Training Recruiters by Anthony R. Byrne

Wow! I found this old book in my cupboard yesterday, and I had to smile whilst looking at the typewritten font.

Tony Byrne, ‘the guy with the red braces’!

I really think that the late, great recruitment trainer must have written his ‘Training Recruiters’ book on a typewriter!

How much has recruitment changed since Tony Byrne’s day?

As I read Tony’s book, I wondered much has changed/not changed from his recruitment era of the ‘80s and ‘90s? And are there things that recruitment directors can still learn from him about training recruiters?

So, I read Anthony R. Byrne’s Training Recruiters from cover to cover to get his posthumous take on how to train recruiters.

Below is my review of Chapter 1…

I’d love to hear your views on how much of what he taught is still relevant or any anecdotes from watching his videos or seeing him at live events.

Chapter 1

The very first page of Tony’s book begins with some golden advice…

“When the new recruiter has accepted your offer to come to work, assign books for him (sorry, he didn’t mention her!) to read by his start date.

Make this an assignment, not a suggestion.

The first thing to know about training is that the patterns of behaviour for a recruiter’s whole career are established during the first month. This is quite a shame since most owners and managers don’t start making demands on their recruiters until the second or third months.

We don’t start setting high goals or demanding high productivity until the recruiter has already gotten into the habit of delivering low productivity. The new recruiter is never more willing to commit to high productivity and disciplined work habits than on his first day at work. That’s when we should start making demands.”

10/10 for this bit of Tony Byrne’s advice.

OK, nowadays you’d give the new starter access to your recruitment LMS rather than assigning books, but back then RecTech for recruitment training didn’t exist.

I particularly liked Tony Byrne’s advice on the ‘before starting’ task for new recruits:

“Make this an assignment, not a suggestion.”

Tony then goes on to say:

“The objective of the training is to make placements by getting send-outs (1st interviews). That is fairly straightforward, but let’s change the spin on that. Put the emphasis on the send-outs, not on the placements. Typically, an owner sets a production goal for the new recruiter during his second or third month, an annual production goal. The owner says, “How much do you want to earn this year?” The new recruiter says, “$50,000” the owner says, “Well then you have to bill $100,000 this year.” So the new recruiter’s sights are set on a production number of $100,000. The new recruiter then works as hard as he needs to reach that goal; let’s say by getting 15 send-outs per month.

Then, during the recruiter’s second year, he sets the same production goal of $100,000, but now he is a better recruiter, so he does it with 12 send-outs per month. In the third year, now conditioned to meet only production goals, he shoots for the same $100,000 but does it with 9 send-outs per month.

As the recruiter becomes more and more skilled, he just does the same production with fewer and fewer send-outs.

The way to set goals with a view toward long-term production increases is to set activity goals.

Focus the recruiter on send-outs only.

From the day he starts, the new recruiter should measure his self-worth in terms of the number of send-outs he gets, not the amount of production he gets. If you can condition the recruiter to get 20 send-outs every month, then he may bill $100,000 the first year, and as he improves in the second year, that same 20 send-outs per month will deliver $160,000 of billing. In the third year, it will deliver $250,000 of billing.

As the recruiter becomes better and better, a level number of send-outs will yield higher and higher billing.”

My first observation is wow! 30 years ago, the first year’s billings expectation for trainee recruiters was $100,000.

There’s been a lot of wage inflation since then and so why, on either side of the pond, are recruitment directors so blasé about recruiters billing the same $100,000 or £100,000 in year one!!!! In the ‘90s in London, my company expected trainee recruiters to bill a minimum of £150,000 in their first year – some of them billed £250,000 and more (Ahem, because they were well trained, I might add!!!).

For this bit of Tony Byrne’s advice, I give it 9/10. I agree 100% with activity targets but I think Tony could have gone beyond 1st interviews as being the only activity to measure. What about candidate referrals and Senior Candidate Tracking, for example?

I’ll be reviewing the rest of Tony Byrne’s Training Recruiters book in future articles, but for now, I’d love to hear your views on how much of what he taught is still relevant or any anecdotes from watching his videos or seeing him at live events.

PS. This is my first memory of Tony Byrne…

The first recruitment training I ever had – over 12 months into the job – was from watching one of his videos during a Saturday recruitment conference that I didn’t want to attend. I sat there watching wide-eyed, as I realised the mistakes I’d been making when taking job specifications rather than ‘job orders’ from my clients as a young recruiter.

I wonder how much money I made as a direct result of watching one Tony Byrne recruitment training video? is a leading provider of recruitment training, offering over 700 industry videos that aim to enhance the skills of every recruiter in your business and acquire the best recruitment-specific management techniques. Through a recruitment-specific Learning Management System, you can efficiently manage all learning within your organization while benefiting from unique learning accountability tools that promote the effective implementation of knowledge. To explore further, simply click the ‘Show Me How‘ button below.

Would you like to save 20 hours each time you hire?

And reduce your recruiters’ time time-to-bill…?

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