Last time I wrote for Social Talent I outlined the ways in which the Recruitment industry has changed since its inception. Today, I’m continuing in that vein, but with a focus on the individual. Yep… you. There’s a saying that’s fairly appropriate to the evolution of your Recruitment job. “If you’re not moving forward you’re standing still.” To a degree if you work in recruitment and you’re not continuously evolving you’re probably going backwards. You need to adapt to future-proof your chance for success.
While some people think that agency recruitment is dying, it’s really not the case. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that the recruitment industry hit a record turnover of £28.7 billion for the financial year 2013/2014 – set to grow by a predicted 9.6% between 2015/2016.
And with growth comes evolution so it’s important to adapt your recruitment strategy. Here’s what you need to do to thrive in the current Recruitment landscape…
Global Skills Shortage
With the recovery of global economies, the emergence of new industries and the start-up economy booming, there’s an added pressure on hiring. Many people in the industry now believe there is a shortage of talent.
What does this mean to you? It means you’re more likely to be working in a candidate-driven market. While not universal, if this is the case, your methods of attraction need to evolve. Breaking the job down to individual elements and focusing on marginal gains is one way of doing this. Industry leaders are offering things such as copywriting courses for example.
In times gone by, this would definitely not have been needed. Now, anything which can differentiate you from the masses is critical. Writing compelling copy is pretty important if that’s how you’re engaging with your target audience.
Build Talent Communities
You target audience is another thing which you’ll need to be adapting. Your network needs to be extensive, varied and full of amazing talent. Whether you’re working in a talent-driven or job-driven market, the best Recruiters are those who network the most. And today, the mediums of networking are ever evolving too. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, GitHub, Stack Overflow. Where are your candidates? You need to be wherever they are.
You need to build relationships with a passive network of talent. The focus should be on earning trust and credibility. Why? Because they’ll then be open to hearing about relevant opportunities when they’re not actively seeking a move.
Whilst the focus of this article is evolution, this is time-served advice. The only difference now is how you interact. You need to put in the hours and meet a LOT of people. Whether that’s virtual or in the real world. You know that speech you give to clients about building a long-term relationship, not just filling one job and moving on? Guess who else would appreciate that? Candidates.
The Candidate is King
Have you been on LinkedIn recently? You’ve probably noticed that people talk about Recruiters a lot. They talk openly and candidly. They do talk about good stuff sometimes. Mostly however they’ll dig you out for not doing a good job. In a candidate-led market, they hold all the cards. This means two things:
- You need to be able to build trust fast, or you risk losing out on the best talent.
- You need to have continued integrity.
Improve the candidate experience or risk jeopardising long-term relationships.
Shift to online
As mentioned above the social landscape is a vastly different place today for the Recruiter. Being tech savvy is crucial. Candidates are taking control of their job search, using social media and mobile devices.
‘Social fluency’ is no longer a luxury but a must-have for recruitment success.
Build your brand
In the past, if you worked for a great company, people would work with you. Candidates and clients would fall at your feet awaiting the riches in your bulging database like servants to a throne.
Now, the only person who really cares who you work for is you. Everyone has a great database. Most companies have LinkedIn Recruiter. Most Recruiters call themselves a ‘specialist’. Along with working for a great brand, you need to have a great personal brand. If you’re in doubt about what a personal brand is… it’s you. In every single piece of communication you partake in, you’re actively marketing yourself. And your personal brand stays with you (for better or worse) for the rest of your career.
So how do you build a personal brand? One way is harnessing the earth-shattering power of social media. Even if you are not creating original content, share, comment and curate other Recruitment content to maintain online activity levels and ensure you’re at the front of candidate’s and client’s mind.
The Human touch
Paradoxically, the more technology advances in the recruitment world, the more important the human touch becomes. Everything you do needs to be authentic and personalised. Coming across as genuine is critical to building trust in the service you offer. If you’re in any doubt about this, look at the return you get on a copy and pasted message on LinkedIn. People can tell within 5 seconds you haven’t written that message just to them. Try actually engaging with someone individually and see if the results change.
Spoiler: they will.
Sell without selling
When the best candidates have multiple job offers to consider, the ability to coax, persuade, and influence is crucial. If you want to be the best, you need to be able to influence without being overzealous. Anyone in life becomes less likely to be influenced if they feel like they’re being sold to.
If someone’s not comfortable leaving their career success in your hands, they won’t be doing it. And rightfully so.
How do you improve your sales ability? By seeking out areas to improve and training opportunities to keep you ahead of the competition. It’s about self-assessment and marginal gains. Making sure you’re getting better at all the small parts of your job. Evolve over time to become just a little bit better at everything.
Maximise your time
One thing that hasn’t changed in Recruitment is time being the biggest restriction to your capability.
However. There are now a multitude of ways you can be getting more from your day. I write a regular series on productivity hacks for Hunted. It constitutes a list of tools and hacks that will give you more time.
To be successful in Recruitment these days you need to be a sales person, a marketer, a social media expert, a networker, a content creator and a project manager… So using hacks and tools to help you is the most efficient way of managing your life. It could mean you learn how to meditate to deal with stress. It could mean you use an email finder tool. Maybe you sign up to a copywriting course. Or maybe you have a look at email internally and use a little known tool called Slack.
Whatever you do. Make sure you do something to stand out and be continuously better. The noise from the industry is currently deafening and you want your voice to be heard.
There are certainly challenges, but the Recruiters who evolve and adapt will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
About the Author: Tom Wish spent over 6 years working in recruitment within a variety of specialisms and agencies. He’s been writing since University and his current role is to provide quality industry content by writing, creating and engaging with the Recruitment Industry at Hunted.