More Placements With Splits : Here’s How

November 8th, 2016

For a limited time, get unlimited split placements and resume database on FeeTrader for only $299 for a calendar year! If already a member, login here or if not, register here.

Most recruiters I know, the majority of whom work for agencies, have a long standing stigma against the idea of “splits”. The split seems to carry with it the idea of concession. Concession of control, ability, success, status, revenue, etc.  These are all very valid points given the very simple fact that, when you engage in a split placement, you lose half of your revenue. A recruiter’s best case scenario is to bring in their own business, fill it themselves and take whatever cut they are entitled to based off of 100% of the revenue generated…we all know this. While I agree that splits can hurt in one scenario, if you work a split-fee network the right way, you can greatly increase your revenue with very little extra effort. Closing the door on splits will cost you easy money.

How to leverage a split-fee network into more placements and higher revenues: 

1) Use a split-fee network to market and place your “leftover” candidates

This is the single most glaring reason to partake in splits. For some recruiters it will be the only reason. Every recruiter who says “I don’t do splits” cannot be thinking of this application when they make that statement. Why wouldn’t you? Even the best, most efficient, niche oriented recruiters create a tremendous amount of leftover candidates. It’s just the nature of the beast. You recruit for a job, fill it with one person and can have dozens of great candidates leftover. There are always more “leftover” candidates than any recruiter can place. Most of the time those candidates fade into the recruiting abyss. Since you have done all the work, get those (encrypted) profiles posted to a split-fee network so recruiters from across the country can review them. Someone, somewhere is going to place a candidate you have sourced…with, or without you. Why not toss a bunch of lines in the water with bait you’ve already cut and let someone else come along and do some work for you? It is a great way to attract some residual value with little effort from candidates you would otherwise toss in the “I’ll get back to someday” file.

2) It’s not necessary to offer all of your jobs for splits (such as your niche job orders)

First and foremost, you should try and make your own placements and get credit for 100% of the revenue generated. Some of you will never use a split-fee situation to make any placements with your clients. Good for you…seriously!  However, you will still have leftover candidates from your search.  A split network can help you place them.

3) Use a split-fee network if an established client comes to you with a req you typically wouldn’t work

Plenty of times during my recruiting career (IT specific) I would have clients come to me with reqs outside of IT. Two things would happen here: either I would respectfully decline…or, I would spend time spinning my wheels trying to generate candidates for a space I was not familiar with. Both cases we not particularly beneficial to revenue production. Working with a split-fee network can allow you to effectively leverage other people’s specialties to drive delivery. It’s a winning situation.

4) Use a split-fee network if you are bringing in more business that your recruiting team can handle

If you don’t have the working capital to support additional headcount, split networks are a great way to engage a scalable recruiting force for your company. As needs ebb and flow, you can engage recruiters via splits to help satisfy your requirements list. Once you are ready to bring on a new person, scale back your use of splits. Do the math though. Figure out what an internal recruiter will cost you after salary, payroll tax, commission, benefits, time, etc… and be sure you are not paying more to a full time hire than a split relationship would cost you!

5) Use a split-fee network if you have no sales function

No sales force? Just want to recruit? Jump on a split-network and start building relationships with the recruiters who are positing jobs. These are recruiters who are looking for recruiter help! The split-fee network has now become your sales force. Foster a few good relationships and your off to the races.

For a limited time, get unlimited split placements and resume database on FeeTrader for only $299 for a calendar year! If already a member, login here or if not, register here.


Free Webinar – How To Build A Recruiting Business (or side biz) With Splits

Put the Right Person in the Right Seat

November 1st, 2016

Tips to Identify and Leverage Strengths

I work with companies across the U.S. helping to grow and develop individuals and teams. What I find fascinating in my line of work is that most business owners and executives have a very limited understanding of their own strengths and/or the strengths of others within their organization. And they have even less of an understanding of what those skills mean and how to embrace them. We are inundated by articles, reports and experts telling us that human talent is critical for business success. So why the lack of understanding and focus on our own talents and those of our co-workers, employees or partners? One reason is that we often shy away from taking a hard look at ourselves. It’s time-consuming, challenging and often downright daunting. It’s also hard to be objective in assessing talent – our own or the strengths or deficiencies of others. I often find that my clients get woo’ed by the resume or personality and miss uncovering key information, which is why it’s critical to have an unbiased, solid understanding of our own skills and strengths and what we’re looking for in others. This is important not only for the hiring process but for building retention, solidifying key leadership and driving culture.

