Branding/Marketing/PR Thought Leadership

How start-up recruitment agencies are shaking the industry up

Written by the Editorial Team

by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, Editor of Recruiter imPRint and managing director at CearlyPR

The recruitment sector is bigger than at any time, with a staggering 10,000 new agencies setting up shop in 2018 alone. There is no other sector of the economy reporting such incredible growth rates. In fact, in 2012 the industry was made up of 12,500 recruitment business – today that number stands at 40,000, according to the latest research published by the Clearly PR team.

But while this is great for Britain’s entrepreneurial sector, it poses a major challenge for existing agencies: how do they keep pace with their existing competitors and ensure they retain that all-important advantage over the new kids on the proverbial block?

The most successful business leaders are those who recognise the need to be agile and responsive to change when it comes to their promotional strategy. And there is no greater example of this than the bevy of new recruitment agencies entering the market at a rate of knots.

Time to get in the mindset of the entrepreneur

Nelson Mandela famously said that “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” This is the mantra that many new agency owners appear to live by. They don’t seem daunted by the knowledge that the recruitment industry is three- times larger today than it was six years ago. Nor are they intimidated by the fact that they are just one small fish swimming in an increasingly sea populated by many sharks.

Rather, they look at the agencies they see themselves competing with and understand how to effectively sell themselves against them.

First, they look at the websites of these more established agencies. How modern and in tune with their market are they, or is the design antiquated? Does the aesthetic seem dis-engaging and making the agency look lazy because they can’t be bothered to maintain their virtual shop window?

Then they look at the use of language on these sites. Do they focus on the ‘we’ and ‘us’ rather than turn the focus onto the clients and candidates they wish to engage by using ‘you’ and ‘your’? Is the message all about how great they are with little effort to actually back up their self-aggrandising claims?

Next comes the content that appears on their compettor sites. Are they focusing on the sale all the time and littering their sites with a plethora of calls to action in a bid to draw a sale? Do they have blogs, white papers or case studies that providing useful insights that are helpful and informative?

Personal brand development

New agency owners tend to be more proactive win building their personal brand as well as drive awareness of their agency through PR. For instance, chances are you as a recruiter spend a great deal of your time on LinkedIn and have at least 500+ contacts.

But what are you doing with them – are you just mining them from sales opportunities or do you share information that will add value to them, such as a link to an article or blog that will interest them? This is what recruitment start- ups are very good at.

They’re also adept at getting themselves in the media, whether local, national or trade press. They understand that journalists and editors welcome a broad range of opinions from business owners and contrary to opinion they don’t have their favourites – the more voices they can call upon, the better.

Disruption is here to stay

Disruption is happening across all sectors and recruitment is certainly no exception. Experience and a strong name will only get you so far, but to get ahead and stay there requires constant reassessment of how to make a bigger difference at a faster pace. The rules of the game have changed. It’s down to you to ensure you end up on the winning side.