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7 ways to differentiate your recruitment business with your clients

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 02:15 AM PDT
Recruitment agency cartoon

Most people that read this blog will have experienced recruitment agencies professionally at some point in their career to date (as well as a healthy number of actual recruiters reading it!).
You will have sat on either side of the recruitment fence, so I hope you appreciate where I am coming from here in this post. Recruiters sometimes do themselves no favours with clients. Their reputation does go (well) before them in some cases, with the good and the bad being accentuated by their actions (or lack of them!)
A post I read on today was the reason for today's post, and I have added my experiences to what the author of the article wrote about from his experience on the client side of the recruitment process.
As a recruitment company here are 7 ways to ensure you can differentiate yourselves the next time you make that sales call, have a client meeting or (if you are lucky) when you pitch for 'that' really big deal:
1. You are recruitment experts, tell them about your process: a client isn't engaging a recruitment company to do something they cant do internally.Posting jobs on job boards is not a value-add - clients can do that (and they are more frequently). What clients don't have alot of, is the depth of recruiting process knowledge and experience a good recruiter will have. After all recruiters do it every day, whereas clients may well only recruit several times a year. Your recruitment process should be the nuts! If it isn't what makes you different to all the other recruitment hopefuls out there?
2. What is your business elevator pitch'? How do you differentiate yourself in a sentence? How are you different from the 3 sales calls the client has had that morning from other recruiters? What is going to make them give the business to you?
3. Give them honesty not b*llsh*t; This sounds such an obvious statement but to be honest WE ALL KNOW the 'wild' sales pitches that come out of the mouths of many recruiters, don't we? Fear of losing (or getting) a requirement or a contract seems to do strange things to a recruiters brain. Honesty will prevail - especially with the growing transparency of social media channels.
4. Do what you say NOT say what you do; an old adage but so true. This could be aligned to all of the above but to be honest, it is always a big criticism levied at recruiters. Too much talk - "I can do this", "I can do that" without any intention of actually doing it (or rather knowing they haven't got a cats hell chance of doing it, but it sounded good at the time!) Just practice what you preach - it's not rocket science is it?
5. Relationships not relationship; relationships are key in the recruitment industry aren't they? Clients like to build relationships with people - in fact the better the relationship, the more chance there is of securing business or solving a problem. Every time you introduce new people to accounts, or consultants leave and new ones come along, you potentially put the important client relationships at risk. Good recruitment companies will have an openness around their team and structure from the start. They don't work on an insular client approach, they look at relationships NOT relationship.
6. Knowledge is king; do you take the time to understand what your clients are trying to achieve? Have you even asked them about strategy or vision aside from 'how many people will you be recruiting this year?' Do you even do any homework, aside from looking at a website just before the meeting? When working with recruiters for clients, I always ask then what they know about the company, projects, people, etc Could you answer those questions? Do you even give a damn?
7. Actually give a sh*t about your clients; I have left my favourite quote until last. This was said to me recently by an HR Director, when describing the level of service they were receiving from 3 out of 4 companies on their PSL, "the three agencies are household names, but quite frankly they don't give a sh*t about our business, all they worry about is how many CV's they sent me last month, whether they were relevant or not !" Do you take the time to give a sh*t about your clients?
I work with both clients and recruitment agencies and am able to see this from the two different sides. I would like to make the point that there are obviously 'poor' clients as well as 'poor' recruitment agencies, and I am certainly not trying to say otherwise.
The article by Matt Lowney on ERE that provided me with the starting point for this post is really worth reading. If you are in-house recruiter I just know you are just going to be saying 'yes' to most of the post!
Have I missed anything here? Is there anything you would add?
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