Does Your Pipeline Need a Plumber?

In sales, your pipeline is the amount of business you intend to close in a given month or period of time. In Healthcare Staffing, it refers to the list of potential travelers you intend to place at a client facility that month. The nice thing about our industry is that we aren’t trying to place a product, we are placing people. Each traveler’s wants and needs are unique to them. It is our job, as recruiters, to search for the ones who we feel are a great fit and best represent us and our company on an assignment.

Unfortunately, in my time coaching, the most common mistake I see recruiters make, especially the newer ones, is their wantonness to place travelers, even when the odds are slim to none. It’s like if they just wish for it enough, it’ll happen. The result is often very stagnant desk growth or a feeling of always being busy, but not necessarily being productive.

The sooner you can learn to weed out a candidate who isn’t a good fit, the easier the job becomes and the better you feel about it.

Here are 4 ways to know if your pipeline needs a plumber.

  1. A majority of the people in your pipeline are nurses looking to stay close to home. When a nurse tells you that they want to travel for the money, but don’t want to go too far from home, are they really a traveler? Although nurses like this may have a tremendous clinical background, be eager to work, and super friendly, the truth is, unless your company specializes in their area, the chances of you finding something are slim. And if you are able to find them something, it won’t be sustainable.
  2. You find yourself saying “I really want to work with them, but I just can’t find anything.” Trust me, we’ve all been here. But at the end of the day, if you can’t help them, you can’t help them. Stop spinning your wheels on travelers that you can’t help. Maybe your company doesn’t have what they need, or maybe their needs are too specific and what they want just isn’t out there. Either way, you need to spend your time more wisely and with the travelers that you can help. Stop looking for the magical unicorn and refocus your time.
  3. You’re missing pieces of a completed profile on more than one of them. If they are in your pipeline, they should be 100% ready to go at any moment if a position opened up. If you are waiting on paperwork, namely a resume, reference, or checklist, what’s the holdup? They should never make it to your pipeline without a completed profile ready to send to your client facilities.
  4. You’re the only company they are working with. Something about this statement makes you want to place them even more? A seasoned recruiter would hear that and know that’s a first red flag 98% of the time. If you’re working with a traveler that you haven’t worked with before, and they are telling you that you are the only agency they are working with, then you need to start asking some questions. Start with why? If other companies have tried to place this traveler and have been unsuccessful, why? Did they not meet another company’s criteria? Keep asking questions-you’ll get to the answer.
  5. And it’s probably someone that you shouldn’t be working with either. In the off chance, that it truly is a solid candidate, well congratulations, you just hit a hole in one!

At the end of the day, your pipeline is what makes you money.

If it’s full of travelers who are difficult to place, then it’s not going to make you money. Your pipeline needs a plumber. Those potentials need to be removed and replaced with potentials who you can help. Maybe consider creating two pipelines? A Group A pipeline with candidates who are relatively open geographically, available in the next 4-6 weeks, and who you’ve completed profiles on. Then create a Group B pipeline with those candidates who are looking for specific niche areas or elevated pay packages-or have needs that are generally harder to meet. At least then you can focus more of your efforts with Group A, while maintaining a running list of Group B in case something opens up that would work for them.

Remember, at the end of the day, it’s about solving, not selling. If you can’t solve a problem for them, then you’re not creating any value. Find the ones who you can legitimately solve a problem for. You don’t have to, and absolutely won’t, close every deal!!

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