advice over coffeeAs the old adage goes, ‘Time is Money’; it’s not original but it is certainly an effective and simple doctrine to live by within business – particularly in the recruiting agency environment. Money and cash flow is especially crucial in employment agency environments because not only are their revenues more back loaded than other agency environments – meaning there are usually no interim payments – they are usually paid on a high risk, 100% commission only basis.

This means that the agency environment must be financially sensitive which calls for the agency recruiter to be highly commission driven and always keep an eye on the ‘money ball’.  The agency recruiter must be prioritizing the activities of business development, building talent capital and building a talent supply lines for their clients.

Job Search Advice Will Generate More Appealing Candidates

This means that there is little or no time for any other ‘nice to do’ but not directly revenue generating activities, like coaching candidates on their job search skills, right? Wrong. Candidates are part of your talent supply line and their skills and competencies must be effectively marketed to employers – in the form of a well designed and presented resume and excellent interview techniques – if you are to maximize your candidate submittal to placement ratio.

The problem is, how much job search advice should you actually give to candidates? Too little and your candidates may get pipped at the post by well presented and well schooled candidates from competitor agencies and too much and you may simply be pandering to their lethargy at the expense of more important revenue generating activity.

Give Targeted Advice Using a ‘One to Many’ Approach

There is no question that it will benefit your agency if your candidate resumes are well presented and the candidates themselves are well schooled for interviews. The point is, what is the most effective way to get your candidates up to standard? Coaching them can form a major part of this, but a ‘one to one’ approach can be costly, so in the first instance your business should be adopting more of a ‘one to many’ approach when it comes to candidate coaching. This can be achieved by developing an effective online candidate portal on your website. This portal should include as a minimum: a series of professional resume templates, a resume preparation guide, and a standardized interview preparation guide. Candidates should be urged to use this information when preparing their resume and for interview preparation. Used correctly,  this candidate education portal should increase the quality of presentation of your agency’s talent to your client, at minimal cost. This will increase the chance of your candidate being placed, potentially increasing revenue. It is far more efficient for candidates to get this information from a website then through a costly one to one coaching session with a recruiter.

The coaching should not stop here, but once again, it should be carried out in the most efficient way possible. Your agency could pay a writer to blog regularly on career help topics or it could encourage its staff to blog on career help topics and place this on your company blog.  Ensure to build a following of candidates and then you can message them links to your hints and tips on job search. This is another great way to passively educate your candidates on job search while minimizing the time cost to your business and keeping your agency top of mind as well. If you don’t want to invest in content preparation, you can simply put together useful links to other content.

This kind of ‘hands-off”‘ coaching is an excellent and a cost effective way to educate your candidates on mass as to how to effectively present their skills and experience and how to conduct themselves during an interview.

When to engage in one to one job/career coaching

At times, however, it will pay you to do some more in depth one to one career coaching, but ideally this would be on an exception or at least case by case basis. Most of your time should instead be spent really getting to know the candidate and understanding their exact qualifications and career goals. When coaching is called for is when the candidate’s resume or interview techniques appears to be below standard, yet underneath they are an extremely promising candidate. Or it may be that you have specific knowledge of the Hiring manager’s preferences and you are able to coach the candidate into emphasizing particular skills and personal qualities in their CV or at interview.

It will be a matter of personal judgement for the recruiting consultant – based on the cost benefit impact – as to whether to adopt a more time-consuming one-to-one approach as opposed to the more cost-effective one to many approach to career consulting. There is certainly a place for either approach depending on the circumstances. However, no matter the approach you use, be careful with your time management and keep a close eye on recruitment activity that generates direct revenue impact.

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