Cut Through the Noise: How Recruiting Agencies Can Land New Clients in Volatile Times

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We are living in a critical time for the recruiting industry. Tomorrow’s jobs are in a painful pruning process today. The economy has lost 22 million jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the United States, only regaining about 42 percent of them to date. A staggering 965,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits the week of January 4, 2021.

While today’s news may paint a gloomy picture for some, now is the time to develop new relationships and opportunities to address both businesses’ and job seekers’ needs. As vaccine distribution continues and more and more people develop immunities, the US labor market will begin to create jobs to fuel the future.

Here are eight tips to help recruiters land new clients in a time of significant volatility and opportunity:

1. It’s About Time

Time is of the essence. We are living and working in a highly dynamic environment that will continue to change frequently. Recruiters don’t have the benefit of waiting for the clock to run out. A company may start the day focused on one goal, only to change direction by midday. Will you be the one agency on speed dial that they turn to, and if so, why?

It would be best if you were very stingy with your time, eliminating or outsourcing tasks to others. Need your car serviced or groceries picked up? Outsource them. Spend the bulk of your time cultivating relationships with target companies and talent, and the rest on marketing your business.

2. Prepare Yourself

In addition to job losses, it’s essential to understand what is happening on a broader, more macro scale. Recruiters should prepare themselves by continuing to grow in new ways.

Forget COVID. Even before that, we saw shifts in the labor market. In A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, author Daniel Pink writes, “We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear, computerlike capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age.”

What will this transition look like moving forward? Build your networks now to understand the implications. Hang out on Kickstarter or network with venture capitalists to see what companies and industries they are funding.  Check out the gig economy to see who is making money, and ask yourself why. Be ready to shift as markets and demand change.

3. Think Differently

We like linear thinking, but innovation is hardly linear. Could you entice a new customer by offering products and services you never considered? Is there an area of the market that is underserved? Could you help create a bench of talent in anticipation of jobs? Relying on whatever made you successful yesterday is living in the past. Approach each day with the intent to retool your business to meet new demand.

4. Prospect Daily

While this makes logical sense, people spend far less time than they think soliciting new customers. You may reflect and double the actual amount of time you spend prospecting.  Schedule an hour or two every day to write sales emails, make cold calls, engage in social media prospecting, and more — and hold it sacred on your calendar. If your target buyer is there, you should be there as well.

Check out the latest issue of Magazine for more career advice and recruiting trends:

5. Cut Through the Noise

How can you stand out amid market noise? You have to get people’s attention, and you do this by offering unexpected value. Buy your prospect a home delivery meal with a message: “Now that we’ve added fuel to your day, we want to show you how we can build an engine that will fuel your company with our five-star talent.”

6. Empathy First

You never know where you will catch your prospective customers in their journey. Any number of things could be happening with them. Check in with them in a real way. Start with a cheery hello, then a question that asks, “Tell me how you are doing.” Or maybe, “What’s new since we last talked?”

If it’s a cold call, a simple “Hi, my name is Joe [pause; count 1-2-3]. I’m so happy to chat with you.” If the person on the other end of the line is having a bad day, you will soon know, but your positivity and cheerfulness will help break down their hard exterior.

7. Simplify

Everything you do with your prospective customer should be simple. If you can make it easier to do business with you than your competitors, then share that. Today, people have stressors and challenges around every turn. If you can take something and make it easier, people will want to buy that.

8. Plan

Plan for the future. You may be having your best month in business, but plan for that to change overnight. Run lean and agile, and consider how you could change in a moment if needed. Who knows, your planning for the next rainy day may result in a breakthrough you can use to solve a customer’s talent needs in ways you never thought.

Joe Paranteau is an expert salesperson and author of the upcoming book Billion Dollar Sales Secrets  (March 5, 2021). He has worked at Microsoft for the last 16 years.

By Joe Paranteau