Have you ever wondered why some recruiters bill three or four times more than their peers in the same marketplace – despite dealing with similar clients and similar candidates?
One big reason for this is that the very best recruiters are more proactive. They don’t just chase leads and uncover business opportunities – they also create vacancies that wouldn’t otherwise exist without that proactivity. One of the best ways to do this is to proactively market your very best, high demand candidates.
Assessing Your Proactivity
Before you read on, take a moment to think about your activity last week.
How many top-quality candidates did you talk to? Did you ask each of those candidates which companies they wanted to work for? Or how they could add value to those companies and whom they might know within those businesses? Did you think about attempting to close any of those high-calibre candidates for exclusivity? And how many of those candidates did you then proactively market out to your target clients?
When you are certain that a candidate you are talking to is of the highest quality and active in the market, this kind of approach should be routine activity. Typically I might say, “I’m very impressed with your background and I may be able to offer you an extra level of service. This would involve me re-allocating some of my time specifically for you. I’d need you to explain which companies you’d like to work for and what you can do for those companies and I’d then put a campaign together to contact those companies and open doors for you. Sometimes, employers will create a role for particularly high-quality candidates, and those kinds of roles rarely, if ever, get advertised. Now to do this for you, we will need to work together in partnership by you giving me a short period of exclusivity.”
Selling The Benefit
The key is to sell the benefit to the candidate of you working proactively on their behalf so that they give you a target list of companies and secure a period of exclusivity. Then, to quickly get on the phone and proactively introduce the candidate to appropriate target companies.
Note: it’s not always possible to secure exclusivity, but if you never ask you’ll never find out when it is possible!
There is nothing significantly new about this approach – top performers have been doing it for years. Yet, after listening to literally hundreds of recorded sales calls from recruiters of the last couple of years I can tell you that not enough recruiters do it consistently in today’s marketplace. And that the ones who do, routinely make one or two extra placements a month purely due to better questioning and proactive marketing of their best candidates.
Before sharing some ideas on how to make marketing calls more effective, there’s no harm in re-examining the reasons why candidate-led marketing can have such a direct impact upon recruiters’ sales figures.
• Clients invariably give more attention to recruiters who market relevant, high demand candidates.
• Recruiters pick up vacancies for other candidates as well as placing individuals as a direct result of the call.
• Tight Preferred Supplier Listings can sometimes be cracked by finding out which types of individuals their current suppliers have most difficulty supplying and then marketing those individuals. This works best when those candidates are secured on an exclusive basis.
After securing commitment from your candidate, you’ll want to take them to market. The very best candidate marketing calls focus on the benefit that a candidate can offer the target client. This is best gleaned when you first talk to the candidate. So once again, build the following kind of questions into routine activity when talking to or interviewing candidates:
• What are the key achievements of which you are most proud of in your career to date?
• Where have you saved this company time/money or made them money?
• What projects have you worked on? What was the outcome of these projects – i.e. did they finish early? How much time/money did you save the company? What precisely was your input on this?
• What ideas have you contributed to this company? How many were adopted and how much did that make/save the company?
• You told me that you’d like to work for XYZ company. What can you do for that company?
Make your marketing calls even more potent by ensuring that you also find out the effect of the candidate’s key achievements upon the business. For example, if they have introduced a high-quality idea into a business find out what the effect of that idea has been/will be over the coming years. Sometimes, that idea could be worth many tens of thousands of pounds. Use this fact to your advantage during your marketing calls to help differentiate your candidate.