By: Ed Muzio
As the end of the year approaches, you probably have a few clients whose recruitment strategies seem, for want of a better word, stuck. Maybe you have a client who seems ready to commit to your firm... but never does. Or, maybe you’re struggling with a manager who sounds like she’s ready to commit to a candidate... but always needs another week to decide. In order to get these clients’ recruitment strategies to “yes” by year-end, you may need to try something new.
Luckily, motivation theories can help. When you’re trying to get a client or candidate to “yes,” what you’re really doing is trying to motivate them – or, better put, trying to help them find motivation for themselves. Luckily, as it turns out, six measurable factors drive each of us to action. (I discuss some of these in my presentation, Six Hidden Factors of Motivation.)
Applying one or more of these motivation theories to your recruitment strategies will help you move clients closer to “yes.”
Some of us just want the truth. Our search for the “right answer” -- whether it’s the right firm, the right candidate, or just the right place for lunch -- is tantamount. Right answers, of course, usually come from research. And research is just a fancy name for investigating what has already happened.
Ask yourself: how do you equip your clients with the truth? Does your website include real, well- described testimonials that prove you’re the right solution to their staffing challenges? Do you converse about candidates in terms of their specific qualifications that illustrate why they’re a good fit? Improve these things and truth-seekers will appreciate and reward your efforts.
Have you ever met someone who only cares about Return on Investment, or ROI? Whether it’s about saving money or better time management, some of us are driven to make wise investments. we want to see our limited resources pay off.
Ask yourself: Why would a client’s time or money be better spent on your recruiting strategy than with other options? How does your firm -- or any candidate you recommend -- provide the most “bang for the buck”? Unless you differentiate your staffing services, in terms of value, you won’t have much of an answer here. But if you can honestly say “what I’m recommending will pay for itself multiple times over,” you’re on the right track.
Do you know anyone who uses the phrase “my feelings” frequently? That person may be strongly motivated by personal experience. Some of us use our subjective reality, rather than a more objective perspective, to make decisions. In other words, we follow our intuitions to good experiences.
Ask yourself: How will your recommendation influence the client? Can you explain to a new prospect the benefits you can offer them? Can you help a hiring manager understand whether a new hire will be a team player? If you can paint a positive picture of future experiences, those clients who are motivated this way will be more likely to work with you.
Some of us really just want to help. If that’s the case, then we’re happy to spend our own time and money supporting others in the pursuit of their goals. It may be about providing employee development, supporting a manager’s project initiative, or some other form of service. Either way, for some of us, another person’s success is our reward.
Ask yourself: Who else is my recommendation good for? Will retaining your firm’s staffing services reduce the workload on your clients’ teammates? Will hiring your candidate give a manager a chance to develop their skills? If so, sharing these benefits with your client will help get them to “yes.”
The phrase “power-hungry” is often used as an insult, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be in charge of your own destiny. Strong leadership often mobilizes others around a goal, for example. Those of us who are motivated this way don’t want to be left out of staffing decisions. Instead, we want to have a voice in what happens.
Ask yourself: Do your communications with your clients put your clients in the driver’s seat, or make do they sound like you’re the one at the helm? It’s tempting to say “we need to do this soon,” for example, but your simple deadline reminder may sound like an unwelcome direction to the person who wants to lead. Remember to act (and speak) like your client is the one in charge. After all, they are.
Some of us run all of our decisions through the same set of criteria. For us, consistency is key, and things like standardized hiring criteria are tantamount. Using the same deciding factors for all of our decisions is crucial. When another person makes an off-the-cuff decision, or quickly changes direction, we become concerned.
Ask yourself: How do your recommendations support what is already important to the client? Are you advocating consistency in hiring practices, and the careful building of an integrated team? Be careful not to give the impression that you’re taking a shotgun approach, or you may find that your recruitment strategy grinds to a halt.
Rules of Engagement
Like any good tool, this set of six factors comes with a few instructions:
First, you need to know that the same factor which resonates with one person might offend another. A manager focused on service might jump at the chance to hire someone in order to help his team, while a manager who is focused on value could find that suggestion ridiculous unless she could justify the cost of the hire. Use each approach sparingly until you determine which one works.
Second -- and most important of all -- be honest. To emphasize is one thing, to fabricate is quite another. The staffing industry is a close-knit community and your reputation as a top tier hiring provider is far more important than any one sale.
Having said that -- if you’re careful to tailor your communications to your clients, and careful to stay completely honest -- there’s a good chance that one of these six factors will get your client back in gear and back on the path to saying yes.
Edward G. Muzio, CEO of Group Harmonics, is the author of the award-winning books Make Work Great: Supercharge Your Team, Reinvent the Culture, and Gain Influence One Person at a Time and Four Secrets to Liking Your Work: You May Not Need to Quit to Get the Job You Want. An expert in workplace improvement and its relationship to individual enjoyment, Muzio has been featured on Fox Business Network, CBS, and other national media. For more information visit Make Work Great and follow the author on Facebook.