Hiring and recruiting are both processes, and they require strategic planning and human connection. Much like a sales process, it’s also all about finding the right leads – in this case, the right people to be the right fit for your company. In this episode of CEO Sales Stragies, Doug C. Brown talks with Ugis Balmarks, CEO and founder of The Recruiter Mill, about the hiring process, strategic recruiting, qualifying new candidates, and more.
Ugis Balmaks is the Founder of Recruiter Mill, a company that hires A-players for remote teams. He also founded iPhone Photography School, which he and his team scaled to high 7-figures in revenue.
Visit his website here: recruitermill.com
I have Ugis Balmaks, who owns a company called Recruiter Mill, a company that focuses on hiring top-producing talent for companies. They do it differently. Firstly, they are not hyper-focused on sales recruitment. I wanted to bring them on because a lot of times, we will talk about sales strategies and how to do sales recruiting. Also, you need operational talent, sales support talent, all kinds of different talent within your company to grow your company.
Hiring is a growth strategy if you look at it. We are going to talk about exactly how a hiring process is a growth strategy and how you should look at recruiting non-salespeople the same way you would recruit any salesperson. You want to look at this as a sales process. You have leads and do certain things around those leads to hire, attract, and bring in the right talent.
We are going to talk a lot about how do you attract the right client, what is the mindset you should have on and around hiring when you should hire and not hire, not be in a rush to do it, how to do it right, how to put a system and process around the whole systematic process of hiring, whether you should be doing it yourself or not, and why. This gentleman is smart and articulate. Without further ado, let’s go to the interview.
Ugis, welcome to the call. I appreciate you being here on the show.
Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be on.
He is the Founder of a company called Recruiter Mill. They do a fantastic job hiring talent. Normally, we talk about sales talent because a lot of people like, “I want to hire a salesperson.” I wanted to have a specialized and more outside sales conversation on and around how to hire talent because talent also supports the sales team as well as the rest of the company. Let’s jump right in. I love the topics we were talking about here. Why do you think people are not attracting the right candidates for hiring?
There could be so many reasons but the first one that jumps to mind is that people are not approaching recruitment as sales. Especially if your audience is into sales, they should understand that. For some reason, so many business owners do not get it. When you are in sales, you need leads. When you are in recruitment, you also need leads. You need to nurture them and get them ready to convert. It is the same thing in recruitment. You need to convert them, make your pitch, close them, and then you also have post-sales activities. In the case of recruitment, it would be onboarding and everything else.
When you have a lead coming in and you want to sell to them, most businesses jump on it. They are proactive about it and make sure they do their absolute best job. For some reason, they do not always do it for people that are coming in but in my mind, who you have in your company is so much more important than what you do or anything else because that is going to ultimately determine your success. In a way, it baffles me but that is why we are here talking about it. That is the number one reason where people do not realize it is a major function of their business that they need to approach as seriously as they approach sales.
I see a lot of companies, especially the mid-sized or smaller companies, that when they want to recruit, it is like, “I’ve got to do this versus this is going to help my business go to the next level.” They know that intellectually but emotionally, I see them going into that spin of, “This is another laborious process.”
It reminds me of maybe my favorite client ever. He bootstrapped his company within 6 or 7 years to 8 figures in revenue. He is doing an amazing job. Whenever he has any budget left, he is always hiring because he knows that in the long-term, it is the best investment he can make for his business. Late in 2021, he said, “I’m so sorry. I’m maxed out. I would love to hire more but as soon as we get some budget, we are going to do it again.” That is one of the reasons why he is so successful with his company.
The reality is you have built over seven figures. You are hiring people for other people and recruiting them. What I heard was when they are doing this on their own, they are not treating this as a sales process. They are treating it as an aftermarket thought that they know they’ve got to do something. It is like your taxes. You know you’ve got to do it and pay attention to the finance and you are like, “I’ve got to do that,” versus looking at this as, “1 of the top 3 most important things that I can be doing in my company is finding and retaining top talent.” Why do you think that they are not attracting the right candidates? Is it because of the mindset around that? What might it be?
