Even just this past year, we’ve seen some marked changes to the way recruiters approach their business development strategy. And this is because the sales and recruitment landscapes are both changing rapidly, and we need to adapt to survive!
Let’s take a look back at just some of the changes that have already impacted how recruiters have been approaching their business development strategy in 2018, and what this means for 2019.
1. Agencies are finally taking sales training seriously
I speak regularly with a lot of the recruitment agency owners within my network, and something I’ve really noticed in the last year is how much more seriously they’re investing in sales training for their consultants.
In order to stay competitive in this market, recruiters need to be consistently coming up with unique and genuinely valuable ways to connect with candidates and prospects. The industry needs to evolve beyond the standard cold call and email approach it’s known for and begin investing more time and effort into things like building a strong personal brand and engaging in social interactions that are value driven.
The aim of the agency owner is therefore to transform their recruiters into industry evangelists, and it’s great to see the industry appreciating that this doesn’t happen over night – it requires time, training and support.
2. It’s become a case of ‘specialize or die’
One thing’s for sure, we’re officially in the age of the niche! Whilst the jack-of-all-sectors recruiter could survive perfectly well just a few years ago, nowadays it’s a case of ‘specialise or die’.
There are now more than 40k recruitment agencies registered in the UK alone, so to stay competitive, you need to choose a specialism, go in a mile deep and really own it. Candidates and prospects are much more interested in working with recruiters who can demonstrate they’re the expert they’re looking for, and 2019 will be all about branding yourself as that expert.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed recruiters doing in 2018 that demonstrate to clients and stakeholders that they’re experts and not just order-takers:
- Developing true in-depth knowledge and expertise in a specific niche
- Becoming a trusted resource for clients by providing valuable recommendations and insight
- Attending industry trade shows to remain on the cutting edge of the market.
Moving forward, I think these three focus points will really pull out the high flyers of the industry in 2019 too.
3. There’s a bigger emphasis on online reputation
If pulling cheap tricks to draw attention to yourself online was part of your BD strategy in 2018, I’m pretty sure this will have fallen on its face!
And this is because building trust within your network has become paramount as the market has become more crowded. Millennials (who now make up a large proportion of the workforce) rely heavily on the likes of peer reviews and social advocacy when making decisions, meaning one foul move could have a serious negative snowballing affect on your reputation amongst your online network.
Agencies are relying a lot more heavily on their consultants’ positive reputation and personal branding to boost sales and placement numbers, so having a decent picture on LinkedIn and a headline about what you do really isn’t enough anymore. You need a solid strategy for building your personal brand!
We'll be talking to recruitment influencer Hung Lee about how to build a strong personal brand online as a recruiter tomorrow on the Firefish Crowdcast. Should be a good one! Click here to reserve your spot.
4. Recruiters are learning from their competitors
Traditionally, recruiters hate learning from each other, mainly just out of principle. Even just in 2017, no one wanted to share what they were doing for fear of giving away the secrets to their success, but over the past 12 months or so we’ve started to see a shift.
We’re at the stage now that competition is so tough that it’s essential you keep an eye on your competitors. Recruiters know now that it’s just as much about sharing information to demonstrate you have your finger on the pulse as it is about practicing what you learn!
At every event I’ve attended this year, recruitment business leaders and influencers have been openly sharing what needs to be done to improve the industry and discussing potential ways to get there. This is something that the marketing industry has always been doing and benefitting massively from, and it indicates a change in attitude that will only lead to great things for the recruitment industry.
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see what 2019 brings for recruitment! Download our ultimate guide to social selling to get started on your personal branding strategy.
Cameron McLennan works within recruitment technology industry. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his family and playing golf.