Should all recruitment consultants have the same targets? I spoke to a recruitment consultant very recently who is looking to leave their recruitment agency, because their targets are the same as their colleague’s. The problem is, this consultant recruits for niche specialist cybersecurity and hackers while their colleagues recruit for tradespeople such as bricklayers.
Their frustration comes from the fact that their clients and candidates are completely different from their colleague’s. Therefore, feels they need to be approached and handled differently.
Why is this an issue?
Damaging your recruitment brand by giving clients and candidates a poor experience is something that can be easily done with the wrong targets. We don’t have to look far outside of recruitment to see how the wrong targets have resulted in some famous business disasters.
Not all sales processes are the same, so they need to be managed differently. I left recruitment to become part owner and head of sales and marketing of a management consultancy. Our management consultancy delivered high-end business transformation consulting.
I learnt very quickly that my sales approach needed to be adapted from my experience in recruitment. Not only that, we were not a big brand name like McKinsey, Bain or Deloitte, so the process of closing a sale took a long time. Clients needed the time and space to believe in us. They also could only bring us in when the timing was right for them and the company. Management consultancy is a risky purchase for someone. If they get it right, it can have a fantastic impact on their company and career. If they get it wrong, it can damage their personal reputation and even result in losing their job.
If I had applied the same targets and processes as I had in recruitment I would have lost every client due to overpursuing. I saw this happen with other management consultants. They didn’t have the patience, for whatever reason, to wait when they needed to give the client space, and then touch base with the client at the right time to guide them forward.
Whenever we won a client we always asked what made the client chose us, so we could learn what we were doing well. I’d hear several repeating factors, but one was for the reason that our competitors would constantly try to push the client to purchase and it irritated them. Whereas we worked with the client through the sales process. We guided and never pushed, and only contacted them when it added value.
We came up with this sales process from selling to and meeting a large number of clients. Then analysing each one to make it better. It would never have worked if I had applied my past experience as a one size fits all approach.
While recruitment and management consultancy are very different. The same common-sense principles apply between recruitment sectors. Selling to tradespeople is going to be different from selling to cybersecurity and hackers.
Having blanket targets across your recruitment agency for different sectors is going to result in lost sales and ultimately losing your own recruitment consultants. After all, who would want to work at an agency that is causing them to lose sales. This is why you sometimes see people leave an agency only to see them fly high in a different agency or in a different sales role.
I understand that having blanket targets makes managing a recruitment agency much easier. I understand that it’s all too easy to believe that you know better than your recruitment consultants if you’ve been in recruitment for many years. But times change, and it’s your recruitment consultants that are speaking to their clients and candidates daily.
If you’re no longer doing recruitment but instead managing the business, or your consultant is working a completely different industry to the one you’re working. It’s in the best interest of you, your consultant, your clients and your candidates to listen to what your consultant has to say about adapting their desk. While you may have been successful by doing X number of calls a day, and meeting your candidates for a beer after work, that doesn’t mean it works for every sector.
There are a few options that can come from analysing this. For example, you might establish that you want your recruitment agency to be a high-volume output agency only. Therefore, you don’t want to work in sectors that are slower.
Or you might decide to come up with a strategy that works for that sector. If you do, this is a great opportunity to do things differently and create a recruitment process and structure that suits that specific sector. One that will have your clients and candidates talking positively about you, which we can all agree, is one of the best forms of marketing and brand awareness.