The strengths assessment process is an ideal way to identify each individual’s talents and how to best leverage those talents. This allows for a new teamwork structure that optimizes individual talent, creates efficiencies and increases accountability. Think of it as a SWOT analysis on your most valuable resource – your people.

I can think of many hiring casualties where mis-hires cost the company severely in terms of productivity, team dynamics and revenue loss. Here are a few quick tips and illustrations on the effectiveness of identifying and leveraging strengths.

1. Identify pros and cons. It’s important to know what strength(s) is needed for a particular job and why. It’s never a one-size fits all approach. Some jobs require a collaborator while others require a leader who can give direction under pressure. Know what’s needed now, what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t.

Example: I have a client who runs a small business with 40 employees. She embraces a very collaborative-style of leadership and employs a very young, female-heavy staff who needs a lot of direction. During the hiring process for a new office manager, I advised her to look for someone more directive to help her with situations where employees needed guidance. The balance between the owner and the new office manager worked because their styles complimented one another and allowed for both collaboration and leadership.

2. Don’t force it. It’s important to identify and understand the strengths AND gap areas of the existing team. Companies often hire for a specific need or resume item but sometimes an individual will not fit in with an existing organizational structure or team dynamic until change occurs.

Example: I was asked to coach a mid-career hire at a company that was looking to shake things up. This particular individual was a risk-taker and displayed a great amount of innovative. The problem was that the new hire was a big-picture thinker and not a practical, action-oriented individual. He did not fit into the company’s existing culture that was all about efficiency and bottom line. Although they hired him for a great resume and the fact that he brought in the new skill they wanted, the existing corporate culture was still in place and this made it impossible for the company to adapt to his style and leverage the unique skills he brought to the table.

3. Look ahead. It’s important to know where your business or organization is headed. Times change and the profile of your employees or team members will also change. For instance, in a growth mode, it may be important to put a management or sales team in place that is progressive and has the foresight and ability to create opportunities to expand the business.

Example: I worked with a company who wanted to move to a more consultative approach to stay competitive in their industry — and this meant having their sales people relate to the customers as “advisors”. They were ready to invest a lot of money in training to retool their existing sales force. They quickly realized that training/retooling their existing workforce would not work with the employees they currently had in place. In the end, they recognized the need to hire a new team who naturally had the advisor skill set they were seeking.

Understanding the current talent mix and strengths of your organization and hiring for specific strengths AND compatibility are essential keys to enhancing corporate culture and reaching growth and/or profitability objectives. As Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great, “Having the right person in the right seat on the bus matters.”

Mary Kaiser is the founder of Start with Strengths, a Colorado-based professional consulting and coaching firm. Her experience includes over 25 years of growing leaders and teams for businesses across the country. Reach her at or connect at


Five Reasons to Use Text Recruitment in Hiring

July 1st, 2016

Mobile recruiting is a remarkable opportunity for employers to engage and stay connected.  It affects the application process, enhances interaction, communication, and source talent. Your strategy should embrace a multi-device approach so that the process is optimized for candidates and users.

Phones and text messaging go together and develop a plan that is critical to targeting untapped candidates; differentiating you from others. Reasons you need to implement texting in recruitment policies include:

A personalized approach to hiring

Millenials find texting the preferred method of communication, and that includes business correspondence. Most candidates prefer texting because it lets recruiters and clients respond as soon as they receive a message. A well-crafted text message adds a personal touch to a recruitment strategy. A professional, targeted text conveys a genuine interest that are lacking in most mass emails they receive. The messages should be professional and to the point, and provide a simple way for a follow-up.

Quicker and more effective

Few people read their emails frequently as compared to using text messages. Text messages have a higher open rate and are often read within three minutes of receiving them. This is why several recruiters who have executed texting in their recruitment discovered that using texting speeds up the process significantly.

Use Speed to Your Advantage

Text alerts on phones are ubiquitous; you don’t have to wait for ages for a candidate to text you back.  To benefit from this speed, you’ll have to reciprocate.  Respond to texts immediately, and candidates will probably return the favor.  Texting is an unobtrusive choice to correspond with candidates who would be unable to respond and get them to do so faster.

