Search Consultants’ Top Recruitment Priorities for 2021

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. And of course, an event like the COVID-19 pandemic can also throw a recruiter’s priorities “for a loop” (and not a very fun one, for that matter).

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 30,000 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 . . . so that we could create and now publish Top Echelon’s 2021 State of the Recruiting Industry Report!

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 2021?

Far and away, the most popular answer was “Finding new clients” with 47.2% of the vote. “Sourcing higher-quality candidates” finished second at 16.7%. We offered three other choices to our survey participants. They were as follows:

  • Getting more job orders from current clients (16.3%)
  • Adding new income streams (13.1%)
  • Recruiting in a new niche (6.7%)

So . . . search consultants’ top priorities for 2021 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? No, not really.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that resulted from it absolutely crushed the economy for a period of time in 2020. And recruiters were certainly not exempt from those devastating effects. After all, if companies and organizations are not hiring, then they’re not engaging the services of a recruiter or search consultant to find the job candidates they want to hire.

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 63.5%, 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.

When compared to past editions of the State of the Recruiting Industry Report, it seems as though that no matter how good (or bad) the economy is for recruiters, they’re always trying to find more new clients and they’re always trying to find more job orders. That’s indicative of how much these recruiters are NOT simply resting on their laurels or “putting all of their eggs in one basket.” (And COVID-19 made a habit of blowing up quite a few baskets in the past 12 months.)

By and large, the recruiters in our survey are always on the lookout for more baskets, no matter how many baskets they have and no matter how many eggs they havein those baskets. Sure, they want more high-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. If you’re interested in making contract placements, then we encourage you to contact Foxhire, an extremely easy to use Employer of Record (EOR) service used by recruiters, staffing firms, and corporate HR departments.

Recruiting in a new niche

“Recruiting in a new niche” is typically the least popular answer to this question, both in a good economy and a bad one. That’s because leaving your current niche to start recruiting in a new niche can be an incredibly slow and painful experience. It’s like buying new tires. Sometimes, you have to do it, but you put it off . . . and off . . . and off . . . as long as you can. Until you can’t put it off anymore.

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:

“The industry I specialize in is very Food & Beverage and Hospitality driven, thus resulting in a considerable number of businesses getting hit hard and losing up to 70% of their revenues. I am facing the urgent need of developing a NEW niche . . . very exciting, hmm!”

“My priority is to reach out to current companies and let them know we are still here and made it through what we hope to be the worst time of the virus. Also, try to pick up new positions through them in our niche, but also expand into new markets with current customers and then out to new customers.”

Search consultants’ top recruitment priorities for 2021 are just one part of Top Echelon’s 2021 State of the Recruiting Industry Report. This special report contains much more, including the following:

  • The effect that the COVID-pandemic has had on their agency
  • The best ways to source quality candidates
  • Recruiters’ biggest problems with clients
  • Recruiters’ biggest problems with candidates
  • Recruiters’ top business priorities for 2021
  • What recruiters think about the future of the profession
  • And much more! (Because why wouldn’t there be much more?)

Download the 2021 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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