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The Recruiter's Digest
 Recruiting News, Training & Commentary by Bill Radin

January, 2008

Running a Clean Machine

When I was in high school, I shared the use of an old VW bug with my teenage brother and sister.

The three of us had a simple arrangement: Whenever the gas ran low, it was the responsibility of whoever was driving the car to add a few dollars' worth.

One day after school, the car wouldn't start
—even though there was plenty of gas in the tank. So we had it towed to a garage, where the mechanic quickly found the problem.

It seems that none of us ever bothered to check the oil. And when all the oil burned off, the pistons seized up and destroyed the engine. By failing to address a mundane task, we lost a perfectly good car.

Routine Maintenance for Recruiters
The same basic principle applies to recruiting. Your clients, your candidates and your desk all require periodic attention. Otherwise, a little bit of neglect can lead to huge consequences.

For example, a hiring manager you're working with may fill a job internally while you're still looking for talent. For every minute you spend on a search that's already been filled, you're wasting your time.

Or, you may have placed a candidate who's experiencing problems at the new company. If you're unaware of the situation, the candidate could be gone before you have a chance to intervene.

It's impossible to see everything at once. But there are some simple ways to maximize your influence, avoid disaster and keep your eye on the ball:

w Prioritize fluid situations. Active searches, newly accepted offers and recently placed candidates deserve your full attention. So stay in touch often, preferably by phone.
w Revisit cold cases. Follow up on interview activity that's a few months old. What you find may surprise you.
w Stay close to your universe. Use e-mails and newsletters to maintain mindshare. Include information that creates value, such as helpful tips, salary surveys, industry news or job alerts.
w Make new friends. Blogs, podcasts and video clips—if used intelligently—can build your brand, open doors and attract new business.
w Keep them glued to your Web site. A stale, shopworn site can be a turnoff. For repeat visitors, refresh it often with new content.
w Grow your files. Data entry may be boring, but your contact list is critical to your success. A database that's incomplete or out of date could result in a significant loss of income.

As recruiters, our prime directive is to generate activity that leads to placements. But the machinery that supports our business—like any car on the road—needs routine maintenance to keep it running smoothly.


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