At the moment, standing out from the crowd in the recruitment market can feel a bit like a case of who can shout the loudest. But the real key to standing out is in understanding what sets you apart from your competitors and making this the driving force of your recruitment strategy.
So what can you do to set yourself apart from the thousands of other recruiters working in the same spaces that you're recruiting in?
1. Know and own your USP
Take a step back, try to understand where in the industry you add value and make this your ‘thing’. At core, this is about knowing your agency’s story and understanding what makes it (and you) different from other agencies currently on the market. What is your unique selling point (USP)?
Follow this 6-step process to identify what makes your recruitment agency competative.
For example, did your agency come into existence because the agency owner saw that there was a high number of data science roles appearing on the market but not enough recruiters who really understood data science as a specialism and what it takes to recruit the best talent for this role?
Having a strong niche gives you space to be an expert and will set you apart as it shows you have the courage to narrow yourself down to one area in order to own it.
And if you’re sitting there thinking this is easier said than done as your niche is already saturated with other recruiters with the same USP – the solution is simply to go deeper. There are more jobs out there than anything else at the moment, so if there’s ever a time to go seriously deep into a niche in order to cover it, this is it! Look for your gap in the recruitment market and own it.
2. Care about your brand, not just your numbers
Of course your targets are always going to be your number one priority, but one of the biggest mistakes a lot of recruiters make is that they don’t think strategically enough about how to get there in the first place.
And in case you hadn’t noticed, picking up the phone and dialling isn’t a strategy that will bring you much success anymore - we need to work a lot harder to earn the right to speak to candidates and prospects first. They won’t speak to any old recruiter, and this is where having an authentic personal brand that shows personality will always help you stand out from the crowd and be memorable to the right people.
If you make your personal brand the focus of your online activity, you’ll naturally make being the best recruiter you can possibly be a top priority.
3. Let your clients and candidates be your biggest marketers
You can shout from the rooftops all you want about how great you are at your job, but for people to really believe that this is the case, the (social) proof is in the pudding.
If you’re proud of a success you’ve had with a client or a candidate, ask if you can share the story with your network. Most people will find this flattering and having a real, tangible example to shout about will help you stand out as a recruiter who actually delivers.
Focussing on providing a great client and candidate experience is key to this, so if you want your clients and candidates to be your biggest marketers, give them reason to be.
4. Don’t be afraid to walk away
Walking away from a job because the fees are lower than your rates or you don’t feel it falls comfortably enough into your niche might sound crazy, but it’s a great long-term strategy that will make you stand out as a recruiter with real integrity.
Referring a candidate or client on to another recruiter who you know is the expert they’re looking for is actually a brilliant sales strategy as you’re showing you put great recruitment before your targets, and that won’t go unnoticed.
Read: How to use rejection to your advantage in recruitment
5. Sell differently
And finally, rather than focussing all your BD efforts on selling the best CVs to clients and prospects, why not try something different and offer a service that’s totally tailored to their needs.
Keep an eye on the latest techniques the sales industry are using in order to stand out and ‘recruitify’ them to suit your goals.
Katie once headed up the Firefish blog and marketing team. She now works as a freelance copywriter and continues to contribute to our award-winning blog.