our blog gets recruiters thinking

As recruiter you’re probably sick of the squeaking online about clients being your competitors (I did a bit of that last year! Read this blog (later) if you’re interested in clients being competitors).

I was chatting with a Recruitment CRM CEO recently and we had a lovely debate about where the agency recruitment market is going (or rather where it’s gone) and we came to the conclusion that whereas it used to be (and still is) that clients are a threat to agency recruiters, that also candidates are now the biggest threat to the agency recruitment market. Why?

They have a mind of their own

To be fair, this has always been the case. Candidates can really stuff up your pipeline if they change their mind. (Although this may often be that they weren’t really a candidate to begin with. Perhaps you hadn’t given them the full angle on the role. Or god forbid the client hadn’t given you the full angle to pass on to the candidate – and a car crash ensues!)

They are more agile than you

They can flex, change their minds, move quicker etc… (See previous blogs on recruiter agility if your ability to be agile is important to you). They can quit if the role isn’t right (they’re not bothered bout any “free replacement” terms you have with the client). AND they often know that they are a candidate before you do!

They are more “social” than you

To be frank they’re probably more socially savvy than you (in that they don’t have their mum telling them that they can’t use Facebook to look for a job!) See Bullhorn Reach’s recent survey – some interesting findings about Facebook being more successful in 2012 at placing candidates than Twitter (and Twitter was 3x more powerful than LinkedIn in 2011!) They can freely follow company pages on all channels without the worry of competitors steeling their client lists. They don’t care about ROI and social media – they just get on with it and see it as an obvious way of looking for work. They know what they want and aren’t afraid to go get it.

They are often not afraid of going to the source

They have aspirations of who they want to work with and they can engage on a level with the brand / staff now more than ever before. They’re not sat in a room worrying about whether Twitter is an effective recruitment tool, they are just on it chatting with their ideal bosses! (If I had £1 for every recruiter I spoke with who said that they don’t get Twitter, I’d buy Twitter.)

Jobs for the Boys (and Girls)

Great candidates often know they are candidates well before you do. They engage with clients direct and roles that did not exist are created in the blink of an eye and you weren’t even in the room when it happened.

So, recruiters… how are you going to tackle this? What are you going to do with these pesky (clever) candidates?

Some ideas for starters:

  1. What do you actually do to engage (not transact) with people whether they are job seekers or not? Or are you bleating on about jobs under the misconception that everyone is looking and everyone can find you?
  2. What are you offering that going direct to the client does not give the candidate? If all you are offering is jobs and interview tips, try harder!
  3. Dump the “talent” and “candidate” labels – they can be assumptive and offensive to the very people you aim to engage with. If you get your head around the fact that not everyone is a candidate (see previous blog) you’ll adapt your approach to talk “on sector” and shut up about the job / assumption that everyone is a job seeker.
  4. Show your personality. The phrase “people buy from people” bores me, but only because it’s obvious – people buy from nice, interesting people – you’re in a b2b market – you don’t sell beans, you sell your knowledge, your connections, your approach, your wit – so demonstrate it.

What else would you add to this? Are you like many of my agency recruitment clients who are seeing more and more “candidates” doing it for themselves? What are you doing to tackle this?

Thanks APSCo for originally publishing this article.

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