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How to stay ahead of the competition in a cut-throat industry

Employment in Britain is rapidly rising - recruiters have the challenge of a talent pool not big enough to meet demand

The recruitment industry, like many others, has seen significant evolution in recent years with the proliferation of mobile and social media, adding further channels for recruiters to view candidate info and for candidates to job search in a variety of ways.

Adding to this, a growing economy means more vacancies – employment in Britain is rising at a rapid rate, but this spells problems for recruiters who have the challenge of a talent pool not big enough to meet demand. Working in specialist sectors can also add to the issue, if those sectors are affected by skills shortages, making it a jobseeker’s market.

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These factors are contributing to a fiercely competitive arena, so how does a recruitment firm ensure not just its survival, but growth in such a market?

Be client-focused – develop client relationships with longevity by listening intently to their needs and developing a recruitment plan not just for individual or immediate requirements, but an ongoing commitment to their business at a strategic level. This will be investment well made, as you become more of a business partner than an outsourced service provider. Spending time and resource to learn about the organisation and its culture is key to sourcing the right talent both now and in the future, reducing the chances of candidates moving on from the role, as they have been carefully selected.

Build the right team – recruiters must heed their own advice and ensure they recruit well and employ a team that fits with the company culture and ethos. Retention is a key issue for any business in any sector – but in recruitment where it is important to build long-lasting client relationships, continuity is key so high staff churn can be disastrous. Empowering staff to be accountable for their own work by giving them autonomy puts them in control of their own success. Not only is reward important, but also a clear career progression path, mentorship and nurture. Ethos comes from the top down – if senior management are passionate about what they do to, this will spread through the organisation at all levels.

Prepare to be flexible and diversify/specialise – moving with the times and not letting complacency creep in is key to success. Businesses should not stand still. Recruiters should have their eye on the ball when it comes to recognising growth sectors and therefore opportunities. Having specialist areas is a solid way to gain expertise, experience and knowledge that will help attract and retain clients, and aid success as sector knowledge evolves.

So whilst there are challenges facing recruiters, there is most certainly a plethora of opportunities to be capitalised on. The rise of mobile recruiting, UK businesses looking to expand into Europe, millennials looking potentially to go after a freelance market and HR managers reportedly having bigger recruiting budgets compared with last year, means recruitment firms willing to embrace the sea of change with open arms and an open mind will likely succeed.

About The Author

Gary Redman is founder and chairman of Now Careers, a recruitment firm with 23 years’ experience in construction, accountancy and finance sector recruiting. Now Careers has offices in Birmingham, Newcastle, Cardiff and Edinburgh as well as in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia.

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