2021. The year of COVID. The year of restrictions. Of vaccines. And finally seeing your friends, family and colleagues.
It was also the year about 99% of recruitment agencies smashed their targets out the park.
Almost regardless of market, niche, specialism or location, the world of recruitment seemed to be busier than they could manage.
“Where are all the candidates?” screamed LinkedIn whenever you dare scroll.
A global event dubbed the Great Resignation, deemed by some as a ‘universal mid-life crisis’ made recruiting a lucrative industry to be in.
But what does 2022 have in store?
Well, if you believe the predictions from industry experts, essentially, more of the same.
In fact the rise in placements looks like it’s here to stay for the foreseeable. So, how do you take advantage?
How can you make hay while the sun shines? And how can you elongate your time in the sun so the good times last?
Business is booming
Hardly news. But you might well be reading this thinking “how were we the only agency not maximising potential?”
Or maybe you didn’t quite smash target, just hit it.
But 2022’s upon us.
And the old adage ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ rings true. Because you only get one shot at this. And regardless of predictions, you can take success into your own hands by planning well now.
Advice for Directors and Managers
If you can increase your team’s ability to deal with the world around them you’ll also increase their ability to perform at work.
Our very own Adam Dale observed a similar thing on LinkedIn only recently. But this is a little more than making sure they’re well paid.
Obviously, that’s a good start. But it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
So what constitutes a good offering for your staff?
Well, you’d be well placed by looking at their wellbeing. The tools they use on the job. The tech. The software. Their ability to work from home. The rewards and perks on offer. The benefits you give them alongside a salary.
There’s the marketing support. Training and development. The diversity and inclusion policy.
Frankly, all of the smaller parts of a job which constitute the bigger picture. Because to the individual, they might not be small factors at all. They might be the reason they work for you to begin with, or the reason they’d look somewhere else.
You already know how competitive the market is right now. So don’t give your team any reason to look around.
Also, do you want your staff getting to work and worrying about smaller, finite elements of their job?
Or do you want them laser focused on making money? Because they will be if you eliminate all the barriers to that happening.
Advice for working with clients
In the history of recruitment, there’s been very few recruiters who’ve made serious money by getting spot business.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s contract or permanent work. The basis for success is the same.
Long term business wins.
And there’s a hundred different reasons for this, but it mainly boils down to this… working with a new client every time is just harder work. It’ll take you longer and the chances of a successful placement are diminished.
You don’t know them as well. Which means you’re limiting your chances of a placement to nothing more than luck.
Therefore it makes sense to try and choose the right clients to work with. And far too many recruiters are terrible at saying no.
The power of no is something you only learn once you’ve brandished it a few times. But turning down work allows you to hand pick clients.
Those with a similar ethos to you. Those whose projects and business you believe in.
Those with interesting work. Great cultures that people want to work in. And those who don’t write job specs littered with entitled copy as if they’re doing the world a favour by simply having a vacancy.
You already know there’s never been more choice for candidates. And so, what are the chances they’ll settle for something that’s not perfect? It’s slim. Incredibly slim.
And even if they do initially, that placement’s falling out in the first week.
So have some pride in who you work with. Hold businesses to account over their offering and be ready to say no to those who don’t meet your criteria.
The candidate journey
In the modern world, the candidate journey’s increasingly important.
And leaving it to the client you’re working with won’t suffice. There are so many touch points in their application process.
And about 50% or higher are down to you. A reader becomes an applicant and then a candidate, and you’re the reason they’ve done it. You’re the one keeping in touch. Or keeping them warm. Or letting them down if they don’t advance.
Which means you’re the face of that business. You’re there at the start of their journey and all the way through it. So it’s your responsibility to make sure the journey’s a good one. So own it.
Should they never hear back after their CV goes across, you’ll not only be tainting your own name, but also that of the client.
And ruining reputations isn’t good for long term business.
This is also a chance for consultation. Do they insist people input their CV digitally on an ATS after sending it off? Not gonna wash. So tell them. It’s your job to make the candidate’s life as easy as possible.
Because if candidates’ lives are easier, the clients’ will be too. And that creates a happy synergy which pays handsomely.
Get exclusive, stupid
There’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t ask for exclusivity in 2022. What are you waiting for?
Do you know how many industries compete with each other in the same manner as recruitment agencies? I’d say virtually none.
All the work’s done and then you just hope you’re the one who gets paid. It’s like getting 4 mechanics to fix a tyre each and paying the one which feels the best after the first 3 months of driving.
You think a mechanic would accept that deal?
PLEASE, for the sake of your business, become au fait with asking for exclusivity. And walk away from those who don’t offer it. Say no. Refuse to work with them. Politely, but refuse.
You’re playing such a risky game by basing your success on the whim of a hiring manager. And competing against 7 other agencies makes standards of the candidate journey slip too.
It means you won’t tell candidates the client in the opening conversation. That starts things off on a bad note. Because the very best people won’t suffer misinformation or misdirection.
Hold yourself to a higher standard.
And where possible, turn that exclusivity into a retained partnership. Get paid for your work up front. You’ll be surprised how many people agree.
And if they ask you why they would… send them this article. Or simply point out they’re going to get worse applicants, and a less successful business, should they not… but hey, it’s their call.
It’s surprising how much of this article revolves around this word.
But think about it.
Respect yourself and you won’t work for free.
Respect your team, and they’ll feel appreciated, be looked after and work harder.
Respect your candidates and they’ll come back again and again.
Respect your clients and they’ll get the best candidates, and the best recruiter solving their problems.
But like many things in life, this respect takes time to earn and is lost in a moment.
But it all starts by looking in the mirror and starting with yourself.
It’s 2022. Make it the year you look back on and smile.