I would think so. I had this perception for the longest time. It is like, “It is this necessary evil and something that I have to do but I have no clue how to do it.” I could not figure out how to find those people. Whenever I did find someone, it was not like I was in love with them. I was thinking, “I will take this person but it is not what I want.” It takes a lot of time to figure out. A lot of people are discouraged by this upfront difficulty. They do not put in their reps.
Luckily for me, I had to go through it to build my own business. I’m at a stage where I can help other people. For the first at least three years, I did not know what I was doing. I remember being on my first interview thinking, “What do I ask this person?” I was asking things that I have heard other people ask on job interviews, not knowing what the purpose was, and thinking to myself, “This is stupid. I’m not learning anything.” It is hard. People are discouraged by hard things but they need to go through those to build their business.
Do you think part of it is also that they do not have a system for doing this? It is like when I look at people’s ads, for example, when they are trying to hire a top-producing salesperson. I look at their ad and I’m like, “This is not going to attract that type of individual.” For a non-sales candidate, I’m going to make the assumption I have not hired them as you have. I have hired certain people but not like you have. Is it the same thing? Is it like you have got to write the right ad to attract the right person and have the right steps in the process?
It is the same thing. You would not create a product and think to yourself, “I hope some dream prospect shows up and take me up on my product.” That is never going to happen. Why would the same thing happen in recruitment? What you said about the system is exactly right. If you have a system that you follow in some process, it makes everything so much easier because you do not have to reinvent the wheel every time. Even if you make some mistake somewhere, at least you have the system to rely back on that is going to pick you up and you can fix that mistake later on. You have something that is getting you there eventually. The system is a huge reason as well.
I’m going to play business owner because we all are. It is like, “I’ve got to put together a system. I do not even know how to put together a system. I do not know how to do it. Should I outsource it to something like your company?”
That is why my business exists. When I sold my previous business, I was thinking to myself, “What do I even want to do?” I was helping my friends with recruitment and consulting. I’m even doing some interviews for them. My intention was only to show them, “This is how you do it. It is not that hard.” After that interview, my friend, who is also a business owner, said, “This is awesome. I wish there were someone like you that could do it for me.” That is one path and you can always do that.
The other path is to educate yourself and put in the reps. Here is a quick tip for people who want to go this education route. The first place I would start is reading the book called Who by Geoff Smart. It lays out the perfect foundation and gives you a system that you can follow. Once you implement that, you are going to start realizing, “There is so much more to know,” but at least you have this foundation. If people want to do it themselves, that is where I would start.
We are speaking with Ugis Balmaks from Recruiter Mill. What is the URL if people want to check you out?
It is RecruiterMill.com.
That is very easy. Even I can go there and do that. I love what we are talking about because I help people find salespeople as well. It is not recruitment but I teach them how to do it. The reason I brought up the system is that they typically do not have a system and do not know what type of questions to ask. I find they make it way more complex than it is supposed to. Do you find that outside the sales recruitment side?
Absolutely. I keep going back to sales but you would not ask your customer to do things they do not need to do to buy your product. Why would you ask that from a candidate? Once you make a sale, usually that is not necessarily the end of the relationship but the main result has been achieved from many business perspectives at least. In recruitment, it is a little different.
You can make big mistakes. That is why people do it. When they are not certain, they would rather do an extra thing to be sure. It is not the worst idea in the world if we are being honest but the other thing you need to take into account is that you are converting leads, so if you are not being efficient about it, then you are going to lose. Every extra thing you introduce will drag you down.
I love that you are converting leads. We are going to go into a little bit more of the mindset. Sometimes people get this idea of like, “I’m going to hire a top producer.” Especially on the sales side, this happens. I’m going to put them through all kinds of hoops and things, jump through, and everything else. I do not have a system but I’m going to make it up on the fly. I will drag this out for a month and tell them, “Do you think you are the only company they are interviewing with?”
I was helping someone in Miami. They have an agency. I’m not going to say the position but they were looking for a certain position. They had eight candidates who applied. That is not a lot. If you go on Indeed.com on one resource, there are 76 jobs in Miami for the same post. If they are not doing something special, how are they going to get these top producers that everyone wants?
