Goal Setting 2020: Ships in a harbour are safe…

Where has the year gone?!


With just 9 weeks to go until the end of 2019, recruitment business leaders should be focusing on 3 things:


Ensuring the year finishes on an absolute high –


There is still time to make 2019 your best year yet – a big chunk of the work / effort you and your teams have put in these past 43 weeks is still yet to be realised, so close off October, then rally the team together and get everyone to commit to the next two months.


Make everyone pledge to what they will contribute to the Big end of year Push – a nine week sprint to the end of 2019 – no excuses of distractions (aka the Christmas parties!).


We’ve just posted all of ours on the walls in our office, so everyone is accountable for what they have to do, no hiding.


Celebrating the successes, and the failures –

As the year starts to draw to a close, it is the perfect time to reflect back and celebrate your W3 (what has gone well in 2019, what hasn’t gone so well, and what will we do differently in 2020?).


If you’re planning an end of year awards, then use the good news stories to remind people on all the good things they have done (back office to front office) and use the bad news stories and learning points to build on.


This needs to start happening now, as the data and insights this gives us, enables us to properly…


Set Stretch Goals, that everyone wants to achieve –


Well ahead of the end of the year, your 2020 goals need to be defined, agreed, signed off and shared.


Everyone in the business should be doing this from operations, to leadership, to recruiters, to BD, to marketing – this is not just a Directors’ thing behind the closed doors of the Boardroom.


In recruitment, your 2020 year starts in November 2019, as a two-month lead time keeps the cycle of BD and talent pooling ahead of schedule, so give your people a simple goal setting template (ask me if you need one to use as a template) to complete in their own time and present that back to the management team to mutually sign off in the next couple of weeks so they can start working towards them already, well ahead before the new year kicks off on Jan 2nd.


The key here is to make sure the goals that are agreed for 2020 are in the stretch zones, not the comfort or panic zones.


If the goals are genuinely unrealistic, that puts people in a Panic Zone which in turn creates negativity, fear and actually shrinks the size of someone’s original comfort zone.


Similarly, staying in a comfort zone does not create growth, learning or even aspiration.  It is safe and boring, and that is not what Goal Setting is about. Never forget, “a ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”.


So, what are your goals for 2020?  How far will your stretch yourself, your business to make next year the best year yet in your business?  Now is the time to decide…

Why guest blogging needs to be part of your recruitment marketing plan.

Why guest blogging needs to be part of your recruitment marketing plan


One of the overall aims of recruitment marketing is to increase brand awareness so that:

  1. You are the recruitment agency employers call when they are looking to recruit
  2. You are the agency top quality candidates register with when they are looking for a job
  3. You are the agency big billers want to work for


So how does guest blogging help you to achieve these goals?


1.    Guest blogging extends your reach beyond the readership of your own blog


Target relevant industry specific blogs that your clients read and you can tap into an audience who may otherwise never have visited your website.  Obviously it depends on the search phrases your site is optimised for but the majority of visitors to recruitment websites are likely to be active job seekers.  There are all sorts of stats out there on why passive job seekers are more attractive hires and why you should be using your content to target them instead but I’m not here to advise on whether or not that is the case.


What I will tell you is this, candidates become clients when they are impressed by their candidate experience and that should definitely be part of your recruitment marketing strategy but it takes time and depends on their seniority.  Getting in front of hiring managers and demonstrating your expertise is a quicker win.


2.    Being published on a third-party site gives you extra credibility


It’s not just you and your recruitment agency that thinks what you have to say is useful and interesting.  Someone else has agreed to publish it on their site.  That means something.  That holds sway with readers.


For example, we at BlueSky PR may be sent a number of requests from recruiters and recruitment industry suppliers to publish their content on our blog but we have a strict set of criteria that any content has to meet before we will agree to post it.  This has to be original and must be relevant to the recruitment, HR and talent management sectors.  Every blog you approach will have a slightly different set of criteria but those two are pretty standard.


3.    They’re great for inbound recruitment marketing


As marketers we are all looking to increase our website traffic and, even more so, our conversion rate.  At the end of the day, we want a tangible result that we can measure to demonstrate the effectiveness of our marketing activities.


A blog is much more likely to let you include a link to your own website than say an article mentioning you in the FT (not that we don’t all want that as well, but that’s a different story for another post).  If you’re lucky they may even let you include a link to a piece of gated content on your site.


Use a trackable URL and you’ll be able to see directly how much traffic your post generated and how many of those visitors went on to convert to clients or candidates.


4.    It gives you material you can use in your business development


This goes for media coverage, whitepapers, reports etc. as well.  But media coverage and guest posts in particular, because of the additional third-party credibility I discussed above, are great conversation starters.  You can subtly bring them up in conversation at a conference, or on the phone, or you can include a link when you’re emailing a warm lead to help seal the deal.


It’s no coincidence that I’m writing a guest post for TRN promoting guest blogging.  Guest blogging and PR are a big part of our marketing plan here at BlueSky PR.  Why?  Because they get us in front of a wider audience (hello it’s nice to meet you for the first time).  Because they add third party credibility to our insights and advice. And because we like to practice what we preach.


Interested in writing a guest post for our blog

 Need help with your recruitment marketing strategy or with ghost writing your blog content?  Get in touch.

Author: Jennifer Wright, Head of Group Marketing at BlueSky PR – experts in recruitment PR, marketing and communications

Recruitment World – Everyone’s a nosey neighbour?

Come on, let’s be honest. What we really want to know is what are our competitors up to? How are they doing it and very importantly how good are they? Even if you are not thinking this, which I doubt, your competitors certainly want to know this about you! Now I’m not advocating industrial espionage but I am certainly a true believer in benchmarking your recruitment business against the market.

More and more as an industry we are understanding the value of collaboration, peer to peer networking and knowledge sharing. It’s a basic human trait to want to learn more, gain from others experiences, grow and understand what is out there. Be it from reading a book or blog, viewing a vlog or documentary or being part of a club or network; any window on performance has got to be positive.

