Skin in the Game

200225960-001Many years ago after I graduated from the University of San Francisco, I worked in its development office as a fund raiser, going around the United States raising money for the school. Oftentimes, part of my job function was to set up town hall meetings for its president. I would work with local chapter volunteers and set up the free events in different cities around the country. For instance, we would send out invitations to all the alums living in Chicago Land and get 75 RSVPs to the event. But attendance was an issue. The evening would soon arrive and instead of 75 folks showing up for the town hall, we would usually get about half that number. This seemed to happen a number of times and nevertheless, I was pretty disappointed and couldn’t figure out why someone would say they were going to attend then not show up.

After numerous frustrating town hall meetings, I decided we needed to do something differently to insure that an RSVP actually meant the person was going to show up. After several discusses we decided to charge a “token” non-refundable amount for the RSVP so that the attendee actually had a little “skin in the game” with regard to their attendance. We indicated the charge (usually $10 per person) in the invitation, sent them out and waited to see what would happen. What happened was we actually got more folks to RSVP on average, and more importantly, our attendance rate increased dramatically to over 95%. We figured out that if a person had even a minimal amount at stake, they would show up.

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Now you may ask, how does this little story equate to the staffing industry? The lesson here is extremely valuable. You need to do everything you can to make sure the manager has a little skin in the game after you’ve taken a job order. Skin does not necessarily have to mean money. Time can be just as valuable. When you take the contingent direct hire or contract order make sure you get some sort of commitment from the hiring manager in exchange for you and your team spending precious resources finding the right candidate(s) for the job. I’m not proposing the manager has to go to lunch with you, but I am suggesting that you at least get a half an hour calendared at some point in the next several days to either phone screen your candidate(s) or take a call from you for a status update. If the manager says no to this proposition, be extremely careful as he has no skin in the game and therefore is likely not to end up being a good business partner.

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Chris Cosmos

Chris Cosmos
Chris Cosmos is founder and managing director of Cosmos Sales Professional.

Chris Cosmos

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