Simple Plan For Recruiting Success In Tough Business Environments

So the big question is this, how do recruiting leaders like us who have 12 to 15 other job responsibilities win at this game of recruiting? How do we build a system that allows us to recruit effectively in a minimal amount of time while motivating recruits towards meaningful change? That is the question and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Richard Milligan and welcome to Recruiting Conversations.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the recruiting conversations. It is your host, Richard Milligan. And it’s been a little while. If you are a friend and a follower of the podcast, it has been a busy few months for me and so I have taken a break from actually cutting podcasts.But I’m back today and I’m excited to be back to you because we are in. A changing business environment? Yes or yes? If you’re listening to this podcast and rhythm, we are in a transitionary window where lots of things are changing and you’re probably feeling some of the impacts of it as it relates to hyperinflation or inflation, as it relates to all of the negative noise that’s in social, as relates to the impacts directly to you as a recruiter, as a recruiting leader in your business. And depending on what business you’re in, what industry you’re in, the impact for some of you is being felt more harshly than in other places.

But as recruiters and recruiting leaders, we’re all feeling it in some way, shape or form. And in a season like this, I’m regularly having conversations that allow me to come here and bring you some value. And so I want to bring you kind of a roadmap like when when this. Season happens on you. What do you do? And for a lot of people, it’s easy to play like a woe is me victim card, right? Like one of my daily affirmations is that I’m not a victim of circumstances. I am gifted to change, create and lead things from what they are to what they can be. And the reason why that’s a daily affirmation of mine is because the old version of me would have been likely to play the victim card in a market like this with the headwinds like this, the challenges that we’re facing in the day to day. And so now I go to when when there’s a tough season, there’s a there’s a plan, there’s a play in the playbook. What do we do? There’s a couple of things that if you do these things now. Do these things now, you’ll thrive in this environment. And so I want to give you some of the pieces of this practically. So it creates a roadmap for you. So this is going to be a longer podcast, but there’s gonna be a lot of application here. If you’re a recruiting leader or a recruiter that you can apply to what you’re actually doing in your business. So what I found is that’s helpful if we quantify a few things.

So there’s three areas that I always like to quantify. And one of the things I want to quantify is my value system. I want to elevate certain values in harder seasons. Because there’s certain things that that matter all the time, but there are certain things that matter even more in this season. The other thing I want to do is I want to quantify the obstacles because there are obstacles like being an idealist and not a realist. That doesn’t help you in this season, like just saying, No, I’m just going to succeed. I’m just going to work hard and I’m going to turn the treadmill from 8 to 12. I’ll run faster for a longer run. Does the time that yes will say yes to some of that and we’ll break some of that out here. But we want to quantify the obstacles because by doing that, we can now put some preventative measures in place to remove those obstacles. Okay. And the third third thing that we want to do is we want to quantify a plan. I want to wake up every single day and I want to know what am I going to activate? What am I going to execute around in relationship to the plan? Because if you’re anything like me, I have lots of ideas and that can actually, as a creative connector on the five voices that can actually be detrimental to getting things done. It just gets in the way. And I’ll share some of my own moments around that I think will be helpful for us. Now, here’s an undercurrent in all of this. The current version of you. The current version of me should not be hirable by the one year better version of us. We’re going to embrace this in a hard season. Because we’ve got work to do. We’ve got to grow ourselves personally. In order to thrive in the upcoming market. And we’re just going to embrace it. Why? Because the better version of me, the not the person that I’m becoming. The person that exists a year from now. Okay. Succeeds much more. In a better environment. Then the version of me today. And so I’m actually preparing myself for the next great season and I love it. It’s the framework for a book that Ryan Holladay wrote called The Obstacle Is the Way. If you haven’t read that great book, free to read, especially right now. The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holladay. I love that framework. The obstacle is the way we’re going to embrace the season. And what happens is this is that in hard seasons, a lot of people lean out. And if you’re someone like me that embraces the season and leans in, your business will get stronger, your relationships will get deeper. You’ll have a better game plan for when the market shifts. The market turns is a springboard for you in the next season.

