Recognising what makes a grade A assignment

Expert AdviceWorking the right jobs is what separates the good from the great in this business. Working everything is stupid, working the first jobs you uncover can be suicide. I want to help you make sure you are investing your precious time and resource into working the right assignments. What I have always called the “Grade A” assignments. These are the ones that you are most likely to fill. All too often it is the recruiter who takes the brief from the client that can end up making it unfillable, by not asking the right questions or by not doing the “selling” part of the job and getting maximum commitment.

In any economy there will always be requirements available for the taking. Just because a client has given you a requirement does not mean that you’ll make a placement. When a client gives you a role to work, what they have actually given you is nothing. In fact it is you giving them something if you agree to work on it. You are agreeing to work for free to find them some suitable candidates to interview. Only if they agree and appoint one will they be in danger of having to pay you some money. Therefore, it is the recruiter who is able to prioritise their resourcing time and focus on the assignments that are most likely to yield placements that makes the money. I sat down with a recently promoted consultant a couple of weeks ago to find out what they attributed their recent success to. The main reason? Working requirements at the right fee level that were workable. Not rocket science is it? Yet how many of us work poor quality assignments (poorly qualified, untested, un-cooperative, or just plain unfillable?) as it’s the only role we have? Two days spent resourcing on one of these could have been better invested in generating higher quality requirements.

Next time you are about to work an assignment ask yourself the following questions to understand “What makes a grade A assignment?”

  • Do you have a complete job specification form? (i.e. is it fully qualified?)
  • Has the fee been cleared?
  • Is the requirement urgent?
  • Do you have line manager contact available?
  • Have you booked interview slots?
  • Do you have exclusivity?
  • Have you agreed full terms?
  • Has the budget been signed off?
  • Does the candidate exist?
  • Is the day rate or salary at or above market rate relative to content?
  • Do you have all the interview process information?
  • Are you dealing with a co-operative employer?
  • Do you have full company information to brief your candidate?
  • Do you have complete compensation information?

To qualify as a grade A assignment you will be able to answer “yes” to a minimum of 10 of the above questions. ALL of the first five being mandatory.

By starting to test your requirements this way you will start to discover what you need to focus on more in the future when qualifying them, plus it will also allow you to prioritise your resourcing time more efficiently.

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