Think Like an Owner!

Because You Own Your Success

One of the unique differences in our relationship with recruiting consultants at KurzSolutions over the years is that we do not view them as employees, but partners. Unfortunately our consultants have often been limited by their own perception of the relationship. Our commitment to providing the most lavish and well-integrated recruiting platform and support available anywhere is only really capitalized if a team member views themselves as a business owner rather than an employee. Here is the important question:

“Am I a sales person in a business or a business owner making sales?” This comparison helps to demonstrate the difference between these two mindsets:

Recruiter Thinking

Owner Thinking

Pays only for what can be reimbursed

Invests money to make money

Calls on anybody

Calls on the right people

Reacts to interruptions

Makes sure interruptions don’t occur

Keeps safe clients

Terminates unprofitable relationships

Is busy and action-oriented

Is productive and results focused

Makes lots of calls

Makes placements

Thinks quantity is important

Knows quality is more important

Puts profit before people

Puts people before profits

Puts revenue before reputation

Puts reputation before revenue

Prioritizes schedule

Schedules priorities

Succeeds by accident

Succeeds by design

Successful recruiters take responsibility for their own success and stability. They realize that the firm owner can only provide an opportunity and cannot guarantee their success. As a friend of mine once said of recruiting consultants: “Sooner than later, they have to make something happen on their own, just like you did and I did.” Consistent income is the result of both good planning and good execution. Or to put it another way, inconsistency in sales income and success results from failure to plan for sales success. Far too many people believe that sales success results from luck or “getting a break.”

Noted recruiting trainer Scott Love was a card counter in Vegas until he was banned from the casinos. Counting cards taught him an essential lesson, whether gambling or recruiting. He says, “I learned that if I continued to work the system I would make money.” Whether it is blackjack, poker, or recruiting – luck has little to do with it….

To quote the great English poet, John Milton, “Luck is the residue of design.”

Your Voice – It’s All You’ve Got

Ours is an astonishing business – truly “virtual.” We seldom ever meet a client or a candidate. Using just the phone and email we provide a service for which we are well paid. However, that places a tremendous amount of importance on something that we take completely for granted – the voice. After all, we have been talking almost since birth so we must be good at it, right? It might be worth pausing for a moment to ask “how much is my tone of voice affecting my recruiting success?”

Communication gurus tell us that 60% of communication is body language (that’s a problem, unless you are video conferencing with candidates), 30% is tone of voice, and 10% is the actual content of what is said. That leaves us, as recruiters, with only the tone of voice to get our message across. Which brings me to the important point: Have you listened to yourself lately?

I recently took a voice exam with Executive Voice Coach, Sandra McKnight. She told me to “slow down and pay more attention to final consonants!“ I often fall to be mindful on the phone because I have a lot to get done.

May I make a few suggestions for improving the quality of your voice on the phone?

  • Slow down when you speak. We talk faster when we are nervous or when we feel like we are intruding. You will “sound” more confident and be more authoritative if you speak slowly and deliberately
  • Provide good breath support. Recruiting coaches often recommend that recruiters learn to do public speaking because (correctly taught) it improves proper breath support. This means: sit up straight and speak from your diaphragm.
  • Find your best speaking range. This is best done with a piano (go ahead, visit the Steinway store!). By singing along with the notes, find the top and bottom of your singing voice range. Then figure out what is dead center within your range – that is your optimum speaking voice. It is almost always lower than your normal default tone.
  • Think before you speak. Does the person on the other end hear a warm, relaxed, cheerful smile – or an uptight, in a hurry to make a buck, recruiter? It is sometimes recommended that you have a mirror in front of you so you can “see” what your voice sounds like.
  • Be Happy! In a 2020 Forbes article, “ The Power of Connection Through Voice,” Andrea Luomas states ,“Hearing happiness in the voice of another makes us pay more attention than hearing happiness in your own voice.” Happiness affects your voice and your listener.

For more help on this topic visit these links to articles written by communication expert, Judith Filek, President of Impact Communications:

Seven Deadly Referral Mistakes

The Lazy Recruiter’s Sourcing Strategy

A veteran foundryman I once worked with used to say, “Hire the laziest person to do a job, and he will find the easiest way to do it.” Early in their careers, every recruiter looks for an easier way to source candidates (anything but cold calling)—usually in a way that shortcuts their personal development process.