So let’s break let’s get into these three things that we’re going to quantify our values here and quantify the obstacle to quantify the plant. What does it mean to quantify our values? Our values are our actions. And I think there’s three things that we must value and embrace in a fast paced, changing business environment. And this has to become an elevated value system for us. And the first thing that you have to embrace as a value is being all in. And I think this framework gets overused again and again and again and again. And so it gets watered down. And I don’t think we really fully understand or I think we forget what all in actually means. I just want you to pause for a moment and just think. When was a moment in my life. It can be personal. It can be business. It can be financial. Where you’ve been. All in. And I can go back to my relationship with my wife of 24 years. I can go back to starting 40 recruiting in 2017. I can go back to getting into an industry in 2002 and breaking from my career path and going to a brand new industry and what it was like in the early seasons of that. You have markers just like I have markers for where we all know what it’s like to be all in. And what happens over when is the time is that we get a rhythm, we get routines, we fit into the box or whatever the corporate structure is that we’re in. We’ve got our emails coming at us. We’ve got people texting us and calling us and just rhythms to how we do business. And what begins to fade is what it’s like to be all in.

So I can think about a season. I’ll go back to 2017 as an example. I left a successful career in an industry of 15 years and the potential to easily make seven figures or more and starting a company from the ground up and not knowing where my. I did not have a single client. When I started this company in 2017 and I there was an estimation of like 30, 60, 96 months, what was my income going to be? And I didn’t have a path. I didn’t know what to expect. Zero clients. How long is it going to take me to build? And the elevated unknowns in that season were huge markers for me to be all in in 2017. No exaggeration, I don’t know the exact number, but I would say somewhere between 12 and 20 all nighters. Seriously. There was another 200 plus, maybe as many as 250 nights where I would leave the opposite sex, go invest for hours. The family come back into my office from 10 to 3 or 4:00 in the morning a lot of times, and get right back up at six and seven. Why? Because the unknowns. I had to be all in. I’ve got mouths to feed. I’ve got a family support. I’ve got, you know, bills to pay. I’ve got people that I’m hiring that I am responsible for. Like there there was a sense of urgency around this and that that now was the moment and there was no other moment. It was now that I had to actually be all in. Do you have a season like that yourself? That you can go back and think, I’m starting something, I’m new at something, I have to be all in.


Now, here is the key thing. That’s a framework. You create your own framework. When have you been all in? And this is the season for you to measure. That season will measure you in this season. Okay. Now, with that said, here’s a rhythm to this. Any time that I have to be what I’ll put quotations around All-In. Now, I just gave you a framework for it. There are conversations to be had for most of you, just like there is for me. And that conversation always starts with my wife. Because she has more responsibility. Heck, we’ve got four kids and a grandson that we play a role in, and she’s the chief operating officer of our household. And so we’ve got kids that are doing all kinds of things. It’s summer right now. They’re sporting events and horse events and summer camps. And I mean, so there’s more responsibility on her plate when I’m all in here that requires her to be more all in there. There’s a conversation to be had with my spouse. There’s a conversation to be had with my kids. That’s not going to be available. Why is that not going to be as available as he has been over the past 90 days? And how long is this season going to last for Dad? And I can’t sometimes give specifics around that, but I can’t sit down and set expectations with my family of what’s going on and why I’m all in here and what this means to them. And so that’s a conversation that he had for a lot of you.

A recent conversation I had with my team, and the conversation was a moment of transparency. This is a conversation a lot of you need to have the conversation. The transparent conversation I had sounded like this team, the business environment, the business landscape is changing. I think there are markers for a lot of unknowns the next 12 to 24 months. And I just want to lay a framework here. The last six weeks of my life has looked like this, and I’ll lay it for you here. What does that look like? It’s look like my wife went on a trip to see a friend in Texas, got COVID while she was there and stayed there because she was so sick for two and a half weeks. I still have three kids at home. I have a grandson in my house. I’m running several businesses. I’ve got a lot of responsibility on my plate and my wife is now gone for two and a half weeks. Stuck being stuck in Houston.


