You snooze… you lose…

In case you hadn’t noticed… very subtly over the past six months the market has slowly changed. Candidates seem to have more opportunities… clients who went missing are back… and new clients are appearing like flies at a barbie. (disclaimer… I am not for one moment suggesting that new clients are like a swarm of marauding insects, hell bent on destroying your summer festivities… it’s just an awkward analogy).

snnoze2With this comes an even more subtle shift in the balance of power. Most of us have become very well acquainted with the demands of the client over the past few years… unreasonable must haves… drawn out recruitment processes… renegotiation of salary and fees at the backend etc. Well I’m happy to say that those days are coming to an end… for now.

Entering a better market is jam packed with opportunity for the astute recruiter. Sure, you should be more successful in terms of placements, but that is just the tip of the iceberg… what about reassessing your client stable… resetting expectations… locking down trading terms?

If I were you I would be organising visits with all existing and lapsed clients… and at those meetings I would be covering off the following:

  1. To market, to market… to buy a fat pig – Recruiters are in an amazing position to give accurate market information. Explain to your clients that you are seeing a change in the market… use real examples. Tell them that you have received enquiries around headcount growth from many of their competitors. Ask if they are seeing similar positivity in the market.
  2. It’s a war! – I hate clichés as much as the next guy, but you need to emphasise that the power in the employment game has changed… that companies are competing for the best talent and that talent is now more scarce. Why? Because current employers want to hold on to the best staff, and everybody else is clamouring for the same people. You need to get across the point that there is a full-blown war for the best talent.
  3. Lock in the terms – Reinforce your terms of business. Explain that market conditions are forcing you to work more closely with clients as partners and to reduce the number of clients you work with… how can you service multiple clients when the best candidates are more difficult to source & engage? Explain to clients that renegotiation during a process is a thing of the past and for the relationship to prosper you need to work collaboratively with agreed expectations on both sides.
  4. snooze1You snooze you lose – Don’t you hate it when clients draaaaaw the process out? There are a million reasons… I need to organise a time for the team to met with them… I will be travelling this week… we have to get the psych to organise assessments… blah blah blah (oh… and I know I didn’t give a million reasons… please email me for the full list). The facts are you need to be strong here. Explain to the client that your candidates are entertaining multiple opportunities, tell the client they will miss this candidate unless they proceed through the process quickly, set timeframes with clear dates and times… if you cater to the whims of your clients without intervention you can only blame yourself when the candidate goes elsewhere…

It’s important that we act accordingly, based on market conditions. If your market… like mine has changed… and you are entering a phase of growth, investment and positivity… then change your behaviour. And more importantly… ensure your clients change their behaviour too!

Craig Watson

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