Agency recruitment is full of really high highs and seriously low lows. Consistency of workload is a sought-after luxury that very rarely eventuates; one minute you can be run off your feet, the next you’re sat twiddling your thumbs wondering why no one in the whole world is hiring. Consultants are constantly answering to monthly and quarterly targets, that always forgiving of random quiet patches and stressful dry spells.

In an ideal world, you’d have a constant flow of live jobs to work on, a network of quality candidates that continues to grow steadily each day, and multiple interviews happening each week. The placements would drop like dominos, one after the other, when they’re supposed to.

Reality tells a different story though, and sometimes the going gets really tough. Roles are cancelled after final interviews, candidates reject offers, businesses go on hiring freezes… The list goes on. To top it all off, your bad luck snowballs into a huge mess right before the weekly sales meeting.

“John, how many live roles are you working on?”


“How many interviews have you got happening this week?”


What is your pipeline looking like this month?

“What is a pipeline?”

When your pipeline is hitting rock bottom, you know it’s time to exhaust every possible avenue for job leads. Where should you start?

Reference checks

When you need to find our who’s hiring, pick up the phone and reference check some of the candidates you are currently representing. Gain permission first from your candidate, and call the people they used to work for. Why? Because these people have hired in the past; your candidate is proof of that. Who knows, they might need your help filling a new hire? Even if they aren’t currently growing their team, they might have a colleague who is.

Candidate calls

If you’ve got great relationships with the candidates you are representing, or have done so in the past, give them a call to see if they’ve heard of any leads. Ask them if they are being approached by any headhunters with specific roles (which they aren’t interested in applying for). Your candidates are living and breathing inside the industry you recruit for, they are often the ones who hear about open roles and might be able to point you in the right direction, to tell you which companies are hiring, and who you should be contacting.

Social media & ad chasing

It’s a tedious task, but searching the web looking for relevant ads can be a good place to start looking for new vacancies to work on, and new clients to attempt to develop business with. Use hashtags on Twitter and Facebook to search for companies who are recruiting in your industry, and search job boards to hone in on where the activity is online.

Client calls

Try calling old clients of yours, to check in on how things are going in their world, and whether you can help them with anything. They might have a colleague they know is recruiting someone in their team, or they might give you a heads up on a new position that will go out to agencies in the near future. If you give your clients a good service, they should be happy to help you out when you are in a time of need.

Placement calls

So you’ve placed a lot of candidates into their dream roles… and while your clients put money in your pocket, your candidate got the service for free. The likelihood is that you are your placements’ favourite person, after all, you helped make their dreams come true. Why not give them a call, and ask if they know of any live vacancies you might be able to try get on your books? They will no doubt be well connected in your industry, and will most likely be super happy to help you out and point you in the right direction.

Industry events

Attend town halls or networking events relevant to the industry you recruit in. Actually meeting people face to face will give you the chance to strike up conversations with a load of potential candidates and clients. You’ll be able to tell them that it seems to be rather quiet in the jobs market at the moment, and they’ll tell you what they think. You should be able to ask them for a few leads, and share information that is useful to them, about the market in general and what their competitors are doing. People are likely to be more receptive to a face-to-face introduction, rather than to a random cold call.

Image: Shutterstock

About Phoebe Spinks

Phoebe is the editor of Undercover Recruiter & Senior Account Executive at Link Humans.

Get weekly recruiting and career tips direct to your inbox!

Load Comments