Most of us are familiar with the TV phenomenon, “Game of Thrones”, that’s now into its sixth season. For a long time now the show has been talking about “The Winter” coming, but since it’s now been quite some time, the characters, as well as the viewers, seem to have got used to it, to the point that it’s not so scary after all.
Well, since the last episode, it's official, the Winter is now here. This, sort of links nicely with the fact that the United Kingdom is now out of the European Union.
The recruitment industry has a similar issue. Yes, we have been going through a good spell, and as a recruitment business owner I’m not going to complain about that.
But what amazes me is how quickly a modest increase in demand and fees makes recruiters forget about the problems that have long plagued our industry.
Problems that aren’t going to be solved by chasing the money.
This is even more relevant to the 5,000 or so new recruitment businesses formed over the past 12 months or so. Almost all of them will have experienced the euphoric feelings and positive outlook that come when you first start working for yourself, thinking, “Easy, I should have done this years ago”.
Relax, this isn’t the start of a Jerry Maguire-style rant about fewer clients and less money. Neither is it a doom and gloom prophecy about the good times coming to an end (although let’s not kid ourselves and pretend that an upward trend can and will continue forever).
All I want you to do, as someone who has a financial interest in what happens in the recruitment industry next, is remind yourself of some of the issues that you’re facing and what you need to do to tackle them.
Because the recruiters who take a long-term, strategic view and think seriously about these problems are the ones that will continue to thrive, even after the economic revival starts to tail off.
Employers Dislike Paying Recruiter Fees: For quite some time now we’ve seen more and more employers setting up in-house recruitment. I recently attended an in-house recruitment event in London where I learned that top brands such as Ernst & Young are even starting to bring Executive Search in-house. The main reason for this is pretty obvious – employers no longer see external recruitment services offering value for money. Sending just CVs to your clients is no longer enough. They can find the same people as you can (your network is now their network; it’s called LinkedIn).
The answer isn’t to cut fees – the answer is to provide a service with unique added value. Let employers see tangible evidence of the efforts you put in. Perform a comprehensive job survey at the beginning of an assignment, carry out competency and behavioural testing on candidates, and introduce the shortlist online via video introductions etc.
Employers Fear Hiring the Wrong Person: Locating and signing a new recruit is expensive. Hiring the wrong recruit even more so. Employers are cautious about committing to the hire and when, as a recruiter, you’re paid on results, this is a costly problem that negatively affects your income.
Combine your recruitment expertise with modern assessment tools and you increase the likelihood that your placements will remain in position long-term. Keep track of your placements and use this data to report impressive statistics and offer client-reassuring guarantees.
Recruiters that use i-intro®, for example, are able to report 12-month retention rates for new placements of almost 100% and, as a consequence, can provide their clients with lengthy guarantees.
Employers Still Think Contingency is a Money-Saver: Employers think that having 4-5 recruitment firms falling over each other to find candidates is a financially sound strategy when, in fact, it often results in poorly matched candidates and duplicated effort. This leaves recruiters performing work without financial reward and left frustrated by the lack of time available to perform a more comprehensive market search.
Being able to comfortably convince employers to hire you on a retained basis is still the fastest and most reliable way to generate consistent cash flow and a steadily growing client base. Accomplish this by creating a sophisticated search, assessment and delivery recruitment process and demonstrate to the client that this produces superior results to engaging several recruiters on a contingency basis.
Employers Are Increasingly Expecting Modern Technology: “I love trawling through a stack of 50, randomly-formatted CVs, and trying to figure out which candidates warrant an interview”… said no employer, ever!
In this day and age, employers want to see easily accessible behavioural testing, aptitude tests, video introductions, competency assessments and proof that your recruitment process generates better results than the typical CV slinging.
If you don’t have a genuinely useful technological element to your recruitment service, it’s only a matter of time before employers won’t even consider you as an option.
New technologies are popping up all the time that promise to help you manage your recruitment activities faster, with greater accuracy. i-intro® clients, for example, are using the suite of available tools to win more recruitment business and are, on average, seeing a complete ROI in less than three months!
The Market is Overcrowded: Over the last 12-18 months, just as with every other time period in which hiring levels increased, the number of new recruitment firms has gone through the roof. While the market is booming, this isn’t a problem. But once demand slows down, the market is going to become saturated with recruiters fighting for business, pushing fees down, and seeing many firms letting staff go or even going under.
You must, MUST, have a USP. Something that sets you apart from the other “me too” recruiters who offer little more than a CV-shuffling service. Add value to your service, guarantee your results, and embrace new technology that is proven to increase the accuracy of placements.
Good times makes us forget the bad times. Ironic really, since maintaining a long-term view can help you avoid the bad times altogether. Enjoy the upturn in recruitment demand while it lasts, but don’t let it distract from you the problems that ALL recruiters need to consider and address.
Don't become so distracted by the "Summer" that the "Winter" takes you by surprise. Start making plans NOW to secure the long-term future of your business.
CLICK HERE for a no-obligation demonstration of i-intro®, and see for yourself what the future of your recruitment business could look like.