This is a letter from someone who once did your job. So let me start with this, I know how hard it is.
For the last two years, our bet is that the contracts have been finding you. As these opportunities become fewer, every touchpoint that you can prove your capabilities, and build trust with clients, will contribute to more billings.
The ANZ labour force is about to be flipped.
It sounds dramatic, but you will have already noticed that the recruitment market’s changing. Australian national job ad numbers are down 8.1% YoY from Jan 2022 – Jan 2023, according to SEEK data, 2023.
And Deloitte is forecasting economic growth of just 1.7% in the 2023 calendar year, down from 3.6% in 2022.
In the past, even less significant recessions have prompted hiring freezes and a surplus of candidates. It’s not a stretch to think this will happen again, it’s a likely scenario with the declined forecast of economic growth.
Why is trust so important to your bottom line?
The same amount of recruiters will be competing for fewer contracts. Combine this with the fact recruiters are often untrusted, and you might see some challenges around the bend. How untrusted? According to data from SEEK, only 24% of Australians view recruiters to be ‘very trustworthy’.
Trust is crucial for conversion – especially in a crowded market where all recruiters will be saying everything they can to stand out, and clients will be wary of this. The key elements of trust for recruiters are transparency, social proof, customer service and delivery.
According to Trustpulse, 97% of consumers read customer reviews before making a purchase.
To add to this, LinkedIn says; 73% of consumers will even pay higher prices for products and services from companies who operate with transparency.
And positive consumer service experiences will bring 89% of consumers back.
When your audience trusts you it enables you to deliver a better experience, increase loyalty and increase repeat business.
So you need to safeguard your ability to make money. And a huge part of that is protecting and strengthening your reputation in the market.
Only the conundrum here is how you showcase your reputation, trust given to you by others, ability and experience, to people you’ve never spoken to.
This is fast becoming the biggest problem for recruiters today.
And it’s a multi-faceted problem. One you need to solve for both sides of the market. Without getting both on side, you won’t get paid.
So.. where to from here?
1. Invest time in your personal brand
The reason I’ve written this today is that I speak to recruiters constantly. And the top reason they’re not investing time and effort into their personal brand is a lack of support or time to do so. Essentially, they and their agency aren’t prioritising it.
You don’t feel like you can. It’s not the right time. It takes too long. You can’t take your eye off immediate business.
It’s so important to invest in your personal brand because your employer will rightly be prioritising their business brand and reputation.
If you don’t focus on your own ability to bring in long term business, you won’t exist in the long term.
A bigger, better, brighter personal brand will shine a light on the brand of your employer. You’ll find it easier to do business. Make more placements. More money. And be happier as a result.
Some simple steps to kick this off:
Define what you want to be known for
Consider your strengths and capabilities to shape a summary of how you’d like people to think of you. Are you approachable? Accountable? Fast-paced? Write down the characteristics of your brand so you know what to emphasise in your work.
Every touchpoint impacts your brand
Take pride and ownership of every candidate and client interaction, these all contribute to your personal brand. Don’t take any emails or voicemails for granted – people remember and people talk.
Build a portfolio of social proof
To future proof your personal brand, collect reviews and testimonials to use throughout your career. Quantity and frequency are the most important factors here.
Contribute to the conversation
Whether it’s on LinkedIn or at networking events, increase your exposure by adding value to industry conversations.
2. Make referrals work harder
Other than writing “Don’t worry I’m one of the good ones” as your LinkedIn header, what ways are there to instill trust from a network that doesn’t know you?
That’s the puzzle to solve for you in the coming months and years.
Many recruiters who’ve worked through recessions previously have relied on referrals. And that’s a very good way to protect your business. There’s nothing better than a good mate recommending someone.
The most simple way to get referrals is to ask for them. Your best clients won’t hesitate. Yes it’s a favour, but there’s a surprising science behind favours. Somebody doing one for you makes them like you. You just need to ask for it in the right way.
“Could I trouble you for a written testimonial for the work I’ve done this year?” Simple. Effective. And something you can use en masse.
Or you could ask whether there’s anyone in their immediate circle they could introduce you to. Many people will be happy with you drafting something for them to edit and approve. Anything you can do to save their time and provide a seamless experience (even in review collection) will improve your personal brand.
“How likely are you to recommend me to a friend?”
It’s a leading question, but being able to use their response verbatim takes the work out of it for you and them.
3. Candidate insight is king
Did you know, according to SEEK, 88% of candidates say it’s important for recruiter reviews to be included in a job ad? And I know we’re talking about BD here, but ignoring the whims of 88% of the candidate market isn’t going to win you any clients.
Did you also know 65% of candidates feel more confident in applying to jobs if ratings of the recruiter were shown on the job ad?
This is why we have a widget that allow recruiters to include their Sourcr profile on their SEEK job ads – social proof where it matters.
If you post your job ads in line with what candidates are looking for, your applications increase, your placements increase, and your track record just sky-rocketed.
You need to know these things and more when talking to clients. Prove to them you know how to get the best candidates by understanding the market. Drill down further into the industries and roles you work in to catapult your candidate knowledge.
Choosing not to invest in your personal brand is a choice you shouldn’t be making.
In a recruitment market that’s about to become even more crowded and competitive, building and maintaining trust with clients and candidates is crucial to ensuring consistent and incremental success.
Set yourself up to maintain the epic success you’ve had over the last two years. Build your personal brand, lean on social proof to build trust and continue to work on it.
At Sourcr we help recruiters take control of their reputation through automated customer review collection and tools to leverage social proof at important touch points, like job ads. If you’re not on Sourcr – book in a demo to learn about how you can outsource your reputation management.