An opportunity for seamless follow-up

Most people use phones as their primary way to access the Web. This permits recruiters to incorporate texting into a smooth change from initial communication to finished application and progression in the staffing process. Most phone users are already comfortable with the mobile web. If you provide a secure mobile recruiting experience, you have a better opportunity of hiring more applicants.  Your emails should be short and easy to type.  Once your candidate receives a text, he or she can act immediately to respond and go ahead with the recruitment process if the text has a link to the email or website.

Make Your Opener Catchy

Craft a compelling text message to draw attention. Your text will come up with a random phone number, introduce yourself, be human, and announce the job as quickly as possible. Leave your email contact info at the end. Don’t let the text look like spam.

Before you start texting candidates, ensure rules are followed.  If you are sure of what you are doing, texting a candidate is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to get a candidate to apply. Most recruiters have resorted to texting to contact candidates. A bad texting campaign is like an invasion of privacy and gives a bad reputation.   Millennials always have their phone on or near them. Recruiters want to approach them through their phones, with the same notification structures they use for contact with friends. Texting candidates is a powerful tool, only if properly capitalized on.

How To X-Ray Search Linkedin

June 28th, 2016

Using Google to perform an “x-ray search” of LinkedIn is one of the best ways to find the profiles of people that are outside of your network. X-Ray searches work for any website, but we’ll focus on LinkedIn for now. To perform an x-ray search, you simply start your search with the following search criteria: I will use an example of a recent search I did in an effort to find individuals with software security experience. Here is an example of one of the search strings I used in Google: “greater seattle area” security (intrusion OR authentication OR firewall) support network* CISSP –profiles

When examining this Boolean search string you will probably notice a couple of things. For one, I did not use “AND” in between several of the words. The reason for this is two-fold: one, Google recognizes spaces as the “AND” operator and, secondly, since Google limits the number of words you can use in a search (I believe it is 25), you don’t want to waste valuable “real estate” with the “AND” operator if you don’t need it. You will probably also notice that I included “-profiles” at the end of my search. Why did I do this? The reason is to eliminate results that will show up for a list of profiles that are sometimes unrelated to what you are looking for and only clutter your search results. Try taking it out of your search string and you will see what I am talking about. Any time you add a minus sign (-) in front of a word it will filter and not show results with that word, also known as a “negative” keyword. Another thing you may have noticed was the asterisk (*) after the word “network.” In case some of you are unfamiliar with this Boolean operator, it is the “wild card” operator, meaning it will show any word that has “network” as its root. For example, this search will provide results that include the words “network,” “networking” and “networked” among others.

Good luck and happy hunting! – Travis Scott

Build a Custom Recruiting Team on FeeTrader!

June 27th, 2016

Employers and Agency Recruiters: you can easily build your own custom recruiting team (unique to you only) and seamlessly communicate new requirements to your team with FeeTrader’s “Preferred Recruiters” functionality. Here’s how it works:

Employers: Simply add Preferred Recruiters (PRs) to your account which will automatically place job requirements (for bid) onto your PR’s “Job Invites” page. When your PR logs in each day and checks their “Job Invites” page, they can immediately take action and bid on your jobs.  You’ll still need to accept their bid as usual.  This process just gets immediate attention of those Agency Recruiters that you’re interested in hearing from.

Agency Recruiters: Simply add Preferred Recruiters (PRs) to your account which will automatically place your split-fee job posts onto your PR’s “Job Invites” page. When your PR logs in each day and checks their “Job Invites” page, they can immediately take action and submit candidates. You’ll still get split inquiries like always from those outside of your PR list for your review and can add or remove new PRs anytime. Of course, the same will happen with you when others place you on their unique Preferred Recruiters list! Job Invites serves as your personal streaming jobs feed from both Employers and Recruiters so you can get to them quickly and make more placements!

There is no more an efficient way to increase placement opportunities than FeeTrader!  Just login and go!  Register here:

Get Candidate Callbacks – Voicemail Tips

June 19th, 2016

It happens to all of us nearly every day, in both our personal and professional lives. We need to ask someone a question or offer up our services. We dial the phone, and after a few rings, we hear Hi! This is _________. I’m so sorry I can’t take your call…. At this point, the calmest person among us can instantly turn into Yosemite Sam: Rasta-friggin-tarnation-consar-ned voicemail! Now, if you let your anger and frustration rule you, your instant reaction is to hang up and try again later—that is, if you remember. In a business situation, there’s just too much going on to maintain a constant hit-and (mostly) miss method of reaching people. It’s been estimated that 80% of all incoming business calls wind up in voice mail. Unless you’re confident that the people you’ve called will diligently search and call back numbers in their caller ID, you have little choice but to leave a message.

