On a phone call today with a recruitment firm owner who, like many, is trying to take the time to re-brand or enhance their firm during the pandemic, she asked for some advice. She decided to open her own agency about a year back but due to her past experience, found herself mainly recruiting lower level roles that were a lot of work without as big of a reward. When I explained that NPAworldwide is an executive level network, she wanted to know how recruiters like herself can elevate themselves to the world of executive search from where they are at. This is quite similar to a question I often get asked by firms who do not meet the minimum time in the industry to also qualify for our network. Everyone is looking for a quick answer to make more money and get paid larger fees. While I do not have a magic wand, there are some commonalities I have noticed over the years that could help your current situation of wanting to elevate your recruitment firm.
Here are my top 3:
- Invest in yourself first. It is amazing to me when I ask new recruitment industries what costs they have incurred so far in their business, their answer is always easily 3-4 tools that they have spent thousands of dollars on. Recruiters are shelling out the cash for recruitment licenses on Linked-In before they even know the basics of the industry. Most professionals in other industries that make the kind of money these recruiters want to make are required to have what? Education. That’s right, before you put the cart in front of the horse, a really good investment is training from the top people in the industry. Our network members highly recommend Tricia Tamkin and Jon Bartos, and many that have been in the industry for years highly tote Mike Gionta’s programs.
- Get over pride. Many businesses, especially new ones, fail because the owner of the business is afraid to admit when they need help, when they are doing something wrong, or when they have bad habits. Do any of these pain points resonate with you?
- Your income spikes one month and then stagnates (or sinks) the next…
- You land new clients and contracts, but your bank statements aren’t increasing the way you thought they would…
- “Two steps forward and one step back” seems to be your business theme song…
- You set goals but never seem to hit them. If those points resonate with you, you likely have some development to do on yourself and your business and you should not be afraid to ask for help. If you currently belong to a network of recruiters, share your woes or concerns to see how others discipline themselves to be more successful and make a commitment to implement their advice rather than shrug it off. In various recruiter groups I see call out schedules referenced that frankly sound like a nightmare of a day, but if I had a pain point to conquer, I would give it the best attempt I could. Like the old quote states, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results” This is your sign it is time to try something different, something that seems way too hard.
3. Can you manage yourself? This is a great question each independent recruitment firm owner starting out or at a breaking point really needs to get a handle on. Whether you are just starting out or have been doing this awhile, you will either quickly learn or already have a pain point that is the time sink that comes with hiring and training recruiters to work for you. The ebb and flow of any desk can change so drastically that one minute you may need 5 of you to handle all the requirements, and the next everyone is getting heated because the roles have dried up. A really good solution to this is building up your own split network, or joining one. Several networks exist that allow a firm owner or recruiter to have more flexibility to manage a desk without hiring or training anyone. Your kid comes down sick with 5 open roles? Call up your partners for help on sourcing the candidates… your industry hit by the pandemic? See if a partner still has roles in their industry that will keep you afloat until yours picks back up.
While those 3 tips may not be new information for you, you are reading them, which already shows you have a passion for elevating yourself to the next level. Continue your research with more reading and self reflection and you will start to see the results of your effort.