We all know recruitment is a tough job, and it’s getting even tougher. Since Covid-19 obliterated the hiring market and pushed us into a job-short market, one quality that’s become absolutely essential for survival in this industry is this: resilience.
Most of our clients have struggled during lockdown and a lot of our candidates have been made redundant, meaning winning jobs is going to be harder, prospects are going to be tougher on us and candidates are going to be looking for more support from us.
To work in this kind of environment, you’re going to have to toughen up your tactics - here’s how to go about it…
Don’t resist change
It’s likely your go-to recruitment tactics for selling in candidates or winning new business don’t work as well in this new market, and the worst thing you can do in this situation is to resist change to how you recruit.
Recruitment is a totally different ball game since the pandemic, and you need to learn the new rules, keep your ear close to the ground and stay alert to what the market is dictating. Watch industry experts, making reading industry news and insights a daily habit and keep close to your best clients so your services stay relevant.
Ask your clients questions like, “What can I do to make things easier for you right now?” and tailor your offerings to their answers. Keep asking your clients these questions and keep changing with the market - this flexible strategy will help you stand out to clients and earn you repeat business.
Brush up on your negotiation skills
In a job-driven market, you’re going to have to really master the art of negotiation. Clients will take more risks and try to bring your fees down, and working in a client-driven market makes making negotiation a lot harder. But you need to stay strong and don’t cut your fees for anyone.
When you’re discussing terms with a client, instead of talking about how much placements cost, focus on the value of your service and how you can save them money in the long run.
For example, give details on how many man hours you’ll put into sourcing for the role or the number of ads you’ll run (including how much you’ll spend on them) to show your client they’re getting their money’s worth.
Stick to your fee, believe in your service and deliver a great experience to your client and this will earn you a reputation as one of the best recruiters in your niche. This will put you in a stronger position for future negotiations with that client too.
Master your objection handling techniques
Objection handling is another thing you’re going to have to become really sharp with – particularly the objection ‘we’re not hiring right now’.
“We’re not hiring right now” is just another way of saying “please get off my phone”, and it’s something you’re going to face a lot more of in the upcoming months. You can limit objections like this by warming up your clients before calling them. Video introductions are a great way to do this while many of your clients are still working from home.
But what can you get from a client that has no hiring budget?
Your mission right now is to ensure this call still leads to something. Even if you can’t win jobs on a call, at the very least, you should find out about future hires and leave a lasting positive impression.
Use rejection to your advantage
Rejection is something else you’ll be getting very used to right now in recruitment. But instead of taking every rejection as a blow, grow a thick skin and learn how you can use it to your advantage.
Always leave an lasting impression with your prospects after a rejection. A good trick is to send your prospect a business card and company pen after the failed call – pop in a note thanking them for their time and ask them to keep you in mind for future hires.
They might not be ready to hire right now, but the next time they’re struggling to source a top candidate, your pen on their desk will remind them of how professional you were last time.
Stop pitching contingency
It’s time to up your game and stop falling back on contingency-only recruitment. Since the market changed, we’ve already started to see recruitment shift from a transactional service to a relationship-based service, making it the perfect time to switch to retained business.
Retainers will save your clients time and money and give you the resources necessary to provide the extra support they need right now. Download the eBook below to learn how to start selling retainers to your clients, building an excellent reputation for both yourself and your agency.
Alan is the Associate Director of Growth at Firefish. An agency recruiter in a former life, he loves helping recruiters find ways to recruit smarter.