That happened. She comes back, had migraines, was down for another week or two with all of that only partially available at home. Beyond that, I got an upper respiratory infection. Beyond that, we had some personal stuff that required me to be all in on a family situation for a week to two weeks. Six weeks goes by, and I would dare say if I’m going to be transparent here, I would dare say that I was about 30% the equivalent since I was showing up on the day to day and I was working more than 8 hours a day. But in terms of me being all in, if I measured against 2017, it was about 30% of Richard. And so I sat down with my team and said, Team, this is where I’ve been in the last six weeks, and here’s where I’m moving now, too. And I need all of you to understand that. What does it look like inside our business because of that? And I’m pulling people into their own all in conversation. So a conversation with the team has to take place. Now, side of that, you probably have, like me, a couple of key accountability partners that you have to have the all in conversation with and pause here because if you don’t go get them. We all need accountability. Pearson’s law. Pearson was a genius, mathematician and scientists from the 1800s, and he said that he was able to prove a universal law that existed, that what we measure, we improve, and what we measure and report, we improve exponentially. What does that mean? Well, accountability is where the reporting I want the exponential so I can measure things. But if I don’t report things, I don’t get the exponential. And I want the exponential accountability partners are reporting partners. I can report where I met, what I’m doing, what I’m struggling with, where I need accountability around. And you in this season better embrace that. Get a key accountability partner or partners that’s willing to have this all in conversation with you as much as you’re willing to have that conversation with them. And I’m going to have my all in conversation with these four groups my wife, my family, my team, and my accountability partners. I implore you to run towards us. This is a season that’s going to require you to be all in. Now, one of the key factors in this is this. If you’re going to be all in. You’re going to have to take care of yourself and have a self-care plan.

In this season, more is going to be required of you, which means that you better have a plan for self-care, because if you can’t rescue yourself first, you can’t rescue others. This is one of the first things they teach you in lifeguard classes, right? Is that if you if you allow the person you’re trying to save to drown you, you are of no use to anyone, including yourself. So what is your self-care plan and build one? What will you eat in this season? What vitamins and supplements will you take in this season? I literally have a list of things that I take daily that are supplements that actually allow me to operate as a peak performer. You need a self-care plan, self-care plan that involves exercise, that involves motivation and inspiration, where you’re going to get those on a daily basis. That limits the amount of news that you’re taking in that limit limits you don’t go to Twitter and search recession and the word depression. And what pulls up is a plethora of the world is coming to an end. That’s part of your mental health care plan, universal health care plan. That’s going to be essential if you’re going to be all in here. Okay. So we quantify our values and one of the things that we value is being all in.

Here’s another thing that we value. We value activation. Ideas are crap. Execution is the game that we’re playing, yes or yes? So we value activation of ideas over the ideas themselves. Embrace this. You don’t need more ideas. You need to activate on a couple of ideas. You need to go hard and fast and a couple of ideas. So we embrace activation in this season, and there’s a number of reasons why we do this. One of the reasons why is that motivation always comes from doing. Do you get that? Like when you do, you’re motivated. A lot of times people wait for the motivation to arrive. So I’m just trying to get motivated, do something and watch motivation and follow. That’s the way. We’ve been wired to work, go do something and motivation will follow. If I’m stuck, I will go do something, get something done. A lot of times just walking around the block. If I’m stuck, that’s how I’ll get unstuck. I’ll go for a quick run. I don’t care if it’s 5 minutes or 15 minutes, but I just went and did something motivation comes from doing. That’s why when we activate our ideas, it’s a it’s a snowball that’s now rolling downhill when we activate. Okay, here’s another reason why you’ve got to activate in the season, why you have to embrace this value. Vision always comes clear in the doing. Motivation comes in the doing. Vision comes in the doing. You’re looking for the perfect idea you will not find typically will not have the perfect idea until you start doing. Marketers get this at the highest level. That’s why they’re always a B, testing their copyright, their campaigns, their visuals. They’re as marketers, they’re always testing the things that they’re doing because they understand that there’s going to be markers that identify the best ideas along the way. Vision always comes clear from the doing. Okay. We’re going to embrace activation of ideas over the ideas themselves in this season.