But if you want to know the secret shortcut to sourcing, master the skill of getting and using referrals. The close rate for referrals (securing loyalty and making placements) is three times as high as that of originally-sourced candidates. But you must learn to avoid these mistakes:

  1. Lack of Commitment to Obtaining Referrals – Getting referrals has to become second nature. You must become a student of the game and make it part of your routine conversation with candidates and clients. If you want to vary your pitch for cold calling and get referrals at the same time try this on for size: “Greetings Jane. I’m hunting for vocationally-driven pharmacists, focused on patient care, and enormously committed to advancing in their career. So I am calling everyone in your market in search of the top ten pharmacists who reflect those values. I wonder if you know someone you could recommend?”
  2. Making Referrals All about You – If you see getting referrals as self-serving you will be uncomfortable asking for them. But if you believe in what you do and the value you bring then make it all about that value and extending it to others.
  3. Forgetting to Ask – If you are making client calls, always ask “what is the word on the street, who is hiring? Do you know anybody over there that I could talk to?” When checking references, always end with “I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about your situation. When did you last consider other options?”
  4. Not Being Referrable—Being referrable is about the process, not a product, and it includes impeccable service, added value (if you don’t continually add value, you are no longer necessary), and fun (people do business with people they like).
  5. Thinking Great Service Alone Is Enough – Great service alone does not lead to automatic referrals. You still have to ask. You can read a testimonial from a client, Diane Jones, on our website. I got the testimonial because I asked for it and got referred to Diane’s boss (to expand our service to their national network) because I asked Diane if she could and would recommend us. She said “Yes” and did so.
  6. Letting Your Fear Get in the Way—People genuinely like helping people who have helped them and are eager to do so. Recently, a candidate who was turned down for a job he wanted nevertheless recommended us to a friend who was interviewed and offered the job he couldn’t land.
  7. Not Using a Systematic Approach – Try this three-step process: (1) Constantly teach people how to give you a referral, including pointing out the referral button at the bottom of your email, (2) Make it a part of your daily routine or company culture, (3) End every conversation by asking for a referral.

And here’s another tip. Why not add this at the bottom of your email signature: “Everyone is talking about our company and the highest compliment you can give me is an introduction to someone you care about.”

I always remind candidates on the phone: , “There is a referral bonus available. It’s worth a phone call. We’ll buy your spring wardrobe.”

Think Like a Gambler! – Game Theory & Recruiting

Game theory is all about what can be done to increase the odds of a win. In poker, this is usually achieved by card counting. The more cards exposed, the better you know the likelihood that your hand is a win. In other words, it is important to consider what will impact the likelihood of an event occurring. Recruiters who want to reduce the uncertainty of the recruiting process and their income need to learn to think like a professional gambler.

Sometimes, game theory is counterintuitive.

Renowned gambler Matthew Benham met human performance researcher and author Ramus Ankerson one day in London. They began talking, of course, about football (soccer). Ankerson had just acquired the Brentford Football Club and invited Benham to help him run it. They applied game theory to football.1

They theorized that because soccer is one of the world’s unfairest sports in that the win/loss outcome of a game is no accurate measure of the actual performance of the team, there must be a better way to evaluate teams than the Team Table. Using SmartOdds, in-depth quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, they focused on developing a team capable of creating more opportunities for goals (higher probability) rather than star players. As a result, the Brentwood team has won several division titles in spite of being a much less-well-funded team.

“From a professional gambler’s perspective the key to placing a good bet is to continually update your position with relevant insights that impact the probability of an event occurring. Rather than trying to be right; gamblers try to less wrong with time.” – Mike Walsh, The Algorithmic Leader

Recruiters need to develop a probabilistic mindset by focusing on ways to manage the variables of the process to increase the likelihood of a hire.

