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"Get talking!"​ The recruitment tactic you need in a cooling tech marketPosted 2 months ago by Nick Caley

As we roll with the punches of the Government's latest budgetary decisions, I considered writing a rant on – as Alistair Campbell has coined – "Kamikwaze Trussonomics".

However, being underqualified is an understatement, so I thought it better to focus on what we canny recruiters can do with our valued clients as we head towards choppier waters.

Now choppy waters could accurately describe all and any recruitment market, all the time.

Enter those who worked through the recession of 2008 – we get it, you're old – save us the stories.

In these very posts, I've spent considerable time imploring clients and candidates to do more of x, and less of y, hoping to make everyone's lives just that little bit easier.

However, with a potential recession upon us and no doubt more twists and turns on the horizons from the politicians, what are you doing about it?

And I mean actually doing?

Good recruiters will pride themselves on strong market knowledge, an engaged candidate pool and the ability to consult with candidates and clients to help them achieve their goals.

But in a potential recession, I'm not sure that's enough.

You need to be doing more.

We're still seeing many technology businesses actively hiring, but the market's cooling.

So how you help any of your clients secure the right people most efficiently will become even more important. 

And that's down to you.

I'd split that challenge into three main areas: communication, relationship, and knowledge.

In my experience, most good recruiters think they're doing a decent job, so they rarely take a step back and analyse the above.

And with what may lie ahead, I think you need to be on top of your game.

Make client conversations habitual

For those sales managers among us, you'll know how hard it is to break a habit, but this is one we want. Those calls can be two minutes or twenty but having a pre-booked weekly client catch-up ensures both sides are entirely up to date with plans, priorities, and challenges. 

And offers a deadline to work towards for all hiring activity.

The same goes for your relationships. In my experience, providing an excellent recruitment service and being honest (and friendly) in the process is the best way to build good relationships.

However, over time there's no reason why you can't be more than a recruiter to your clients, heck I still meet old clients for a drink from 10 years back… and we manage to find things to talk about.

So, with the festive period fast approaching – and WFH now much more prevalent – you need to think about November for your client drinks, events, and meals.

Get booking.

Again, doing a good job is the best way to stay popular, but heck, if you can have a drink or two and a lovely time along the way then why not.

Knowledge remains key

Then there's knowledge, what you understand about your client and their needs.

How deep you'll go to probe that information and what feedback you give when you receive it?

Clients may get choosier as candidates get less popular.

Expectations could flatten, perhaps less on what a client can afford and what a candidate can achieve.

How you decipher those needs, priorities, and what each side can live without, and translate, will make all the difference.

Build knowledge packs and real-world examples for the markets you work. Salary ranges to typical benefits packages, obvious competitors to common hiring challenges. Share them readily.

We all still know that 'skill x' is more valuable than 'skill y', or why you can't get skills x and y in the same person, but have you the data to back it up?

Clients will get there in the end – and hell, nobody is perfect at this, but in a bear market, you need to be more proactive. 

The same goes for those clients who turn off the hiring tap.

The best time you'll ever spend with a client

I started working at Client Server in 2010, and we are still actively hiring for more than 20 businesses we recruited on my first day on the job. 

That's primarily based on providing a good service.

But as our Chairman DK once said to me, "the best time you'll ever spend with a client is when they're not hiring."

Sounds kinda backwards right, the best time is when they aren't hiring.

But that's the point. Your role is in building a strong relationship, with a good understanding of who and what that business is, with the appropriate lines of communication available should you need to act on it.

That doesn't mean you need to hound them, but it does mean you need to treat them with same level of care and respect as you do those who are (currently) paying the bills.

Focus on exactly the same three things with the clients that are cooling off.

I'm not scared of a recession, or how much more challenging the tech recruitment market may be, hell if you read LinkedIn then the IR35 changes will save us all anyway.

But trust me – if you don't do things like the above – then you, and most importantly your clients, will suffer as a result.