And the third thing that we’re going to embrace is urgency. We run sprints in the season as much as we run the marathon. Let me let me repeat that again. I’m positive, everyone. So because I’ve got a little bit of an upper respiratory infection here. We embrace sprints in the season. Over the marathon, although we understand we’re running a marathon. What I have found is that few people can run sprint sprints uphill. I mean, think about that. I just I just incorporated two things that are very difficult. Few people can run uphill, right? It’s hard. I mean, I’m a I’m I like to run. I wouldn’t call myself a runner, but I like to think of myself as a runner. When you’re when you’re six foot six and like £230, you’re Clydesdale when you run. So I’m never going to be fast. But I enjoy the journey of being outdoors and seeing nature and being on the move. If you’ve when you run up hills, you understand that when you’re touring £30, you understand you are pulling a lot uphill and it’s hard, right? Running up hills is hard. Try running a sprint uphill. Few people can do it right. But we embrace that. We embrace the difficulty of that. And one of the things that we understand is that urgency, right, where the framework sprint comes is urgency. You could take 90 days to execute on an idea. Or you could take a week. And it would it be hard in a week? It would be uphill. Right. It would require a lot. You’d be running a sprint uphill. So there are times and the reason why we have these conversations of the people around us is that if I have to run a sprint, I have pulled a four day X in the week and I’ve taken, you know, a Thursday, a Friday or Saturday, Sunday, and I’ve disappeared to run the sprint. But got to get this thing done in the season. Right. We go back to some of these values all in activation with urgency. These are the things that we’re going to value most in the season that’s running a sprint uphill. So I’ve got places like there’s a there’s a place that’s not far from where I live. It’s actually a ranch. And they’ve got these little cabins on a lake where you actually have Internet service. And I can get off the grid. I could go there, go for four days, and go knock out a project and not have any noise around me. And we’ll talk about a little bit here just second some things around that. Okay. We will we will. We will embrace urgency as a value. Okay. Now, so we’ve embraced our values. We’ve quantified them and we’ve embraced them. Now let’s quantify the obstacles. You have a lot of things to do. Yes, sir. Yes. I have found that the average recruiting leader juggles about 17 balls a day. And I’m not kidding you. I set in your role. I know what it’s like. I spent almost two decades there. Every single day you’re responsible for everything. Underneath you are the people that reside Earth your leadership. As much as you’re responsible for recruiting. Recruiting itself could be a singular heart that you could wear. Right? So that’s an obstacle. You have a lot to do. You’ve got hundreds of emails, if not more, that come at you every single day. Text messaging, nonstop. Your phone rings all the time. You’ve got to report that got called in. That’s due immediately. You have all these things that are like you’re a professional juggler. Some of those balls in the air on fire, some of those balls are rubber to allow them to bounce or catch them tomorrow. And a lot of times we see the recruiting ball that we’re juggling as that the rubber ball, it’s going to bounce up right tomorrow. I’ll catch it because nobody died today. I put all my fires in boxes at zero. Oh, no, that’s not the way it works. The recruiting ball is a glass ball. You catch it every single day as a leader who has a team. You’re also responsible for recruiting to that team. And in seasons like this, this is the season of harvest. And we forget that we’re where difficult seasons arise. You have more opportunities to recruit than in any other season. Why? We call this a collaborative season. People are more willing to take your call. They’re more willing to collaborate with you in this season than ever before. You make the call. You establish the relationship, you build trust, you move people in this season, we cut. Why? Because, look, leaders disappear in tough seasons. You’re not a weak leader, right? So we’re going to be visible. We’ll talk about that when we get to the plan, when we quantify the plan. But the obstacle is everything around you. Everything that is around you that you’re doing right now, which is a 17 balls. That’s the obstacle. So we quantify that and I give you three easy steps here. You have to identify the few things that matter most. You identify the few things that matter most. The word priority comes to mind, not prioritize. Singular. This is a season for you to grow. Recruiting is the priority. And if it’s not. Then. If it’s at one of one of the priorities and it will always be the rubber ball bullet. A bounce up tomorrow. We identified the few things that matter most. You can make up lost business by growing your team. Yes or yes? And in a in a business environment that’s changing, it’s in transition. This is your opportunity. If you were a farmer, it’d be like having someone lay out the Farmer’s Almanac to say, Hey, every seven years, this is exactly what happens. It’s predictable. You’re going to get the rainy season. You’re going to have followed by a dry season, followed by a little bit. Like if someone could lay out for a farmer exactly what the season’s going to look like, and they knew exactly when to plant and they knew exactly when to harvest, they would maximize their success and adjust them. Laying out for you a framework for this, because this is that season for you. There are so many there are unknowns here. What happens in the moment where there are unknowns, fear gets elevated, people get concerned. People move towards confident, strong leaders. I show up on the scene as a recruiting leader, build relationships. Right. But if you don’t identify the obstacle of you carrying 17 different things and say this is a priority, this will not be a season where you are a farmer that’s planting seeds and making a harvest. So we’re going to identify this as a priority. And what that means is. We say no? At first and always anything else that comes along. Will you be on this committee? Nope. Will you chair the board for this nonprofit? Nope. Can you and remember, I’ve had conversations with my wife and my kids and my team and my accountability partners.

