Our UK jobs have fallen below 400 live permanent vacancies for the first time in over 18 months. Time to panic? Don't be silly, people.
This figure doesn't include any job that may have multiple vacancies within them. And despite our UK jobs falling steadily at about 10% per month for the last four months, there is still a glut of opportunities to be working on and, more importantly, fulfil our part of the bargain by getting these jobs filled with quality candidates.
Having been inundated with jobs for so long, we have been spoilt for choice. This is when consultants with the best skills come to the fore. Anyone can make the odd placement when the market is hysterical about hiring, but only a skilled consultant can make deals when the market changes around them.
Lest we forget, not so long ago, we had less than half a job per consultant to work on per month. Now we are pushing over five jobs per consultant per month, and realistically that figure is more like 7+.
So rather than worrying about where your new jobs are coming from or why your job list is shrinking, start ensuring you are still one of the best performing consultants with what you have.
Doing so is a little like a summer reset.
Focus on what's in front of you
As salespeople, we tend to have short memories. We are programmed like goldfish, magpies, or both. Forget the hard times as fast as possible, continually tell people, "You're only as good as your last month", or get distracted by shiny new things.
But the best thing to do is to take stock:
1) Go through your live jobs, grade them from most to least fillable, and work them in that priority order. Commit to sending at least three candidates to each job and don't let yourself off the hook or give yourself the chance to make excuses.
2) For the roles you have "graded" as least fillable, go back to your client(s) and requalify the job. No matter how well you may think you know them, there is a reason these types of jobs don't get filled. So again, speak to your client, advise them, give them market comparable examples, and be a consultant. But don't just let the job stagnate. Someone better will fill it. Either it's hot, or it's not a live vacancy.
3) Time to revisit old, new, and prospective clients – You don't need to do cold calling style BD every day. But you should set aside time to check in with clients you have worked with and want to work with. Give them a market update, and get a sense of their thinking. Everyone is uncertain at the moment, now is a good time to share those concerns, information or whatever you think will make them put down the phone and say, "That was a great conversation. They know what they're talking about. I must use them when I'm hiring again."
4) Check in with your candidates. Ones you have placed, ones that got away and ones that you are trying to place. They are all looking for reassurance, as we all are. They want to know what's happening in the market even if they're not looking for a new opportunity. So don't be the consultant who only phones them when trying to push a job on them. You want to be the first person they think of if they start looking for a new job.
Get back into good habits
The summer holidays are over. Drinking Pina Coladas on the beach whilst inhaling a smorgasbord board of delicious treats is done. You must get back on that consultant treadmill and start showing some discipline again. You must get yourself back up to consultant-level fitness as fast as possible. Take advantage of the summer break lull, and get ahead of your competitors, focus on:
- Day plan
- Time management
- Consistent activity levels
You're in a good space
Remember how lucky you are. Sometimes it's easy to feel hard done by or bemoan the "bad luck" you've been having, but don't forget, we are extremely lucky. We work in an industry where you are in charge of your own destiny. The harder you work, the more money you will make. And by hard work, I mean smart work! Of course, it's not always easy, but successful people don't take the easy route, last time I checked. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world and many challenges that lie ahead, but what better way to combat those than by taking them head-on!