The recruitment industry is constantly under scrutiny due to its lack of transparency, some poor process practices and “seat warmer” consultants. The never-ending revolving door and poor retention strategies in a cut-throat “champagne and razor-blades” sales culture often driven by greedy puppeteering and micro-managing executives sets a poor perspective to outsiders looking in.
But because of the current crisis, there is a significant increase of people who are looking to recruitment industries and hiring managers for job openings and guidance on how to navigate through a highly competitive market. The demand for job opportunities is overwhelming. In fact, almost 300,000 employees lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis in Australia as of April 2020 (and this number has continued to grow).
So now is a better time than ever, for Recruiters to self-evaluate to be better prepared to help the community of professionals that are in need. Here are 3 key things you can do now to set yourself apart in the industry with a reputation that will not only have people thinking about you and talking about you, but asking you for advice and wanting you to help them attract people with a similar drive, work ethic, and passion. Afterall, like attracts like.
1. Provide a ‘Best in Class’ Customer Service
A simple rule but somewhere along the way, Recruiters have forgotten the key elements to providing good customer service.
According to a CareerBuilder survey, an overwhelming 81% of candidates say that the one main thing that would greatly improve their overall candidate experience is employers continuously communicating status updates to them. The number 1 reason candidates get frustrated with recruiters is through the lack of transparency and communication. So, set the right expectations, get the right systems and tools in place to automate workloads, improve your reach out strategy and make sure you always give feedback.
Transparency not only provides better insight and helps educate clients on what we do – but enables trust and makes individuals feel like you care. That is super valuable and a rare commodity in recruitment.
Another common issue arising from all levels is the acceptable code of conduct when it comes to getting in touch with hiring managers or recruiters and following up with them. The truth is, if they are a good human being, they will be approachable and reachable. They will spare the time to give someone advice, to help someone who needs guidance. We are all busy at this time and most people are going through their own struggles in life – what will separate you from someone else will be something small and simple – care. A good Recruiter will care before, while and long after you are placed.
2. Speak Once, Listen Twice
There is an old saying: “Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak.” By truly listening, we are better able to understand, communicate effectively, empathize, overcome challenges and proactively diffuse any conflict. Having this emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, mitigate any potential risks and achieve results. (Read more: Improve your Emotional Intelligence).
But we do not have to wait for an industry to change or the company to concentrate on building a better culture to retain their ‘best in class’ people and IP.
We can change the view of the industry, one person at a time. By concentrating on one thing we can change or improve – ourselves. Because what is the one thing we can enhance that cannot be taken away from us? Our personal brand.
By having this view, as individuals, we can stop worrying about the bottom line and start putting emphasis on the relationships we build and the people we meet – and look to constantly improve the standard of our own personal image and reputation. A reputation that will stick to you as a Recruiter, no matter where you go.
3. Stop Working Contingently
Contingency search is when the candidate is the bargaining chip. It is sometimes described as No Win, No Fee approach. Many consultants that find it difficult to win business, do so on the basis of working in competition, for free and often with little to no return on the time spent. Not only are they competing with other 3rd parties, but often with internal HR departments, direct approach applicants, and referrals.
Recruiters are looked at as a commodity. There are so many. So how do you differentiate yourself? Value your time. As you grow and develop, you realise that what you say “no” to is just as important as what you say “yes” to. It is an opportunity cost. And once you realise this, your clients will notice it too. So, focus on selling and delivering retained search. Working on a retained basis means you will charge an upfront fee to the client to do the work. Sounds crazy? It’s not. Think about wedding planning. Did you have to pay the venue, your florist, your hairstylist and make-up artist before the wedding date in full? Yes. So, if they value their time and they value their service, so should you. And do you know why your clients won’t mind paying these? Because if they truly know how valuable you are, and they are getting good service, and they like to be paid by their clients or via their monthly paycheck for their services, then they will understand why you want to get paid for the great work you do. Boom!