Article One:  Opinion Piece - In Pursuit of Brilliance
Part One by Dean Gollings


The main theme of this short series of recruitment articles is Quality Control. Hopefully it will provide some food for thought. 

I have always believed that the most effective route to sustainable, profitable growth and spectacular increases in market share is to put quality first. It is about being better than your competitors at every single aspect of the job. It’s not just about what you do, and it certainly isn’t about what you say you do, it’s about the actual services you provide compared to everyone else. 

At one time there was a clear distinction between “recruitment consultants,” who worked primarily in th  managerial/professional/executive sectors, and “employment agents”, who could mainly be found on the High St. These days everyone calls themself a “consultant”. The Wikipedia definition of consultant is “a professional who provides advice in a certain area of expertise”. But how much expert advice is being provided, and what proportion of your consultants is equipped to give it? How many are merely “matchers” and “order takers”? 

Meanwhile, candidates and clients grow ever more weary, sceptical and cynical of recruiters, many of whom they perceive to be only interested in a fast buck and to hell with the candidate’s longer term career aspirations. They hear what you are telling them but they are not listening. This manifests itself if poor candidate/client control and poor results.

I have met enough hugely talented people in this industry to know that many of you are doing your utmost to provide a service to be proud of. But it takes a lot more than a jargon-filled mission statement and an expensive looking web site to make it happen. The question is, what are you actually doing that is special? Are all of your consultants doing it, or just the best ones? Is anyone coming up with genuinely new ideas? Have you got great products and services for candidates and clients that your competitors don’t offer? How great do you want to be? 

So let’s look at candidates in more detail. Candidates are the lifeblood of your business. The more high-quality candidates you have that your competitors do not, the greater your chances of increasing your revenue at their expense. It is that simple. At the very least candidates are just as important as clients, but does the quality of your service reflect that? Do you provide an “agency” service, or is it genuine “consultancy”? Do your marketable candidates receive a consistently excellent service right from the word go – or does it rather depend on which of your consultants is dealing with them? Are some of your consultants getting blasé about candidates?

Consultants have only one real chance to establish market-beating levels of trust and credibility and that is at the candidate meeting. You want your candidate walking out your office thinking, “That was superb. I have learned so much. That was the best meeting I have ever had with a recruitment consultant. If I only ever trust one recruitment consultant, it’s going to be you”. Are you set up to achieve that kind of relationship with your candidates? Imagine how much easier candidate and expectation management will be with a relationship like that. Imagine how many more fees you will make. Imagine what a competitive advantage you would have. 


The benefits are obvious. Here are just a few:-

* Candidates and their expectations are easier to manage leading to more placements

* More candidate referrals

* More candidates registering with you first

*More exclusive candidates

*More candidates become clients

*Candidates are more co-operative and pass on more leads

*Candidates will help you with business development 

*Candidates come back to you first next time they are looking

If your candidate service is no better, no worse than your competitors, then all of the above advantages are lost.

With the right training, tools, techniques and attitudes a consultant with 3-6 months experience can be more credible and more effective than competitors with several years of experience. I see proof of this all the time. 


Get some facts and figures to measure the quality of your candidate service:

* What percentage would register with you in future?

* What percentage would recommend you to friends and colleagues?

* What percentage would use you if they were recruiting?

* What percentage would rate you as brilliant?

* How would they score you out of ten?

* What improvements could you make?

If you get good scores, then tell the world. 

Good candidates are like gold-dust. They always have been and always will be. The current “skills shortage” existed when I entered the recruitment industry in 1982. If you look after your candidates better than anyone else they will look after you for years to come. If your service is average, then don’t expect any favours.We will be running the second part of this series in the next couple of weeks. 


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