Are Your Recruiters Working Smarter or Just Harder?

I was just listening to Roy Ripper’s latest podcast, “Your Options Are Limitless” as part of his Recruiters Live Lounge series (watch it below!). Daniel’s amazing journey of growing his recruitment business Arthur Financial raised some really relevant discussion points, and one in particular which was key to his recruitment success is the difference between working harder and working smarter.

birght_busniessman.fwNow whilst I am a fan of the old hard graft approach, for the most part you can walk into a recruitment office anywhere and see that recruiters work hard. Let’s face it, there’s never enough time in the day to talk to all the candidates on the market and reach your next list of client prospects. For me, the recruiters I respect the most and who generally have the greatest levels of success are definitely the ones that work smarter.

So what does ‘work smarter’ actually mean, and how can you encourage your recruiters to do this?

1) Ensure your recruiter is asking the right questions

The recruiter that starts a treasure hunt without the clues is the one that will get caught in the maze! Just because a client says they are looking for a 'marketing exec', a 'developer' or an ‘accountant’ does not mean that any professional in these disciplines will do. Stop encouraging mud to be thrown at the wall. Yes the hard working recruiter may occasionally get it to stick but be realistic, is this really a scalable business model?

Every company will have a team fit, skills gap or history that would enable a new person to really add value - so the smart recruiter finds this out first. This approach says to your client, “I take my time seriously as well as yours, and I am not going to waste either so let’s get down to the nitty gritty here and find out what will really fill this gap for you.” Your recruiters will then be able to control the search, manage realistic expectations and sell your opportunity to potential candidates far better than your competition. 


• Time to hire – halved
• Ability to forecast the deal - doubled
• Value added to your client - tripled
• And likelihood of you getting repeat business on an exclusive basis - guaranteed as the client will trust you!

Management tip:

Next time you are looking at your recruiters work in progress, look for any jobs that are just marketed as just 'developer', ‘accountant' or 'digital marketer'. If the Boolean search string beside this is just a copy of the title they are likely stuck in the maze of hope and are throwing mud at the wall!

ID-1001747482) Hire recruiters that have a genuine insight for learning and in their sector

I love how Roy and Daniel picked up on the fact that recruiters live in a privileged situation of getting an insider’s insight of how successful businesses operate. The smart recruiter thrives on this, is eager for more and then capitalises on this opportunity. However, if they have no interest in the sector that they're in then they are only ever going to be a transactional recruiter.

So encourage the recruiter to dive into their sector; follow the companies that are doing things and making waves, noises or tweeting about what they are up to as they will then be the first to smell out an opportunity for growth.


• Getting in first when your prospect or customer is on an investment round, has just achieved a grant or secured a big contact win
• Finding opportunities to assist your clients in shaping the roles before they go to market
• Building a reputation as a person in the know with smart prospecting not yellow paging

Management tip:

Specialisations and niches make good business sense. This means getting your recruiters to get their hands dirty at trade conferences, advisory positions and content generation with in their specialisation. Recognise the recruiters that are doing this already and use what they are doing as an example of best practise to the recruiters that are not.

So as I mentioned before, I am a big fan of hard graft - just channelled smartly. Hopefully this helps to focus your recruiters to love recruitment even more and you to find and inspire your rising stars.

Watch the full podcast below!


Credit: Images from akarakingdoms and Stuart Miles via

Wendy McDougall

Wendy McDougall is Chief Fish of Firefish Software. In her spare time, you'll find her playing squash or feeding her inner geek with the latest technology!

Subscribe to our blog and receive top content to help you reach, engage and recruit more effectively!

Related Blogs

View All

How to Support Your Clients After a Job Offer is Made

How to Win Repeat Business From Your Recruitment Clients