How are you going to get them if you do not have anything special? That is the first thing I encourage people to think about. Why would it be a good idea for them to even join you? How can you present and also set up what you have in a way that a top producer wants to be there? They have everything they need that can help your business grow.
I love what you said because so many people do not think of the second part. How do you set up what they need in your business for them to be successful and stay? Top producers have a certain mindset. I will relate it more to the sales side and I want you to correct me if I’m wrong on the other side. I’m assuming it is the same. They want to come in and be productive right away.
If there are obstacles and you tell them up front that there are obstacles, then they are okay with it. If they come into an organization and it is like, “I’m supposed to be selling. I can’t sell. It is going to take me three months to do what I need to do in one month. I’m not productive like that.” They are going to start looking around again immediately. They already had five interviews before they talked to the other person. Is it the same way?
Yes. I’m a pretty big basketball fan. Let’s say the two of us have a team. I’m the point guard and you are the center. We are asking Ray Allen to join our team, one of the best shooters of all time or Steph Curry. Why would he join us? That does not make any sense. He does not have any interest in joining us. That is what people expect to get. They have me playing point guard. It is ludicrous.
Let’s go down the basketball lane. Our team is going to pay that person way more money, so that is what’s going to get them here. Is that true when it comes down to it? If we pay way more money to this person, does that guarantee our success? I can tell you in sales, no.
Of course not. There are so many things that motivate different people. A big number can motivate you for a short time but at the end of the day, when we have our basic needs met, we are looking for self-actualization and a place where we belong and where we are doing a good job. Providing this huge number is not going to be enough.
What I’m finding in the research that I do and the people I’m speaking with is it is more a combination of quality of life and financial incentive.
People realize that it is not all about money. They spend most or at least half of their waking hours working. It is half of their life or at least awake life. Why wouldn’t they also look at everything else besides money? It only makes sense.
The older somebody gets, the more they look at that. The reason behind that is they are looking at it like, “I have been through the battle. I have got through life’s hurdles. I’m on the other side of it.” Even if they are in their 45-ish type of bracket and up, a lot of times, their children are either going to college. They might have that done or not but the reality is they are starting to question, “Why am I here? What am I supposed to do?” Unfortunately, sometimes even in that age bracket, some of their peers or friends have passed away. They are starting to be like, “I’m starting to get into the last 40% or the last 1/3. Do I want to deal with X, Y and Z anymore?” The answer is usually no.
Many people who are top performers have different opportunities and they can always compare them. They often realize it even sooner. They are like, “Why would I go to this place? It probably pays about the same but the experience is so much worse.”
The reason I wanted to bring that up is because of people who are reading this. That is going to be a lightbulb that goes off in their head like, “It is not about money.” I know in sales a lot of times that they will be like, “You can make $500,000 in compensation. You can do this and that.” They are looking at it and going, “I would rather take $350,000 versus $500,000 and see my kids and grandkids and be able to not be working 7 days a week and 14 hours a day. I will take that $500,000, and I can do that on the lifestyle that I’m looking for,” then more money starts to attract them.
If that is how you have set up your company, there are more people who believe in the same values and approach. If you can find more of them, why not? That is the beautiful thing about recruitment. Almost everybody who is a professional is on LinkedIn. You can search LinkedIn for free. If you pay them a small fee, you can search it even better and find those people. They want to be identified because they want opportunities. Even if they have some beliefs that we do not share but they share maybe with a business owner, you can always find them and approach them. They would do great on your team.
We talk about the ideal client going after the right company and the ideal buyer. What you are speaking about is going after the ideal buyer. Do they fit in the culture of how the owner or company wants their clientele to experience? It is all part of the customer’s journey when it goes along to it.
I was interviewing someone for an executive post. He was talking about an experience where he was working 12 to 16 hours per day. He loved it. He was surrounded by other workaholics and they had the time of their life. It really depends on the person.
We are speaking with Ugis Balmaks. He owns a company called Recruiter Mill. We are talking about recruiting and gathering people in your company and how it is a great resource. How do you attract those right candidates? I want to move toward the mindset. What is the mindset for hiring when it comes down to it? What are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to mindset?
