The importance of investing time in your clients and candidates

In a recession, demonstrating value is vital in order to retain business but this doesn’t – and shouldn’t – mean being the cheapest option in the market. It is about what you bring to the table, what makes you special and gives you that edge, how you stand out from your competitors.

Recruitment is a people-powered industry so you need to know and understand those people inside and out. Your value as a recruiter is based on how well you know your clients, your candidates and their market. Only then can you truly match talent with opportunity in a way that benefits all parties. Only then can you build relationships and instil trust, being the recruiter that your client turns to first when they have a role to fill and that talent approaches to find them the perfect job. 

View time as an investment

Time is a rare commodity in recruitment, especially when applications are soaring. WaveTrackR data saw applications leap to 166% over the March-June average in September. When you are dealing with an influx of candidates, time is not on your side. How do you get around this? Ensure you have the right tech to help you manage candidates efficiently and effectively and use the time saved to pick up the phone. That time you invest in your clients and candidates will pay dividends.       

Know your market

Knowing the sector you recruit for inside and out is vital to understand not just the recruitment landscape (whether there’s a skills shortage, if it is an industry that is generally actively recruiting, and, in the current climate, how the pandemic has affected it) but the kind of roles there are, the key skills and character traits needed, the level of experience that is desirable at each level, and so on. Without an understanding of the jobs your clients are trying to fill, how do you know what to look for in candidates? By the same token, how could you help a candidate find their ideal role without understanding the industry they work in? Keep up to date with industry news and trends, seek out key statistics, and be aware of any difficulties in recruitment in that market.   

Talk to your clients

Make it a point to regularly phone your clients, even those that you are currently actively recruiting for, to see how business is going, their forecasts for the near and no-so-near future, whether they might be looking to hire soon if they’re not now, what sort of candidate they would be looking for, and generally understand their needs as a business. Eventually you will be able to anticipate those needs. In Wave’s 4th Talent Matters webinar focusing on recruitment post-furlough, guest Kevin Green insisted that “the more you understand your clients, the easier it is to position candidates”. Whether a client is hiring now or not, they will be at some point in the future and you want to be the recruiter that they turn to first. Understand their business, the state of their market, the type of candidate they will be looking for when they start to hire again and you will be well prepared to meet their requirements and deliver top talent to them.

Understand your candidates

It’s not enough to reel off a candidate’s qualifications and experience – a client can do that by looking at their CV. You need to really take the time to know your candidates – their personality, their interests, their ambitions, the way they like to work, their ideal workplace situation (from home, in the office, a hybrid of the two; open plan or smaller spaces; buzzy or quiet, and so on). This is the only way you’ll be able to match a candidate not just to the work involved but to the company culture and its values. Be proactive with quality candidates. Develop relationships, bring them to clients that might be hiring, match them well.

Building relationships with both candidates and clients, bridging that gap, being a brand ambassador for your client, accessing a pool of talent, is the value you bring as a recruiter. This is why employers still need recruiters even in a digital age when they can simply advertise jobs on their own websites. But it involves taking the time to understand their industries, to talk, to listen, to build trust and establish relationships that will hopefully last a working lifetime.

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