The recruitment industry is taking a serious hit at the moment, with reports that we are experiencing the steepest fall since 2009 and it’s easy to see this as all doom and gloom and lose focus and motivation. Whilst pipelines may have dried up, it’s worth remembering, the general sentiment in the sector is this is a temporary blip and H2 should see some serious recovery and maybe even a boom! As an Ops Director, I find creative ways to turn challenges we’re facing into a positive and work out how we can get value from what many perceive as a negative; you only need to read my blasphemous article ‘Why GDPR is great!’ to see I can make a positive out of almost anything!
The other thing I’m conscious of, is looking after the well-being and engagement of my recruiters. Recruiters are a beautifully unique breed, and being cooped up alone, with dwindling pipelines presents an extremely challenging time for us in the sector. Recruiters are driven, they want results, quite often, now. With the adaptations we’re having to make as a sector, we’re unlikely to be writing too many fees on the board over the coming months, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be adding a huge amount of value during this time.
The fact is, with reduced pipelines you are being given a unique chance to get all those things done that slip behind immediately filling roles, and more importantly, set yourself up to be in an excellent position when the bounce back comes.
So, think about how your day might need to change from the traditional, sourcing in the morning and BD in the afternoon and start thinking about the strategic long-term value you can be adding to your desk.
This should be an essential task to every single recruiter out there, but I guarantee most recruiters when asked, say they should be doing more. We should be absolutely on top of any hot leads but as a lot of you know, a lot of the time it’s too late when a process has already started. So, think longer term and more strategically. This is your chance to map out entire companies and sectors and build yourself an all singing, all dancing business development strategy.
Keep an eye on those businesses keeping BAU (or as close as possible), they are geared up to take advantage of the post crisis boom, so make sure you are on the top of the list of suppliers when the time comes.
Who isn’t coping with this well? Whether still working or on furlough, businesses that don’t look after their employees during this time can be a prime head-hunting target, so build those relationships early.
Guess what, I know exactly where you are right now… No, I’m not stalking you, we’re just both in the same place. At home. Those diamond candidates that are always busy or uncontactable, are sat at home, next to their phone and their laptops. Now is the perfect time to reach out and regenerate old relationships. Beyond the fact we’re all in the same boat and it’s just good to get on the phone, you can be gaining a wealth of market knowledge, as well as potentially securing exclusive candidates.
We’re living in a totally different world right now, and many people will be looking at the way their lives were and deciding what they want moving forward. Maybe you want more time with the kids...maybe you want less… either way, people are going to be weighing up how their lives will look on the other side and you want to be the recruiter helping them to realise that dream.
Build value-adding relationships with new and existing clients
We’ve never had so many reasons to be on the phones to our clients. There is not a business in this country, or realistically, the world, that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 and with this amazing shift towards community and ‘in it together’ness you can be creating some really valuable relationships with your clients.
You are speaking to ‘x’ number of clients a day, finding out how they're doing, what’s working, what’s not, and you can be the conduit to share the information amongst the sector. Whether it’s systems, processes or fun ways to keep people engaged, you are a veritable fountain of knowledge. Offering your knowledge for free can be incredibly helpful during this tough time and helps to cement your relationships moving forward.
Be creative to get things over the line
We’re all looking to get as many deals through during this time, but naturally clients may be hesitant to commit to hiring but there can be things you can do. Try not to play around with fees too much, but you can be creative elsewhere? Extend rebates, cover working interviews, or offer payment plans, etc. Helping your client reduce their risk and ease the strain with making those essential hires during this time will be hugely beneficial to you both.
Coaching & Content
Again, you are a fountain of knowledge when it comes to your sector. What can you do to help your candidates? Has your marketing manager been on to you to get that intellectual gold down on paper? What are the common challenges your candidates are facing? How can your candidates be best prepared to find a job in the current climate? Creating informative and educational content can help to make your candidates stand out above the rest in the sector.
Get your ducks in a row
Are your hotlists up to date? Is the data you’re working with accurate? Who should be your high priority targets when business returns to usual? Set your desk up in the way you always dreamed it would be organised, and you’ll be in prime position to take advantage of the upturn.
Be creative with your outputs
Cold-calling in this climate can be incredibly demotivating, so be more creative with your outputs. Set targets to spec out excellent candidates so your clients have them when they are ready to hire, send videos instead of cold-calling, or reach out to contributors to content. These are long-term, value-adding outputs that can help keep you sane during this time!
Take this time to get to know your market inside out. Learn the technicalities of the spaces you recruit and set yourself up to have even more informed conversations with your clients and candidates.
Increase your market share
With many of your competitors furloughing staff, or making redundancies, there are plenty of relationships up for grabs. Be the person that keeps working hard throughout this period and pick up on the opportunities before they become live to everyone else.
So remember, whilst it’s essential you stick close to the money, and fight to get everything you can over the line, you are in a unique position to set yourself up for serious long-term success during this period. Imagine coming back after lockdown to a clean, fully engaged database, a strategic BD hotlist, a whole host of new knowledge and a network of people who have been through this together. Take the competitive edge, whilst your competitors give in to a slowing market.