Here are some examples:

  • Increase the number of qualified candidates recruited – Recruiting is much like investing in startups. Venture capitalists look for 10x returns on their money, which sounds greedy until you realize that investing in startups is risky and many don’t work out as expected. Typically, only a third of startups end up providing a return.. In recruiting, we talk about the rule of three – three qualified candidates for each position. This increases the likelihood of a hire.
  • Close candidates properly—Candidates who have not been ‘closed’ on compensation, schedule, position duties, start date, relocation impediments, competing job offers, etc., will likely blow up the deal in the 11th hour. We refer to these as IEDs (improvised explosive devices), and they are best removed before a march to the battlefield, i.e., the submission.
  • Sell the Timeline—Although it is not a strong sales point, we need to screen all candidates for a 30-day hiring timeline since we often lose candidates due to the protracted timeline. The second important game-changer here is what we refer to as “keeping the bread warm,” strategically staying in touch throughout the process.
  • Pay attention to where your leads come from. Not all leads are created equal, and you will discover that some sources are better than others, but only if you track this. By focusing on the best leads, you can increase the number of qualified candidates and reduce the time necessary to land them.

You can only deal with the uncertainty of the recruiting business if you embrace probabilistic thinking. We tend to look at the world in black and white: things that can be planned and managed and are therefore certain and those that are completely unpredictable. By managing the variables, we can dramatically improve the outcome of seemingly unpredictable events.

Think like a gambler!

1 Brentford’s Moneyball Way To Beat Football Teams With Huge Budgets

Metrics – Not “Just” a Numbers Game

Recruiting is all about being in the right place at the right time. Of course, to be in the right place at the right time, you have to be in a lot of places all the time. So, every recruiter worth their salt is very aware of how many calls they must make to put enough candidates in the pipeline to expect a certain level of return. In our office, a hundred calls generally nets 8-12 potential candidates.

But it is not just about the number of calls. According to Skip Miller in Knock Your Socks Off Prospecting, success depends on several factors. He suggests that our metric for successful cold calling should include at least three elements:

  • Number of Calls or emails where we actually connected with someone or receive a response
  • Talk Time – There is a direct correlation between time on the call and successful conversion (1-3 mins is normal, 3-7 is good, 8+ minutes = high dollar)
  • Next Step Calls – Where a real conversation occurs, agreement is secured from the candidate for taking the next steps, and the candidate meets the agreed upon goals. This is the Principle of Verbal Agreement – People are more likely to comply if they have verbally agreed.

So, be sure to give your candidates homework before you get off the call – one simple assignment (send me a resume, send me a reference, etc…) Then set a date to reconnect. Your success rate will go way up.

Three Ways to Work with KurzSolutions

Critical Fill – Need a Home Run?

If you need a home run and have only one “up-to-bat” left, do you want to put Barry Bonds at the plate or an unknown, untested rookie? It seems obvious, doesn’t it?

We chronically encounter GOVT contractors with mission-critical staffing vacancies who fall into faulty thinking when choosing a strategy. The most common is what I refer to as “The Leaky Bucket Strategy.”

The Leaky Bucket Strategy – Many Federal Contractors have a strategy based on hoping that putting enough leaky buckets together will lead to a successful fill of the holey bucket. So they engage an ever-increasing number of usually smaller, less-experienced GOVT staffing firms to do what they have been unable to do. Let me just say that “hope is not a strategy” and having a dozen firms “trying” to fill your positions in JV or contingency role is not a winning strategy.


Recruiting industry guru and thought leader, Jonathan Bartos, shares enlightening statistics regarding the relative success of different types of relationships with recruiting or staffing firms:

  • Non-exclusive contingency recruiting relationships where you work with several or more firms to fill a position result in success in one of eight searches – 12.5% Success Rate
  • Exclusive contingency relationships where you contract with only one firm yield a better success rate of one in two searches – 50% Success Rate
  • Engaged or Retained relationships have the best result – 90% Success Rate


Furthermore, when the mission-critical vacancy has to do with the physician market – a market in which less than 4% of the talent pool is EVER open to new opportunities – retained or engaged search is the silver bullet. Let me explain…

  • Physicians belong to an elite talent market and want to feel targeted and special. Getting calls from several different companies for the same role gives them the impression that you are desperate and that you must be hawking a less-than-ideal position (this is the feedback we get from physicians).
  • Given the limited available pool we have learned that if you don’t land an available candidate on the first attempt, subsequent attempts have a poor conversion rate. In this context, you usually only get one chance to hit the ball. In this elite sales environment, you don’t want an inexperienced recruiter making such an important pitch to possibly the only candidate available for your location within your target salary parameters in a given window of time.