We all have reports and technology that internally collates and analyses what activity our consultants, our clients and our candidates are getting up to. We need this information to steer the ship, make decisions and provide guidance for the changes any business needs to make to be competitive. We then judge ourselves, not exclusively but fairly rigorously on our financial performance, studying those profit and loss accounts with vigour. We often use turnover or EBITDA as a measure when speaking about how we are performing. We may also get subjective or anecdotal advice to measure whether we are performing well, whether we are profitable enough or spending enough or even too much. But wouldn’t it be easier just to compare?

The benefits of external peer-group benchmarking are well accepted and utilised in many mature industry sectors and it’s now available to the recruitment sector!

Consider these benefits and think about the difference it might make to your mind set or business because it will allow you to:

  • Gain an independent perspective about how well you perform compared to other companies.
  • Drill down into performance gaps to identify areas for improvement.
  • Develop a standardised set of processes and metrics.
  • Enable a mindset and culture of continuous improvement.
  • Set performance expectations based on current industry performance

The holy grail is obviously to compare one recruitment business against another, those that are the same size, with the same type of clients or working in the same specialist sectors. But it is not very often that you come across someone willing to show you theirs if you show them yours! Larger recruitment groups, particularly ones that have acquired numerous successful entrepreneurial businesses often have this privilege and have exploited it. I have seen the benefits of this type of internal collaboration first hand and trust me, it works!

So why not get a group together (The Recruitment Network), clever technology that offers you a window on your performance, spend some time collating that data and dare to compare! If you haven’t got that type of data to hand, you should have it in order to run a successful recruitment business but that is another rant for another day. Currently I’ll settle for knowing how good you really are, so how good are you?


Daniel Griggs is UK partner for the highly acclaimed Staffing Industry Metrics global recruitment benchmarking dashboard, they proudly support the rapidly growing global peer to peer organisation The Recruitment Network. He is also founder of Delta Genesis Consulting sharing recruitment knowledge by offering mentoring, managerial, training and executive support on an advisory, interim or non-executive basis. He has over thirty years professional business-to-business experience having been in the Recruitment world since his first role in 1989. He has worked for small, medium and global staffing businesses developing an in-depth knowledge of the industry. Holding roles that have seen him progress from consultant to board level whilst recruiting, training, managing, directing and developing businesses both domestically and internationally in several sectors. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals and a Business Mentor for the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). You can also follow him on twitter @DeltaGenesisCon or Instagram

#DGQuoteOfTheDay #DGThoughtPitStop #RecruitmentKnowledgeShared #RecruitmentMetricsShared

Being Positively Courageous.

With this Autumn Huddles theme being positively courageous I thought it would be best to look at some traits that make us courageous, and what sets those who are courageous apart from the rest.

1 – Embrace vulnerability – if you live a fear-based life you’re less likely to have little or no confidence if you feel afraid of others seeing who you are, open up and be more vulnerable.

2 – Admit you have fears – Admitting your fears and identifying what you’re truly afraid of gives you the information you need to overcome them.

3 – Face your fears – Exposing yourself to what you fear is the best way to overcome it, scared of spiders? Go and handle one and see how you feel after.

4 – Think positively – Sure difficult times will come, but it’s best to overcome these by thinking positively.

5 – Reduce your stress – Easier said than done I’m sure, but sometimes you experience fear due to being exhausted, sleep, good food and exercise certainly help reduce stress.

6 – Demonstrate courage – Take time to help people who are in uncomfortable situations, instead of ignoring people in distress, help.

7 – Know failure but press forward – If you fail, learn from it, keep moving forward.

8 – Cope with risk and uncertainty – Conquer fears by learning to deal with life’s uncertainties. If you fear to lose your clients, or employees, figure out what it’ll take to keep them.

9 – Continue to learn – Grow, learn and improve. Take all opportunities to learn new skills. Read books, consume podcasts and videos, the more you know the more you can grow.

10 – Accept your challenges – Stay the course, even the greatest plans can fail, the best option is to have a plan b, c, d and e to make sure you can get through the challenges that can come.

We shouldn’t let fear drive decisions, we shouldn’t let fear have control, the answer is to be positively courageous!

Flexi working in Recruitment, are you embracing it?

There was a lot of chat in the #TRN Members Whatsapp group this weekend about how to manage flexible working within their teams. Here are a few top tips for managing your team, keeping them engaged and firing on all cylinders!


  • Make time for small talk – continue to build rapport with your team even if they’re not office based, this is essential to keeping them engaged.
  • Provide them with the right tools – Making sure your employees have access to all the files, information, and updates they need. Tools like Slack, Trello and Asana are great for this.
  • Use video as often as possible when communicating – Research shows more than half of human communication is nonverbal. When you don’t get to see someone in the office every day, having any type of visual clue to what someone is thinking is essential. 
  • Have longer 1 to 1’s – Open door policy fails when your remote team don’t know if you’re in the office, at your desk or in a meeting. Make sure you take extra time for any ad-hoc issues that may be happening.
  • Trust in your team – You hired this person for a reason, it’ll soon be apparent from their KPI’s and targets if they’re not doing a good enough job.


Flexible working is coming, and as recruitment businesses, this needs to be embraced, there’s plenty of benefits to allowing your employees more freedom – give it a try with some of your proven billers and watch them grow!


What are some of your top tips when it comes to flexi working in recruitment?

The Recruitment Network Summer Retreat 2019 Write up

Encouraging business leaders to understand the art of “being clueless” isn’t a message you’ll hear at many events, but The Recruitment Network’s Summer Retreat has never been an event where ‘same old, same old’ is churned out.

