Recruitment Agencies: So you think you are different?

Regular readers know that we at Venn spend a lot of time talking to recruitment agencies. Not just because we like hiring people, but also because we believe passionately that recruitment agencies can benefit hugely from taking a little time to invest in their online presence – it’s a great way to attract candidates, but having some of your consultants make Linkedin connections is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Most agencies know where we’re coming from and have an awareness that web design, SEO, social media, email etc could be great tools for them.

It’s our job to translate this awareness into a fully functioning concept and digital marketing strategy, so we don’t expect clients to come to us knowing all the details and with a plan formed in their minds. Like I say, that’s our job.

To do this job really well we need to delve into your business, your market and what you do that’s different. This is most important in recruitment, as there’s so much competition, but if we pinpoint it we can build whole messages and concepts around this unique selling point.

And this is where we often encounter a bit of a stumbling block with recruitment agencies. We often hear USPs such as “We work in the IT sector” – so do lots of agencies. Right after this comes “We’re really honest”. True, there are some shady recruiters out there so honesty is great. But how many recruiters do you know who’d admit to being dishonest and unethical? As a USP “honesty” is so subjective and bland you might as well just say “we’re alright, we might fill your vacancies in an acceptable manner”.

Now, I’m not saying that these elements can’t form the basis of your USP, but you need to give them some thought and go a little deeper to really create some principles that count as a brand.

For example, one of our clients works in a small niche within a sector. In order to really hone their expertise they split their business into 4 even smaller niches within this niche within a sector. Their consultants have a very narrow focus which means they can really get to know everything about it and everyone in it. Another of our clients works in a finance related industry which has tight regulations, so they translate these regulations to their own practices and have a strict code of conduct which almost stands as a manifesto to candidates and clients. It gives some clarity and backbone to the claim “we’re honest”.

Perhaps it’s the fact that your consultants have worked within the roles they recruit for. Perhaps you conduct research into salaries, skills and employment strategies for your clients. Perhaps you’re really strict about the calibre of candidates you will take on. Whatever your initial USP is, develop it and expand it to really turn it into that thing which defines you as recruiters. Then implement this within your company, ensuring that all your consultants abide by these defining values so that it really is your USP rather than just something you write on your website. That way we can create a campaign that truly reflects you, what you believe and the experience that people have working with you.