I used to do this and it was an awful mistake. It is thinking that whoever applies, that is who I’m working with. I’m trying to select the best person out of that poll. That is wrong. You are setting up your entire funnel. You can choose who comes into it. You do not have to pick the first person. You can always wait. Everyone has heard this but it is so true.
It is so much better to wait for the right person and do not have someone in that role even for a few months than to grab someone just because you think you need someone. This is a scarcity mindset where you think, “This is all I’m working with, so that is what I’m going to do.” You are a business owner. You have so much power to set everything up and look for those people.
If you live in a small town as I did, my city was 600,000 people and it is not a huge job market, we opened up our company to remote work. That was way before COVID because we realized, “We want to work with the best people. We can’t get enough of them here by some numbers.” Rather than working with these 600,000 people, we have worked with a billion people across the world. That was our solution to that problem. Whatever problem you are facing, you can solve it. What I mentioned earlier about LinkedIn, it is fully searchable. You can approach any person in the world. If you have a good offer for them, usually they are going to reply.
This is an interesting paradox because we talked about your client in Miami. They only had 80-something positions open in Miami but there were so many candidates. Make sure you have the right fit. Do not go out and hire too quickly. I can imagine some people are sitting there going, “I’m a little confused. This is 2022. We are in a tight job market but I can’t find people. I have got to hire anybody. I need warm bodies.”
If that is how it is, then it can be in certain situations if you are in production or something similar where you do need someone in the company at all times. I would imagine most of your readers are in the knowledge economy, where you can work around things, figure them out, and set them up in a way that works for you. It makes no sense to make a warm body because instead of working with nothing, you are working with something that is dragging you down and making it worse for yourself.
Why would you ever do that? To explain what I was saying previously, the parallel is investing. Investing Rule number one is do not lose money. Recruitment Rule number one is do not make a bad hire. That is what I was trying to say with waiting. If you know how to do it, you have so many options to find awesome people. If it is not in your city, then it is across the world.
I love that because this is about getting into a good or bad relationship. If we take it and look at it like a marriage, nobody will go like, “I’m rushing into this because of whatever reason.” Those are usually not working out too well.
If you look at the statistics, most likely, they are not. It is funny that you mentioned marriage because when I started dating my wife, I put her through my recruitment process and so did she for me. I’m a true believer.
The reason I bring the marriage thing up is that a lot of people realize, “If you get out of a marriage, it is expensive most of the time when you dissolve that type of relationship.” It is ridiculously expensive to the company if they do not hire the right person and have to dissolve it. Stats are all over the place but it could be up to 150% to 250% of base salary sometimes, depending on the position.
The research is out there and you are in the ballpark. It is so expensive and ridiculous.
I find people reach when they do not have enough leads. I love what you said in the beginning about sales. You compared this to sales. Many times, I will teach companies or their sales teams, “It is not that you have a closing problem. You do not have enough leads to be able to qualify or not qualify. That is the issue.”
I’m bringing up more calls I had. I was talking to a different person and they are looking for a senior person in sales for their consulting business to both bring in the clients and work with them. Basically, it is a partner and someone senior. They were thinking, “How can we find this person? It is a big problem for us.” I asked them, “How many people have you reached out to that met your criteria?” They said, “It is about ten.” I was like, “I’m going to reach out to 50 every week until we find someone. In the first week, we are going to learn all the things not to do. By week four, we are going to finally find a person that we are going for.” You can’t reach out to ten people and hope that you are going to find the one. That is not good math.
I was talking with somebody on sales on the same exact subject matter. I’m like, “How many people have you reached out to?” They said three. I said, “Is it three per hour?” They are like, “It is three per week.” I’m like, “Are these super high-end $150 million deals? Why do you think it is not working?” That was my question. In the recruitment of any type, even if you get ten people, it doesn’t mean you are going to have ten candidates. They are coming in the door like original lead flow. Out of ten people, how many do you think they are going to be able to talk with?
I had not done the exact statistics but about half the people respond to outreach. Out of that, maybe half are interested to get on a call, learn more, and talk to me. If it is around 25%, it matches my intuition that at any given moment, there maybe 25% of the people who are not fully satisfied with their work situation. That is who you are working with.
