We are in a candidate-driven market. That means there are a LOT of agency recruiters and search consultants working in the employment marketplace and within the profession.
That’s a lot of recruiters vying for job orders, not to mention the attention of top candidates. For anybody who has been in the recruiting profession for any length of time, though, this is not surprising. It happens every time there’s a candidates’ market.
There’s an ebb and flow cycle to the whole thing. During a recession, the profession thins out, simply because recruiters and search consultants who aren’t really good at being recruiters and search consultants can’t make a living in the midst of such challenging conditions.
However, when times are good and job orders are flowing like honey, everybody (and their brother) decides to become a recruiter. “How hard can it be?” they think. The advent of the Internet and the Digital Age has only made it easier for people to believe they can excel in the recruiting profession.
And when the next recession hits, many of these people will stop trying to be a recruiter. Until then, though, here they are, in the trenches with YOU. So the question is this: how do you differentiate yourself from the masses? How do you promote yourself in a way that will set you apart from everybody else? (Wait . . . that was two questions, wasn’t it?)
The answer: strategic and effective recruitment promotion.
Recruitment promotion: a distinction
When we use the term “recruitment promotion,” we’re not talking about a search consultant earning a promotion. We’re talking about a recruiting agency promoting itself in the marketplace so that employers and candidates can identify the value that it provides. And ultimately, so those same employers and candidates will seek out the agency to take advantage of that value.
To help us explore the issue of recruitment promotion, we’re going to draw upon the wisdom Terry Petra, one of the recruiting industry’s leading trainers and business consultants. Petra has extensive experience as a producer, manager, and trainer in all areas of professional search, including retainer, contingency, and contract, as well as clerical/office support and temporary.
According to Petra, a growing number of recruiting and staffing agencies find themselves over-selling and under-delivering. (And yes, some of them just recently jumped into the profession in an effort to capitalize on a hot economy and candidate-driven market.) Consequently, clients are receiving inconsistent results and the quality of service standard for the recruitment industry is falling.
In response, candidates and employers are increasingly asking, “But can you deliver?”
You must carefully consider your response to this question. Companies are frustrated by sophisticated sales presentations that have little real relevance to the actual delivery of services. With minor modifications, they have already heard most of these presentations from your competitors. Therefore, you must ask yourself, “Can we deliver every time, on time, without exception?”
The answer can be and should be “Yes!”
Recruitment promotion in 7 steps
Regardless of economic conditions, the ultimate competitive quality differentiation should be your process for service delivery. According to Petra, this can be achieved through the proper implementation of the following seven steps for effective recruitment promotion:
1. Understand that the real value of your service is NOT the providing of qualified employees and temporaries.
It is in whether or not these employees and temporaries will have a positive impact on the performance capacity of the organization.
2. Only work with clients who meet your agency’s realistic criteria for accepting business.
Properly presented, your criteria for accepting business can be your unique selling position.
3. Gain a greater understanding.
In addition to what is normally covered, when taking orders/assignments, concentrate on gaining a clear understanding of the following:
- Performance outcomes the client is seeking (standards of measurement and how they will be communicated)
- The structure in which the employee will perform (management operating style and peer interface, as well as access to both internal and external resources)
- The job-related skills and experience required in order to perform at or above the identified standards
4. Get commitments.
Gain commitments from your client to work within the parameters of an adaptive and interactive process for delivering the agreed upon services. This includes recognizing YOU as an essential participant in the process from beginning to end.
Identifying talent is just the first step. The process is not complete until that talent makes a positive and measurable impact on the performance capacity of your client’s organization. Your process must reflect this reality.
5. Execute a program that results in the recruitment (attracting) of the required employees.
There is no shortage of qualified employees. It just so happens that most of them are currently employed. So it’s not about bridging the skills gap, but rather uncovering those top candidates who have their “nose to grindstone.”
Whether for direct hire or for temporary positions, in order to achieve consistent results, your staff must be trained in the proactive techniques for identifying, approaching, and attracting those individuals who are not actively seeking a new employment opportunity. Make sure your recruiting software and tools are capable of helping you along the way.
6. Properly evaluate those who have been recruited against the agreed upon selection criteria.
This must include not only the evaluation and verification of appropriate skills, experience, and motivations, but also the match between the functional preferences of the potential employee and the management/operating style of the client. In no other area of service delivery is the profession as a whole more lacking than in its ability to consistently and properly conduct behaviorally based evaluation interviews.
7. Give a full commitment and follow-through to the agreed upon process until the client’s needs are met to its satisfaction.
This area presents the greatest opportunity for recruitment promotion and quality differentiation. However, this can only be accomplished if you have successfully completed the steps listed previously. If you wish to increase both client share and market share, then you must have the wherewithal, willingness, and courage to raise the performance standard for your agency.
Do not let the “Pac-Man mentality” of our industry define the bottom line potential of your agency. Carefully focus your resources only on those opportunities that meet your established criteria for doing business. Gain agreement from each client to work within an adaptive and interactive process. Then, and only then, give a full commitment to achieving results that meet or exceed your client’s expectations.
By operating in this manner, when the question is asked, “But can you deliver?” you can stand tall, look them straight in the eye, and without hesitation say, “Absolutely, and let me tell you why.”
Top Echelon’s Training Library
One way to set yourself apart through effective recruitment promotion is through continuous training and education within the profession. And we have good news!
Top Echelon offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars in our Recruiter Training Library. These webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics. These topics deal with both candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars (and corresponding videos) is to help recruiters make more placements.
In addition to training and webinars, Top Echelon offers other recruitment solutions. These solutions include the following:
For more information about Top Echelon and the products and services that it offers, visit the Top Echelon website by clicking here.