So, how do you make the best out of a voicemail message? The first thing to realize is—no matter your initial reason for your call—as soon as the outgoing message picks up, your goal has instantly changed to one thing: getting a call back. So, start with the obvious: your name and number (repeated at the beginning and end of the message) and an e-mail address as an alternative method of reaching you. If you know the times that you’ll be in the office and available to take their call, include that information.

Ideally, contact details should take up half of your message, meaning that you shouldn’t weigh down the rest of the message with a mountain of information about why you called (unless the caller can respond with a straight-forward, non-negotiable answer and doesn’t need to speak to you directly). Instead, leave a hook. It can be as simple as “I need to talk to you about such-and-such”, but you’ll have a better chance for a call back if you make it sound important (has anyone ever felt compelled to call someone who was “just checking in”?) and you make it sound personal (because we all just love being considered another number on the calling list). Now, if you’re calling a client to ask about doing new placements, or calling up an applicant to offer them an opportunity, this should be simple—you have a working relationship and you draw from that experience. But you can use the same approach when calling someone whom hasn’t spoken to your company in a few years. Simply reference the name of your employee who made the last contact with them (even if that person is no longer with the company) and explain that you’re now following up because you have an opportunity that is a good fit for them (and don’t just say “a good fit”—be specific!)

Most of the voicemails you leave will fall under a few general categories, so you should have a basic script for each type of call. Writing it out will help you focus your message, and reading it will lead to less hesitation and vocal filler (um, ah, and the like). Finally, make a conscious effort to speak slower. We all have a tendency to rush saying something we know verbatim, but a speedy talker will turn off a recipient rather than make them want to call you back.

Of course, there are no absolutes here. Deleting a message is a one-button maneuver, and the slightest misstep can trigger that one-finger reflex. Don’t expect a call back from every call, but be hopeful that a professional, concise and important message will elicit a prompt call back. Done properly, it will lead to success. Happy Hunting.

How To Find Resumes on Google and Bing

June 14th, 2016


find resumes on google

By Travis Scott

A few years ago I wrote a blog post about this topic and decided to do some research and find out if things have changed since then. Although things have mostly remained the same, there are a few new concepts that can improve your results. (Plus, since I’m in digital advertising now, I did some keyword research and found that at least 20 people per month or about 250 people per year search for this on Google, so people remain interested in learning how to do this).

Searching for resumes on Google or Bing may not be applicable for every type of search you’re doing (i.e., non-technical roles like accountants and administrative assistants) but, what I’ve found, is that it’s really good for finding creative people – UX/UI and design folks, graphic artists – and anyone else that would benefit from having an online portfolio.

Usually designers and, oftentimes, software engineers, will create a website for their portfolio and throw up a copy of their resume. It’s also a great way to find consultants and freelancers who typically have a website promoting themselves, which usually includes a resume.

However, it is sometimes difficult to know when the resumes were last updated or, depending how narrow your search criteria is, may not yield a lot of results, but I think it’s always a good idea to do a quick Google and/or Bing search for resumes. You never know, it might turn up someone that your competitors haven’t found and the old resume you found still has contact info, right? Now they’re a “passive” candidate. Depending on the last dates shown, you may have to make an educated guess as to where that person may be in their career now and what type of role they would likely be interested in, given the amount of time that has passed.

To save time, you can save a search string and just copy and paste it into Google or Bing, changing only the required skills/experience that may be different.

The Basics

When it comes to the basics of search, Bing and Google are very similar and most of the symbols and operators used in Google will also work in Bing, however there are a few things that Bing isn’t able to do- one big one being the ability to search for a range of numbers.


SymbolsHow They're Used
*The * is used as a wild card.
Example: cheese* will return results for cheese sticks AND cheese curds AND cheese bagels
" "Use “ “ when you want to include a specific phrase, with the words in a specific order.
Example: “blue shoes” will show blue shoes for sale OR buy blue shoes but will not show for shoes that are blue.

