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As a rookie recruiter many years ago, I was told a by an old hand in recruitment, while we were sharing a convivial drink, that ‘recruitment is simple but that doesn’t mean it’s easy’.  Over the years I have had reason to reflect on the truth of that statement many times and it’s hard to fault it.   

It still amazes me when I see so many recruiters doing things, or not doing simple things that, if changed, would make an immediate difference to their results. It seems that ‘best practice’ isn’t that well known in the recruitment agency world.     

Here are five things that should make an immediate difference to your results:   

1.  What should be done  : Search your candidate database before placing an ad on a job board.   

Why:   It is much easier and quicker to refer a candidate that you already have immediate access to, rather than spending time writing an ad, screening ad response and interviewing new candidates.   

Why it doesn’t get done:   The talent pool contained in the database is not kept up-to-date, the way in which candidates are entered into the database is ad hoc and fundamentally a culture of ‘post-and-pray’ over-rides a culture of ‘building talent pools’ in most recruitment agencies.  

2.  What should be done  : Know, in order, your candidate ‘sources of hire’ from the previous 12 months.   

Why:   So you can direct your candidate sourcing time and money towards the most effective methods of sourcing candidates and redirect your time and money away from the least effective methods of sourcing candidates.     

Why it doesn’t get done:   Candidate ‘sources of hire’ are not captured accurately by recruiters and/or they are not recorded accurately by recruiters.  

3.  What should be done  : Apply the Pareto Principle (or 80/20 rule) to servicing your client list.  

Why:   Direct 80% of your time and attention to those 20% of organisations/people who are putting the most profit in your pocket (ie the total time spent with clients ranked 1-5 should equate to the total time you spend with your next 20 ranked clients) because it’s far easier and more profitable to keep an existing client happy rather than go and find a new one.     

Why it doesn’t get done:   Recruiters tend to positively discriminate with respect to their time in favour of those clients they ‘like’ rather than those that are contributing towards a fair whack of their income.  Also many recruiters don’t receive (or ask for) a year-to-date list of their clients in billing or income order, consequently they are simply guessing which clients are worth most of their time.  

4.  What should be done  : Decline at least 10% of the jobs you take in.     

Why:   If you listed all the jobs in the past 12 months that you had lost along with all the jobs you filled that subsequently went credit, I guarantee you would wish you had never touched at least   20% of those jobs because the time you invested simply wasn’t worth it.     

Why it doesn’t get done:   Recruiters are too desperate for fees or to ‘get their stats up’ to objectively review whether they should work on a job or when they should gracefully withdraw from an assignment listed by a client who turns out to be unresponsive or uncooperative.  

5.  What should be done  : Use a summary page for each candidate’s resume that you refer to a client. This summary page should list each of the agreed key selection criteria and the matching evidence that you have gathered to prove that the candidate meets the minimum requirement for that competency. For more on this topic, please see my lead article in InSight 74.   

Why:   A summary page assists the client to understand why the candidate is an appropriate match for the position before any of their inbuilt biases and generalisations kick in as they read through the resume. This summary page should immediately increase your shortlist-to-interview ratio.   

Why it doesn’t get done:   The recruiter fails to gain agreement with the client as to the key selection criteria, the recruiter fails to obtain the evidence of the candidate’s capability or the recruiter is too lazy to demonstrate their value-add to the recruitment process and just wants to ‘get the resume over to the client as quickly as possible’.  

In 99% of cases you should not need to spend any money on an external trainer or consultant to implement any of the above five things.     

You may however, need to spend some time investigating, changing or initiating internal processes to ensure that each of these 5 things happens automatically as part of your modus operandi.

I promise you, that 3 months after implementation, you will notice the difference these 5 simple things have made to your results, without having spent a cent.

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