In my posts before, we talk about things like managing your reputation on review sites, the importance of attending events, and how powerful social media has become in the recruitment industry, but what we haven’t talked about is how they are all connected.
I’m told the 90’s were equivalent to the gold rush for the recruitment industry. For tech recruiters, it was hard not to make money because everyone needed a .com associated with their business or they were deemed illegitimate. That being said, the recruitment mentality was more focused on volume then anything. There was no time to build relationships because someone else needed candidates and needed them now.
Fast-forward to the recession where companies began to downsize and hiring was almost non-existent. Just like companies had to revamp their structure, so did the recruitment industry. A lot of staffing firms didn’t make it through 2008, but the ones who did realized there was an unprecedented need for relationships. There could be no more transactional mentality; staffing firms needed to think big picture/long term in order to keep their business strong.
My approach to marketing for the companies I work for is simple; think like a mom and pop shop. With the rise of corporate chains and big store/low prices, small businesses are getting drowned out at a pretty alarming rate, but what they offer, no Wal-Mart or McDonalds ever can, relationships. People usually don’t mind spending a few extra dollars at a local coffee shop because they know the baristas and have a relationship with them; whether it’s talking about their kids, or even just not having to say their order because the person behind the counter already knows it, that’s value. There’s no reason recruitment firms can’t be any different.
Building relationships with candidates and hiring managers isn’t something that should be looked at as an immediate deal-generator, but more as an investment. Building good relationships with people can lead to tons of deals down the road and all it takes is a few extra minutes of your time.
The good news is, there is a host of great ways to build relationships that now make it easier then ever.
The most direct form of contact would probably still be the phone, it never hurts to check in with an old candidate or client to see how they’re doing even when you don’t have opportunities for them. It may not seem like the best use of your time, but trust me when I say, people will remember it.
Then obviously, you have social media. Using sources like Twitter, LinkedIn or even Facebook is a great opportunity to keep in touch with your clients/candidates on the fly. See how they’re doing, if they’re like their job or opening any new positions, maybe forward along an article you think will enjoy. It doesn’t take much, but it’s going above and beyond the call of duty to show you’re committed to them, which goes a long way when its time to hire, or switch jobs.
The ongoing theme of this piece is about going beyond. Go beyond the typical practices of your job, go beyond your comfort zone when it comes to using social media, go beyond the expectations of your clients, and nine times out of ten when the time comes, they will go beyond for you.