None of us are totally sure what’s happening with the economy at the moment. In some ways, a recession seems likely while in others, not so much. Regardless, there are definitely some hiring sectors that have contracted a bit and overall hiring is somewhat slower than a year ago. So how you can best be prepared to survive a bumpy ride? In our almost 70 years of experience, we have repeatedly seen that connected recruiters are better able to withstand economic downturns.
There are many ways to make those connections, but perhaps the most important thing to realize is that it takes TIME. You can’t wait until you NEED a network to start creating one. If you’re a solo practitioner or part of a small firm that doesn’t have a good network of connected recruiters, it’s not too late to start focusing on that. Here are a few suggestions if you aren’t sure what to do:
- Actively seek out like-minded recruiters. You can start by asking your clients who else they work with – your competitors aren’t necessarily your enemies. We have several stories in our membership about recruiters who were formerly competitors and now work as partners. Ask your candidates if they have worked with other recruiters they would recommend. Dig into some LinkedIn groups. There are also some Facebook groups that are really well moderated with great sharing and participation. Consider joining your local SHRM chapter. Get involved with NAPS or your country’s equivalent (ACCESS in Canada, RCSA in Australia, for example).
- Start your own group. This can be either online or face-to-face. Determine what your goals are, set some rules/boundaries for the groups and get started.
- Share value-added information on your social platforms. This will admittedly take time to both create (or find) good content, in addition to the time it takes to post, but it can be worth your while. Remember to apply the rules of the pub to your interactions, and also that you’ll need to give more than you get (at first, anyway).
Once you’ve established a base level of trust with some connected recruiters, you can start having meatier conversations about business trends, hiring needs, opportunities and threats. You may find opportunities to collaborate on a split-fee basis. You may open up a new source of referrals (hopefully a two-way street) based on niche. You may find a way to jointly pitch the same client for different (or more) business than either of you could get on your own. Or a whole host of other creative ideas. But the key is, you can’t just start asking total strangers for those opportunities. And if you wait until business is slow, you might not have enough time to build the relationships that can help you survive, even prosper, in a tough economy.