(Google Only)
Using two periods ( .. ) will include numbers within a range.
Example: If you are searching for something within a specific zip code, you could search 98007 .. 98123 and it will include any number between 98007 and 98123.
|The | symbol can be used in place of the operator OR.
Example: photoshop | dreamweaver will return results that include the term photoshop OR dreamweaver.
-Use the – to exclude a word, phrase or website.
Example: -cheeseburgers, –“bacon cheeseburger”. I’m not sure why you would want to exclude either of these items from a search, but these searches would exclude the terms cheeseburger and bacon cheeseburger from your search.


Operators*How They're Used
inurl:Use to find sites in which a term or phrase is included in the site’s URL.
Example: inurl:resume
This will only produce sites with the term “resume” in the URL.
intitle:Use to find sites in which a term or phrase is included in the site’s title.
Example: intitle:resume
This will only produce sites with the term “resume” in the title.
site:Use this operator to search a specific website.
This will only produce results that are on LinkedIn.
ORAn outdated operator for specifying and “OR” function. Can be replaced by using the | symbol.
Example: dogs OR cats
This will produce results that include dogs or cats
filetype:This allows you to search by specific file types that may be on a website, including Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PDF doc, PowerPoint slides or more.
Example: filetype:doc
This will produce results that are Word docs only. Other common file types include pdf, txt, xls and ppt.

(Google Only)
This only works in Google and allows you to search for terms or phrases that are within a certain number of words from each other.
Example: hummingbirds AROUND(3) flowers
This will only produce results in which the term “flowers” is within three words of the term hummingbird. (e.g., “hummingbirds are attracted to flowers” & “hummingbirds like red tubular flowers”

*Do not include a space after the operator. (e.g., inurl:resume NOT inurl: resume)


Google Resume Search in Action

So let’s take a look at an example. To make it more realistic, I did a quick search for a UX Designer job opening here in the Seattle area. I found the following Amazon job that was recently posted (you’re welcome Amazon Recruiter).

After reviewing the job description, here are some of the key skills/experience I took away:

  • HTML, JavaScript, JQuery or equivalent, and CSS
  • Visio, Axure, Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks, InDesign and Dreamweaver
  • HTML5
  • User experience, UX
  • GUI
  • Mobile
  • Designer

There are quite a few terms there and, once we start adding our search operators, the search string could get pretty long. Google used to have a max number of terms you could use in a search string and everything beyond that limit would not be considered. That magic number used to be 32.

Since the only information I could find on this maximum was a decade old, I decided to test this and try to perform a search that included every key skill/term I pulled from the job description.

Here’s what I used to search for the desired skills:

designer (“user experience” | UX) GUI HTML5 mobile (HTML | JavaScript | JQuery | CSS) (Visio | Axure | Illustrator | Photoshop | Fireworks | InDesign | Dreamweaver)

If I were to just use this search string it would turn up over 508,000 results, a number of which are not resumes.

FeeTrader Blog Pic 1

So, let’s try to narrow this down to resumes. To do this, we’ll use the inurl: and intitle: operators. This will restrict our search results to only those that include the term “resume” in the website’s URL or title.

Here’s what that search string looks like:

designer (“user experience” | UX) GUI HTML5 mobile (HTML | JavaScript | JQuery | CSS) (Visio | Axure | Illustrator | Photoshop | Fireworks | InDesign | Dreamweaver) (inurl:resume | intitle:resume)

As you can see in the results below, this got us a little closer to the mark but still resulted in more results than we can get through (111,000) and included some off-target results for job posting sites and sample resumes. Still not what we’re looking for.

FeeTrader Blog Pic 2

Now, an old school technique of trying to eliminate some of the false positives we received in our last search was to exclude certain terms such as –jobs, -job, etc. This would, in theory, get rid of the job posting sites. However, this can be cumbersome and lead to possibly excluding results we want to see (i.e., if someone used the term job or jobs in their resume). A short cut to pare down the results would be just search for sites in which people have included an actual copy of their resume in one of the following file types: Word doc, PDF or txt file.

Here’s what I will add to our search string to narrow our results even further:

(filetype:doc | filetype:pdf | filetype:txt)

When I add this, here are the results I get:

FeeTrader Blog Pic 3


Much better. We’ve gone from over 111,000 to 1,650. But it’s still a bit unwieldy and, we can’t forget that these results are showing people not just in the U.S., but also all over the world. Even though Amazon has no problem relocating the right people for the job, let’s simplify things a bit and just search for people in the Seattle area.

