Tag Archives: Millennials

3 Ways to #Mentor Your #Millennials to Success and Retain Young Talent

The often-talked-about generation is starting to graduate university, and employers seem to be struggling with keeping young talent. What is it about Millennials that we do not understand? In 2020, they will make up 50% of the workforce, and five short years after that it will be almost 75%. Isn’t it about time we figure out what to do with them?

Curta Mentoring

Millennials come from a generation of helicopter parents and have an almost unreasonable need for feedback. But, you can’t complain because we created that problem.

Millennials are no longer satisfied with a healthy pay cheque and benefits; instead they want their work to be personally fulfilling. Millennials crave the opportunity to make personal connections in their professional life and are constantly looking for mentorship opportunities.

The trouble that our generation is having is that as much as Millennials say they crave that mentor-mentee relationship, they just aren’t receptive to traditional styles of coaching.

So how do you mentor a Millennial?

 Let them teach you. I am always asking my Social Media Manager how I can post a photo to Instagram, what filter should I use, or what she thinks of a new app. Giving a Millennial the opportunity to teach you something gives them some insight into the executive level of the business in a way that is not intimidating or overwhelming.

As always, there are plenty of times that she has come to me for advice in return and we have had plenty of “Employee Therapy” sessions, so this mentor-mentee relationship is mutually beneficial.

They love figuring things out as a team. If nothing else, Millennials are definitely well connected. They are in constant contact with each other and always moving forward on the newest social media trend. When is the last time you sent a Snapchat to one of your friends, or left an Instagram comment? They are always talking to each other in one-way or another.

They are a constant sounding board for one another, which is what makes group-mentoring opportunities so valuable. Giving Millennials the opportunity to work it out together is a great way to take some of the onus off of individual mentors and let them figure it out for a change. They’ll come back to you with what they’ve learned.

Not everything needs to be life-long. While Millennials appreciate all of the career guidance they can attain, it doesn’t need to be a long-term thing. Millennials are attention sponges, and one of the generations who excel in taking EVERYTHING in (whether you mean to give them that stone to carry or not).

It could be a manager, or a co-worker. In any job position, whether it’s long-term or short-term, they have the ability to learn from the feedback and experience of their senior associates.

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, the need for a constant stream of feedback and their attitude that success should come in a hurry isn’t really a surprise. But it’s not something that is completely unmanageable. Millennials have been driven to succeed by their parents since birth, and have been competing with each other for just as long, be it for spots in top academic programs or those all-too- competitive paid internships.

For a generation that grew up in one of the most uncertain times in North American history, it’s natural that they have a bit of anxiety when it comes to their future.

Gen X’er journalist Rick Newman described Millennials best as, “cynical, untrusting, and mercenary” because they have been told those are the traits needed to survive.

We, as their mentors, can combat those attitudes by providing them with professional coaches and role models who are inspired by the success of others and go through their professional life with integrity.

We all have the urge and motivation to learn and grow. Collaborating with a business coach or mentor is one of the best ways to make sure that you are reaching your peak potential. Take the anxiety out of your career path.

Sign me up for mentoring.


Time For Recruitment Professionals To Look At Their Own Careers

I spent some time speaking with a person who specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions of Staffing and Recruiting Firms. He shared with me the recent trend in valuing a firm is to look beyond the executive team, beyond the client base and beyond the candidate pool. The valuation is coming down to the Recruitment Team itself. When an organization has one or more Recruitment Professionals filling orders, that more valuable than a multimillion dollar client list. This makes any and all Recruitment Professionals a very important, if not the most important asset to a third party agency.

After hearing this piece of information I thought about all of the career evaluations that I perform on a day-to-day basis and the amount of professionals that find themselves in unsatisfactory environments. Most of these career evaluations are based on three things; take home wages, what they’re billing, and how long they’ve been in a position, but there are a few things that you can look at on your own to determine whether or not it’s time you’re being treated like an asset.

Are you overworked and underpaid as a Recruitment Professional? Let’s start with your wages. In the first three years of your career, $60K a year is a   good take home wage. After those initial few years, the lowest you should tip is $80K and can expect up to $120K a year. Recruiters that run 360 desks are making even more, spending 60% of their time speaking with clients and the rest interviewing candidates. If you’re doing all of this along with securing new clients and making less than $150K a year, you’re not being paid what you’re worth. I spoke with a recruiter who is managing $10 million in clients and in comparison taking home a measly $165K a year.