180 business leaders learned from Coffee Republic co-founder Sahar Hashemi that even though Coffee Republic grew to be considered one of the most successful coffee brands in the world – Sahar and her brother Bobby started the business completely clueless. Clueless about business; clueless about building a brand and completely clueless about coffee. Surprisingly, being clueless turned out to be one of the key contributors to the success as Sahar and Bobby were able to see things through the eyes of their customers – which ultimately gave them an advantage when making the most important business decisions that led to their growth and success. Being clueless meant that they weren’t stuck in – what Sahar described as – “the expert trap”. The expert trap comes armed with phrases such as “I know what works”, “it’s not industry practice” or “this is the way we’ve always done it” and at times, this kind of attitude can become toxic within a team and can stop the business from flourishing. After a lot of rejection, persistence and coffee tastings – due to Sahar and Bobby’s ability to put themselves in their customers shoes – they came up with the perfect blend for their business model and their cup of coffee. Inevitably the more expertise and experience we gain over the years, the less ‘clueless’ and therefore entrepreneurial we become.


Over a jam packed schedule at TRN’s two day summer retreat, members come together alongside some of the most remarkable thought leaders at the beautiful Tortworth Court in Bristol. Collaboratively they tackled how we can achieve not only the perfect cup of coffee, but the perfect blend of people; systems; processes and attitudes in our businesses to really help them thrive.


“It’s impossible to come away from any TRN event and not feel energised, informed & commercially re-invigorated, and the annual Retreat was no different” – A comment from one of our members when asked about their time at this years Summer Retreat. So to give you a bit of an insight on how the two days unfolded …

The Recruitment Network has always sought to help members think outside the ‘box’ of their business and indeed recruitment to think differently. F1 team leader Mark Gallagher how even in the high tech world of Formula 1 his ultimate learning from his (very successful) 35 year career is that “it is people that make a difference every single time”.  Trust-worthy, dedicated and motivated people are the foundation of success and in a world where everyone talks about innovation – sometimes the answer doesn’t have to be a crazy and complex idea, something seemingly small and simple can change everything. Mark shared a story of how his team’s hospitality bus driver (Dave) was ultimately responsible for the team winning the French Grand Prix. Dave shared none of the technical skills that his colleagues in the pits or data analysts had, but Dave came up with a simple idea that would give the team an edge over their competition. At first Dave’s idea was ridiculed, until eventually their technical director gave instructions to the team to follow Dave’s advice – mid-race! Why? Because he trusted Dave, and he had seen Dave’s passion for his job and his team for the past 7 years.

Recognise their contribution, involve them in decision making rather than leaving them feeling disconnected and encourage them to bring ideas (no matter how big or small) to the table – it can be a game changer.


Hearing Mark’s thoughts on how we can use data to improve human performance was also really insightful. It sparks the question – do we use the data available to us to its full potential? For most of us in the recruitment industry, the answer is probably no.

Lars Tewes isn’t a household name but he should be for anyone in sales. Lars ran a phenomenal, truly thought provoking, sales workshop, introducing us to the “Habits Triangle”, a ridiculously simple, yet powerful framework to drive up sales performance. The Habits Triangle frames skills, motivators  and systems which impact the sales performance of recruitment consultants. Having mapped it out the and rated it, the results were extremely eye opening – it became apparent that 17 out of 18 tables had rated ‘systems’ effectiveness the lowest – which meant that approximately 95% of people in the room agreed that systems/processes and the use of them were their businesses’ weakest link.


Possibly the biggest factor preventing us from achieving our goals is therefore a lack of good systems and processes being used. This is common across a lot of sales businesses, and recruitment businesses are no exception. Lars’s experience is that the ‘culture of sales’ has convinced us that the ‘systems/processes’ part of the triangle is not as important as the other two aspects. We pay a lot of money for good systems, whether this is a CRM or other tech – but if we are not analysing and utilising the data we gain from it, then we will never experience a good ROI.


“Meat Loaf was wrong when he sang Two out of Three ain’t Bad”  Skills and motivation without use of systems/processes does not unlock sales performance and potential. We need to put a focus back on systems and how we can leverage our data.


A day soaking up knowledge and insights from thought leaders, industry experts and peers earned everyone the chance to reflect, let their hair down a little, chill and have some fun. Members, partners and the TRN Team enjoyed a memorable Glastonbury themed evening with entertainment ranging from a live band, giant bubbles, a butterfly on stilts, jugglers and a fire show!


“I couldn’t have found the last 24 hours more stimulating and energising, frightening yet reassuring, innovative yet so simple and just plain fun” – some feedback shared by one of our members.


TRN has always believed in physical wellbeing as much as developing skills and knowledge.  Yet again the Summer Retreat 7 am bootcamp proved popular this time run by Steve Preston, CEO of Heat Recruitment (ex-military!). With the scorching sun and an hour of high impact physical exercise – some of our members, partners and the TRN Team certainly felt the heat at The Retreat!

Friday morning introduced Kate Hull Rodgers to TRN with the philosophy of “People who have fun, get more done”. With mental health and wellbeing higher up the agenda than ever, Kate shared (in a hysterical approach) how laughter can improve your mental health and the list of health benefits associated with the physical activity of laughter and taught us an exercise (that she has named humour-obics) that will not be forgotten.


This year, to add real practical value the members as possible, on top of the speakers, a selection of 6 interactive breakout sessions were offered throughout the two days, with members choosing the workshops most relevant to them and their businesses across on marketing, finance, productization, building a contract desks, scaling up and creating high performing teams. Each workshop combined recruitment sector experts, peers challenging each others’ thinking and collaboration in solving some of the biggest challenges currently being faced within the industry and within each of their businesses – TRN at it’s best.

We wrapped up two days worth of incredible content with an interactive presentation from Pete Wilkinson (Founder and CEO of Reclaro), who dug deep with our members about what challenges they face themselves, with their teams and with their business. Pete provided a lot of practical solutions and one piece of advice in particular really resonated . “Lots of us write a to-do list, but what we need to build is a ‘not to-do list’” – Pete recognised that not using our time efficiently, can be one of the most detrimental things we can do. Pete told us about an american corporate who banned staff from cc’ing each other into emails for 30 days. Most of the time, CC’ing someone into an email is just a way to safeguard yourself from blame – but it wastes a lot of time. On average, the business found that each exec gained 45 minutes a day, simply by not having to read emails that weren’t relevant. So simple, but such a great piece of advice from Pete.


