Search Consultants’ Top Recruitment Priorities for 2019

Success in recruiting is like success in any other endeavor. If you don’t have your priorities straight, then you won’t be as successful as you could be. And if you don’t even know what your recruitment priorities are, then you’re really in trouble.

Of course, recruitment priorities can and do shift. They change depending largely upon the state of the economy and the employment marketplace. A search consultant’s priorities in a candidates’ market would be different than their priorities in a bear market. What we’re experiencing right now is a candidates’ market. What we endured during the Great Recession was a bear market.

While you could make an educated guess about the recruitment priorities of search consultants, we at Top Echelon don’t like go guess a lot. (Unless it’s that game where you guess how many jelly beans are in the jar. Then we like to guess a lot.)

This is one of the reasons that we recently conducted a survey of more than 20,000 recruitment professionals in the United States and Canada. We designed this survey to gauge the professionals’ opinions regarding a wide range of recruiting and hiring topics.

And as you might have already surmised, one of those topics was that of recruitment priorities.

Recruitment priorities on parade

We asked many questions in our survey. One of those questions was as follows:

What is your highest business priority for 2019?

Far and away, the most popular answer was “Finding new clients” with 48.3% of the vote. “Sourcing higher-quality candidates” finished second at 18.2%. We offered three other choices to our survey participants. They were as follows:

  • Adding new income streams (15.3%)
  • Getting more job orders from current clients (10.3%)
  • Recruiting in a new niche (7.9%)

So . . . search consultants’ top priorities for 2019 can be summed up like this: more clients and more job orders. Specifically, they want to find more new clients and they want to get more job orders from clients they already have. Is this surprising? Perhaps slightly.

It’s slightly surprising because as mentioned above, we are deep in the throes of a candidate-driven market. Top candidates are scarce. As a result, they have the leverage. You would think that finding more qualified candidates for their existing job orders would top search consultants’ list of top recruitment priorities. Alas, that is not the case. Only 18.2% of survey participants made that their top choice.

However, let’s add the percentage of recruiters that chose “Finding new clients” with the percentage that chose “Getting more job orders from current clients.” That equals 58.6%, which means that percentage of search consultants in our survey is making more job orders their top priority. That’s over three times the amount of recruiters who made finding more qualified candidates their top priority. (Perhaps that’s more than slightly surprising.)

It seems as though that no matter how good the economy is or how good conditions are for recruiters, they’re always trying to find more new clients. That’s indicative of how much these recruiters are NOT simply resting on their laurels or “putting all of their eggs in one basket.”

By and large, the recruiters in our survey are always on the lookout for more baskets, no matter how many eggs they have in their current batch of baskets. Sure, they want more quality candidates. (Don’t we all?) But they know that more quality candidates mean absolutely nothing if they don’t have clients with job orders to fill.

Ranking recruiters’ priorities

There were some search consultants, though, who were of the opinion that all of the recruitment priorities that we presented were important:

“You need to have people rank them as most important to least, as all are important.”

So let’s look at these other priorities, shall we?

Adding new income streams

There are multiple ways to add new income streams to a recruiting agency. One of those ways is by offering contract staffing services and start making contract placements. The recurring revenue from contract staffing can help to offset the ups and downs of the typical direct hire recruitment desk.

Recruiting in a new niche

It’s not difficult to see why this answer was the least popular. Recruiting in a new niche is what search consultants typically do during a bear market. If a recession happens during the next year or two, you’ll see this become a more popular priority among recruiters. It’s typically when a niche dries up that recruiters go in search of a new one.

As part of our survey, we also permitted search consultants to comment about their recruitment priorities. As you might imagine, many took us up on our offer:

“Want to find a better work/life balance than I did in 2017 and 2018. I worked too much the last two years. If the economy slows, it will naturally take care of that.”

“Increasing direct hire and contract business, dive into government contracting, and find staffing partners who have clients that have a need, provide feedback, and have a defined hiring process.”

Search consultants’ top recruitment priorities for 2019 are just one part of Top Echelon’s 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report. This special report contains much more, including the following:

  • How recruiters are marketing their services
  • The best methods for advertising jobs on the Internet
  • Recruiters’ biggest problems with clients
  • The top complaints clients have about candidates
  • Recruiters’ biggest problems with candidates
  • Where to advertise your jobs to reach the most candidates
  • What recruiters think about the future of the profession

Download the 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report!

And don’t forget, Top Echelon also offers one of the most affordable recruiting software packages on the market. The price is just $59.50 per user per month under the annual plan. Click here for a FREE 15-day trial of the software.

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