Remember that your salary should be dependent on your billings.

You should feel like you are in a place where you are most productive and being set up to succeed. Recruiting professionals are most productive when they have a standard commission structure. If you’re not seeing a financial report and management can’t explain the standards, you have nowhere to base your progress. You should be provided with KPI reports and management should have clear metrics. Look at it this way; your manager should act as a fitness coach. The faster you run, the more you lift and the higher you jump, the better THEY look. Your goals should be their goals, and the relationship should be mutually beneficial.

Management should be investing in you and your work, which means investing in your workspace and providing the basics. This includes computers, phone, Internet and access to the necessary websites. If your manager expects you to find quality candidates out of thin air, they don’t respect what you do for them.

In the summer, I had a recruiter call me from the middle of Florida asking me whether or not she should leave work when the air conditioning is in disrepair. In a state where the average summer temperature can range from 80-90F, working in a place that is too hot to function is unacceptable and ultimately disrespectful.

Are you expected to work 65 hours, five days a week? Is there an opportunity to work from home? With the emergence of telecommuting, management not allowing the option to work from home can be a sign of micro-management or a work place that doesn’t want to evolve. Does your manager monitor your bathroom usage? Does your manager block certain websites that you may need to complete your job? This micro-management is a sign of distrust and is completely unreasonable. Remember, you were hired for a reason and you’re an asset to the company. You’re an adult and deserve to be treated like one.

Many don’t leave a bad situation because they operate under the idea that the devil they know is better than the devil that don’t. They’re afraid to leave the people that gave them their start and the friends that they’ve made in their current position. If you’re not treated with respect and are not valued as an asset, it’s time to move on.

Curta has created a short quiz that can give you a better idea of where you stand right now in your current job position. Of course, just like in any situation, there is no black and white answer and even unsatisfactory situations can be adjusted to make them a better environment.

There is no recruiting utopia, but you deserve to get as close to one as you can.


Become a Subject Matter Expert…


…And Fast-Track to Higher Billing

As Recruiters we are reminded how challenging our jobs are almost every day. Luckily, with experience comes perspective. So after two decades, I have amassed many “challenge killing” techniques from work colleagues, managers, mentors and coaches.

One of my favorite techniques can answer many questions. “How can I build my candidate pool fast? How can I build my client’s respect? How can I double my production? How can I get more referrals? How can I speed up my sourcing, screening and matching?” It’s hard to believe, that one technique will answer all of these questions.

This technique or strategy came out of necessity. The agency I worked for during the late 90’s had so many client requirements that it was difficult to focus. I learned early in my career that you should target requirements with a high fill potential, but everything at that time was hot. Great for the company, but I was seeing a lot of second prize ribbons, with limited placements.

To give myself a better chance of success, I watched the recruiters who were making more placements and tried to figure out the formula for success. One thing I noticed was Account Managers would go to specific Recruiters depending on their requirements. So I asked why. What they said hit me like a load of bricks. “I go to that particular Recruiter because they are the office expert for the skill I need.”

It was so simple. So I spoke with these recruiters and soon found out some of the other benefits of becoming a Subject Matter Expert (SME). What they were doing was basic. They chose a specific skill or position, (Project Manager, Business Analyst, Java Programmer) that clients were always asking for. They focused all of their efforts to become an expert in that skill starting with sourcing.

I found that focusing on one skill and becoming a SME lead to;

  • Faster sourcing as I knew what companies to target and how to get to the passive candidates,
  • I was building a more focused pool of quality candidates faster,
  • Candidates had a greater trust in me because I knew what I was talking about,
  • I was getting more referrals as candidates trusted me with their network
  • I was getting better qualified candidates as I was reaching more passive candidates,
  • I had a deeper understanding of the core skills and also specializations for these roles,
  • My screening/profiling was faster. I could tell the difference between a solid and weak candidate,
  • My matching was faster. I knew what would work for each client,
  • I was trusted in the office as someone who had the ability to present the best candidates,
  • Account reps came to me directly on these roles. I was getting “special” treatment,
  • I could skill-market every day as I had a steady stream of high quality candidates.

