January 7, 2015 2:35 pm

You can’t always get what you want!

Going to the Rolling Stones concert late last year was just something I felt I had to do before they die.  I had seen them 20 years ago (I was 5 at the time!) but still felt this would be the last time they would tour so I needed to see them.  Of course one of their signature songs is “You can’t always get what you want” and it got me thinking about our client base.

Year in, year out from the same client I get the same brief and it becomes more apparent this time of the year as most of my clients are excited about their hiring plans for 2015. The only problem is I feel I am sitting in the same meeting I did in January 2013, January 2012, you get my point.

Irrespective of how our clients fared last year, they would all say that a key contributor to the performance of their business was their revenue being “capped” – if they had a bad year last year it was because they could not attract good recruiters to improve on their revenue performance and if they had a good year last year, the year could have been better if they could find enough good recruiters to improve on their revenue performance.   Your business can only bill so much with so many recruiters – if you can’t find good recruiters, your business will not grow.

So this year what are you going to do differently to find good recruiters versus last year and the year before that, so people like me don’t feel deja vu when they sit with you in January and hear the type of person you want to hire ie “they must have local experience, be well connected, be a big biller, have 3-5 years relevant recruitment experience (IT for an IT recruiter), not be a job hopper and want $65k-$70k etc”.

The recruitment market in Australia is a finite pool of people – seemingly getting smaller every day.  You may be lucky if you have a “top of mind brand” to dip into this pool and be able to attract top talent but many of our clients, who do have good brands, probably managed to hire the same number of top talent as left their business for whatever reason – the net effect, 0% growth.

So I’ll ask again what are you going to do differently to build your recruiter base and thus your revenue potential?  Here are just a few things I see some of our clients doing, none are rocket science as there is no silver bullet to this problem (if there was we’d all be doing it) but combined some of our clients are slowing seeing headcount “creep”:

Focus on your brand equity so you have an attractive brand to market – this is key, you must put resources to focusing on who your brand is in the market and how you are going to get that story out to potential recruiters, and that story must be consistent;

Train your “hiring” team – those that will be in contact with the potential recruiter from reception to CEO, to those who will part of the team meet and greet, on how to represent and sell your brand accurately;

Be flexible on the background the potential recruiter can have.  When we hire new to market recruiters through our Talent Centre Assessments, they need to demonstrate:

  • Some form of B2B, corporate sales experience
  • A degree is sometimes preferred but not mandatory
  • They may have been exposed to recruitment through their own company’s hiring process ie sat in on interviews or been part of the interview panel for their own team
  • They need to show achievement within their current work place and/or sporting or university/academic achievement
  • We look for long tenure in whatever field/company they are in now
  • They have to be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in getting into recruitment versus HR for example
  • And they preferably are in a sales and target driven environment currently;

Offer true flexibility – this means your company must be set up to be able to handle part-time, job share recruiters. We have seen a large number of clients attempt this, some with great results yet others do not provide the support needed. If a recruiter is working 3 days a week, they are working 3 days a week and not working for free 2 days at home on the phone as no-one is running their desk when they are not in the office.  If you can provide the support needed, then you will attract a more experienced recruiter and the recruiter pool will increase for you;

Don’t be desperate – I see many clients continue to make hiring mistakes. They ring so excited they have just hired X and I think “OMG! That person is so wrong for that role or business” and sure enough within 6-9 months, or days in some cases, I see on LinkedIn “Congratulate X on their new job”. I don’t need to tell you the cost of a hiring mistake, many people have discussed that, but the main cost I believe is, if that person is part of your hiring team, as above, and comes in contact with any potential recruiters your business is reviewing, it is highly likely they will cost you another good recruiter as that potential hire will surprisingly take another offer; and

Onboard your new recruiter quickly and professionally.  So many companies seem to drop the ball the minute the recruiter joins.  They say you have 7 seconds to make a good impression, I believe you have 3 months where both of you are working each other out.  As the employer you need to take the upper hand and come out all guns blazing to impress.  Have a formal, structured induction process which makes the new recruiter feel an important part to your business, as they are the most important part – without good recruiters you will not have a good recruitment company no matter what you have or try.

So accept you can’t always get what you want, but you just might find you get what you need if you adopt a different mindset to attracting good recruiters to your business this year.

As I said these are just a few observations, it is not exhaustive, so I would love to hear what you have done to attract good recruiters.  And remember please Like us on Facebook and Follow Us on LinkedIn so we can keep communicating and sharing experiences.

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