You want to be reaching out to those people and making sure. There are extra things that come in the way where it is not the best time. Maybe your company is not the right fit and the position is not exactly right for them. That is what you are working with. Someone is unsatisfied at this moment. You are tapped into this, many times, emotional state where they are fed up and want to change things up. That is when you make an offer.
What you said for people here is gold. I’m going to say that just because you have touched base with somebody and they are not interested now, it does not mean that 6 months, 5 months, 3 months, or even a year from now that they are not going to be in a different position. What I see as a mistake in people recruiting, especially in sales, is they do not have a follow-up process to stay in touch with those that they contacted because they are looking for, “I’ve got to pick the apple off the tree right now. That is what I’m looking for.”
The reality is that people’s lives change. If you stayed in touch, not you but the people who are not doing this, you would find a percentage. I remember doing a study one time and validating it through a few studies of Marketo, HubSpot, and things on leads. You had an online business so you would know this as well that leads are coming in online. It showed that an incoming lead online, 62% of those leads on average would close but it takes up to a year to close all 62%. It was almost static. It is a little over 4.5% to 5.5% per month will close if you stay in touch with them.
The first time you asked, your odds were the best. The only way to improve your odds is to keep asking. You are not going to hurt your odds by asking again.
Those people also know people who have life challenges and changes, so if you work the network, then your recruiting cost goes down because you are getting referrals for free at that point. Ugis, thank you for being here. I really appreciate it. I imagine some people are saying, “I do not want to do this myself. I need a high-quality company and people to do this for me.” How do they get ahold of you? What are the steps?
We have been talking about the theory, mindset, and all those things. It is helpful but in any given situation, the most helpful thing is to look at the practical details and how it is in your case. What I offer people is if they go to RecruiterMill.com, they can book a call with me, and we go through their entire situation. I will walk them through how I see the current status of their recruitment. I give them my strategy on how I do things differently. I do it completely free of charge. If they want to work with me later on, I’m happy to, either way, I’m happy to chat with them. You can shoot me a message or whatever is easier for you.
If you are looking to hire high-quality individuals and do it right, get ahold of Ugis and his team. They will help you out. I appreciate you being here and sharing your wisdom. I look forward to having you on a future episode.
It was my pleasure. Thank you.
Was that great or what? I loved talking to this gentleman because he is very articulate and intentional in his process of recruiting. What I love about what he talks about, and you could see this was a major theme throughout the recruiting process was, it is a sales process. You want to treat it as a sales process because you are not just hiring somebody to fill a warm body. You are hiring somebody for high productivity, and if you look at it as a sales process of identifying the ideal buyer in sales, which would be that ideal person.
In recruitment, you are looking for the same thing or the ideal fit for your company. It is a perfect match in heaven. You look at this as part of the customer journey as you go along. Who do you want interfacing with your people or even your operational systems of people never interfacing with people but creating things that will affect the buying decision of your potential buyers? That is everybody in your company. That is why I brought him on because he is an expert in doing so.
Like in sales, you have got to have an ample amount of leads and consistent leads, be able to have great conversations, and qualify or not qualify that. You want to be able to have the ability to not make a decision in haste but make a decision at the right time. Understand that following up with people over time is also an excellent strategy. People’s lives change and top producers have options to go to different places.
If you like this episode, do me a favor. Go up and subscribe to this show. I would appreciate it. Give it a glowing review if you feel that it should have that. I would appreciate that as well. If you have any questions or comments on this content or any other content on how to get your company to the top 1% of all companies globally in sales or your people into the top 1% globally, reach out to me at either Doug@BusinessSuccessFactors.com or DougBrown1234@Gmail.com. Check it out at BusinessSuccessFactors.com.
For those of you who are reading, we are going to be having a little bit of a name change on the company. We are going to be changing it from Business Success Factors Company to the CEO Sales Strategies Company. I look forward to that. Let me know what you think about this show. Was it good or bad? Give me feedback on what you want in a future show because I will be happy to do those on those subject matters. Until next time, go out and sell a lot of stuff and sell it profitably and to your success.
Ugis Balmaks is the Founder of Recruiter Mill, a company that hires A-players for remote teams. He also founded iPhone Photography School, which he and his team scaled to high 7-figures in revenue.