TRN’s 2019 Summer Retreat was really an event to remember and we are delighted that our members found true value in our key-note speakers, interactive breakout sessions, practical take-aways and in many peer to peer exercises.


“Brilliantly organised, amazing attendees and powerful speakers – made a huge difference to me and my business”


“Exactly what I needed to refocus and revisit the strategy in my business. Brilliantly planned with excellent keynote speakers. 10/10 TRN. Can’t wait to implement all of the things that I picked up over the 2 days”


“The retreat gives me both the encouragement and kick i need”


“Great opportunity to share ideas and collaborate. Feeling refocused thanks to great speakers & practical takeaways”


You will often hear our Founding Director Gordon Stoddart, talk about the importance of asking for (and providing) feedback. Asking for feedback is something that TRN feel passionate about – and it’s feedback like this that makes us incredibly proud of our network and what we can achieve together. In the words of one of our members – “TRN is not your average network, it’s THE network for recruitment leaders”, we couldn’t agree more!

Emma Reeves – The Recruitment Network

To find out more about The Recruitment Network please drop us a line at support@therecruitmentnetwork.com

Guildford – Let’s get ready to Recruitment Rumble!

So, with the speakers for the Guildford Rumble confirmed (Neil Rudolph, Johnny Campbell and Mike Whatman) I thought I’d wet your appetite and let you know what they’ll be presenting on.

First up Neil will be giving us his LinkedIn 101 – an interactive workshop that’ll help your consultants optimise and sell better specifically on LinkedIn.

Johnny will then be helping consultants with their social and online engagement, specifically candidate attraction and how to engage with potential candidates.

After lunch, I’ll be up on stage presenting on business development and account penetration, and making them marginal gains!

Mike will be wrapping up the day with another interactive session covering consultant efficiency, exerting influence on the process to increase your fill rate!

It stands to be a great day, with lots to cover and loads of value for recruitment consultants, can’t wait!

Thinking differently: 3 ways to prepare for 2021

Agency = a business that provides a service. However, it has been reported that millennials like to engage with ‘brands’ over ‘businesses’. Using insight from a report by Inkling and Censuswide, we have identified three ways to develop your brand in order to meet the prerequisites of driving millennial engagement.

1 – Keep it real

Authenticity is considered first-class currency in the eyes of millennials. But what actually is viewed as authentic? Surveying nearly 70,000 millennials, Inkling and Censuswide reveal the top authenticity factors according to this demographic:

  • 2% of respondents ranked brands that stood for high quality as being the most authentic.
  • In second place is brands that treat and speak to their audience like real people.
  • Next are brands that share interesting and relatable content.
  • Closely behind relevant content is co-creation – brands that exercise customer feedback when developing their products.

Authenticity can generate real business impact. This is also supported by research from Cohn & Wolfe, that found 91 percent of consumers are willing to reward a brand for its authenticity via “purchase, investment, endorsement or similar action.” 

Cohn & Wolfe investigated and identified the top 100 authentic brands of 2017, praising front-runners including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google. See the full verdict of who and why here.

2 – Share your values

UK Millennials are renowned for their tendency to favour brands with strong ethical credentials. In fact, almost 70% of survey respondents claimed that they would explore the ethics and values of a brand before making a decision. Additionally, older millennials (aged 25-34) professed that a brand which is environmentally and socially responsible is likely to win their loyalty.

To identify brand principles, a business needs to determine what the company holds truly valuable and draw up a social responsibility strategy that reflects this.

In 2016, Lego did just this. The company reported tremendous growth and attributed its success to both its customer-centric model and its sustainability efforts as it announced its best year ever with its global sales growing by 19%, reaching double-digit growth in all its markets.


“We are honoured to see that our efforts to positively impact the planet resonate with people all over the world. We feel a huge sense of responsibility to inspire and develop children through play while leaving a significant positive impact on the world children will inherit. It is part of our DNA as a company, and we will continue to set the bar high for ourselves to do better.”

– Marjorie Lao, Chief Financial Officer, LEGO Group


3 – The three S’s: service, support & simplicity

2018 marks an era obsessed with comparison sites. On the contrary, millennials look beyond this; exploring further than the best deal available. In fact, the quality of support and service is the most influential factor to millennials when choosing to remain with or disassociate from a brand. Appreciation and loyalty are also shown for brands that make processes simple. Chatbots, voice search, auto-population, machine learning, renewals, subscriptions, single sign on, the three-click rule, follow-the-sun support: we live in a world where simplicity is everything.

How straight-forward are your processes?

Loyalty activations are also highly regarded. In the recruitment realm, things move extremely fast and days are extremely busy. However, taking the time to check in and share kind gestures to show appreciation for your now ‘inactive’ clients is very important.

The funnel does not stop at conversion, it continues to advocacy.


For more information about Broadbean and their services head over to www.broadbean.com/uk/




To what extent is human failure – at any level – behind the successes (or failures) we see in the world of recruitment

‘I’ve lost 8 colleagues – every one through human failure’

When someone (Mandy Hickson sharing her story at the Recruitment Network Huddle) tells you 8 colleagues have lost their lives during the course of her fighter pilot career and every loss was a result of human failure rather than system or mechanical failure, it gets you thinking about the equivalent root cause of business failure/success (NB I am certainly not comparing the significance of lost lives to failing/succeeding at business. What’s interesting is potential impact of systems and technology on recruitment agency success or failure) To what extent is human failure – at any level – behind the successes (or failures) we see in the world of recruitment and how influential, particularly as AI evolves, is the choice and use of systems and technology we adopt? Is the proportionate human vs systems impact shifting?