I know what you’re thinking. Are we going to have to include every possible city we can think of in the surrounding area? That could be a real time killer and would likely push our search string over what could still be Google’s maximum search term limit.

Fear not, there’s a workaround for this. Remember, Google has an operator for searching a range of numbers. This is great for searching a range of zip codes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work in Bing and I was unable to find anything that was equivalent to this feature.

The first step is to find all of the zip codes within a specified radius of your location. I used the website for this but there are a number of others you can use.

Since I wasn’t sure what Amazon’s zip code was, I just used the zip code where my office is located – Bellevue, WA – which is 98007. I also narrowed it to a 10-mile radius.

Here are the results:

FeeTrader Blog Pic 4

There were a total of 62 zip codes within a 10-mile radius of Bellevue. That would be a lot of zip codes to add to the search. In order to see the range, from smallest to largest, I simply clicked the “Zip” column to sort these numbers. Now that I have the smallest (98004) and the largest (98195) I can now include the range in my search string.

Here’s what that looks like:


That really narrowed things down, cutting our results from over 1,600 to only 8. That’s not a lot of results and it would have been great to get more, but there’s a high likelihood that those 8 will be very relevant to my search.

Here are the results:

FeeTrader Blog Pic 5

There’s still one thing to test. When it’s all said and done, this search string consists of 37 words. That’s more than the 32 that I was able to find when searching for a max. Since that information was over a decade old, let’s test it.

To do this, I’m going to use the excluding operator “-“, since we haven’t used that in our search yet. Instead of excluding a term like “java” I’ll exclude one of their names. If 32 is still the max, then nothing will happen to the results and the exclusion will be ignored. If it is now larger than 32, then we’ll see a decrease in our results from 8 to 7.

Let’s test this using “–Ewald”. Here’s what happened:

FeeTrader Blog Pic 6

Look at that! Only 7 results! Granted, we only have determined that we can at least use 37 terms, but we now know that 32 is no longer the max and I would assume it’s quite a bit larger now.

Since it could potentially take me an hour or more to test this further, I’ll just be content knowing that the maximum is now greater than 32. If you end up creating a really long search string, it wouldn’t hurt to do a test similar to what I did today.

In closing, Google and Bing can be a good resource to utilize when searching for resumes and trying to tap into potential candidates your competitors may be overlooking. Even if they were using these search engines, there are number of variations that can change the results and find overlooked resumes. In the example I provided, we only came up 8 resumes, but that can be easily changed by doing things like excluding the area code radius and using the  zip codes of other cities where you know this kind of talent lives-that is, if you’re company as a relocation budget. You can also add or subtract keywords to broaden the search.

Happy hunting!



About the Author: Travis Scott is the Managing Partner and Founder of RainierDigital, a Bellevue, WA-based advertising agency specializing in B2B, B2C and recruitment digital advertising. He has over 6 years of advertising/marketing experience and over 11 years of recruiting experience, most recently at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. He has a BS from Indiana University and a MBA in Marketing from the University of Colorado.


Recruiters – 3 Easy Tips To Increase Placements in 2016!

June 13th, 2016

The mid year is a good time for reflection and self-improvement and to see how our recruiting resolutions are faring. We all ask ourselves how we can make ourselves better in our personal and professional lives. All too often, our grandiose plans for self-improvement fall by the wayside with seemingly more pressing life tasks, but here are a few ideas to get back on track that can be accomplished whenever you have a few minutes to spare.


Too often, Recruiters grossly underestimate the need to write well.  Clear, concise writing is an integral skill to recruiting and often determines whether one can get the candidate (and their respect) or not.  A focused job description will help to ensure that your post will generate quality candidates, and well-written office memos will clarify your policies and eliminate unnecessary confusion among your colleagues. The key to writing well is writing often. Try to make time to write something every day. The subject is irrelevant. Even taking ten minutes to compose a descriptive paragraph about the view from your window or your impressions of last night’s dinner will keep you in practice. Simple exercises like this will turn the mechanics of writing into second nature, and the next time you have to write a proposal, the words will flow easier. If you need inspiration and/or assistance writing about unfamiliar topics, pick up a copy of William Zinsser’s superb book “On Writing Well”; it has discussions and examples of a variety of topics, and Zinsser’s writing style is perfect for a quick read when you have a few moments between appointments.


