We're almost at the end of another year - and what a year it’s been for recruitment! Confidence in the sector is at an all-time high, with the largest number of agencies trading in the UK since 2012. But when things are going well for your business, it’s easy to forget that this is the most important time to reflect on the past year and plan for what comes next.
So, what can you do to ensure your recruitment agency finishes the year off with a bang and starts the next one on a high?
1. Give yourself a chance to celebrate
When I look back on how I ran my first recruitment agency, I wouldn't say I have any regrets, but one thing I would’ve done differently is allowed myself to celebrate the good times a bit more.
I started my agency in 2004, in a strong economy much like we’re seeing now, and I didn’t really know what ‘good’ looked like as I had nothing to compare it to.
But I managed to turn over £1 million in my first full year’s trading from my spare bedroom with only one employee. I can see now that this was pretty awesome, but at the time I lived frugally on my savings and paid myself a tiny salary as I was always looking towards the next goal.
If this sounds like you, please try to give yourself a break sometimes and learn to enjoy these moments, as when the economy changes (which it will), you’ll wish you had!
2. Focus on the easy wins
Let’s not forget, you still have the last quarter of sales to smash before the year is out (and a heck of a lot of Christmas organisation to get through!) so try to stay focused on the things that’ll get you where you want to be by year-end so you’re not scrambling around in January to make up for any loss in December.
Work out the number of placements each of your employees needs to make between now and the end of the year, make sure they understand which jobs have the highest likelihood of converting and get your recruiters to focus on these.
This is the time to work on guaranteed business; existing customers that will convert for you before the holidays – it’s not a time to work on establishing new relationships with prospects you’re yet to build trust with.
3. Beat the December lull
As we know, recruitment Christmas parties start as early as mid-November, as most of your clients will be putting their recruitment plans on the back burner until the new year. But this is the first thing you need to try and counter-act, as this will result in no starts in December and a blank recruitment month. Not very good for business!
I always try to push for the idea that December is an excellent time for recruitment: It’s a great time to introduce a new employee to the company culture, Christmas parties and all the buzz around the festive period.
Employer induction periods and training can also be done at this time of year without some of the usual business pressures, so come January, the new employee will have everything they need to move forward rather than trying to find their way around when business is picking up again (and the same goes for hiring new recruiters onto your own team, too!).
4. Take some time off
The period between Christmas and New Year is the best time of year for recruitment agency owners.
Eleven months of the year, you’re basically on call 24 x 7 for your clients, employees and even candidates, but at Christmas they all go on holiday and finally no one wants to hear from you (unless you work in retail-related recruitment – in which case, no break for you, sorry!).
December is the time to recharge your batteries, turn your phone off and make it up to your loved ones for all the times you’ve been absent the rest of the year – whether this means not being at home at all, or at home on the couch with the laptop with only one ear in the conversation.
Enjoy December and recharge for the next year of your journey. You’ll thank yourself for it come January!
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!