and it shouldn’t be your only goal as a recruiter.

Sure, achieving top biller status is a great way to progress your career, but it should never be at the detriment or sacrifice of your work (or your personal life).

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Limitless Learning Edition #31

Building sustainable habits in recruitment

As humans, we are creatures of habit.

But, in recruitment – it sometimes feels that little bit harder to cultivate sustainable habits than in our day-to-day life.

We all wish that picking up jobs could be as easy as making our beds in the morning, and that winning exclusive projects was just part of our daily routine.

However, there are recruiters out there that can do this with their eyes shut – and it’s taken them years of practice (and good habits) to get to that level.

I’m going to be unpacking the top 3 habits that you should be cultivating on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. 

  1. A) So they become sustainable and part of your everyday life, and B) So you can start to break down the building blocks of what it means to be an incredible recruiter.

Daily Habits

#1 Business Development 

You should aim to do a little bit of business development every day. 

Whether that’s making 3 calls or 30, every successful recruiter habitually does business development, even on the days when they’re rushed off their feet. 

Allocating set time for BD may not work in some cases, but we’ve seen enough day plans to know that it’s achievable to spend at least 2-3 hours a day on your business development skills.

#2 Inbox Zero

Now, before you roll your eyes – no one likes admin, let’s just get that out there! 

But, you have to be on the ball and stay organised. 

Practising inbox zero not only gives you a great sense of achievement at the end of the day, but it’s a great way to ensure that you’re staying on top of your messages (internally and externally) and that you’re set up for the following day. 

#3 Personal Branding

This doesn’t need to be extensive post creation and trying to be a LinkedIn Influencer, I promise. 

Instead – spend 10-15 minutes a day commenting, liking, and sharing on LinkedIn. 

If you’re comfortable doing a post – then great, but habitually engaging with others in your network will naturally improve your personal brand in the market. 

Bonus Habit: Time Management

Before you leave the office for the day plan your day before you leave.

This will help you switch off in the evenings and best prepare you for the following day before it has even started.

Weekly Habits

#1 Growing your network

LinkedIn is any recruiter’s bread and butter, so spending time once a week growing your network on LinkedIn is crucial. 

Sending out requests and introductory messages will only benefit you in the long-run.

#2 Market Mapping

Land and expand! Your market is ever-changing and you should be staying up to date with what is going on in it. 

Market mapping and scoping out new companies to partner with will influence your daily habits and ultimately enable you to become a master of your market. 

#3 Cross-Selling

Along with your business development, you want to ensure that you are cross-selling other desks in the business. 

This will boost your internal reputation but also showcase you as a true consultant to clients.

Bonus Habit: #Reflection.

At the end of each week review how your week went.

Did you achieve the goals you hoped?

Have processes moved on as much as you hoped?

Ask yourself questions like, what went well this week? What didn’t? What can I improve on going into next week?

What needs to be my TOP priorities going into next week to achieve my monthly goals?

Make space weekly to review so you can keep agile & have the best chance of prioritising the tasks that are going to get you close to your goals.

Monthly Habits

#1 Client catch-ups

Whether they are a current client or a prospective one, never underestimate the power of a monthly catch-up. It could be a call, a text, a zoom, or a coffee – don’t forget it! Make sure you’re adding value to these calls every month, whether it’s industry insights, competitor insights, or salary reports.

#2 Candidate catch-ups

The same goes for candidates, too. 

Placed, not placed, or in process (obviously) – catch-ups are a priority.

Remember, how can you add value each month? Is it sharing content, insights, or news?

#3 Check in with yourself

Too often in recruitment, it’s easy to get swept up in your own world when you’re busy and trying to build a sustainable desk. 

Check-in with yourself once a month from a technical, personal, and growth perspective – set goals and stick to them for the following month!

If you’ve got any other habits you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate and we’d love to include them in future editions on this topic!

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Limitless Learning Edition #30

How to consistently get exclusive jobs…

There are two parts to this: Mindset, and technical skill. 