Just like improving our writing skills, asking our clients and candidates for referrals is something we know we should do, but we seem to overlook it. Remember that referrals can expand your business exponentially, so it’s important to ask on every call. Sometimes a reminder is all you need, so write yourself one, on as big or as small of a piece of paper as necessary. Now think about the places your eyes travel when you’re on a call. Find the place where you always look (computer, office wall, calendar, desk) and place your reminder where you will always see it. Need something more substantial? Try outlining your basic calls from opening to close (with referrals tucked in near the end of the call), then follow it until asking for referrals becomes a natural part of the call.


As everyone in recruiting knows, social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have revolutionized the business. Be sure that your company has an effective presence on all of the major platforms, and don’t stop working on it after you’ve done the initial setup. Take a few minutes to read over the pages—even if you wrote the original yourself. Are there ways to improve the grammar or to sharpen a point? Can you find ways to engage your audience by posting questions on your wall? (Facebook’s “talking about this” statistic continues to carry more importance than the simple “like”.) Write up your suggestions and encourage your fellow employees to follow suit. It truly takes a village to proofread and define a website, and with the importance of social media in recruiting, it is a necessary effort.

None of these techniques will take up much of your time (much less than the frequently procrastinated trip to the gym!), but with a concerted effort, you can make these small changes a permanent—and pleasurable—part of your daily routine.

The Law of Attraction: Finding the Perfect Hire for Your Company

April 25th, 2016

It is the job of the CEO or founder to define the values of the company and embody these principles. It is just as important to seek out people who share these ideals to help steer and lead the organization forward.

So when hiring, be sure to consider your goals and vision for the organization and how that may impact the type of person you need to bring in now. Make sure you define exactly what is needed in the role, where there are gaps that may need to be filled and determine what points of overlap, need synergy or where you can add to the mix. Also, be objective in your process.

As the founder of a professional consulting and coaching firm, I find that there are several key factors in play when successfully matching candidates to companies and sowing the seeds of compatibility.

Here are three key considerations when it comes to choosing who we hire or partner with.

Do you have matching motivation levels?

I often see people who are attracted to the same business but have very different levels of “fire” to act. This will most certainly create conflict in the workplace. If one person is very motivated to win and be successful, they may tend to go after more tasks, work longer hours or look for the next stepping stone to be successful.

Defining your own level of fire to act and what winning and success means to you and your organization will be an important first step in determining the right hire(s) for your business.

Do you share the same level of talent?

If you bring someone on as a partner or an employee, be sure they can play at the same level. This does not mean you need to have the same skill set. In fact, a variety of strengths may actually work to your advantage here but check that you share the same level of talent in certain areas. Often times we are attracted to people who are similar to us but may play at different levels or bring too much of what we already have to the company. It is important to identify potential partners or employees who have overlapping strengths and bring new and different strengths to fill gaps yet share the same level of talent and drive.

Do you have similar values?

This may be the biggest character test in hiring, especially when it comes to bringing on a business partner or C-level executive. It is critical to find ways to assess a person’s values throughout the interview process, as our values are at the very center to who we are — both at work and outside of work.

In my job, I get glimpses every day of how hard-wired this part of us is. Will you put work before family obligations? If your partner puts work first, then you may be in a state of ongoing conflict. You might be initially attracted to someone who has different values, but it will be hard to stay in relationship long term.

To ensure you find the right match, make sure you do some soul-searching, engage other people in the company in the interview process and follow a structured approach so you can make accurate comparisons. Don’t just hire to fill a position. Hire to bring the position and your company to a new level.

Mary Kaiser is the founder of Start with Strengths, a Colorado-based professional consulting and coaching firm. Her experience includes over 25 years of growing leaders and teams for businesses across the country. Reach her at or connect at

Are Candidate Pipelines More Like a Pipe Dream?

November 22nd, 2015

If you’ve been in recruiting for any period of time you’ve probably heard about the benefits of building a candidate pipeline.  However, it seems that given all of the virtues associated with a strong pipeline, the benefits never materialize.

The concept is solid in theory – create a list of prospective candidates that you can tap into when new roles open up.  Sounds great, right?  Who wouldn’t want to have a list of prospective candidates at their fingertips?!  The reality is that you already have this list.  You likely just lack the appropriate process and mechanism to nurture the contacts into leads and, ultimately, into hires.

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