Ten tips from top billers
The world of contract recruitment is fast-paced. If you’re not on top of your game at all times, you can end up losing the deal. We spoke to a selection of top billers to create a list of tips they live by:
Maintain control over the process
When we say “control”, we don’t mean explicit control. We are referring to the ability to get your clients and candidates to do something, without directly having to tell them to it.
With your candidates you need to talk about their progress, their skills, requirements and expectations and, most importantly, remind them why they are looking for a new role. This way, you are encouraging them to feel motivated and commit to the recruitment process.
Managing the expectations of your clients is essential to maintain control over your working relationship with them. By giving them a timeline, keeping them updated, being clear on rates and not upselling the skillset of a candidate, you are ensuring they are always informed with exactly what is going on, when it is happening and what they need to do – all of which will make your life a lot easier.
Focus on building up rapport
Part of being a fluid communicator is demonstrating excellent soft skills. The end goal is obviously to do deals and place candidates, however, a direct push doesn’t always work well.
Advise your clients and candidates about the interview process, give tips and advice on their market, what’s going on and how to get the best out of the recruitment process. This soft skills approach to recruitment can have an extremely positive effect, not only on the job at hand, but also on your reputation as a recruiter and an expert in your field.
Top billers know their market
To stay ahead of the crowd, it’s essential to know the key projects happening in your market over the next three-to-six months. The more detail you know about your market, e.g. what your candidates are meant to do on a day-to-day basis, the better you grasp a role specification, gain flexibility from clients and pre-screen candidates.
Here’s a couple of pointers to remember:
- Good candidates aren’t on the market for long. Once you know what they want and when they’re available, it’s easy for you to secure them roles.
- Keep in touch with your current clients. Ideally you want to be in a situation where they come to you with live roles. You should always assume they won’t, so conduct monthly catch ups with them.
Recommendations and referrals
Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth!
We briefly touched on this point before, with regards to getting your point of contact at a business to recommend you to other departments within the same company. But it extends further than this.
- Network, network, network
- Ask your current candidates to recommend you to people that are also looking for new roles
- Ask you clients to recommend you to any peers they know that are recruiting
- Ask for your clients and candidates to leave you reviews on LinkedIn
- Also, ask them to send over testimonial, with permission for you to use it in your marketing
Understand the value of a relationship
Most top billers are so successful because, not only do they bring in a lot of new business, they continue to work with their existing clients.
Whilst it is important to expand your client pool, as well as your candidates, it’s also vital to ensure you get continuous business from your existing clients. What’s more, this is all relatively easy to do.
This is why it is vital to appreciate your business relationships. Maintain contact with your clients and candidates throughout the recruitment process and beyond. Your point of contact will be more likely to ask you to fill another role if they know you care and they trust you. And they may recommend you to other departments within their company, meaning you can penetrate their business further.
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Post placement care
Recruiters have a reputation for not paying enough attention to their client and candidate after they have fill the role. This is where the most problems can arise, especially if the recruitment process wasn’t as smooth as it should have been.
Although you may not have all the answers, updates or control – keep in touch and ensure your relationship with them doesn’t dry up. Investing your time in maintaining a good relationship the manager and candidate will increase the chances of securing an extension or renewal.
Proactively negotiate extensions
Following on from the last tip, you can use post placement care to negotiate contract extensions. Best practice is to start this process at least six weeks before the current contract is due to end.
Work with your candidate to understand the role, responsibilities and future project opportunities they can add value to. Then present your case to the hiring manager and push for renewal.
Stay positive, goal oriented
Even when the workload is overwhelming, top billers are able to remain positive and focus on reaching their goals.
To do so, you need to focus on the things you can effect. Prioritise your workload, keep track of where you’re at with each of your clients and candidates and have realistic expectations of what you plan to achieve each day.
Constant business development
The UK economy doesn’t stop, so neither should you. Top billers are always looking for new ways to develop and to connect with new clients.
Here are a few ways in which you can achieve this:
- Analyse your work processes to see how you can become more efficient and free up time to focus on building your books.
- Network as much as possible, whether that’s attending events or reaching out to people on social media.
- As we mentioned before, ask your clients and candidates for referrals.
Have clear, concise targets
To stay motivated, top billers always have short, medium and long targets set up. This means they always know what they need to achieve and are work in a more effective, productive way to meet them.
Here’s how to break your workload down into short, medium and long term goals:
Anything that you can quickly turn around. For example, a colleague may already be working with a client. Try to find a way to use this as leverage to introduce yourself to the business.
Work with a medium-sized organisation with fewer barriers to overcome, where some sort of referral will happen, but still requires you to put in effort.
Work that involves 6-12 months of hard work, but would be worth it in the end.
Introducing some of these tips into your work processes will help you increase efficiency and productivity, free up your valuable time and align your priorities. And, most importantly, help you on your journey to become one of your agency’s top billers.