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How small recruitment agencies can attract - and retain - the right people

Posted by Nigel Harse FRCSA on 1 September 2017
How small recruitment agencies can attract - and retain - the right people

New data shows small agencies are suffering a declining headcount. So, we look at the five most effective ways to prioritise internal recruitment and retention.

If you read our latest APositive insights powered by SIM, you will know small recruitment agencies in Australia are suffering a declining headcount, which is holding back annual sales and sales growth.

This is despite the industry enjoying a busy period -  in fact, an additional $141 million in sales was recorded by 115 Australian recruitment agencies in the 12 months to April 2017, according to SIM.

So, what's the problem?

The catch is, small recruitment agencies are actively prioritising filling orders ahead of growing their team. This is leading to a decline in headcount and, ultimately, a drop in annual sales.

What's more, agencies are left with tired and frazzled team members, and could be faced with the problem of having to kick start good internal recruiting practices when the market slows.

Instead, smaller firms must always prioritise internal recruitment and retention as a high ranking, business critical activity even when fully staffed.

This means having suitable team members in the wings so that when someone leaves, you can fill the gap quickly and seamlessly, or have the talent available when you are ready to grow.

To help attract and retain the right people to your recruitment agency consider these factors:

  1. SET TIME ASIDE FOR STAFFING STRATEGIES
    Regardless of how busy you are, try to devote a set number of hours per week to focus on internal recruitment. The goal is to grow the people and the business, not wear them out and expect them to do more as the team diminishes. Yes, the team may rise to the occasion, but if it happens too often this goodwill will end, and without notice.
  2. MAKE YOUR AGENCY MORE ATTRACTIVE
    Don't just rely on ad responses from SEEK or the R2R firms, quickly devote time to think about how you should change your attraction strategies and methods so that you lure the right people to your door.
  3. SHAKE UP YOUR RECRUITMENT PROCESS
    Look for ways to refresh your internal recruitment process make it a challenging but rewarding one. By not moving with the times you could be driving the right people away.
  4. YES, IT'S PERSONAL!
    In the majority of cases, the owner of an agency is the main reason why people want to join your business they often see great appeal in learning from your knowledge and experience. Try to turn this strong point of difference into a compelling attraction that comes to life through your actions, words and promises during the recruitment process.
  5. TAKE DECLINING HEADCOUNTS SERIOUSLY
    There's no doubt the larger firms are throwing more time and money at recruitment to ensure they attract the right people. In short, they are treating the issue of declining headcounts as a serious matter that must be resolved. Smaller firms can and should do the same.

See the data that reveals declining headcounts among small recruitment agencies across Australia.

Author: Nigel Harse FRCSA
About: Highly regarded and widely sought after for his knowledge, unwavering passion and innovation, Nigel is a 40-year veteran of the recruitment industry.
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Tags: Business Profitability Insights Blog Successful Recruitment Staff Turnover Staffing and Recruitment

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