Once I became a SME, it didn’t take long to double my placements and I stopped worrying about the revenue roller-coaster every month. The most significant lesson I learned from this strategy was I could have control over my schedule. I had stopped being a reactive recruiter who was ruled by his e-mail and chased requirements all day. I evolved into a proactive recruiter who stayed focused on daily habits that drove quality candidates through the process and ultimately to hire.

The bottom line is you can take charge of your day and eliminate a ton of time consuming challenges by focusing on one niche. Sure, it takes some discipline and a learning curve. It doesn’t happen overnight. But if you stick with it, you’ll build yourself a great foundation of ready candidates, happy clients, and better placements. Plus, you’ll end up with more time and more money in the bank.

Don’t work hard, work smart!


David Mandar

Do you know what a “Sleeper Recruiter” looks like?

A few weeks ago, I received a call from a third party agency owner who was at his wits end.  A person he had brought on to become a Recruiter just over a year ago had done over ten placements in his first six months of recruiting. Now that person had zero candidates and nothing in the pipeline.  This new Recruiter had no previous experience in our industry, and his ten placements had been a good mix of contract and perm, generating enough revenue to hold onto him until he produced again.

The questions were:

  • When would that turnaround be coming?
  • If the turnaround did arrive, what would the revenue look like?
Don't miss out on hiring a "Sleeper Recruiter"

Don’t miss out on hiring a “Sleeper Recruiter”

These are age old questions that any third party agency owner would ask.  As the Recruiter’s Coach, these are the kind of call we get all the time.  I wish I could say I have a crystal ball, but the last time I checked, it was still broken.  What I can tell you is that if you have the right person in place, and you give them the right training, you can have a top biller.

The agency owner set up a time for me to speak with the Recruiter.  After my conversation with the Recruiter and running him through our assessment, I was pleased to report back to his manager that this was the right person for the job.  In the Curta order of Recruiter classification, he is classified as a “Sleeper.”

A “Sleeper” is a recruiter who is extremely unassuming, that most agencies miss hiring because they NEVER shine in any interviewing process.  This type of person will never stop until every order is covered with three candidates. If candidates are not good fits, they will refine and improve their own sourcing strategy to find better people.  But they do all of this without creating any DRAMA.  Many other Recruiters having problems will quickly become frustrated and vocal about ‘a problem’ with the process.  This allows a manager to notice the problem, step in, quickly fix the problem and move on.  With a Sleeper’s lack of drama, it is extremely hard to diagnose what part of the process they are having trouble with, or even if they are having problems.  So, just like this manager, you cross your fingers and hope all works out.

But, at what cost????

The issue with this particular Recruiter was that he had no formal training.  The people that had stepped up to mentor him had taught him everything they knew, and now they were back generating their own revenue.   We recommend to the owner that he send this Recruiter on our Rookie Recruiter Training course.

Yesterday, I receive the best call a Coach can ever receive!  On our regularly scheduled check in call with this Recruiter, I found that he now has twelve people interviewing in the next couple of weeks. Also, the candidate he found during our class is going to place.  He turned his desk around  in two weeks!

This Recruiter will do enough placements in the next 45 days to be certified as a Curta Recruiter, and we also estimate he will generate over 500K in GM this year.

The Crystal Ball maybe broken, but the Curta science of identifying good Recruiters is backing us up by showing production results.



Rebecca B. Sargeant

AKA ~ The Recruiter’s Coach

A Page From A Recruiter’s Diary ~ Get ME OUT OF HERE!

I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. As a type-A personality, the thought of starting something from nothing and seeing it grow and evolve had always been attractive. What would that venture be, I wondered? Just about the furthest thing from my imagination, as it turned out.

As most of us do, I fell into recruitment.  I stumbled into it blindly and woefully ignorant, but eager to learn. The agency I started with works on a contingency basis and is focused on contract IT professionals. Being quite the opposite from ‘technical’, I found the learning curve to be huge.  Despite the hard work, I fell in love with this crazy industry.   Although I always have to anticipate the unexpected and work within a chaotic structure, I get to help people make career altering and potentially life changing decisions.  I’ve learned that the harder you work, the better you treat people, the bigger the reward.   I have to be organized. It’s dynamic, and it’s not even close to easy.

