Sales Slow? Time to Recruit!
Do you know what your competitors are doing right now?
They’re busy knocking on more doors and making more sales calls. They’re being aggressive. They’re being persistent. And from the perspective of most HR managers, they’re being annoying!
During slow times, the natural tendency is to focus on sales activities. But in a highly competitive industry like staffing, this strategy can backfire.
While you undoubtedly want to increase sales, you certainly don’t want to aggravate potential customers or burn out your sales team. Making more cold calls is not the solution. But, here’s one idea that might help…
Help clients topgrade their talent.
There is a real opportunity right now for staffing companies to attract and recruit exceptional talent for direct hire clients. With unemployment at high levels, there is talent on the market that simply hasn’t been looking for new jobs for the last 10+ years.
This means it is the perfect time to topgrade. Topgrading is a recruiting term developed by Brad Smart. According to Topgrading.com, it is “the practice of…identifying, hiring, promoting, and retaining high performers in the organization at every salary level.” By helping your clients topgrade, you provide strategic value in helping them create an exceptional workforce.
Your staffing and recruiting firm can deliver this strategic value by providing those needle-in-the-haystack candidates, but competition will be fierce. You must be able to stand out for all the right reasons to attract A-level candidates, and standing out means building your employer brand.
What is Your Employer Brand?
Employer branding refers to the way your staffing company is perceived by employees and candidates in the market. What is your reputation among your workers? What do people think about your firm, and how do they feel about working for you? Is it a place they would recommend to a friend?
Whether you know it or not, you already have an employer brand. Employees feel a specific way about your staffing company, and many have probably shared that feeling online and with friends and colleagues. To build a strong employer brand, it is important to actively manage that brand rather than letting your reputation take on a life of its own.
Why Should You Manage Your Employer Brand?
Two-thirds of people on LinkedIn research a company before applying for a job. What are they looking for? They want to know what’s in it for them. If they don’t find things that make them feel good about applying, they will move on to another job.
According to Glassdoor, 69 percent of people are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand. There are several ways to do that:
- On your company website
- Via social media
- Traditional marketing and advertising
- Cultivating a great culture from within
- Building a strong communication strategy with your talent network
- Actively managing your reputation on review sites
As you think about building your employer brand, it’s important to remember that it will require a mix of strategies and tactics. The key is to create consistency so that every time a potential candidate sees your company online or in the community, they receive the same message.
The ROI of Employer Branding
Staffing companies with an established, positive employer brand simply do not have to recruit as hard because their reputation precedes them. Employee and associate referrals are also likely to increase when your staffing company has an established brand. Current employees, current associates, and happily placed candidates will act as ambassadors if they have excellent experiences with you.
The attitude of current and past employees creates a cycle that pays for itself. Happy people share positive experiences which strengthens the brand. Those ambassadors make it easier to recruit. Those new recruits share their positive experiences, which strengthens the brand and so on.
Topgrading is a multi-step process. Once you attract someone to your company, you then have to find that person employment. Consider the following ideas for marketing your top candidates:
Add Top Candidate Profiles to Your Website
- Invest in a skill marketing platform that showcases top talent profiles for your MPCs (most placeable candidates). A tool like this will drive candidate inquiries directly to the right people internally, increasing the likelihood showcased talent will be placed quickly.
- Promote your talent showcase via your website, email and social media to get more employers’ eyeballs on your MPCs.
Market Top Candidates to Existing Clients
- Insider’s List Call all your existing accounts, and ask the hiring managers if they would be interested in receiving first notification about top candidates as they become available. You can then e-mail or your “Insider’s List” to those people who are interested. Not only will this help you create more sales, it becomes an added value you offer to your customers.
- Today’s Needs List Call the HR coordinators and office managers at existing customers and ask them if they would like information on candidates available for immediate work. Of course, before you start this program you’ll first want to develop a list of candidates who would be willing to work on a last-minute basis. Your daily availability list could be e-mailed to clients each morning.
- Special Offer List This one may be a bit more controversial, but here’s the idea: create a list of direct placement candidates that you offer for a discounted fee. While we don’t encourage cutting prices as a way to increase sales, this special offer list could help. Position the offer as a special discount only for existing clients. In this time of economic uncertainty, you are showing customers that you understand their challenges and are sincerely interested in their success.
Market Top Candidates to Prospects
- Early Warning List Telemarket hiring managers at companies you’re trying to work with. Ask the managers if they would like to receive early notification about top candidates in their field. The key to this marketing is to first understand the types of candidates each hiring manager would want.
- Success List Develop a targeted list of available candidates that match the likely needs of a prospective employer and then fax, mail, or e-mail that list to the appropriate hiring managers. Target companies in your market who are continuing to thrive despite economic conditions.
Once you have a proactive candidate marketing program in place, promote that program to your candidates. Let people know how you will help them break into companies they want to join. Show them how you will help them find organizations where they might experience a better fit. And be sure people know that you will marketing them in strict confidence, so they can look without having to worry about their current employer finding out. All of these efforts will further strengthen your employer brand, attracting even better talent to your agency.
Success Starts with Recruiting
Economic uncertainty can be a positive thing if you take advantage of it! People everywhere are worried about job security. When an offer comes in to help find a better or more stable job, many people will be willing to listen. By focusing on recruiting and creating a process for helping clients topgrade talent, you can improve the quality of the candidates you have available, differentiate yourself from the competition, and create many new sales opportunities.