Recruitment is having a bit of a boom period at the moment, there are more Agencies than ever before, there were 8,488 agencies registered in 2018 alone, bringing the total amount to just under 40,000 across the UK.
And yet, they all claim to be different, unique and the perfect option for any client to use. No matter what their needs are. Yes, there are definitely some boutique and specialist agencies out there; in fact, the chances are, if you read most agency websites, you are probably sat in one right now.
Everyone is a specialist. Everyone is niche.
Everyone has that ‘tailored approach to your needs’ but how tailored can you be?
Everyone has the same tools
So what is this tailored approach? Job boards, adverts, databases, LinkedIn Recruiter and tech events. Everyone has the same tools, some use all of them, and some use some of them. But that’s how everyone finds their candidates. Talent pools, sourcing strategies, strict screening processes, exclusive databases, blogs etc. it’s all website jargon. It means nothing.
How can you say you are different if you rely on the same tools as everyone else? What makes you different?
How are your practices unique? Because the chances are they are not.
Get rid of the Mission Statement
Forget about your Mission Statement, no one cares, and no one reads them. Even your staff do not know what your Mission Statement is. They are just nonsense words to take up space on your website.
When was the last time you looked through your competitor’s websites? It’s a useful exercise to do, a lot of them read like they were all written by the same person.
Can you honestly say you are different to them?
Everyone is just trying to dress up the same process in a unique way. And most of it is nonsense. We all know what it means. But we are hoping the clients don’t notice.
New toys on the block
The positive out of all this is that some clever people noticed all the beige out there and decided to give us some new toys to play with to help us stand out.
There has been a big boom in the use of video over the last two years for example. And not just individual Consultants using video as a way to reach candidates, but there are more and more start-ups popping up with their own video-based CRM’s and Interviewing Software. Allowing us to showcase our ‘tailored approach’.
LinkedIn is even getting involved with their new LinkedIn Live function allowing us to broadcast instantly.
Recruitment Marketing companies are an actual thing now, which never existed a few years ago — also allowing us to market ourselves in our own unique way.
Even the job boards are trying to keep up by offering more and more services to differentiate themselves from each other.
Is everyone jumping on the same bandwagon?
No one can deny that all these new toys have been great to play with and have done a great job for Recruitment as a whole. I for one am a big advocate for the use of video and see it having the biggest effect on our industry over the next year. And if you are not using it in your business now, then you need to start.
A cynic might say that in order to be different, you need to be first, which is true to some extent. To be different and to stand out you need to be innovative.
At the moment there are enough agencies not on the bandwagon allowing the ones that are to separate themselves from their competitors.
But it won’t last long, the rest of them are starting to notice and are running after that bandwagon for their own piece of the action.
And when they do, what does that mean?
Does that bring us back to square one? Everyone using the same toys as everyone else, everyone saying the same old bullshit but just in a new way?
Everyone claiming to be different.
What are you going to do about it?
It almost sounds like a losing battle. The winners being the ones to spot the new trend before everyone else comes along and rinsing it for all it’s worth.
So what can you do about it? How do you actually make yourselves different?
If I were to take away your job boards, your database, your video and your LinkedIn Recruiter accounts what have you got left?
It’s not an easy question to answer, it may be a shock to the system, and you will need to be really honest with yourself. You may not like the answer; you may even be left with nothing.
But this is what makes you different.
Creator of The Recruiter Index, an industry blog and advisory site.
I have spent 11 years in Recruitment, working permanent and contract in the UK as well as parts of Europe such as Scandinavia and Dach. Most of my experience has been in management, both hands-on and non-billing.