Sounds fun, right? It is. It keeps me on my toes and excited to go to work. Maybe it’s just my “newbie” shine that hasn’t yet rubbed off, but I’m in the office 2-3 hours early almost every single day.  But after just 13 months, I’ve decided to start on the path of independence. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m going to quit tomorrow and open my own business. In an effort to make myself better, I started documenting my thoughts, habits, likes, dislikes, and overall recruitment process.  Through this exercise, the idea to launch my own firm took hold.

literally-chained-to-my-desk My current employer and co-workers aren’t terrible.  In fact, they are actually pretty awesome.  Currently we have two sides to the office – sales and recruitment.  As recruiters, we only interact with the candidate and submit them to sales.  All of our knowledge of the job order and client culture comes from the sales manager. This model doesn’t make any sense to me as I often feel like I am playing a never ending game of telephone – where one person whispers in another’s ear and the story is passed down the line.  Unfortunately by the time it reaches me, it is either completely different or contains gaping holes. Therefore I cannot give my candidates the same value as recruiters who deal directly with hiring managers and clients. Let’s cut out the middle man and get back to recruitment basics –   service, not sales!  I believe if you are in a pure sales role, you should have a recruitment background. You need to think like a recruiter to sell a recruitment service.

This is why I want my firm to be different.  By providing better service, building better relationships and creating a better process, I believe I can run a company that is recruitment focused – not sales focused. Rather than telling the client why I’m different or better than the other hundred recruiters calling them, I want to show them – in both the service I provide and in my recruitment process.

So that in a nut shell is where I think I can make my mark. I’ve not naïve enough to believe that no-one else has ever had the same thoughts or goals.  I just believe that not enough people do.

I’ve recently connected with a career coach, who is also an experienced recruiter, to help me along this path.  When I started meeting with her I set a goal of opening my business within 15 months. While it sounds like a long time, I have a lot of questions and goals, including focusing on being the best recruiter I can be and perfecting my skills (if that’s even possible in an ever changing industry) before going out on my own. I’m not in any rush – I want to do this right the first time.

Even though I am a few months in, I will backtrack to where I started. I plan on sharing my thoughts, fears, goals, and progress with you during the next 13 months.  Follow me to launch from my initial idea, coming up with a name and logo, facing my fears and harnessing my passion, through to helping pick a niche, develop my business plan and action!



I am a Headhunter.

Does that make you cringe?  It should!

No one would dare kick a Headhunter, but everyone does love to kick Recruiters.


Because Recruiters spend way too much time placating HR departments, working on unemployable candidates and dealing with managers who can’t get their act together.

Here are 5 reasons you want to put on your “Big Boy Pants” and become a Headhunter:

  1. We don’t Waste Time – When we see a client or candidate we want to work with, we pick up the phone and call them.  If they’re not at their desk, we call their cell phone.  If they’re not at the cell phone, we book an appointment directly onto their calendar.  Nowhere in there do we send emails or leave voice mails.
  2. We have Better Candidates – Our candidates aren’t on LinkedIn.  In fact, our candidates are too busy working to be on any social media, and are too tired to look at your job posting.  Headhunters are in the business for the long haul.  To withstand the ups and downs of our industry, Headhunters have built deep wide reaching networks  built on  relationships based on years of contact, not just hours or days.
  3. We have More Control – It takes more balls to say, “No” then it does to say, “I am sorry.”  We know as Headhunters we are great at the hiring process, as we have tried everything else.  This trial and error has taught us the hard way: we are not going to make money chasing hiring managers, kissing HR’s ass or appeasing egotistical candidates. By saying, “No” we set limits, all the while moving the hiring process forward for everyone.
  4. We are The Experts – The Hiring Process is the only thing we do.  Because we live and die by our process, we can tell you what problems you are going to have interviewing and/or hiring.  We know where the best candidates and clients are located.  We know when the best time to hire or make a career change is.  We know why people like or dislike you or your company.  We know how to secure better employees than your competitor does.   We know there are few ‘clean’ deals, and we know how to deal with situations that go sideways.
  5. We get Higher Fees – The average fee for a Headhunter is 30%.  We get these fees because we ARE the experts. (I think I said that already!  😉  Clients can’t get OUR candidates from Monster, LinkedIn or Recruiters.  Candidates know we are out for their best interest, and they work closely with us on every aspect of their careers.  As for HR, we let the hiring manager deal with them.  And finally:  we know exactly how much we are worth!

