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Many recruitment leaders I work with want their recruitment CRM to generate fees, but often recruiters are all too happy to jump back into spreadsheets, LinkedIn, notebooks and “going by memory” rather than use their CRM system properly.

The above results in a nightmare for recruitment leaders who are looking to grow their business, become “GDPR-proof” and become more profitable in 2018.

It also results in a problem I call “Hairdresser Syndrome”, a term I’ve used for many years to describe a recruitment business that needs to get a grip on its processes and data to see real growth and ROI.

Do you have a recruitment firm, or an office full of desks for rent? I have been with my hairdresser for 8 years. He knows my taste in magazines, some of my secrets and all of my roots.A few years ago he was based in a large salon in the city, where he rented a chair.

The rest of the salon staff barely knew I was there, and I didn’t really notice them either – zero interaction. Perhaps if I was lucky my hair would be washed by one of the juniors. I’d pay the girl at the till on the way out, but my hairdresser was my only real contact at the salon.

One day he very quietly commented that he was opening his own salon, and would I like to move with him? I bit his hand off – why wouldn’t I? I had no relationship with the salon. They kept no details on me, perhaps they didn’t even know I existed. Would they miss my business?

For me, he was the salon.

Are Your Recruiters Hairdressers?

Can you see any similarities between your recruitment business and my hair salon?

  • They have exclusive relationships with the clients. Are you simply the “girl” taking my money at the till?
  • Do they use stuff in your business, such as hair washers, tea makers, reception (IT, HR, Finance, Admin) that their fees contribute to, but that I am totally oblivious to?
  • Are your consultants simply logging data at the point of sale to get the cash in but the juicy stuff which is about me, what I like, how I buy is in his/her head?
  • If they left and took “clients” with them, would you know? And don’t forget you’ll only know what data they’ve taken and who’s migrated with them if they told you about these relationships in the first place.
  • Even if you had the data on the client, would it be enough for you to continue the relationship going forward?
  • Are your clients engaging with your business or the consultant? Are their loyalties to the brand or their perceived face of the brand, the consultant (the hairdresser)?

I’m still seeing “30-second recruiters” who enter a candidate in the CRM just to place them and board the invoice. Recruitment consultants are tempted to brush off GDPR as a flash in the pan, carry on as usual and keep billing how they’ve always billed. That may work for them in the short term, but they’re missing out on opportunities to be more effective and profitable whilst putting the business at risk.

CRMFirst and GDPR: Hairdresser Prevention For Recruitment Leaders

This year is about CRMFirst and GDPR (getting your candidates, clients and consultants addicted to your systems), but it also needs to be about data hygiene, recruiters building effective, retained relationships and recruitment firms focusing on growth, not just legislation.

GDPR and a CRMFirst culture can create a valuable pool of great data that will put you ahead of your competition and create a hidden asset that your clients (and prospective clients!) want access to.

Your recruitment CRM should be a USP – a unique selling point. Your recruitment software can be an addiction for your recruiters, your clients, candidates, and investors. All of which does the one job you bought it for – to make you more money.

Swap the Salon Culture for CRMFirst Culture…

Instilling a culture of data quality is challenging, but highly rewarding. Define the strategy, instill this into your culture and reduce the risk of bad data impacting the recruitment business.

Get your recruitment consultants engaged with your system and train them on best practice so they understand why great recruitment process is profitable for them, as well as your business. Stop them from simply renting a desk.

Once they can see and feel the benefits of following your processes (improving performance, profit, and ROI for themselves as well as the business) then your CRM can become a business growth tool, rather than an expensive data dump and potential GDPR risk.

So, are you guilty of simply renting a chair to your consultants to allow them to grow a lovely portable client base, or do you do more to grow/protect your brand, relationships, and market share?

About Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones is a Director at Barclay Jones, a Consultancy working with recruiters advising them on the most effective use of technology, web and social media to improve their business processes, recruitment and bottom line. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaMariJones.

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