There’s a lot of things that fall into that conversation. I’m not going to be able to take the kids to school in the morning. I’m not going to be able to pick Gavin up from practice in the evenings. I’m not. I’m saying no to everything else. Okay. And that’s a critical thing for you to do. So we identify the things that matter most. We say no to everything else at first and immediately I can always come back later and say yes. Do you get that? You could always come back later and say Yes, no. Right now, does it mean no forever? But this has to be your rhythm. I say no to everything immediately. And at first in this season. And the last thing is what that allows me to do is to do more of the priorities. Got that. That’s that’s the important thing here. Now, I’ve got more available. And now you’ve got you’re going to find you have a better rhythm and a better routine because you’re going to protect this. Can we quantify the obstacle? We run through that rhythm. The last thing that we do is quantify the plan. Now, when you think about recruiting, I want you to do this in your own industry, in your own timeline. How long does it actually take to recruit someone? Be realistic about this. I had this conversation with someone yesterday. They said, I’m going to hire X number of people by year end. And I said, No, you’re not. And they kind of looked at me, like, dumbfounded, like, what do you mean? Like, I thought you were my coach. You were encouraging me. Well, I know where you’re at. I know where your pipeline looks like. I know what the normal process looks like. I don’t think you’re having a very real conversation about what’s possible this year because this person is just starting. They don’t have a pipeline. They think they do. But as we went through it, they don’t. So they’re really ground zero. They’re starting at zero. And for a lot of you, that’s where you’re at. Because you’ve been in a busy season, right.

Last two years. And some injuries have been phenomenal. Not for every issue and some it’s been incredible. Real estate, mortgages, insurance, like there are some there are some businesses that have really benefited from being from COVID. So even in a busy season, you have not built the recruiting process up recruiting pipeline. Okay. And so let’s lay out the timeline. Well, if I identify all of the talent in my market and I start making first contact with them, you don’t make conversions immediately. It takes time to build relationships. Yes or yes? And so I start to think, man, it’s going to take me 90 days to identify all the talent and to cross that relationship bridge for the first time. And now it’s going to take me 3 to 6 months to establish the value proposition of me as the leader showing up every single month and bringing value to them. And now I’m going to be in a real recruiting conversation about our company and the opportunity, and that’s going to take 60 days. And you start if you really start to lay this out because you are not selling a $10 widget here. This is more like a $20 million, $50 million software. So it’s complex. Imagine a salesperson had a $50 Million software package they sold to C-Suites. Just show up and go, I don’t have any anybody in my pipeline. One of those five deals this month. No, you’re not. That is not the way it works. And in recruiting, if you’re recruiting top salespeople in your industry, that a $50 million software sale is the equivalent of how this works. Now we’re getting real. And that real conversation says this. You’ve got a lot of work to do. And we got to go fast for a lot of you got to go fast. There’s enormous pressure now to make up what we’ve lost. Right. So. So I’ve got to go fast in the pressure cooker. And so there’s a there’s a framework here you need to follow a very simple plan you to file. And the first thing that we want to do is we want to identify every person in your market that should be on your list. That means you’re going to have a clear avatar. What’s a model match for my team and I’m going to research is I got to do this now and I got to do this with urgency. Got it. Go back to our values. I’m all in here. I’m activating with urgency. Okay. So now I build my list, and the list is what allows you to move towards making first contact. Number one, make the list. Identify the people in your market. I want to know where they’re on Facebook and LinkedIn, their cell phone numbers, their email addresses. And if I can get addresses, that’s even better. And where they reside on other social platforms like Instagram or Twitter, if they’re there, great. Okay. I want to build my list and now I’m going to go make first contact. And you have to do this fast. There’s a principle out there Jim Collins if you haven’t read his book good the great that books probably 30 years old now. But in his book, Good the Great talks about the flywheel concept. And the flywheel concept is if you understand the flywheel is that a flywheel stores kinetic energy over a window of time of turning the flywheel. But it takes an enormous amount of effort to turn the flywheel once and twice in five and ten and 50 and a hundred times. But at some point. The flywheel stores kinetic energy, and it turns effortlessly almost on its own. And you’re in the flywheel effect on the front of this flywheel effect. It’s not going to turn effortlessly right now. It’s going to take an enormous amount of energy to get this thing started.

