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The word Fear written with a pencil on white paper. An eraser from a pencil is starting to erase the word fear.

Why Scared Consultants Don’t Bill

Posted by Nicky Coffin

In the slightly ‘macho’ world of recruitment, scared consultants are more common than people realise; they just hide it well.

Let’s not beat about the bush we are talking about what makes consultants ‘scared’ and it’s another f word: Fear.

In many HR circles and organisations focused on growth, fear cultures and their impact on performance is a hot topic. In a sales driven environment, which is where recruitment firmly sits, fearful recruiters can sometimes be considered part of the territory.

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After all they are sales people right? You have to keep them on track and ‘rattle their cage ‘ if they are not performing to their best?

I guess that is one point of view; this approach may work short term, though as a long term strategy to improve performance it won’t generate consistent results for you.

Developing your consultants to perform at a high level does not necessitate using fear tactics.

It is a well-known fact that we are driven by two key emotions.

  • The need to avoid pain
  • The ability to gain pleasure

How might this work in practice. Let’s consider an agency that has a billing league. One consultant might be driven to be at the top of the pile because she wants to win the incentive trip to Bulgaria, the other so she isn’t at the bottom of the pile and the embarrassment of others thinking that she; ‘can’t perform’.

There isn’t anything wrong with this behaviour it’s pretty natural for humans and how we handle emotions. The challenge comes when this scenario happens in an organisation that combines it with veiled threats of consequences for those people that don’t perform.


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Fear has far reaching effects, not only does it make employees feel anxious and uncertain to the point of feeling unsafe it also impacts your recruiters ability to perform; the exact thing you probably wanted them to do in the first place.  Fear can show up in many forms, for example, when making that cold call to the senior decision maker that has no idea who they are or being able to confidently ask for the full fee each time.

Fear makes people stuck. The famous saying of catching a rabbit in the headlights has a factual origin!

Fear stops creativity. The anxious mind becomes ridged and as a consequence old patterns continue as individuals keep doing the same thing and of course deliver the same result.

Don’t Do Any More Business Development Until You READ THIS First!

Free Client Converter Tool and Tips… How To Get Your Consultants Converting More Sales Without Doing Any More Cold Calling…

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The question then is do you have fearful recruiters in your team and if so what can you do about it?

Unsure if fear is present in your team? There are some tell tale signs.

  • Stress
  • Uncertainty
  • Avoidance
  • Resistance
  • Silence

If two or more of these are present its likely that some of your team have fear going on for them.


What next?



Businessman Holding Hammer Hitting Red Fear Word On Concrete Wal



If fear is present why it is happening and what can you do to change it? The uncomfortable news is it might be you. Here are a number of questions to consider and answer honestly.

  • Are you critical or encouraging?
  • Are you a motivator or a DE motivator?
  • Are you a micro manager?
  • Do you say well done to the small wins?
  • Have you set a vision and goal for your team where they feel involved and included or was this a top down decision?
  • Are you a controller or do you delegate?
  • Do you empower and trust your consultants?

Can you see the theme running through these questions? It would be great to think that nobody reading this has ever worked in a fear culture though sadly I doubt it.

For those of us that have, you only need to think about that tyrannical manager to see the pattern I am highlighting and how it affected you in the past. The good news is you don’t have to repeat it with your people.

Happy employees are productive. It’s well documented.

Maybe it’s time to review your approach and strategy if you want your recruiters to perform at their best.

Warm regards,






Want to find out more about how to manage you team to deliver more ? If the answer is yes then join my free webinar:  The 5 Secrets Our Clients Use to Build 7 & 8 Figure Recruitment Businesses