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Agency recruitment careers: The Age of the Candidate

Thu, 17 Mar 2016 | By Tara Lescott


Recruiters, time to get candidate-centric!

All the stats tell us that our market is booming. More businesses than ever need temps and most firms report permanent hiring as business critical. Employment is high, and everyone is recruiting!

As a result we are in the age of the candidate — the candidate is everything. The candidate has choice and no longer needs a recruiter for data, and is constantly approached by internal recruiters and other agencies.

So why are so many recruiters still just calling candidates with jobs as and when they have a job to fill? Why are so many still failing to nurture candidate relationships and demonstrate real value to their candidate audience? This transactional approach of giving candidates your attention when you have a job to fill is futile and does not lead to success — only occasional short-term wins.

If you are in a candidate-led market, which most of us are, then your strategy has to be candidate-centric. Why should a candidate come to your agency? Why should they choose to be represented by you solely? Why should they come to you rather than make a direct application?

If you don’t have the answers to these questions, then you don’t have a candidate-centric strategy and your business needs urgent attention.

From my own experience of working for a large corporate and now SME [small to medium-sized enterprise], I can tell you that this model takes real work; it takes greater investment and a change of focus. It also means a shift in terms of who you employ, as you will still need to be intelligent marketeers and relationships nurturers, who aren’t just in it for the quick win.

Your staff have to be capable of being experts, producing great blogs and content, spending time with people to coach and support them, then converting them to being active candidates and giving them the best possible career management service.

That’s right — recruiters have to become candidate agents, working to win and retain great candidates that you can represent long-term. If you need to get started on your candidate strategy, here are some good headlines to think about:

Get attention
How will you get the attention of your most valuable candidate audience? Where are they? What interests them?

Define your value
How do you demonstrate your value to them? How do you ensure it is not just about ‘find a job NOW’?

Covert interest
How do you nurture the relationships so that career choices lead them to you?

Retain loyalty

Once you represent your candidate, how do you keep them happy and loyal?

In a market where skills are short, this will be your route to success. And no, you’re not abandoning your clients; being smart and focusing on candidate attraction is exactly what your client needs and will result in greater results.
Tara Lescott is managing director of rec-to-rec agency Recruiter Republic
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