So right now, we’re going to go hard. We’re going to go fast. We’re going to build our lists. We’re going to identify the people in our market that we want to actually get in front of, and we’re going to go make initial contact with them immediately. Why? Because once I do that, I have now established the relationship bridge, which is what we are. We’re not recruiters or relationship builders of establish the Relationship Bridge. And now what I can do is I can show up every single month with something of a real tangible value. Something that will help them grow their business, will help them solve problems. Something that elevates me as a leader. We call it the surrogate leadership principle. Where someone’s lacking leadership and you bring leadership value, they will move towards you. The word surrogate means in place of right. Something has to be lacking in order for that to work. And so an every week leader in my market should be nervous. Because your people are going to get an enormous amount of value from me every single month forever in a very simple plan. That’s your plan. You identify talent. You make first contact with them, establish the relationship bridge. And then I bring you value again and again. And again and again. It’s simplistic. You got it. This is isn’t gang. This is it.


What I want you to do as a key takeaway in this. If you’re like me, there’s some there’s a lot of real meat here for you. But here’s your key takeaway. Define where you’re going to be in 12 months.

Okay. Let me let me very specifically regurgitate that to you again. Define where you will be in 12 months. Now, I in working with and coaching with a lot of people, a lot of people think they’ve got a good framework here. They’ll call it a goal. They’ll call it their vision. Right. They think that they’ve and they’ll say something like, I would like to be at. Okay. That is not defining. Defining is to state or describe. Exactly. Okay. Defining, let me say it again to define is to state or to describe exactly where you will be in 12 months. I want you to define where you’ll be in 12 months and what that does. What that does is it changes your verbiage, your words, the framework you’re using. I will. Versus I want. I do versus I hope or I wish. When you define where you’ll be in 12 months, that allows you lay out a very clear framework for how you’re going to get there. Stop operating in generalizations. Begin operating in specifics. Because when you do that, it allows you to embrace a framework. And that framework is at all cost and is kind of where we started when I said all in. It’s at all cost. Now, let me add a little asterisk to that, which is that anything short of losing our credibility, anything short of undermining our integrity. Right. Anything short of said at all cost. Okay. And this is a season where when you define where you’ll be in 12 months and you follow kind of the framework, which is that we what we’ve quantified our values. We’ve quantified the obstacle. We’ve quantified the plan. And this is a framework in any tough season, you can come to again and again and again and again. It will give you clarity and it will move you forward. The conversation that I had with my team recently when I shared some of that with you, my own transparency is that I’m not afraid of this market. I’m not afraid of this market. Why? I’ve been here, I’ve done this. I know what we will do to succeed in this environment. We will create more value. We will create more opportunities. Because this is a defined plan for what we will do in this season. So I implore you, go back through this again and again and again. It has worked for me. It’s worked for hundreds of leaders. This is a refined process that you can embrace that. Will get you where you want to get even in difficult seasons. So if I can serve you in a further, you know, I do coaching, right? I am a recruiting coach in recruiting consultant. Recruiting strategist. If I can help you in any other way, you’ve got my live calendar shows up on the outro here, but I’m excited to be back on the podcast, excited to be bringing you value. My thoughts are with you because you are our tribe of people. We know you have the most difficult job in any business. The recruiting leader has that.

And so we’re rooting you on and we will be bringing you more value in this season than we have for the last three or four months. And so we’re back until I talk to you again on another podcast here on Recruiting Conversations. Have a great week, everybody.


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