It starts with your internal monologue

Getting exclusive jobs sounds easy on paper, but the reality of getting exclusive jobs can be difficult if you struggle with your internal monologue when conducting a BD call – so let me elaborate on this.

We all have an internal monologue, which is how we talk to ourselves and how we position ourselves in our heads when speaking to a client for the first time. 

If your internal monologue is already negative – AKA “I’m never going to get this job exclusive” – you’re more likely to accept a less attractive role and terms from your client. 

If you go in with a positive internal monologue – AKA “I’m going to get this job exclusively and have a great partnership with that client” – you’re more likely to have better boundaries and see an exclusive job as a long-term goal, rather than something you’ll immediately get on a first call.

Eliminate the biases you have against yourself (and the reputation of recruiters)

Just like your internal monologue, you have to confront the biases you have against yourself (and the reputation of the recruitment industry) before you start requesting exclusive roles. 

We’ve all seen the posts online: recruiters are terrible, we flake on candidates, and the part we play in organisations isn’t critical.

When, the reality is – most organisations would be lost without great recruitment partners. 

Look at some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world: Tesla, Apple, and Meta to name a few. 

They have relied on some of the best headhunters globally to find them exceptional talent so they can get to that level.

As long as you know that you do a good job, care about what you do, and will provide an exceptional service to your clients – that’s when you can start to eliminate the biases you have against the industry that you work in.

If a client can’t see how valuable you are – show them.

If they still don’t believe you – there are plenty of clients out there who will see your value, and ultimately, you’d rather spend your time winning exclusive work from them than from clients who will never see your value!

As far as your clients are concerned, you are booked and BUSY

And finally, you need to create urgency on calls with clients.

Why would they give someone with no jobs an exclusive role? 

This all comes back to boundary setting and confidence.

As far as your clients are concerned, you are busy with exclusive jobs and exclusive jobs only

For you to take on and provide an excellent service, a competitive role right now simply would not be possible.

Explain the benefits of them using you exclusively – what do they get from it service-wise? What access do they get that their competitors who only offer competitive roles don’t? 

Technical skill – Know when it’s time to compromise

The likelihood of you getting 5 exclusive roles on your first-ever BD call is highly unlikely – but it’s not impossible.

A great skill to master is knowing when it’s time to compromise. 

If you have done everything possible to try and get an exclusive role on that call and it hasn’t worked, what are you willing to compromise if you look at the long-term value of that client?

If you see the potential, is it worth you taking on a competitive role (without compromising other jobs you have on) and proving your worth to that client?

Or, is the compromise walking away from the competitive work and calling them for exclusive work in the future?

Open the call with the intention of only securing exclusive work

Linking mindset to technical skill, start changing the language you use on BD calls which will help you to secure more exclusive work.

For example, get comfortable with saying “At [company], we only take on exclusive business due to how we like to form partnerships with clients & it consistently produces the best results for our existing clients. Competitive work creates a barrier and also dilutes your brand image and can affect the candidate experience.”

OR, you could say…

“I only work exclusively with clients due to the competitiveness of the market and the type of service we provide to our candidates. 

We only work with our clients on a partnership basis because it will provide you with the best possible results & when we treat this relationship like a transaction often times clients tell us that they are left frustrated with their external recruitment partners!” 

These are just a couple of ideas that you could use but experiment with it & find out what resonates best with your clients.

Include exclusive business in your pitch

And finally, master the skill of talking about exclusive business in your pitches if you conduct your business development in person!

Just like on a call, if you go on a lot of client meetings, create a pitch deck that is just centred around exclusive business. 

Not only does it make the conversation about exclusive business easier, but it leaves less room for the client to opt for competitive – as you haven’t given them that option.

Now, you just have to wow them in person… 

Again, you want to ensure you link why you want to work with them on an exclusive basis back to how this will benefit them and the results they can expect to achieve working this way.

If you make them feel like working this way will take away the pain surrounding hiring away, then why wouldn’t they partner with you in this way?

And finally – this goes without saying…

If you consistently pitch exclusive on opportunities you aren’t confident you can deliver on, you’re only setting yourself up to fail and become another external recruitment partner that didn’t deliver.

