Coasting recruiters can be a real challenge for recruitment managers. It can be especially frustrating to be working with consultants that you know have the potential to do better, but they just don’t seem to be able to get it right. Even more so when you hire experienced consultants that promise high billings and fail to deliver.

Most of the time you feel that if they just picked up the phone more often, it would make a difference, but they seem to do everything to avoid making the calls. It can be really frustrating as a manager. Here are five lessons I’ve learnt about making coasting recruiters accountable:



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

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The acronym SMART stands for 5 aspects of accountability when setting goals:

S – Specific and stretching

When setting goals with consultants it is important that the goals are very specific. A goal like “I want to bill more” is so vague that it will be difficult to hold the consultant accountable to it. They may bill £100 more and feel they have achieved their goal, when in reality they are still short of their billing target. A goal that is specific describes in detail what is to be achieved. For example: A consultant that commits to making 2 more placements by a specific date has a very specific goal to be accountable to.

M – Measureable and meaningful

It is important to make the goal measureable and meaningful.  For example: If a consultant has two weeks to start increasing their revenue, yet after the first week they haven’t made any placements, then they are still at ground zero. They might feel this is nothing to worry about as they still have another week to get it right. But if a goal is measureable and meaningful it is easier to break it down into bite sized chunks.  The question to ask is “How will they measure if they are being successful? What is going to be their evidence that they are increasing their revenue?”  Every week or even every day this can then outline what they need to focus on and do in order to achieve the goal. It creates a sense of accountability for the consultants and makes them realize they have to consistently be taking specific actions to achieve their goals.

A – Attractive

A goal that is attractive makes people want to work towards it. If it is not something the consultant really wants, then are really going to put in a sustained effort. Making a goal attractive involves finding out what the real personal value is to the consultant. What will billing £15k really mean for them? Will it help them get a deposit for a house or finance that amazing holiday that they want to do? Will it help them upgrade their car or pay for their children’s schooling? The attractiveness is not just about the money. It is about defining what achieving the goal will mean for the consultant.

R – Realistic

It is easy to sprout big dreams, but are they realistic? Does the consultant have the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve them? Realistic goals are ones that are attainable. They instill a belief in the consultant that they can achieve them. They are therefore more likely to be accountable to realistic goals.

T – Time Framed

To be accountable a goal must be within a specific time frame. By when specifically – actually put a specific date which outlines when the consultant must have achieved certain milestones. A time frame really encourages accountability, especially in coasting recruiters.



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

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And the one most important final action to go with these lessons that would be life changing to results is to:

Remember to review, monitor and review:

With coasting consultants, most managers set goals and then leave the consultant to get on with it and are surprised and frustrated at the end of the month when the actions and goal has not been achieved.  The person who is at fault here as much as the consultant is YOU…

When you set clear times to review and follow up on this, not only will you help to hold the recruiter accountable, but if things aren’t going as planned, you can catch the problem early enough to re-direct and re-plan quickly.  Don’t leave it any longer than weekly if you’ve got a coaster and for some people you may need to be reviewing daily. Remember, what gets counted counts – you have to make reviewing and monitoring an essential behavior of your role.

I hope you found this article useful.

If you want to learn how to set up your business, so that it stops under-performance once and for all, then join my free webinar:  The 5 Secrets Our Clients Use to Build 7 & 8 Figure Recruitment Businesses

‘Til next time,