The Real Source of Recruitment Motivation for Search Consultants

The other day, I received a call from a large state association considering me to speak at their day-long annual “Motivation Day” event.  To be considered for this event is a huge honor.  I was so pleased and excited that I got the call.

However, I have a confession to make: I can’t motivate anyone.  I really can’t.  The only person who I can motivate is myself.  I have no control over the long-term changes that a recruiter makes once he or she leaves my program.

Recruitment motivation is a choice

Recruitment motivation is a choice that each search consultant must decide to make for himself or herself.  Authentic and long-lasting motivation comes from within and is not dependent upon external means.  So how can we get recruiters motivated to achieve long-lasting performance improvement?

The problem that many managers have with the concept of motivation is that their belief about it is flawed.  They believe they can read a motivational book, attend a “pump up” seminar, or get psyched by listening to Wagner on the way to work in the morning.  These changes might inspire someone for a few hours, but the next day the same old habits are in place with the same old results.

The biggest complaint I hear from managers about the concept of speaking programs is that they get tired of sending someone to a session and a week later the performance results are still the same.  Everyone gets excited for a week, and then the status quo raises its ugly little head and says, “Move over, I’m coming back home.”

In order to change the motivation level of a recruiter and to achieve real long-lasting change, we must change the fundamental beliefs that cause that person to achieve.  And it’s more than the externally visible “enthusiasm” that so many people mistake for motivation.  They think that a gregarious bubbly person who is enthusiastic is motivated, when they have no idea what habits live beneath the surface.

Here’s the real key to motivation, folks.  It’s more than personality or a fleeting emotional charge.  The real source of motivation for recruiters is the commitment that you have to achieve your outcomes even when you don’t feel like it.  That’s it.  In other words, it’s leading a disciplined life.

If you want to achieve long-lasting change, then you must become more disciplined.  If the word “discipline” had a color, it would be a dingy, ugly gray.  It connotes boring, laborious drudgery and doesn’t have much fun associated with it.

This ain’t your father’s discipline!”  I’m talking about “fun discipline.”

Anytime I do a session for recruiters, I make sure that it’s easy, that it’s simple, and that it’s wildly fun.  Let’s just admit the fact that recruiters and sales people don’t like to do anything that’s freakishly boring or monotonous.  Let’s put some spice in it so people will actually follow up on what really counts when it comes to success: performance improvement.

Tips for recruitment motivation

When you peel away everything that doesn’t count, success on your desk all boils down to the actions that you take on an hourly basis.  Your entire year is made up of a series of hours, and you must manage your performance as a recruiter on an hour-by-hour basis.

Below are three tips to increase motivation for recruiters and become more disciplined on your desk:

#1—Build on your successes.

Are you setting your goals high because some hyped-up motivational speaker who has never had been beaten up in this business told you to shoot for the moon?  Forget about it.  Shoot for a target that you know that you can hit.  Set your goals low.  That’s right.  Set your goals so that you actually achieve them.  Forget about having 50 conversations in a day.  Start with 20, then go to 21 . . . 25 . . . 30 . . . 35.  Do it progressively.

And then shoot for the moon once you have a realistic shot at hitting it.  Setting goals beyond your realistic reach causes apathy and a “why even try” performance model, resulting in low billings and recruiters leaving the business.  If you end up not giving it your all every day, this is probably why.  Scale it back, dude.  Give yourself a break.  Get some success under your belt and then raise your goals.  It’s okay to do this.  Start with small successes and go from there.

#2—Focus on the fun of the business.

Every time I talk with a hot candidate who says they want to interview with my client, I become elated . . . I just get a rush.  Okay, so it’s like a bad gambling habit.  But it’s contagiously fun, and you just can’t help it.  Focus on the fun part of the business.  Sure, it’s drudgery making all of those calls, but take those experiences that thrill you and dwell on them.  Make the association of a placement or a client/candidate interview so insatiably pleasurable that you just can’t wait to set up another one.

#3—Change your attitude.

“But nobody’s hiring right now.”  “My market is all dried up.”  “My city’s economic conditions are in a negative growth pattern right now.”  Here’s a news flash, champ.  Nobody ever won a gold medal on the ice because they said the Russians were bigger than they were.  David never doubted his ability to overcome Goliath.  Yeah, you’ve got challenges.  We all do.  So suck it up and change your self-talk.

If you keep telling yourself the market stinks, then it’ll stink.  If you tell yourself that everyone you talk to wants to do business with you, then you will get more business.  Tell yourself that “Today is going to be the most exciting day of my life” on the way to work, and watch it become just that.  Expect to win.  Expect to get the business every time.  Become surprised when clients tell you no.

Your attitude colors your perspective and paints your opportunities.  You have more control over your desk than you realize, and if you change your attitude, you will attract opportunities to you.  I spend at least two hours on this single concept in my day-long training programs because it is so critically important.

Performance improvement through authentic motivation really is that simple.  Occasionally, I will have a recruiter email me a note telling me that my methods are overly simplistic.  I usually respond by saying, “Thank you for noticing.  Try it for 30 days and tell me it doesn’t work.”

Remember, if you are going to hit the next level, it has to be fun, easy, and simple . . . otherwise the status quo will burrow a nice little home in your head.  Authentic and lasting change comes from minor improvements made in major areas, so follow these three steps and improve your recruitment motivation forever.

Top Echelon’s Training Library

Top Echelon offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars in our Recruiter Training Library. These webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics. These topics deal with both candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars (and corresponding videos) is to help recruiters make more placements.

In addition to training and webinars, Top Echelon offers other recruitment solutions. These solutions include the following:

For more information about Top Echelon and the products and services that it offers, visit the Top Echelon website by clicking here.