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Quality not Quantity

Irrelevant of how good an agency, how good the individual consultants are or how great a relationship we have with any client, for the last 6 or 7 years or so during the recession, price has been the only key item that wins business. The ultimate knock-on effect of this is that it promotes a culture in our industry where we are sending over as many candidates as possible, as fast as possible, hoping for a hit; the term “it’s a numbers game” is heedlessly banded around almost too nonchalantly. This is where the problem starts. The quality of our service starts to dip and the lower price that is reflected is warranted. The biggest issue is that it is almost irreversible… how do you raise a price whether or not you raise your standards, after you have agreed a 10% flat fee?? It is not easy, I’ve tried it many times. We’ve not helped each other either in the recruitment industry; it is a viciously competitive industry and needless to say due to that competition and the need to win more business in this squeezing market, the price is the easiest thing to sell on by merely dropping it. “What are you currently paying? We’ll promise to save you money with your recruitment regardless of the vacancy” Sound familiar? Fast forward to the here and now. We are back at pre-recession economic GDP and the country is on the mend. So how does this fair for the recruitment industry? Good as it happens, as long as we are being smart and stick to principles and ensure that quality is being sold, not quantity. My clients have a certain expectation when they call me with a job. The main one is that it is me dealing with the recruitment, so they don’t have to go through the process themselves. The key thing is the process. My job is to ensure that I map out a successful process of recruitment from start to finish with expectations of timings, results and costings from the very beginning. With this I am able to quantify all aspects of our service and not just the price. Using this as a sales tool, my team and I are able to sell our service on much more than just single introduction fee. This conversation often allows the client an insight into how much of a quality our service actually is. This also means the output of CVs is reduced per position as we are not having to adopt the “numbers game” method of sending as many CVs per position as possible as every CV we send will be well matched. Ultimately our fill rate will be increased as we understand what our clients are looking for. The rise in the economy shows that companies have more money to spend but equally are still not likely to be frivolous (like pre-2008). This is why it is more important than ever to be able to qualify why we are worth our brass, but also being able to quantify why we are worth it. If you can’t do that, then you may be in the wrong industry.
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By Liz Quinton

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