When consultants just aren’t billing as they should, most recruitment managers wonder what they can be doing differently. Some teams appear to have all the skills and knowledge to achieve their billing targets yet they still fall short. How can you as a manager help them to improve their performance?

The first thing is to decide who you should be spending time with. It is natural to want to ‘fix’ the consultants that are billing below par, but will you be focusing your time and effort on people who are unlikely to change? Rather spend your time on those people who are eager to learn and willing to make changes. Once you have identified who these people are, here are 4 easy steps for you to follow:


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

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Step 1 – Creating and Influencing Change

The most important change that needs to be made is to stop the consultants from coasting along and get them to start taking action. Its about getting those mid-tier consultants out of their comfort zones, helping them realize they want the change, and creating a purpose for changing. Your task as a manager is to sell them the vision of what it will be like when they change. Help them get a clear picture of where they could be and why they want to go there.

Step 2 – How to get Motivation back

What people want – what they really want – is what tends to motivate them. If you can help your consultants find out what they really value and why it is important to them, the change can be amazing. Values determine what people are most likely to spend their time, effort and energy doing.


Examples of values include: Getting promoted; making money; doing something that is fun; making a difference; or doing something that is challenging. Many people say they lack the willpower to change. Ask them if they would do it if their lives, or lives of their loved ones depended on it. Almost always the answer is yes. You can help them get their motivation back by finding out what they value most.

Step 3 – How to Change Limiting Beliefs

Limiting beliefs are those things that hold people back and prevent them from achieving their goals.  It could be something like I’ve not got enough experience to call that MD or I’m not good at business development or I can’t close that deal.

The important thing to remember when dealing with limiting beliefs is that often they appear to be huge, yet dealing with them is relatively simple.  As a recruitment manager you don’t really need to know why they have the limiting beliefs, but rather how someone does that limiting belief.


In other words how to they respond to or act in a situation that is created by a disempowering belief? Often these beliefs are only activated under certain circumstances such as: being under pressure; being behind target; they need to call a senior person; or being is a situation that makes them uncomfortable.



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

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Identifying these negative responses can help you as a manager identify the limiting beliefs behind these responses. If you can understand how they do not asking that awkward question when they are calling a senior person or how they do saying no to a client who wants to work on 12% fees.  It’s important to know that often the beliefs are not true – they are just how the consultant had perceived the situation – so by helping them to understand and identify what is true can help a person overcome limiting beliefs.  For example, a consultant is not a failure just because they didn’t make target once, or just because that person is more senior than you doesn’t meant that they know more about recruiting or saying no to a job that you won’t ever be able to fill doesn’t make you a bad person…

Step 4 – Marginal Gains – Mastering Skills and Abilities

British Cycling put all their wins down to mastering and making marginal gains in the process.  No stone gets left unturned.  What I find is that the more experienced a recruiter gets, the more tempting it is to assume you know everything, get blasé and cut corners. Stop following the process, asking the right questions because it takes time…. But doing this ends up catching up with them.

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Ability to follow and master the process is key in the recruitment industry. As managers you need to be aware that it is not that skills or abilities are lacking, consultants have simply gotten lazy. For change to be effective in mid-tier consultants they need to really master their skills. This might require going back to basics, making a major change in strategy or simply putting in concerted effort in terms of training to improve skills and abilities. In mastering their skills, consultants can achieve a dramatic turnaround in the results they get.

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,