“Some companies have learned that one strategy to combat the low fill rates of most contingency firms is to simply hire more of them for the same search. This is the kiss of death when there is a limited talent pool” (“Sales Talent,” – Chris Carlson)


Most JV partners and most recruiting firms will indeed accept your mission-critical assignments on a contingency basis. Most would not engage in a retained agreement with you because they are not confident they can fill your vacancy. They simply do not have the market depth and expertise to ensure success.

KurzSolutions has more than a decade of experience in the GOVT staffing space. Most of the candidates we provide our clients are providers we have known for years and who have worked for us at another MTF. We are not hoping for success, we guarantee it. Fills at more than 90 Military Treatment Facilities in all branches of the military substantiates our expertise.

Barry Bonds or an untried rookie? You make the choice

Call me today at 505-379-3306

That Shiny New Technology & Your GOVT Staffing Firm

New Tech & Recruiting

Be wary of geeks bearing high-tech gifts….

We live in an age when the lure of technology is intoxicating. New recruiting tools arrive daily. Some are from new startups still in “stealth mode” which means so secret they can’t tell you the company name. Others promise to transform your sourcing process while you sleep. And ALL are essential lest you be left behind in the dust like a proverbial Luddite.

The promise of these new recruiting tools is outsized and, in most cases, severely exaggerated.

ZipRecruiter is my favorite. Using their “secret matching technology” you can get qualified candidates for your job within the first day. Just “click and post.” After all, how can a million customers be wrong?

According to HRExaminer, an online newsletter that focuses on HR technology, companies get five to seven pitches every day about new technology, most from vendors using data science to address recruiting issues

Recently I was pitched by an online video interview company promising to delight my clients and candidates and make video interview simple resulting in:

·        60% higher interview completion rates

·        55% faster client response time

·        33% faster placement times

Those of us who jumped on the “first wave” of the video interview concept soon discovered that there is nothing simple about video interviews and most of us do not want to allow our candidates to create their own video interview to be sent directly to the client!

Here are some reasons for embracing the new tools with a bit of caution:

1.      Lack of Science – For all their boasts about using data analytics, most of the tools have not been adequately evaluated with reference to improving recruiting workflow and success as a function of the learning curve and cost.

“They bring a fresh approach to the hiring process—but often with little understanding of how hiring actually works.” (Peter Cappelli, HBR) 

2.      Lack of Integration – The number one challenge for a recruiting professional is a fully integrated workflow. Nearly every new tool is essentially a new ATS or CRM that requires management. In spite of APIs and Zapier, unless you have the acquisition budget of Salesforce or a full-time API integration team to run Lightning Platform, every new tool is another plate to keep spinning.

3.      Lack of Accuracy – Matching technology (algorithms) including semantic search is only as accurate as the skill of the creator. If it is not you, the person trying to fill the requisition, it will be off the mark. Machine learning has a long way to go. Linkedin and Glassdoor have both matched me for aerospace engineering jobs, in spite of my complete lack of experience or education in the field. candidate matches are laughable. Our experience after more than 3,000 hires is that it is only about once in a literal “blue moon” that an actual candidate is discovered by an “algorithm.”

All this to say that the shiny promise of technology has not yet been realized. But, more importantly, discovering a qualified, available candidate is only 10% of what is required to get the job done.

Talent Acquisition is sales and neither an algorithm nor Ai can sell!

I am fond of telling the story of an Anesthesiologist Recruited for Anchorage.

Our client asked:

“So, what are his reasons for wanting to move to Alaska?”

Our response: 

“He wasn’t at all interested in moving to Alaska. In fact, he was happy where he was at in Little Rock, Arkansas. If he were to consider a move, he wanted to move to Arizona! Our team sold him on relocating to Anchorage and your substandard salary.”

Put that in your algorithm! 

Create Your Own Special Sauce

Creating a Competitive Edge in GOVT Staffing


Gaining a competitive edge in GOVT Staffing is not about having the right certifications, the perfect RFP response, or even a crack business development team. There is only ONE THING that makes a difference – PAST PERFORMANCE. Or, to put it simply, your ability to deliver.  