Isn’t it time you became a Headhunter too?

Failure is Not an Option

Along with third party and corporate Recruiters, I also coach Independent Recruiters / Business Owners every day.  And every day, those Independent Recruiters / Business Owners amaze me.  I am amazed at their tenacity for being in business for fifteen years, in an industry that will just as well smack you as is to kiss you.  I am amazed that they are excited for any and all new training topics I develop.  I am amazed they are still generous to their clients, candidates and internal employees.  I could go on and on with how they amaze me, but what really fascinates me is, HOW do they keep going every day, day after day, week after week, and year after year?

Today at the end of a coaching call with an Independent Recruiter who has been running his own boutique agency for over 20 years, I took a few minutes to ask him, “How do you keep going? What makes you so thirsty for knowledge?”

His interesting ‘short answer’ to me was “Failure is not an option, along with one must be willing to do what it takes stay in business.  And all has to be well within ethical and legal limits of course. ” (I guess no Breaking Bad moments here?) “If you are driven by these two things, you will be always working on these five tasks to stay competitive.”

Here is the long answer. ..

Being any kind Recruiter is as labor intensive as a Gold Prospector panning for an ounce of gold from a ton of dirt. We spend our days sitting at our desks, staring at a computer monitors,  speaking to any number of people at any given time, all while we are thinking about how we are going to spend that next fee.  Whew! Thank God we have ADHD, or we would never survive the first year.  But, if you want to survive 20+ years, you also better be able and willing to work on these five tasks, over and over again:

1. Identifying Your Problems – We can all stand on the sidelines & point to everyone else’s problems.

That is easy! Here is where we separate the women from the girls and the men from the boys.  Take a long hard look in the mirror at yourself, make a list of what you need to fix, and then find someone to help you fix it.

2.     Take Responsibility and be Accountable – Now the works really starts. 

Taking responsibility for one’s success and failure is no light matter.  When we don’t have the warmth and comfort of an office, pay cheque and co-workers it gets really cold, really quick. There is no one to tell you what to do when you have screwed up, and no one to give you the slightest direction.  90% of Independent Recruiter / Businesses fail in the first year.  From what I hear from these fails, the lack of structure, steady income and overall support causes them to go find a job.  To succeed, you have to take control.  To have control, you have to take on responsibility.   Once you choose success, you will take the responsibility of providing your own structure with a daily, week, monthly, and yearly plan.  You take responsibility of providing a steady income by working a second job.  And you take responsibility for providing your own support, by standing on you own two feet.

When you choose success, make a list of things you are responsible for. Next to each item, write down how you are going to handle that responsibility.  When I started my business I was responsible for all the bills associated with owning three horses, but no way to pay those bills.  I didn’t want to sell the horses, so I leased them out for my first two years of business.  I didn’t like to do that, but today I still have my horses.

3.     Keep A Positive Attitude – Hopefully by now you have realized your attitude is your responsibility. 

As a Recruiter your attitude will dictate how everyone around you interacts with you.  Controlling your attitude (not being controlled by it) will give you the opportunity to turn on and off feelings that could be getting in the way.  Turning off the sadness we are feeling about losing that deal.  Turning on the excitement we are going to need to take on that new client.

A good way to change your attitude and get it under control is to write a “gratitude list” every day.  This will turn on the positive feelings, and teach you how to dial down the negative ones.  Or your can see The Independent-Recruiter’s Reality – he has advise too.

4.     Learn & Grow – If you are not learning, you are not growing.

Keeping yourself in a teachable mindset will gain you an edge on your fellow Recruiters.  Social media proves it.  Think about 10 years ago, when the first recruiters latched on to LinkedIn.  They were making placements, while other recruiters were telling them it was a useless ’fad’.  Today, you can’t be a Recruiter without using LinkedIn as a tool.

