Now this weeks question comes from Rob who writes:

I’ve got a consultant who I know that she can do the job, but she is consistently underperforming. I’ve been avoiding having a chat with her because I’m worried she will leave and I want her to take responsibility and accountability but don’t want her to leave, so I’ve been avoiding having the chat…. Any suggestions…


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

Privacy Policy Consent*


Ok Rob, I know where you are coming from on this and I would say that there are many managers who avoid having those tough conversations because they don’t like conflict and are worried about the result. At the other end of the spectrum there are managers who have no problem with conflict situations, actually quite enjoying the conflict. What I wonder though is are they getting the best results out of these conversations as often I coach consultants who really resent their manager and are scared of them – which means that they don’t preform at their best.

So here’s some ideas on this for you:

You will have recruitment  consultants that are really under-achieving and the thing with this is you do need to sort the situation out as soon as possible, Don’t let it fester because it is not going to go away.

I may find that there are 2 categories of people when it comes to having tough conversations – those that need to be kicked into action because they really are not pulling their weight and those that are genuinely stuck and really want to make it work.

I always approach each situation with a similar mindset. This is that in order to serve this person and my business best, I need to help them to change, because if I don’t help them to change then I’m not doing my job. The approach would be supportive, calm manner that helps and support them to take accountability for themselves.

They may not like me sometimes because I am going to get them to do things that will make them step out of their comfort zone, but if I don’t help them to change then I’m not doing my job properly and not serving them.

If somebody is consistently performing around the minimum required then this not satisfactory, you must handle the situation – because they aren’t going to make changes without your intervention.

First and foremost find out if the person accepts their performance is poor.

If they do, then the approach should be to find out what they believe needs to be done to improve, this may include coaching, training or even counselling should the problem be personal.

If they don’t realize or accept that their performance is poor then you must be able to show them the standards and confront them with what is expected. Regardless of the situation it should be clear that their performance needs to improve.

It’s very important to make sure you base your conversation on facts and evidence. Make sure that you have a clear record of their results and activities so it’s is in black and white, because when you are dealing with fact, it’s impossible to argue against it. If you don’t have factual information, then you will need to get it before you have this meeting so that you’re not dealing with emotion, you’re dealing with fact. This is what they’ve done or not done.



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

Privacy Policy Consent*


Make sure that these conversations are supported and measured – you stay calm even if they start crying.

You might say, “I’m here to help you get to your results, however, it is not necessarily going to be easy. I’m going to be tough on you because I’m going to ask you to step outside your comfort zone because you are going to need to do things differently. I’m not going to be your best friend. I will be supportive, I will help you to get there and things have to change.”

Also with under performers, change needs to be non-negotiable and the easiest way to tackle performance is small steps. So break it down into a series of small achievable goals so for example, “Today I need you to market out two candidates to five clients. These are your five clients, this is what you need to say, by the end of the day I’d like that to be completed.”

Also, reward them because achieving these small goals will help motivate them plus also give them confidence.

It’s crucial that you monitor their performance in the short-term which may mean daily, sometimes two or three times daily and at least twice, or every other day that you are monitoring, have they done what agreed that they were going to do.

As their performance improves you want to keep upping their target so get them to monitor themselves and, if possible, gradually increase the gap in the time that you monitor so you’ll be micromanaging them to start off with and as they start to achieve performance you can step off.

So be really clear with the consultant that you’re going to keep reviewing them until their confidence and results return and you’ll step away as soon as they start to achieve consistent results but you’re not going to step away until that is the case. That is how you manage difficult people.

I hope that that has given you some tips, if you are experiencing those under-performers but also remember sometimes people get stuck when they don’t know how, so if you can show them how, monitor their performance and tweak it as they go along, that can make a big difference for you and also for them in terms of getting results.

You will know within 2 weeks if you have someone who you should keep and invest in or whether you have someone who is better off out of recruitment… All based on their attitude and approach to the task. And make your decision on their attitude and results.

So there you have it. I hope that you now have some insightful and valid tips on how to have those tricky conversations.

That’s our recruitment training tips for today and if you would like to know more, I would like to invite you to our free training webinar – how to convert under performers into consistent high billers in 14 days or less and here’s our link to sign up for that.

I’ll be showing you some excellent tips and techniques to get big performance fast and here’s the link to sign up for that.

I look forward to seeing you next time.

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


Till next time,