It’s clear to me that it’s our ability, as business leaders, to make the right decision and effectively implement those decisions that will always have a disproportionate impact on the success or failure of our own ‘mission’.  The systems, those that exist already and those that are emerging, can make us smarter, more effective and efficient, enable better candidate and client experiences, but recruitment’s still a people and relationship business and will remain so albeit with a human/tech blend behind the service proposition

How we source, engage and work with candidates is a case in point. At The Recruitment Network’s recent quarterly Huddle at the Jumeriah Carlton Tower, 160 recruitment business leaders gathered to debate, challenge and share best practice with a focus on the candidate – how to find them, engage them and deliver consistently excellent candidate experiences

Disruptive Sourcing and Candidate engagement

2 of the industry’s leading ‘sourcerers’ – Hung Lee and Mark Lundgren – joined the event and shared their observations. We polled the audience and 54% shared that not finding enough candidates was their biggest business challenge. In a recent survey of 700 recruiters interviewed, nearly 500 – in house recruiters, hiring managers and recruitment agencies – said they were candidate short.

Hung and Mark had plenty to say about how to overcome the sourcing challenges. What was clear from their research and surveys carried out (by LinkedIn and Randstad among others) was that we agree there are not enough candidates, yet we are all fishing from the same pool, LinkedIn, where it’s difficult to differentiate. We’re all doing more or less the same thing. It’s shared data and everyone is using it.  If you are fishing in the same pond as everyone else, you’d better be doing something special. There is too much competition and it’s too busy so candidates are not looking on LinkedIn as much.

So there’s an overreliance on LinkedIn, what’s the solution and what can recruiters be doing differently?  The solution Hung and Mark presented to The Recruitment Network membership was to better use the one unique thing that we all have: our internal data. This is data and intelligence that arguably on-one else has.

The first 15 years of this millennium was the ‘wild west’ of data: not much control, with people nicking, sharing and buying data. Anybody could capture and use your data with no legal barriers. That’s changed – it’s no longer owned by businesses but is the property of the user (hence why Facebook are currently looking to protect that data). Data is about to become very expensive (and precious – you’ll have heard of the data is the new oil concept – so we need to think about what we currently have and what we do with it.

Hung and Mark argued for a different mindset and that CRMs are not used in the right way. Currently CRM’s are used as an operational tool to capture the data, as records to access when we have a job to fill, rather than an opportunity to create communities.  But changing anyone’s mindset and habits is hard. Why is that? Well for starters, recruiters are time poor, so don’t really typically speak to candidates unless we have a job for them. Recruiters work long hours and often work evenings and weekends already so it’s about bosses recognising the reality of the evolving candidate market and enabling an environment where recruiters can and want to – buy in to this is critical – work to evolve the unused database.

Can systems and technology make a difference? Of course they can:

  • CRMs are evolving
  • Products like Candidate ID monitors and tracks social activity to rank candidates on how likely they are to look for a job
  • Chatbots capture candidate interaction and notify the recruiter that interest has been shown

Despite the systems and tech evolution, we still need to evolve the classic 360 model. The strategy of hiring more 360 consultants to make more money doesn’t create the levels of candidate engagement or community we need. 360 recruiters do too much (which is why we are not using all of the data we have) you’re a BDM, a salesperson, a researcher, candidate manager, deal closer etc. That’s a lot of work as it’s a full cycle job and consultants can be a jack of all trades, master of none.

So what else is stopping us using our unique data to create better more relevant communities? The view from the membership was that:

  • No-one is actually looking at the data with the daily pressures
  • Sales people are externally facing but data analysis an internally facing role
  • It’s labour intensive (which is where tech can help)
  • It’s a slower ROI
  • Lack of confidence regarding what the content candidates really want
  • The database is significant and diverse – creating the shape and structure to use it effectively

Hung and Mark pushed TRN members to embrace an Ecosystem Model – find a niche and create a community whereas a recruiter you can be at the very heart of it. Nurture the relationships within the ecosystem to keep the candidate pipeline active. Think about how we structure the company and have conversations earlier with our candidate base. Jobs are episodic. Highly skilled people want information about careers, personal development and to better themselves. That’s what we all want – to improve own knowledge and better ourselves, our teams and our business. (which as Hung pointed out is exactly what we have created at The Recruitment Network)

Sometimes the candidate engagement should be as simple as asking them, checking in every 6 months – ‘you were applying for a job last year and reach out’ – talking about career rather than a job.  Become the agency that candidates come to when they have had a bad day because they trust you and you ‘get them’. Candidates are sceptical of recruitment consultants often believing they, the candidates, are a product to be sold. The intent needs to seem different, with candidates getting perceived long-term value or interest. Asking them questions, possibly linking the responses to a survey. Having different persona types on the database so you can split candidates out as they will all want different things, then writing content for each persona. For example, with in house developers, asking and writing about the struggles they face becomes content enabling the targeting of other developer candidates. Be open and ask candidates which community they would like to be a part of (e.g. construction but in the leadership pool).

Segmentation is important. It requires work but it is getting easier due to new tech options. Even without new technologies, there are other Mark Lundgrens – people who ‘geek’ out on data and enjoy identifying different persona, creating communities and bespoke approaches. There are recruitment businesses who are taking the sales pitch out of the mix by working hard to build the trusted relationship. This skill and expertise will become core and critical to sourcing.

That’s a mindset and strategy which all comes from the leadership. To what extent do we collectively buy into this concept of personas and community building. It starts with the mindset, then we need a team that is enabled – confident, trained and with time to do it – and the technology. TRN members were presented with their gift for the day ‘80 Sourcing Hacks’ – described a ‘brilliant’ by Hung Lee – shared a plethora of emerging tools and tactics.


So not only using LinkedIn as it can be used, but also understand the blend and combination of tools (ie  Meetup + Google + Amazing Hiring) that can transform how effective we are at hiring. As ever with Hung, you realise the tools and numerous and evolving all the time and you really need to know your stuff and equip your consultants and resourcers with the confidence and know to embrace it. (Start with following Hung Lee’s Recruiting Brainfood – brilliant)


Katrina Collier, author and guru on candidate engagement and candidate experience expert Nicola Sullivan joined the Huddle and shared their experience of engaging candidates and standing out rather than getting lost in the crowd. They shared the research and psychology of candidate management as well as a raft of techniques to make the most of the tech and systems we all use on a daily basis.