The Recruiters that have been in the business 20+ years work with coaches, going to trainings and keep up to date on the basics.  Yes, the basics!  I am actually teaching my Rookie Recruiting Class to more veteran Recruiters then I ever thought I would.  When I ask them “what are you doing?” they tell me the basic training gets them refocused again. Also, their being in with a class of new Recruiters creates a new level of excitement for the recruiting business, and a look at new ideas.

A small suggestion came in from another Seasoned Independent Recruiter.  He said,“We are not alone unless we choose to be. Having a coach and network of other independent recruiters allows us the wisdom & strength to overcome obstacles we face day to day. Come join our group discussions, and see for yourself how you can benefit from it!”

5.     Address Issues – but remained emotionally detached.

As Recruiters we are hard wired not to let people down and when issues arise we feel like we have let someone down.  Whether the issue is that the candidate didn’t get the job, or that a client fires a candidate the day before the guarantee ends.  We feel like we have let someone down in either of those situations because we are emotionally attached.  We teach Recruiters not to get emotionally invested with the candidate or the client but we are only human.  Emotions are going to happen.  Gaining a certain amount of emotional detachment will give you clarity to clearly focus on the issue. Once you have that clarity, the issue will be easier to resolve.

A good technique to deal to with major issues is to first take 24 hours before you “react.” If you can’t take 24 hours, you can at least sleep on it.  If you can’t sleep on it, call your coach or a trusted colleague for guidance. Remember, reacting is an uncontrolled response.  As a Recruiter you can’t afford an uncontrolled response. Once you have some perspective, verify your facts with all parties involved, then sit down and write down a plan of action.  Take a break, and then implement your plan of action.

Often, you will find the first 24 hours of any non-life threatening crisis is really drama in disguise. When you just let the dust settle, you’ll be amazed that there is really nothing further to be done.

As an independent Recruiter, Coach and Business owner I am coming up on my 5 year anniversary.  What I learned above today from my veteran Recruiter / Business owner are the same things that I aspire to do every day.

“Failure is Not an Option” for any of us!

Millennials Own A Piece Of Your Brand (AKA Your Company)

Last month I spoke to a group of business owners.  I introduced the 30 million strong Millennial Generation and they all sat back and crossed their arms.  When I explained that they already owned a piece of their brand, many business owners guffaw and told me, “No, they don’t. Oh my God, they are so lazy and entitled, they just want their own way.” 

Think again!

Gone are the days when your bad hiring practices where just a rumor at the local coffee shop. Millennials not only use Social Media to help promote themselves to get hired, but when you let them down, they now have a stage to share their side of the story to the world…and this includes all of your customers.

CoutureWriter is just one such Millennial. 

With a passion for professional sports, she has invested time and effort into developing her social media footprint in the CFL and NFL arenas.  She not only has a Tumblr account for her own writing, she also contributes to several football sites geared at getting women talking about football.  This time consuming work has netted her lots of loyal followers.  Still think they’re lazy?

The average time it takes a person to develop ongoing content, gain followers, and then engage those followers, is the same as three people working around the clock in a small ad agency.  Think about the thousands of hours devoted to staying current, not to mention back research; now just add that to the invoice.

Recently, CoutureWriter thought it would be a good time to lend her knowledge, experience, and network, to the Hamilton Tiger Cats, by applying for an internship.   

This is where I demonstrate how much control a Millennial has over your brand


The Hamilton Tiger Cats are not alone. This blog was written to vent frustrations over a bad-hiring process.  We are seeing more and more of this happen. Millennials blogging about bad work experiences and organizations with little-to-no leadership are becoming more and more commonplace.

A blog like this raises a bunch of questions for me about the Hamilton Tiger Cats brand:

  1. It’s really hard to attract women to the sport as is, so why would a business owner let this happen to a young, inspired fan?
  2. Where is your HR team in your hiring process? 
  3. Do the Hamilton Tiger Cats know their managers are making promises they can’t keep?

Last but not least, are any of these the kind of questions you want your customers to have rolling around in their head?

Before you run and hide under a rock or yell, kick and scream at CoutureWriter, stop and think!  These Millennials understand social media better then you and I ever will. If we could all just set our negative bias aside about the Millennials, and really engage them, we might find they can be our most hardworking asset or the whistle blower at the end of your game.

Which one do you want standing next to you as we enter the Knowledge Age?