Mike's latest blog details some helpful recruiter tips to support your business in this ever-changing market.
We have carried out some research among our Recruiter customers. Across most sectors there has been a drop off in contractor numbers, however across many of our tech clients contractors are working from home and its business as usual.
The most interesting thing that we have found is that of all the contract finishers in March and April, in nearly 70% of cases it IS the intention for the client to restart the contractors when they are allowed. This will pose a risk to some recruiters and an opportunity to others.
Contract recruitment is all about contact and control – we may not know for sure exactly when and how people will return to work, but make sure you are speaking to clients to prepare for return dates, then make sure that your contractor is informed and available to return. Also keep checking for possible changes in WFH options.
Next think about your competitors. They may have furloughed people who should be managing these client/ contractor relationships; some simply may have assumed that the contract has ended; others may have ceased trading.
The point is some recruiters will have clients who want their contractors back, but they are not controlling the situation closely enough. When tracking the return to work for your contractors, make sure you understand the broader contractor workforce with that client and be prepared for vacancies where your competitors are not managing their expired contractors back into their old roles.
Unsurprisingly many perm deals lined up to start during March & April have been pulled! Not a great situation for recruiters, but not the end of the world!
We have found that the vast majority of vacancies have not been cancelled, but just moved to the right.
There are a lot of despairing recruiters and many inactive while furloughed who have just moved on. Positive recruiters however will be tracking the road to recovery with their clients – it is important to keep clients informed of the status of good candidates that reached offer and interview stages this Spring, the recruitment process will come back on track in many cases.
Whilst tracking the return of vacancies with your clients, remember to be a consultant rather than an out and out sales person. The landscape has changed and so will the requirements – we have been told that many offers will come back on the table when more people can return to work, but bear in mind many vacancies may now require subtle differences in applicants, make sure you ask the right questions, recognise this and be prepared to submit different candidates if you need to.
From a defensive point of view, make sure you avoid the dreaded ‘back-dooring’ scenario. Stay in close contact with clients and candidates who were interviewed in the first quarter of 2020, but offers have been deferred. It is inevitable that lazy recruiters will loose track of early 2020 applicants, through the summer, only to find their candidates are working at the client at Christmas! These situations are rarely the fault of an unscrupulous client trying to avoid paying a fee or another dodgy recruiter trying to steal business – usually it’s the recruiter that made the original introduction and then lost control of the relationship with both client and applicant, so they've taken it upon themselves.
The subsequent arguments leave a nasty taste in everybody’s mouth and ultimately ruins a potentially good business relationship. Don’t let this happen.
Now is a good time to reset your expectations with target clients. The organisation on most companies has changed more in the last two months than it has in years previously.
Take this hypothetical situation and think if it could apply to any of your BD targets?
A client is well known to you. Good company recruit high volumes of perm and contract staff. HR director is off limits and most roles are taken care of by in-house recruiters. Covid-19 breaks out the company puts a temporary freeze on recruitment and furloughs a number of staff including their in-house recruiters.
The game has now changed from everybody’s point of view. The HR Director is more accessible and with usual support staff unavailable. With rapidly changing recruitment needs and future plans they could well be open to a consultative chat about future recruitment strategy. There could also be urgent recruitment requirements to help deal directly with the current crisis – there may be a vacancy that they cannot take care of internally.
Of course every closed door is not suddenly going to swing open during this strange time. The point is that that your clients are in a period of unprecedented change – their staff have changed; their priorities have changed; their behaviours have changed and their future plans would certainly have changed. Wherever there is change there is opportunity and a well planned call may give recruiters a great BD opportunity.
Staying in touch with clients is now more crucial than ever.
How relationships develop over the next 6 months or so could well determine business growth for years afterwards.
The market is changing; how companies do things will change and types of people recruited will change.
Now is the time to invest in a consultative approach with your best clients. Spend time trying to understand their post-Covid strategy and demonstrate your partnership by listening and understanding the changes in their requirements.
Be patient, but also mindful that good companies will survive and good recruitment is the most important way to rebuild and reshape a business.
If you would like any support or have any questions I'd be happy to talk, please get in touch.