You have to make sure you pitch exclusivity on job opportunities and with clients that you truly believe you can deliver on.

The best recruiters don’t pitch exclusively on work that they feel 50/50 on if they can fill!

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Limitless Learning Edition #29

Clients with commitment issues…

Business Development is tough, there’s no second-guessing it! 

We’ve unpacked every single BD tip under the sun over the past couple of years, but something we haven’t touched on is client commitment.

Commitment issues in any aspect of your life can be frustrating, but even more so in recruitment when long-term client partnerships are the bread and butter of running a successful recruitment desk and having a fulfilling career.

You may be a complete master at opening the door, but how do you always keep it ajar?

There are two sides to this:

  1. Your mindset and attitude to client commitment
  2. How to implement client commitment from day #1

Let’s start with your mindset….

As far as your client is concerned, you are booked and busy.

It can be a difficult mindset shift to make, but you should always give the impression that you are filling roles left right and centre. 

Not only will this create demand as clients will naturally be impressed that you have so much business, but it will also stop you from taking on sub-par work (even if you have nothing in your pipeline). 

You are a value-add, not a last resort or a nuisance

The attitude towards recruiters can be one that is negative, and over time, you can also start to believe that you don’t add value or that you are as annoying as people say on LinkedIn.

Again, with mindset, it’s all about affirming with yourself that you are there to add value. 

If a client can’t see that, and they are non-committal, difficult to get hold of, and don’t respect your time, you must respect yourself enough to focus less on a client like that and invest in individuals who value your partnership, and thus are more likely to engage repeatedly and be committed.

Saying no more often

Although this can be difficult, shifting your mindset to saying no more often and setting boundaries will enable you to attract clients who will meet your expectation. 

This doesn’t mean shutting the door on clients – it’s about asserting what you will and won’t accept. 

If you know deep down that you’ll accept sub-par terms and a mediocre agreement, you’ll allow yourself to do so!

How can you foster better client commitment?

#1 Give yourself a limit on how much competitive work you are willing to accept

In an ideal world, we’d all be retained or working exclusive roles on 30%, but in reality, not everybody works in this type of environment, and it may not work for your market.

Competitive work doesn’t always equal bad work, either. 

But, if you spend all of your time working competitive roles, how will you elevate yourself and create a sustainable desk? You simply won’t.

Instead, set a boundary and allow yourself to work a set amount of competitive roles at any time. 

Then, when the quota is filled, don’t take on any more. 

#2 Always ask for exclusivity

If you don’t do this already, this should be a standard part of you winning a role from a client. 

Exclusivity equals better service, a better go to market strategy, and enables you to have a better relationship with the client. 

If the client isn’t willing to give you exclusivity, find out why. 

Then, if you can, handle the objection and explain why going exclusively with you is better.

#3 Pitch retainers or mini-retainers

Retainers are the best way to secure commitment, as there is an up-front payment required. 

Retainers in recruitment are evolving all the time, so whether you do a refundable retainer, a non-refundable retainer, a retainer “lite” or something different – getting upfront commitment in the form of payment is the goal.

#4 Always explain how it adds value

The whole point of working exclusively or on a retainer is so it’s a partnership. 

You want the client to value the service you provide, so make sure you explain that service before you ask for anything from them. 

This is largely down to your consulting and sales skills, as well as how you approach a negotiation!

For example, if a client isn’t willing to give you an exclusive role now, agree with them that if you fill the competitive role first, they will work with you exclusively on the next three roles. 

Clever compromise is what  I like to call it. 

The client still has an element of control but you are working towards getting that commitment. 

And, as time progresses, and your experience and market reputation improves and word spreads – there will come a time where you can exclusively work on a retained basis, and potentially even secure that the first time around. 

It’s all about demonstrating your track record and value and what they will get out of it. 

#5 –  Build your ideal client matrix

What would make a perfect client? And, what opportunities are you VERY confident you can fill? 

