If there is one thing that stops recruitment organisations growing it’s the challenge of handling a team of underperformers. 

Managing isn’t as easy as some people make out. When many independents consider scaling up, the downside of managing poor performers often makes them decide to stay on their own! 

That is a great shame as there is a way to navigate through this and turn recruiters around to scale and grow an organisation. 

A while ago I wrote an article on whether to cut or coach your underperforming consultant. 

Providing your recruitment criteria was well thought through coaching to high performance is more than possible. 

So where do you start? 

1. What Are the Facts? 


All too often we can make judgements about what is going on with an individual’s performance. Making a judgement versus reviewing actual behaviour has been the downfall of many a stressed-out manager. 

As an example, what are the facts as you know it compared to the individual consultant’s goals? 

The data here can be your friend. 

K.P.I’s (key performance indicators) were developed during the industrial age for a reason. If your recruiters have key tasks to achieve that deliver results, these need to be measured as the data they provide can indicate your next actions. 

2. What Is Missing? 

It’s rare that consultants are doing everything wrong; if they are then your own recruiting process needs to seriously be reviewed. 

Here it’s a case of practising accurate thinking based on the data you have collected. Let’s say that once they are in front of a client or candidate, everything works well, and they deliver. However getting in front of the client’s is the issue. Useful information isn’t it? Now it’s a case of unpacking their BD(business development) issues and what you can do about them. 

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3. Understand What Drives Them

It’s OK setting billing targets backed up by training. However, the secret sauce often understands what motivates your individual team members; especially what is important to them. On the various programmes, Katy and I run here at Centredexcellence we explore the importance of having a ‘why’. 

In other words, what gets us out of bed on a wet Monday morning in Wembley? It’s more than an extra £1000 of bonus. 

Perhaps for your recruiters, it’s able to pay for that adventure holiday in Thailand, or provide private education for Nancy or Sam; their adored toddlers. 

When you ask your team, what success means for them, you might be surprised. Reminding them of the fact whilst cheering them on at the same time can make a huge difference to their ongoing performance. 

4. Set Performance Goal and ALWAYS Follow Up 


Even the best of us can go off track. I know it happened to me when I first started selling. That is why it is vital to set goals and monitor performance regularly. Often this act is the difference between business administration and business management. The two can get a little confused and it’s important to be good at each separately. 

If someone goes ‘off’, dressing them down and telling them to ‘sort it out’, without follow up and coaching isn’t going to end well. 

The power of changing performance is in the support guidance and follow you give. 

There are many ways to improve your consultants under performance. In fact, Katy and I have developed a 12 point checklist that can get your underperformers back on track in 7 days or less. You can download it here. 

Warm regards, 

Nicky and Katy