The lessons shared confirmed Jung and Mark’s principle that while there are some great systems to embrace which can enhance the candidate journey, it’s the buy-in to the right philosophy which is so often missing. If our consultants haven’t recognised that building trust, inspiring confidence, being seen as a career partner and a community influencer is where the art of recruitment is at, they won’t embrace it.  That comes from the leaders in the business and we need to invest in the training, create the environment, educate the team to understand what best practice looks like. 45% of what we do is habit and the common sourcing and candidate engagement practice – habits of the last 5 years – are not going to work moving forward.


Katrina stressed that engaging candidates required re-defining our online presence and personal brand, evolving our techniques for interacting with candidates (let’s move on from ‘urgent vacancy’, changing the language we use in our communications (‘you’ not ‘I’ etc). The psychology of the candidate engagement also needs to be understood – the fears they have, the research they will do, the support they want, the reputational damage they can cause if frustrated.   Every action has a consequence and Katrina shared how to build an online presence – from your profile picture to your Google search results via Instagram. Share your passions, your testimonials, your expertise and how you treat people


TRN Member Highfield Professional Solutions is a great example of a recruitment agency success story who has worked hard to  get the ‘people’ bit of running a great recruitment agency right – great people, skilled and really engaged in the business – and then making sure they use tech right to create efficiency. They have successfully embraced and invested in appropriate systems and technologies to maximise productivity and effectiveness. Equally important, and co founder Liam Thomas shared his big 3 non-negotiable principles for building his business – everyone has to embrace learning – and he’s convinced this has played a significant part in successfully building the business (they now employ 40+  and are enjoying 68% GP growth last year). That learning includes embracing best practice sourcing.


Members walked away with really practical strategies and tactics to implement in the business. It was a powerful day involving TRN members being challenged and stimulated and accessing ideas all recruitment business leaders should be on top of, but also some critical life lessons from  inspirations such as Miles-Hilton Barber, who’ve experienced more than most of will ever do, and had some crazy adventures is possible. So in Miles words, Dream it. Believe it. Do it.


Let us know if you’d like to get involved with The Recruitment Network – the summer retreat is in July – contact us via ed@therecruitmentnetwork.com

Recruitment Businesses Preparing for Growth

Strategically, just about every recruitment business will have some form of growth intentions, albeit to different extents, but the challenge many face is how to quickly, profitably and most importantly sustainably create scale across what they already have.

Growth can take many forms, from increasing contributing headcount, to adding more products and services to your portfolio, to increasing customer lifetime value and yield, to expanding into new markets and territories and so on, and every recruitment business will align their strategy differently to one or more of these, depending on where their particular market potential exists.

However, and this is a key reason why many never get the scale they really want, your business has to be structurally and operationally sound before you should look to grow it further.

In other words, you should consolidate the business you already have to minimise candidate and customer seepage, create a well-organized engine room that can continuously churn out a minimum level of bottom line contribution and ensure that the core of your business (where and how you make profit) is both efficient and as profitable as it needs to be before you build it out further.

If you don’t, then you run the risk of small cracks in your business becoming gaping holes as the business gets bigger which, if that doesn’t completely hinder the business’ ability to scale will certainly deplete the profit margin as you do scale.

The preparation of a business for growth therefore lies in your ability to create something that is, in essence, scalable in the first place!

An initial 12-point healthcheck across your business will give you some insight into how ready you are to go to that next level. As an example, ask yourself the following questions:

Do you have and are you currently delivering against a strategic plan that has been carefully crafted designed to create profit and momentum, or is your business success just a result of hard work and luck?

Are your consultants running at an efficient and profitable level or is your business currently allowing mediocrity or at worst underperformance to exist?

Are you maximising customer yield and creating growth from within your existing customer base against their total recruitment budget spend?

Are your consultants (and the business overall) focused on doing business where there is most profit and growth opportunity (working with the right clients who value a partnering relationship over a supplier relationship, recruiting predominantly in your sweet spot areas where you can create greater margins, better conversion ratios and faster speed to hire, focusing your sales and marketing efforts on today’s fastest  growth markets where demand for your services will increase tomorrow and so on)?

Do you have access to the right data in your business to enable profit triggers and create marginal gains across every component of your operational infrastructure?

Have you in part solved the internal talent quandary and feel comfortable you have the right people, in the right places, doing the right things and have a clearly defined strategy in place to attract more talent to the business to ensure your growth isn’t hindered by an inability to source the best recruiters (experienced or otherwise) and retain the right people?

There are many more, but in essence you need to feel comfortable that your business is currently running at a level of efficiency across all the key drivers and scale won’t expose holes in your current business model.

From here, you then create a top level plan. Don’t get too fixated on the detail, but instead focus on the overarching potential your business has and where that potential lies. Scale shouldn’t be compared against what you did last year, but instead what you could do next year.

If the plan and the future direction sits well with your aspirations, and is realistic against the current and future market conditions (as well as your cash capabilities!), then every component of that plan should be broken down into a series of prioritised outcome based projects. This is where you need everyone in the business to focus on outputs and deliverables, and not just activity.

Every stage of growth requires a clearly defined outcome to be achieved before you can build on the next one. Those projects sit within a project plan (Gantt Chart) and all the key stakeholders need to know the plan, be bought in and have some accountability for those projects they are responsible for in some way.

Lastly, before you get on with the implementation of the plan (I can’t stress how ultimately you need to get to this point quickly and just get on and do it, not spending endless hours in a board room discussing and debating as over deliberation can be one of the biggest anchors to any business – set the plan and make it happen!) you need to ensure that the plan is clearly communicated across the business.

