Work Less, Recruit More

Why Trying Too Hard Kills Your Recruiting Efforts (And What to Do Instead)

Ever hear of a tryhard? In teenage parlance, a tryhard is someone who tries so hard to look cool that it backfires, or who expends way too much effort in a video game to kill a “meh” player.

There’s a little bit of a tryhard in every recruiting leader I work with—and probably in you, too.

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Does this scenario sound familiar? You suddenly realize you’re in need of a key team member, so you make call after call, you stay up nights worrying that you didn’t do enough, and you wonder if your reach-outs are disappearing into a black void. You’re overwhelmed with trying to lead your team on top of all this calling, but you believe the only choice you have is to pick up the pace and leave voicemails until your throat is raw.

Save yourself the drama. You don’t need to pick up the pace to get more recruits.

You need to slow down.

Don’t Bring an Engagement Ring to a First Date

There’s a good reason the tryhard’s method of constant phoning doesn’t work: Unless you’re in someone’s contact list, only 9% of people will pick up the phone. Even the slickest phone script (of which I am not a proponent, see here My Podcast on Phone Scripting) won’t work if prospects don’t pick up. Why do all that hard work for such tiny returns?

The idea of working less to recruit more is counterintuitive, but it works.

Let’s use the mortgage industry as an example. It is not uncommon for a company to have close to a 30% attrition rate in its loan officer position. This means that in the worst-case scenario, after three years only 10% of your original team will still be in place. That attrition happens a little bit at a time over the year; thirty percent of your team doesn’t just jump ship all in the same week, or it would be called “mass defection” instead of “attrition.”

If you’re in a place where you need to focus on recruiting, it’s already too late. You let the attrition go too far. And the sad fact is, you can’t just “turn on” recruiting when you need it and turn it off when you’ve got your team. Recruiting is all about building relationships, and trying to do that in a week when you’re down two team members is like arriving at a first date with an engagement ring at the ready.

Since you lose your team members a little at a time, the solution is to focus on recruiting a little bit at a time. It’s a lot less work (and a lot more fun) to woo someone over two or three years than it is to convince them to elope with you on day one.

I recommend thirty minutes a day, and I’ll show you how to make that happen.

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Stop Thinking About Tactics

If you’re certain that it’s impossible to fit recruiting into 30 minutes a day, it’s likely that you’re thinking in terms of tactics instead of strategy.

This is how a tactic works:

  1. Search Zillow’s lender reviews for loan officers in your market and snag their cell numbers.
  2. Call every one of them asking if they are open to a “new opportunity” that involves a great company with great tools and technology.
  3. When you’re told the recruit is happy, ask if you can email your impressive corporate presentation with all the information needed to understand the company’s offering.
  4. Follow up spontaneously a few times per year to ask the same questions. How are things going? Would you be open to meeting up? Are you open to a new opportunity?

This, on the other hand, is a system:

  1. Know what your minimum expectations are for being willing to hire someone.
  2. Create search criteria using a cool tool like Mobility RE and sort the number of loan officers that meet this criterion based on a specific number of miles located from your office.
  3. Once you identify those you want to pursue, reach out by phone using a “core value’ phone script.
  4. The same day, connect with the person on LinkedIn.
  5. Follow an “Affirmation Technique” in order to get someone to respond and engage. Here is one I mapped out as an example of this….Affirmation Technique
  6. Use a “core value” phone script, and if unable to overcome the 3 typical objections—I am happy, I am busy, or I am not interested—then works towards getting a yes by asking a yes question. Example, “I would love to send you one of my favorite books as a way of saying thanks for taking my call. Are you open to that?”
  7. Upon getting the yes question answered, respond by following through on sending book.
  8. Seven days later, reach out by text message to ensure book was received
  9. One week later, send the recruit a relevant piece of content that brings value to them via LinkedIn or text. Example here: Mortgage Coach/Dave Savage Value Bomb. Message could be “I thought of you when I came across this video and wanted to share. I hope you find value in it as I know I did. Have a great week!”
  10. Each time you make contact with someone, update your CRM. Include what was said, what information was exchanged, and the next steps. Here is an overview of a CRM (Pipedrive) that I use and have built out a 32 step process in.   Map Of Process And Training Here.

If I can help you set this up let me know. Pipedrive offers a free 30-day trial and I am happy to have my team map your Pipedrive to this exactly.

See the difference? This plan takes 30 minutes per day, and it builds your tactics into a consistent, easy-to-follow system that builds relationships at an organic, natural pace. Since it can take over two years to recruit someone, you’re pacing yourself to stay front-of-mind without overwhelming the talent—or yourself.

Create systems around your top three tasks: identifying talent, making your initial contact with that talent, and following up. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says that we don’t rise to the level of our goals; we fall to the level of our systems. So once you have your systems in place, improve them over time to get even more results with even less effort.

For example, how much time would you shave from your system if you could send personalized messages to everyone in your contacts list at once, and automate your LinkedIn communications with talent? Apps like Reach and PipeDrive can make these improvements happen.

Let Go

Being busy at work is usually seen as a good thing, but there’s a wrong kind of busy: Harvard Business Review reports that one in five highly engaged workers is also burned out These are workers who are passionate about their job, but also frustrated and stressed from their workload.

For these diehard tryhards, learning to trust in systems can be a challenge. We’re taught that the price of success is hard work, and this is correct. But what no one tells us is that there’s a difference between desperate scrambling after success and consistent, daily bits of effort. One of them creates stress and anxiety—and the other produces results.


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