We’ve covered service level agreements and “fillability” frameworks in previous editions, and you should utilise these to build your ideal client matrix and use this to improve commitment. You can use this to consult and educate clients on how they can improve their processes, salary bandings, employee benefits – and so much more.

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Limitless Learning Edition #28

Maximising your day so you don’t burn out…

Burnout is something you’re going to experience as a recruiter at least once in your career, and unfortunately for a lot of us, entering a state of burnout (particularly in the early days) can happen before we even realise it.

But, although burnout can be largely influenced by the type of organisation you’re in, you can also control burnout yourself by starting to get in tune with how you work, what you need to stay motivated, and ultimately know when to stop pushing yourself to the limits.

In recruitment, there are a ton of metaphorical plates that you’re spinning every day.

From managing candidates through a process, to BD, to remembering to eat your lunch (put the 4th coffee down, please) there always seems to be a million things going on at once.

I talk about day plans a lot on the podcast, and a lot of guests willingly share how they stay organised.

But, I’ve noticed it’s usually prefaced by “things can always change though” – and it got me thinking, what practices can we all do that aren’t rigid, help to manage burnout, whilst still enable you to maximise your day?

Go on a walk for at least 15 minutes during your day.

Who remembers this meme circulating during lockdown?

Sometimes, it was the “silly little daily walk” that kept a lot of us sane, so why have we chosen to throw this practice out the window even though the majority of us still work remotely or have hybrid working models? 

Whether you are in the office or not, being glued to a screen or having a phone to your ear all day isn’t good for you, and it isn’t conducive to being productive, either.

Taking 15 minutes to leave all technology, and go on a walk can help you to readjust, reduce stress levels, and take some time for yourself. 

Even if you walk to go and get a coffee or go around the block, this is a small ritual that reduces your chance of burnout. Set that boundary!

TIP: If you’re a manager, it’s important to lead by example with your team.

Check in to make sure people are spending time away from the desk, and make sure you do, too.

Write out your to-do list the night before.

This has come up time and time again on the podcast, and upon reflection, it’s a simple thing we can all do each day to stay organised and reduce the chance of us getting stressed and burned out. 

A simple to-do list before you leave the office enables you to finish the day with clarity on the next, and also ensures you don’t forget anything important as you can write it down whilst it’s still fresh in your mind.

INSIGHT: I would say this habit is the most common time management habit you will find consistent high performers in recruitment have in common, I have been doing this for sometime now & it’s a game changer, it helps me switch off & leave work once I have left the office.

Be militant with your meetings.

Yes, billing managers, I’m talking to you.

I know you’re being pulled from pillar to post, but does it need to be a sit-down meeting?

Does it need to be a 20-minute long conversation?

Does it have to be on video? 

Be strict with your meeting times and don’t be afraid to set boundaries.

Also, give yourself 5-10 minutes inbetween each meeting.

I know it sounds impossible, but it’s the incremental changes that make the world of difference.

INSIGHT:  I would say whenever I have a day of back to back meetings where I didn’t do this I regret it & I feel exhausted not energised by the end of the day. 

Focus on productivity, not the number of hours worked.

We’ve spoken about productivity tips a ton of times in this newsletter, but it’s time to really focus on this, even if it’s one day a week. 

Working late and extending your hours doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being more productive, so set yourself goals to a) finish on time and b) time yourself for certain tasks so you can keep yourself accountable.

Say no more often.

To clients, to candidates, to colleagues.

This is a bit of a taboo statement in recruitment as we are often told that we have to be on, all of the time, and need to go above and beyond to be successful. 

And, a lot of that is true most of the time.

But, if you are burnt out, too busy, and feel mentally drained – you won’t perform at your best.

If a client is being unreasonable and not respecting your time, do you even want to work with them?

We are all human, and saying no and setting a boundary is the #1 thing you can do for yourself to reduce the risk of burning out!

What are your tips for maximising your day so you don’t burn out? We’d love to hear them… 

Recruitment Mentors Session On Managing The Highs & Lows Of Recruitment

This is such an important area for us at Recruitment Mentors as for all of you who have build long recruitment careers you will know that the key is to build sustainable habits.

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