You cannot expect people to be bought in, enthused by, accountable for something that they don’t know so any change programme, any growth programme, needs to be articulated and shared with everyone in the business. People need to feel part of the journey, willing and able to challenge it and ultimately excited to arrive at the destination with you, whatever that may be.

So, in summary, if you are looking to scale, you need to have a business that is scalable in the first place, has a clear project plan that drives growth outputs and ensure that everyone who has role to play in building the business to the next stage knows that what the plan is and actually wants to be part of it.

Would you like to find out more about The Recruitment Network and how we can help you plan for your growth, if you’d like to attend one of our taster sessions please click the link below to sign up.


Prove your Return on Marketing Investment – A Process to Understand the Value of Marketing Activity

If I may be so bold – Prove your ROMI!

If you’re not doing this already, you can start today. Start simple and build it up. Don’t be afraid of diving into the figures and shining a spotlight on your department’s performance. If you’re working hard and smart, your figures will reflect that.

We need to stop being scared of analysis and embrace it. If the results aren’t great, understand why, learn from it and don’t expect an increase in revenue otherwise. If the results are great, shout about it!

An overview: the mindset of proving ROMI.

One of the biggest challenges any Marketer has to face is ‘how’ to prove ROMI. Meanwhile, a problem for stakeholders is understanding ‘what’ ROI Marketing is delivering. First off both sides of the table need to equally understand 3 key factors:

  1. There is a % of your Marketing budget that supports brand awareness, so trying to calculate the pound for pound on everything isn’t going to happen. A prospect may have seen you at an event 12-months ago, but only now do they have a need for your solutions and decide to phone in. It’s unlikely that your prospect will detail out their journey of engagement with you, so the effect of the event goes unnoticed. Ultimately, the term ‘brand awareness’ seems to have a bad name, but if your Marketing team are attributing and executing your strategies for brand awareness correctly, they will be indirectly supporting all your lead gen initiatives.
  2. Stakeholders must truly understand what ‘value’ Marketing is delivering, and by ‘value’ they ultimately mean £££. This isn’t a bad thing; the more you can prove your ROI, the more likely you are to increase your yearly budgets and justify additional spend if needed.
  3. Marketing can’t prove ROI if the line of internal communications is poor. It’s imperative for sales and marketing to have an open dialogue to discuss and determine lead attribution correctly. The more feedback the sales team can provide, the more likely they are to see an increased investment towards those activities, which eventually provides them with more leads equalling more commission! It’s a no brainer.

When I started with my organisation, marketing reporting was absent and granular reporting of ROMI was unheard of. As an analytical marketer I quite like pulling through the numbers and drawing out the stats, so I saw it as a welcomed challenge to try and develop a process which proves ROMI and attributes a hot lead to not just ‘Marketing’ or ‘Sales’ but to an exact activity, ie., ‘Client Newsletter, Article 3, sent on 14.02.19’.

Don’t get me wrong, this didn’t happen overnight. Getting to this point took a lot of work. I had to trial different processes and gain constant feedback from the stakeholders to understand what was providing value and what wasn’t. Finding a process that works for all parties is the hardest part. Don’t panic. It’s a learning curve and every company works differently – so build a process that is right for your business.

Our process and how it works for us…

The process for our business manifests itself as a weekly catch-up and a comprehensive spreadsheet that I’ve titled, ‘Master Lead Gen Record’. Sound simple? Great, it is.

The below will outline the process I’ve created and how you could use it for your business. I’ve split my explanation into key parts and used fictional data to best show you what this could look like for your business. To keep it simple I’ve also removed some elements I track to keep it focused on the core measurements. Remember, every business and thus the processes that come with it are different, so use what works for you.

Let’s discuss the format

The Lead Gen Record spreadsheet is split across two tabs;

Tab1: Yearly Record

Tab2: Marketing Funnel

Tab 1 is an evergreen record of all your qualified leads (note the word qualified – we will come back to this). This is your primary tab for weekly catch-ups with your Sales/Business Development team.

Tab 2 is a funnel to deliver the all-important numbers; % Leads Attributed to Marketing, Prospective Revenue, Actual Revenue and ROMI.

So, qualified leads? Whilst we would love every lead to be from a qualified decision maker who is ready to commit, the reality is that this is not the case. Every company will have its own processes for how they qualify a lead. You will need to agree on what these qualification factors are for a marketing lead and a sales lead.

In Tab 1, you will essentially be creating a record of both sales and marketing leads, grouping them into each month. I use the below tabs for data collection, but you should consider if these are or value to you, or if others would provide more value to your business. For example, if collecting the ‘Client Contact’ wouldn’t provide you with benefit, then don’t include it. You want to keep this process as minimal as possible to get maximum buy-in.

First thing on a Friday morning (this being the least manic time for our consultants) have a quick catch-up with each consultant/account manager to; firstly, go through existing leads and update their status, such as the proposal to live. Secondly, add new ‘qualified’ leads you have agreed on. This isn’t a formal meeting, meet at a stand-up desk or catch-up area. This is also a great opportunity to understand how the leads are progressing and if there is anything else that either team can do to support conversion.

Tab 2 – as an analytical Marketer, this is your page to pull together the numbers and prove your ROMI! Over time my spreadsheet has expanded to measure quite a lot. For this article, I’m only going to pull out some of the key elements I use and display them in a simplified format. If you’d like a more detailed understanding feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to help.

  1. What are you delivering? – % of leads attributed to Marketing

Using Tab 1, add up all of your leads and place the number into Row 1. Then add up those with a ‘Marketing Origin’ and fill out Row 2. Then simply apply a % formula in Row 3.

After this step, you will only be looking at Marketing leads, as this is a Marketing exercise to show your ROMI. Your sales team will likely do this in their team too, albeit via a different process.

