When I started in recruitment over 21 years ago, you would turn up for your first day and be given a phone, a Bic pen and some paper. Then, as time went on, you would start building up a database of contacts, both candidates and clients and store them in your “top box”.
Those heady days are long gone however, the rise of social media has made way for a new way of working for the recruitment industry and has, in my opinion, altered the way in which the recruitment industry is viewed.
I remember hammering the phones day in, day out, when I first started in recruitment; cold calling clients until they agreed to work with me. But in reality, the companies that did the best had the largest advertising budgets. They were the ones whose phones were ringing off the hook with candidates and clients who wanted to work with them because they seemed to be the only show in town. The adage of “speculate to accumulate” was certainly true in mid-90’s recruitment.
Fast-forward 20 years to today, and there’s more competition than ever in the recruitment industry. Data from Companies House confirmed that in 2015 a total of 5,110 recruitment companies launched in the UK, a 144% increase on the 2,092 agencies launched in 2010. And with a further 2,926 recruitment agencies launched within the first six months of 2016 alone, this trend does not show any sign of abating.
If paid advertising was still the winning hand in a recruitment poker game, there’d be more chips than agencies!
But both candidates and clients don’t just want jobs jobs jobs pushed at them anymore. In fact, part of me thinks they never did! We’ve all become a bit savvier, and want more information than ever before. Remember when you used to go to the travel agents, look at a brochure and pick a holiday there and then? How many people realistically do that anymore? Without getting recommendations from friends or researching using Google or Trip Advisor?
The same goes for working with a recruitment company. Candidates and clients no longer just work with the most well-known, or the loudest recruitment agency out there. They work with agencies and consultants that they trust, that engage with them about topics that they’re interested in, rather than just jobs.
Social media has given Finlay James the platform to connect with candidates and clients on this level; and being listed as a Top 25 Socially Engaged Staffing Company is testament to our success in doing so.
At Finlay James, only a percentage of what we do is attracting candidates through pushing our jobs. A large proportion of our time is spent developing and nurturing relationships, and we encourage our recruitment consultants to show a bit of personality on their social media channels.
Well, we want our consultants to be seen as thought leaders, to be the go-to person within their networks for insight and news from the sales, technology and digital sectors. Using social media enables our consultants to educate, inform and engage and ultimately build relationships with candidates and clients. The benefit of doing so is that Finlay James and our consultants are seen as a trusted and knowledgeable partner. A company or individual that they want to work with when the occasion arises.
On a wider scale, the more recruitment companies that use social media in this way, and for the purpose of engaging and relationship development, the more the perception of the recruitment industry will change. Moving away from the “bullish” reputation that recruitment has been known to have; to being viewed as an insightful advisor.