Retained or Exclusive recruitment assignments are like the holy grail of the perm industry. Retained assignments seem like a myth that most recruiters have never had the audacity to ask for when trying to win new business. And yet, it’s something that can completely change the financial outlook of a recruitment agency.
We speak to hundreds of recruiters every week, and we encounter the same thing over and over again: only a handful of recruiters in the team – if any – work on a retained or exclusive basis for their clients.
Most people understand that the reason the recruitment industry is so cut-throat is because of the contingent nature of the business’ revenue. No win no fee is a very tough financial model to get started with, and even harder to sustain. Only the best operators can do this well, but most are barely surviving on a hand-to-mouth existence. But what if you could change this? What if you were able to display clear differentiation and value to your clients and potential clients. Differentiation that they can see, without having to trust your sales pitch. Which, let’s face it, in most cases really isn’t that different to your competitors.
For us, that was the lightbulb moment. That’s when we first decided to design and develop video interviewing software specifically to meet the needs of the recruitment industry. Having a bigger network, more experience or 30,000 Facebook followers doesn’t translate to clear value for the client so it’s difficult to sell. It’s also what EVERYONE says makes them better. Equally, things like employing professional copywriters, ensuring your jobs rank well in Google and adopting a mobile-first approach can all help attract candidates. But that’s only half the battle. Adding video to your offering offers you a clear point of differentiation and a distinct advantage over your competitors, which means there’s a genuine benefit to clients in working with you.
First off, video messaging has been proven to dramatically improve engagement rates versus the traditional cold calling or email approach to BD. So straight away you have access to better talent. Then, armed with the latest video interview technology, you can conduct first stage interviews on your client’s behalf, using two-way live or one-way solo options to suit. This means your clients avoid the pain of first round no-shows, internal diary coordination and drop-offs. It also means your candidates no longer have to take time off or spend money on travel for an interview they might unknowingly be ruled out of in the first five minutes. Plus, if you’re up against other contingent recruiters, your candidates are also more likely to be able to skip a stage in the process. The end-result is that with video interviewing you can literally half the time to hire, while doubling your interview to hire ratio.
Of course, it’s not just about shiny technology. You also need to create a culture within the business to make consultants feel comfortable making this change. Retreating at the first sign of resistance will very quickly bring your agency back to that hand-to-mouth financial position you are trying so hard to escape. One of the main things that will empower your teams to make progress is to feel confident in what they’re selling and to truly believe that they are offering real value for their service fee. At that point it’s a no brainer that they’ll ask for exclusivity, and in our experience, it’s an easy sell to clients too.
We’ve successfully helped thousands of recruiters sell more retained assignments. And look, we’re not saying change is easy. What we are saying is that video tech, done right, can truly benefit everyone in the hiring process, helping you move up the value chain from contingent to retained. Which is why it’s here to stay. And those at the forefront of adoption will be the ones to benefit the most from the point of differentiation it offers.
If a client has to ask you about video interviewing, chances are you’ve already missed the boat.