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What Will Be Our ROI If We Hire You? (VIDEO)

A question that is asked of senior professionals, here I ,explain how to answer it.


Someone wrote to me asking me to answer a question that's geared toward senior professionals. It's a stupid question; you and I both know that. I want to take it straight on so I can go into a little bit of depth with it.

The question is, "What will be our ROI. If we hire you?"

We both know it's stupid because it's impossible to really calculate. After all, you don't have the budget that you walking into, you don't have details of the challenges that you be facing, you don't know the quality of the people you'll be inheriting, how do you answer the question?

The answer is… You go through this with them.

"Great question and I think it is impossible to quantify now. Part of it is that I don't know who I am inheriting in this group. I don't know exactly what it is I'm walking into. I don't know if my user population is going to be challenging or supportive." You go through 5 or 6 things that as an outsider is impossible to quantify and to use that language specifically.

"I think it is impossible to quantify as an outsider."

Now, here is where the shift occurs.

This shift is now saying, "But I can tell you what I have done and other organizations. At my last firm, I walked into a number of different situations and was able to achieve (a 350%, a 450%… Whatever percentage it is) return on investment over my salary/over my budget." That sort of thing where you can specifically claim credit for it.

You can also say, "I want to be clear, no one operates as an island in these situations. I put together a great team and that is part of the measure of ROI-- getting people on board who buy into the mission here, who are inspired who have a desire to do great stuff."

What you doing is starting off by saying, "I can't quantify it with you. Here is why." Then, from there, you talk about how in the past. This is how it turned out, when people have hired you." Then, if you want, you can smile and say, "And in all candor, I have to say, I am here to be honest with you. Like the mutual fund industry says, 'Past performance is no guarantee of future returns,' there are so many variables here that I can't speak to is an outsider and give you such a measure."

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and leadership coaching. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.


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8 thoughts on “What Will Be Our ROI If We Hire You? (VIDEO)

  1. And how do you quantify that? What is the contribution of others t your 10Xing things? This is where an answer like that breaks down for consultants. You don’t have control. For an executive or management job hunter (which is who this question will be asked of), it is as stupid a question as it would be for you. AND for them, this is how I would answer.

  2. Jeff – well, i can simply quantify this in several parts:
    1. So what do you cost the employer?
    Your cost is 1.2 times your take home pay plus $20/hour. For those math-challenged, assume you cost 1.5 times your gross pay in salary + benefits+ cost of you at the office.

    2. What is the minimal ROI you have to achieve?
    The minimal ROI is 3X the value in #1 from any source I have seen (sales seems to be the most honest)

    3. Where do I fit in?
    Well, this assumes you aren’t 100% invested into custom software, custom processes, custom everything. If you do, good luck in today’s environment, you are not hiring in my market (consulting), and I have no time for this market any more.

    3A. Simple Economics: Pricing Floors
    Thanks to indian outsourcing we now have a ‘floor’ of cost which is about $8.75 per hour for headcount augmentation – you cannot realistically go below and still have any kind of loyalty. For that cost you have a warm body you have to train using all-written communication, keep track of using ticket tracking systems (plenty around), and manage at least once daily over the phone. I’ve seen 12:1 and 20:1 contractor:US manager ratios, and 20:1 is complete chaos. English language comprehension is spotty at best.
    This guy is now your 1X, not pointdexter in the US that until recently filled those now empty cubes.

    3B. Simple Economics: Price Ceilings
    Thanks to an engagement at a bank, the max cost you can incur is $325 per hour for a senior consultant with his own support system. This guy comes with a 4 week minimal engagement and a contract deliverable that is lawyer-proof. This guy is your 38X and the max i have ever seen these (IBM) folks is 6 months on a gig. They price it deliberately to make it painful.

    3C. Pulling it together : My value proposition
    I easily outrun ten of those 1X guys in speed and quality, and my hourly cost is well below 10*8.75/hour.
    Took me all of two weeks to get there on several occasions. The 1X’ers can’t or won’t think for themselves, can punch their way out of a paper bag, and when stuck need daddy in the US to unstuck them. They also constantly quit or get moved onto more lucrative contracts every 6 months and you never hold onto the smart ones for very long.

    So stating I’m 10X ROI is solid – Find me on LI and I’ll give you an elevator speech to the top of the Willis Tower with several examples.

  3. I am sure you believe what you are writing AND employers don’t. Again, this video is geared toward executive professionals who are being hired to lead, not consultants who are often hired to execute an existing plan. In the example you use, you indicate that it doesn’t apply to shops thath want custom work . . . which is where most of the market is situated. You dismiss offshore firms that many of these same people have come to value as being more economical. I am not agreeing with them; I am pointing how for what you do the case is difficult and hard to win with certain audiences. “I easily outrun 10 of these guys” will cause many organizations to call BS and dismiss any other valid argument you have. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether a statement is accurate or not. What has to be taken into account is how it is delivered. Many organizations I have done work for and now many people I now coach will call BS on your assertions. And some won’t.

  4. Yes I call those companies ‘has beens’ and they end up being excellent time and materials opportunities.
    I provide real world examples and yes I bowl them over. Not sure whether that ‘economical’ crowd is actually providing ROI, if they are it is minimal and below acceptable for US-based resources. Maybe your view is too Myopic, but that’s fine, we don’t all play in the same puddle.
    Executives.. I don’t see many executives coming from the outside making it long term – management is extremely closed minded and group thinky as well. I’ve yet to find anyone beyond 2nd tier management be able to implant without a backlash from the natives as well

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