A while ago, I wrote an article which highlighted some of the similarities between poker and recruiting. The article was very well received, earning over 1100 “shares” via LinkedIn, and several comments, emails and responses from recruiting professional.
Most of the feedback was positive, but there was some constructive criticism and questions that I want to address here now.
The focus of my article was about planning and how important it is for a recruiter to spend his time on “+EV” job orders.
Some people mistakenly assumed that my point was to ignore completely the less than optimal job orders that might have a poor percentage chance of closing. Several people contacted me to say that would be recipe for disaster and shared with me their own personal stories where the job order that that appeared “-EV” on the face, turned out to lead them to the their most profitable and loyal client.
The fact is that I have many similar stories and that some of my best clients and biggest fees have come from initial job orders that could have been classified has having minimal or negative “EV.”
The point I am making, however, is that when working a desk, a successful recruiter will always have a strategy of giving any job order the "appropriate amount of effort." This means that the amount of effort put into a job order with clients will vary based on various factors such as past experience, difficulty of search, salary, fee percentage, potential future business, etc.
Client A might get 100% of your attention from the minute the requisition is open right up until the position is filled, whereas client B might get a quick file search. The message in “Don’t Bluff a Recruiter,” is that if a recruiter is going to be successful in the long –run, he will know how to determine where his time spent provides the most positive expectation. Too many times, I have seen recruiters fail because they give a job order far more effort and focus than it warrants when it is obvious that putting that same effort into developing new business would provide a greater return.
One crtical notion to remember is that is perfectably acceptable and in most cases preferred to tell your clients how you prioritize your orders. This can be a very effective negotiation tool.
To bring it back full circle to a poker analogy. You can’t win if you don't play, but sometimes you're better off trying to find a better game.