“beneath intensely complex things such as loyalty, success, or marriage there is a core concept…The One Thing…a controlling insight that can make the difference between average and excellent. ” – Marcus Buckingham

That is interesting because many of the companies we have worked with are intensely focused on RFP production while their recruiting engine is barely running. If your product is results, filled positions, that’s a problem.

I want to propose an alternative strategy – Focus on staffing fills rather than winning awards. Past Performance trumps everything else.

So, let’s dream for a moment….

What would it take to create a competitive staffing edge – your own special sauce?


1.      Understand that recruiting is marketing, NOT HR. Most of the firms we work with have recruiting embedded in HR, which means it is compliance-oriented, not sales-oriented. This is very much like sending a potential car buyer to the finance department to fill out loan forms before they actually look at a car. Any good auto dealership wants you to smell, touch, and drive the care of your dreams first.

2.      Put your money where your mouth is. If “fills” is the result you are selling then you have to invest in your recruiting engine including hiring the best people and providing them with both the best tools and training. In other words, train the talent acquisition team.

3.      Invest in the best tools, not the legacy products you are currently using. You are not merely competing for talent with other GOVT staffing agencies, but also top-notch commercial companies on the bleeding edge (see below for an overview)

Are you aware that a recent study revealed that the most-successful staffing firms in the U.S. respond to candidate inquiries within 3-5 minutes?

Essential Tools for Developing Your Competitive Edge

·        AI – Artificial Intelligence. AI is transforming the staffing industry by creating never before seen speed and efficiencies. Staffing is all about speed. Are you aware that a recent study revealed that the most-successful staffing firms in the U.S. respond to candidate inquiries within 3-5 minutes?!

·        Advanced CRM – that automates and integrates candidate management by importing and parsing resume, matching candidates with opportunities using semantic search, and allows for email, text, and social media contact through a single platform

·        Social Media Marketing – You have read that “email is dead” and you know resume databases represent a “burned-over” district of recycled candidates that are being contacted by literally everyone. A robust SM marketing platform is essential to a competitive edge.

·        Optimized Mobile Experience – In 2017, mobile job applications outpaced desktop for the first time (63% versus 37% desktop), which means that if you do not have a mobile-optimized job search process you are missing 63 percent of the potential candidates.

if you do not have a mobile-optimized job search process you are missing 63 percent of the potential candidates.

·        An Avalanche of Advanced Tools – Google, Apple, and Facebook acquire their nascent competitors. At a minimum, we have to be aware of advanced apps and software that give us an edge: Flow tools, micro-blogging, chat-bots. On and on it goes….

But how do you “stick to your knitting” and build a kickass recruiting function when you are responding to nineteen LOIA’s per day? How can you become an expert in Talent Acquisition, stay on top of industry trends and innovation and run a GOVT-contracting operation with all that entails?


There are only two answers:

1.      Hire a whole bunch of top-notch experts

2.      Partner with a company whose sole expertise and focus is talent acquisition

That’s where KurzSolutions comes in – Talent Acquisition is our sole specialty. We have the cutting-edge tools, stay on top of industry trends, and provide the special sauce necessary to give you a competitive edge. And, we are a whole lot less expensive than option #1.

Call me directly – Rob Kurz – 505-379-3306

Or schedule time with me here

This just happened…

Government Contracting

Another thing just happened….

One of our clients has a contract with DC Government to provide psychiatrists. Fulfillment is challenging in that a DC license is required and the population of DC license holders is limited. We have placed several physicians and, after a year, know everyone in the market. Our focus has been on newly-licensed physicians, many of them recent residency graduates.

We landed the ideal candidate….

Having just completed his residency he had made the deliberate decision to pursue inpatient psychiatry (this is an inpatient setting). His fiancé lives in DC, so he is motivated to relocate to the District. The day we talked to him he had just received his DC license.

Score! Right?


We presented him to the client who in turn presented him to DC mental health. Several days of silence ensued. Finally, we were informed that DC was doing a direct-hire of our candidate, a severe end run.

Truth be told, we were aware that the candidate had applied directly to DC back in October 2018, just shy of a year ago. However, he had heard nothing from DC Mental Health until he was presented to them as a potential contractor. Despite significantly less compensation, they convinced him he was better off on staff.

We were skunked! Not entirely, as the client will contractually still owe us a fee. Still trying to get rid of the stink!