Growing a recruiting business is extraordinarily difficult in the best of circumstances. This historically tight talent market makes it even more difficult. The traditional methods you have relied on for years may not cut it in this environment.
To keep your recruiting business thriving in this challenging economy, consider the following tips:
1. Become a True Hunter
The days of post-and-pray are long gone — though, in truth, they never really existed. If the only value you supply as a recruiter is posting ads for your clients, collecting the best resumes, and submitting them, you are not doing anything your clients couldn’t do on their own.
Truly effective candidate sourcing means leveraging all the resources and hunting through all the networks you have developed as a recruiter to find passive talent. This includes deep dives into your ATS database; pinpointing ideal candidates on LinkedIn; scrubbing Monster, CareerBuilder, and similar sites; and leveraging your personal connections all to match the right person to the right opportunity by direct recruiting.
Get creative! Post jobs in online groups and chat rooms. Share details about the talent you seek on social media. Plant seeds everywhere you go, and your network will grow organically, yielding more candidates with each passing day.
2. Network, Network, Network
Speaking of your network: There is simply no substitute for getting out and networking directly with people in your local market. Join local associations related to your niche and attend their meetings. Better yet, offer to sponsor one of their meetings. In doing so, you can get the chance to speak to the group about your company and the services you offer.
Attend local professional events. Make a calendar of conferences and trade shows where the talent you seek will be present. Hand out your business cards and buy people drinks. Look for ways to connect with other tradespeople who work with your talent pool. Offer to make introductions to prospective clients and candidates for them.
3. Focus on Clients in Local Markets
Spreading yourself too thin is a classic mistake in recruiting. Employers work with local recruiters because these recruiters know who’s who in the market. Make sure you measure up to that expectation.
Be the expert in your specialty in your geographic district. Know all the biggest employers in your niche that are headquartered in your area, even if they are not your clients — yet. See what jobs they are posting. See whom they hire. See what companies the people they hire come from by reviewing their profiles on social media. Reach out to those companies, as they will surely be looking for replacements. Own your market, always ask for referrals, and become known to the talent in your niche.
4. Optimize Your Website
When people search for recruiting specialists in your niche and locale on Google or Bing, do you come up in the results? If not, it is time to review your website.
Make sure you have pages on your website that specifically mention your specialties and the locations in which you work. This makes it more likely that people searching for recruiters in your specialty and location will actually come across your website.
You may want to hire a search engine optimization (SEO) expert to research which keywords will produce the best results for you. Then, you can develop your website using those specific keywords.
Remember to be genuine in your intent! You’re not just trying to lure in the masses — you want the companies and candidates most relevant to your business to find you. One good tactic: Create blog posts centered around keywords that drive your SEO. That way, you can provide value, show off your expertise, and catch the eyes of potential clients and candidates all at the same time.
5. Be a True Partner to Your Clients and Candidates
Nothing is more important in the recruiting business than trust. It is paramount to build honest, constructive partnerships with those you are representing, on both sides.
Candidates value recruiters who go the extra mile. If candidates can trust you to be straightforward regarding the positions and companies you represent, they will return to you each time they are in the market for a new role.
Employers, too, will turn to you again and again if they know you are organized and diligent in your pursuit of presenting only the best candidates. Show them you deliver substantial value by only submitting candidates you have fully vetted who meet all their requirements.
Being a true partner to clients and candidates alike will make your recruiting business a magnet for the right people.
Allegra Highsmith is the director of recruiting at Goodwin Recruiting.