As a recruiter proactively targeting new business, I’m sure you can relate to the frustration of spending hours on the phone, finally getting through to the right point of contact, then being told that they get hundreds of calls “just like this” and politely (sometimes not so politely) being shunned off.
Or maybe you feel like you’ve done a good job for a client, but when it comes to new roles opening up you’re just one of five agencies they put the role out to. The ultimate question is, how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd of recruiters? Here are some top tips to make sure you do just that:
Find a focus
Focus on a single specialism (I appreciate this can be scary as nobody wants to walk away from work), but it’s one of the best things you can do for your business. You can’t be an expert in all fields, so use your time to focus on one area really well and get to know it inside out. You can do this by joining industry-related LinkedIn groups or checking out your local meet-ups. Hell, why not host your own? This gives you great credibility and it’s also a great talking point when you speak with clients.
How many of us are guilty of getting a job through from a client and using the same job board and database technique? Apart from the obvious (it’s extremely mundane and repetitive), how much better would it be when asked “how do you source candidates?” in a meeting and being able to talk about your Twitter presence? Maybe you hold a tweet chat with candidates in the space or have started writing interview tips for your candidates in a blog? Aside from the obvious, it will also mean that you can build up a great network of candidates in this space and be the “go-to” recruiter.
Keep contact regular
In my first year of recruitment I followed all the rules, I asked all the text book questions on meetings about pipelines, requirements and yes, I could fill their roles. However, when I looked at my relationships with these clients it seemed like I was just one of many to these companies! To build a good relationship with these people I thought less about the formalities and more about how I would like to be spoken to. In order to build a good relationship I would say you need to speak to these people at least once every 2 to 4 weeks. This doesn’t necessarily mean constant calls to them, instead you could try things like sending through some relevant industry articles or keep up to date with competitor activity, asking how would this might affect them.
Keeping in regular contact with a client is a step in the right direction but when it comes to building a good relationship with them the most important thing is to get on with them!
Find common ground
When I spoke to clients some of the most valuable advice that they gave me was that, in their eyes speaking to recruitment consultants was considered a chore, a necessary evil to reach their end goal, which got me thinking about their experience…
Every client is different, so listen to them! Some clients I would send a birthday card to, others told me that they hate fluffy conversations so I mirror-matched, our calls were shorter but they liked that and they’d rather speak to me when they came to hiring. Sometimes we forget to lighten up, if you can make them laugh, or they enjoy speaking to you then the whole process will be a lot more fun for both parties- it’s always fun to find out what they like outside of work, who knows, you could have a lot more common ground than you think!
There is a common misconception that recruiters are transactional and money hungry, but the great recruiters out there genuinely want to do a good job and often invest their time into thinking of innovative ways to provide a better service.
Don’t just be another recruiter on the other end of the phone, get out there and meet your clients, find out more about them than the text book points (they get asked the same questions day in day out). Instead, think about the kind of person you would like to speak to on the phone, so next time you call they pick up instead of dodging you!
When you work for an agency you are given the tools but it’s up to you how you work with those; treat it like your own business. You’re not going to be great at everything but everyone is able to add every single one of these steps to their ‘recruitment game’! Think outside the box and even better, ask your clients what they would they like from you, and do that!