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Coaching Performance Feedback

When Your Recruiters Aren’t Performing, Do This

Posted by Nicky Coffin

As a leader of a recruitment organisation, we understand that if we want better business performance, some things will have to change and that might be us!

However, not all our recruiters understand this concept and how it relates to them.

As they are reporting to you as their recruitment manager, it’s critical to deliver what is working and what isn’t, in other words, feedback to improve their performance and consequently the profits in your business.

However, some individuals in your team will react in a less than positive way which you need to handle to get a result that works for all concerned; especially the recruiter.

10X YOUR TEAM’S OUTPUT

“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “

When you sit down with a recruiter who isn’t performing, you’ll likely hear a stream of ‘reasons’ and justifications why they aren’t delivering.

Here are a few you might recognise:

  • The candidate pulled out at the last minute, and it was too late to replace them
  • The candidate ghosted the employer, and they had no idea why
  • “I ran out of time to do my BD calls because I had a dentist appointment so had to leave early!”
  • The client never returned their calls
  • ….. and the list goes on

Both Katy and I and our clients on RockIt have heard reasons for underperformance you wouldn’t believe.

Plus of course a stream of reactions from; swearing, denial, justifications and individuals storming out of buildings; never to return.

On our current Rockit year-long programme we have had several discussions around performance management, feedback and how to handle the flow of justification and reasons that pour out from recruiters when they are challenged.

 So today, we want to share some ideas and strategies to help.

Types of Feedback

Let’s get clear first. There are two main types of feedback that will help your recruiters to perform better.

  • Positive; you are doing this well carry on….
  • Developmental; often referred to as weaknesses or negative feedback- they either aren’t delivering on set objectives, or their skills are below par.

The challenge for many managers is that they focus too much on one or the other, and this is where problems start.

In truth, none of us is the finished article, and if we want to improve, both positive and developmental feedback is key to our success.

So, let’s look at some of the typical responses to developmental feedback and how to respond.

Justification

This is where your consultant believes the way they handled a situation or conversation was the only option they had and was a logical way of behaving.

“Well, I emailed the candidate three times and left a couple of messages to confirm the time of the interview, so I thought it would be OK. I’m behind target this month, so I wanted to get my interview ratio up; that’s why I told the client all was confirmed.”

Though you might be internally saying to yourself “I can’t believe they think that behaviour is OK?”, they can be fixed in their belief that both their approach and behaviour is fine.

The good news is that, though justification may seem a challenge to handle, it is quite easy. Every company has systems, processes, policies and procedures that employees are asked to use and follow.

When team members decide to do things ‘their’ way, it’s time to remind them of the ‘company’s way’ and firmly, this is a time for direct communication.

Think of all the documentation you have available; a company handbook; a job description; their KPIs or your performance management process. Anything you have in black and white is an excellent resource that managers often underutilise.     

So, don’t let that be you.

10X YOUR TEAM’S OUTPUT

“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “

Denial

Here is a scenario we hear about a lot. It’s when a recruiter is given feedback about underperforming, and they are in complete denial that their current activity levels and results equate to underperformance.

The challenge is that until the recruiter acknowledges their performance gap, they will not make the behavioural changes required to turn the situation around.

What do you do?

Use concrete data-driven examples of the areas of underperformance. Start with how many months the consultant has not hit their billing target.

Then start looking at the input stats that haven’t happened.

  • How many BD calls being made daily?
  • Are they working any job or sticking to the specifics of your Gold or Silver jobs?
  • How many jobs have been posted to the job board each month?
  • How many CV’s have been sent out?
  • What’s their CV to interview ratio?
  • What are their overall ratios?

The fact is the more data you have to share with your team member, the harder it is for them to continue to deny what they are achieving versus what their fellow recruiters are smashing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.


Remember, use all your company’s performance management documents, including job descriptions, company standards, and expectations as well as the person’s performance objectives.

Once the underperformance is acknowledged, then you can start working with the recruiter on a performance improvement plan. A crucial part of this is that any relevant training and or coaching is provided to ensure the required skill levels are also demonstrated.   

What Next?

Useful? We hope so. Clarity and preparation are key when it comes to giving feedback. When someone initially joins your recruitment organisation, expectations are set, and then it’s down to you, their manager, to ensure they are being met.

If you would like to know more about working with your team to build your organisation and increase profit, we can help. You can apply for a personal profit accelerator call with one of us here.

Warm regards,

Nicky and Katy

P.S. If you found this useful you’ll enjoy our forthcoming Recruitment Business Launchpad too. You can find all the details here.