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Top 5 Takeaways: Number 1 Recruiter To Work For


Last week saw the buzzy annual conference held by Recruitment International titled The Number 1 Recruiter to Work For. It was a well-attended event with recruiters coming together to learn from their peers and industry experts. Recruitment businesses that consistently rank in the Sunday Times Top 100 companies To Work For survey, shared nuggets of wisdom with delegates who eagerly absorbed tips to help make their companies a better place to work.

Speakers including recruitment guru and chair Mervyn DinnenPertemps Director Michelle White and Founder of Aspire, Paul Farrer featured on the agenda. It really was a content-loaded event so, picking through the presentations, here are my top 5 takeaways from the conference:

Tell Your Story 

Every company has a story; a background or heritage that theyve been built on. Its ok to tell this story but (and this is a big BUT), make it engaging and relevant to potential candidates. A back story means nothing unless you bring it to life. Your future talent, whether school leavers, graduates or seasoned recruiters, want to know how your past links to your present (and of course, your future). How does it feed in to the values and culture you have created? In essence, what does it mean for them?

Differentiate Yourself

Recruitment can be an incestuous business with everyone knowing everyone and consultants moving around on a regular basis. In fact Kevin Green shared that to keep pace with the industry we need to recruit another 30,000 consultants. At the moment, the talent shortage is just getting shifted around the industry. So how do you differentiate yourself as a recruitment company that is genuinely a better place to work?

The likes of Aspire and Opus shared the little extras they do which keep retention rates enviably high. Often its just the little things like free fruit, flu jabs, and massages. A personal favourite was the branded puffa jackets that help quash any chance of office air-con/ heating wars because, lets face it, every workplace has them.

Pay it forward

As employers we place a big emphasis on recruiting for experience. Of course we want people who can hit the ground running, with a vast knowledge of sourcing techniques and a little black book of contacts that would be frowned upon in any other industry. But what are we doing about building the recruitment talent pipeline? And what about our bit in positioning recruitment as a career of choice are we investing in that? APSCos Internship programme was pitched as an excellent way to not just tick these boxes but to truly get an extra pair of hands contributing to the business. The case studies shared by APSCo highlighted returns far exceeding investment. Interns were billing steadily in their 12 week placements, with an agreement they would return post-school or university. So the recruitment companies in question were paying it forward as well as getting something back.

Dont assume everyone wants to lead

Tom Ponting from Opus shared how their company has challenged the traditional career path. So often the business hierarchy assumes that when youre excelling in a role, youll be promoted to a management position. Imagine you have a big biller in post though, they get their kicks from each placement and the juicy commission associated with it. Yes, consultants can learn from them but what if this individual has no interest in managing or developing their peers? They are motivated and engaged by hitting the phones and building contacts. Change their role and its likely theyll check out another recruitment business. Why not create a hierarchy that rewards excellence with seniority that isnt just geared around people management.

It's a great time to be a recruiter

As always, Kevin Green from the REC, was in ebullient form sharing statistics and ideas around how to be the number 1 recruiter to work. A soundbite that resonated was that it is a great time to be a recruiter. The positive facts that back this up include record employment (at 73.5%) and decreasing unemployment. Plus over the next quarter, an REC survey showed that 74% of employers are planning to increase their permanent headcount. The same percentage of candidates (74%) are either actively looking for a job or are open to new opportunities. As a result the recruitment market has never been bigger than it is now.

Even an average performing business should be growing by 9% just keeping up with the market. So when youre looking at your team, who are the real performers that are shining above that.

These stats were a real high to end the main presentations on, leaving the audience optimistic about their business growth and full of ideas about how to increase engagement and improve attraction.

Id love to hear your views on the above, whether you were able to attend the conference or not. It certainly sparked plenty of discussion in person and socially, Twitter feeds were full of nuggets of information search for #RINo1Rec to join in the continuing discussion.

Amanda Davies is Managing Director for ISV Software, skills testing and training provider to Recruiters and HR Professionals worldwide. Feel free to comment, get in touch or follow me or ISV on Twitter.

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