  1. Prospective Delivery? – Proposal Value

As a marketer, we work at the top of the funnel, so understanding prospective revenue is just as important as actual revenue. If your marketing lead has developed into a prospect i.e. open line of communication with an account manager and has received a proposal for work, there isn’t much more you can do to get it across the line. You have delivered the prospect down the funnel to the sales team where they must close the lead. Other than providing support to the sales team, this is no longer in your hands.

It’s important to measure delivered activities that are reflective of your time, money and resource spent.

On Tab 1, if a lead is attributed to Marketing you should ask for the margin expected from the proposal sent. (Note: If like me your business is international you will need to include additional rows on tab 2 to allow for multiple currencies). Take the Proposal value and insert this into tab 2. I also provide a quick-view breakdown of clients who make up the values. I find it useful, but it’s completely up to you. I’ve provided some arbitrary figures to show how this would look, this would appear under image 1:

To provide an additional layer of analysis you may want to analyse converted proposals. If this is something you’d like to track, I’ve provided the image below of how this could look, using different currencies and figures:

  1. How much are you delivering? – Bottom Line Revenue

Through your regular catch-ups you will be following the process of each Marketing lead from proposal value, vacancy value and hopefully ‘Marketing Revenue’.

Ultimately you will now have one row which totals revenue. Again, you may want a breakdown underneath of each fee per client – I find this useful, in case there are questions around the breakdown. Equally, there is likely to be a delay between proposal and revenue, so this is also why I find a quick view breakdown useful.

Finally, you will need to look at your budget to calculate your ROMI. Depending on your business you may wish to provide this information monthly, quarterly and/or yearly. As always, use what works best for you and your business. Does reporting monthly provide you with additional value over quarterly reporting? Perhaps not, so don’t do it.

  1. What else does the data show?

I’ll repeat my introduction ‘Don’t be afraid of diving into the figures and shining a spotlight. If you’re working hard and smart, your figures will reflect that’. Here are the other benefits of building this record.

  • Key activities that drive ROMI – This is a big one! From this record, I look at the activities listed under ‘activity type’ to understand what is providing the best number of quality From your budget, look at how much that singular activity is costing you. Is it proving good ROMI? If not, why? Do you need to ditch it, start a/b testing or go back to the drawing board? You may be surprised. Activities with little investment could be giving you the best results, so maybe you should consider allocating additional resource and funds.
  • A yearly ever-green record of leads to look at trends, seasonal peaks and even changes to a company’s decision makers.
  • Identify missed opportunities: use your data to not just analyse the present but also the past. Look over your record to identify if/where you could have improved. Is there an opportunity to re-visit these leads?
  • Holes in your process: what elements of your process do you need to work on? Having such granularity in your spreadsheet will only highlight areas of your business that need a review first. Is it conversion, lead generation etc.? This insight may be invaluable to your stakeholder’s strategies and you’re also demonstrating strategic ability to look at more than just Marketing.

Barriers – Accept them, you work in marketing.

You’re going to have barriers, but making this process flexible will help you get buy-in from all those involved. Constant improvements to the process and incorporating feedback is key. If you set your process in stone your teams are likely to be more resistant.

Explain the benefits to your sales team. Analysis to understand the best performing activities and thus re-investing in those activities creates more leads for your sales team which in turn leads to more money. Be sure to explain this to get quality feedback from your team.

Guest Author: Jade Haase

Jade is the Communications and Marketing Manager for AeroProfessional, responsible for strategic development and operational delivery to achieve ROMI. Her varied experience enables her to identify opportunities gathered through market intelligence, to create campaigns targeted at customer value creation.

A Fresh Approach to Reinvesting in your People

I was recently introduced to a new word, “Co-opetition”, used to describe how working together with your competitors can hugely benefit your business and help you to become stronger in your sector, the principal that has influenced the ethos behind the creation of The London Recruitment Festival.

The Recruitment industry is a notorious target driven environment, heavily incentivised, creating a culture of long hours, hard work and high pressure. Hopefully your HR team will already be working hard to address the work life balance within your company but it is becoming increasingly important, particularly amongst a millennial workforce, that companies begin to recognise the significance of incentives, outside of the realm of the financial. But when was the last time you truly relaxed and got to know your team, their friends and family, on a genuine and social basis? This is where we come in. And the great news is, it’s free.

The London Recruitment Festival brings people together in a unique way, this is not the usual oil and gas recruiters meeting or where CEOs come to compare notes, this day is totally inclusive of all sectors of recruitment, all levels of staff, an opportunity for everyone to come together, relaxing and sharing without agenda. All too often we sit in our silos, go to the same meetings with the same people and have the same discussions day in, day out – I guarantee this day will be like no other.

This is a showcase for recruitment as a career and the camaraderie, not only internally within your company but across the whole industry. As we know all too well, staff move frequently from one company to another, here lies the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends and maybe even make some new ones. Equally, this is a great way to facilitate the introduction of your teams friends and families, which we believe helps to create more human relationships and stronger connections with your colleagues. For perhaps the first time in the calendar year, nobody is talking about placements, bonus targets, net profit and revenues, instead colleagues of all levels are standing shoulder to shoulder, sunnies on, cool beverage in hand, sharing competitive banter and genuinely having a fantastic time.

So make this years’ summer party one to remember – you are invited to join us at The London Recruitment Festival, a day of live music, cold drinks, street food, bouncy castles (for grown-ups too), face painting and more, all for free. If you fancy upping the stakes and adding a little competitive spirit to your day, you can also enter 7-a-side football and 9-a-side softball teams, both unisex – there is a charge of £550 and £450 respectively. We can’t wait to see you there!

The London Recruitment Festival not only provides the team with loads of fun, but it encourages people to work in ways they’ve never worked before and 100% builds the camaraderie and team love. This event really does provide something for everyone which also caters for an enjoyable and quality day out for families. This day is an automatic reoccurring team day out in our calendar and it should definitely be in yours too!– Rohan Shah, Managing Director, Reuben Sinclair

Guest Author: James Gilley

Director of PJ Search and Host of the London Recruitment Festival - Music & sporting festival for staff.