Agencies; Friends or Foes?
How often have you seen a job advertised, and along the bottom of the advert it states, ‘STRICTLY NO AGENCIES’? We appreciate that some larger organisations have their own in-house recruitment arm of the HR department, or that smaller businesses see an agency fee as a barrier, but there are so many more ways a recruitment company can support a business. Believe it or not, reputable agencies aren’t interested in just securing a fee. There is so much more to the recruitment process and the journey, for both client and candidate and any agency worth its salt should be focusing on that, making the fee a moot point! Furthermore, they should be comfortable to walk away from business where they know they cannot add value.
From TTR’s point of view, we would rather be upfront and honest with a prospective client if we cannot help, or do not believe we are best placed to do so. Sometimes, a particularly niche role at the higher end of the pay scale may well be suited to a niche national agency with specialist recruiters. We understand our limitations and have partnered with the TEAM network to overcome this. Through this network, we can open up roles outside of our usual scope to agencies within our group of TEAM compatriots. They can support us, as we support them, to deliver the best possible service to our clients, and candidates.
As a client or a candidate, there’s nothing worse than getting down to the nitty gritty of a role, to find you’re talking to a consultant who doesn’t really understand your market, but who will not admit it! We firmly believe it’s better to be honest; if we don’t understand a specific term, we’ll ask, and if we still don’t really get it, we will research it. If we are still struggling, we know we will have a recruiting friend who is better placed to help! We work in this way because we’re interested in developing long-term partnerships with our clients and want to do this with a relationship based on honesty and integrity. For every role we might refer out to our network, there’ll likely be ten more that we are confident and capable of filling with an outstanding candidate!
There’s a common misconception that agencies are always up against one another, and that there are huge rivalries and territory wars. Yes, we may sometimes work alongside one another, but decent agencies will not be threatened by this. In fact, if you find another agency is suddenly instructed alongside you, the key would be to look internally; what service is the client not receiving? Where has the communication broken down to have reached this point? It’s unlikely that another agency has done anything other than be in the right place at the right time, to identify a need from the client.
Whilst working with every agency out there is likely to be counter-productive (multiple job adverts for the same role and candidate crossover everywhere in the current market), it’s also wise to have links with a few reputable agencies in the area, to keep your options open, should you need to cast a wider net on a particular vacancy, or have sudden temporary needs to cover.
With this in mind we are looking to launch a new initiative, designed for creating new partnerships to benefit both clients and candidates across Gloucestershire, so watch this space! As the title states, we want to be friends not foes!
All Change; Or is it?
Whilst there have been a lot of physical changes over the past few months within our business, there is also a lot of ‘business as usual’ going ahead! We have taken the leap as a team to predominantly work remotely, which is working well. Given the current conditions where Coronavirus rates are rising and parts of the UK are experiencing local lockdowns, we believe we have made the right choice. We have made lots of process-based changes to ensure that the registration process and candidate journey is much more efficient, as well as offering clients a more personal element than a CV alone. If anything, we’ve actually enhanced our service at the same time as streamlining processes!
Abi and the team have been doing a lot of research and self-development and have continued their relationship with the fantastic Recruiting Gym, partaking in their workouts and daily stand up sessions, which is where we became privy to the survey conducted by Firefish Software. Firefish carried out a survey amongst SME recruiters around the UK to paint a picture of the short-term future of the recruitment industry, as viewed by industry professionals.
Quite surprisingly, almost half of those surveyed were optimistic about the next 12 months, with growth in many sectors expected. The sectors that anticipated significant growth include manufacturing, construction and engineering; areas we already have vast experience in supplying to. As you might expect, there is also huge growth predicted in the tech market, where they’ve really come to the rescue to roll out solutions for businesses in the past few months – TTR included!
We’re fortunate that we are a multi-faceted recruitment company, with experience in a range of industries, but we are also proud that we have the confidence to be honest and upfront. There are a lot of agencies out there who will be struggling (again, we’ll be honest, the last few months haven’t been our finest on record either, we are all in the same boat!) and in desperation for cash flow, have been ‘pivoting’ their business.
What is meant by the term by ‘pivot’? If you’re like us, the first thing you think about is the iconic sofa on the stairs scene from the Friends sitcom, but in the most literal sense, it is to switch direction promptly, around an axis. Recruiting is the axis, the type or sector is the direction switch.
We’re not going to pretend we are experts in all fields; we know what we are good at, and we take pride in that. What we want to do is offer advice to both candidates and clients, to ensure you work with experts in the field you want to seek a role or find a recruit. A reputable agency will not feel pressured to slash fees to rock bottom levels, nor will they pivot into a different sector altogether.
When you are looking to partner with an agency, as either a potential candidate or client, make sure you check the following;
- What sort of roles have they been successful in recruiting in the past? Are these the same type of roles that they are they advertising now? Are they the sorts of roles you’re looking at?
- What is their Google Review status? Check a few reviews to see what candidates and clients have to say.
- Ask questions! Ask industry-specific questions that the agency can use to demonstrate an understanding of the area you operate in.
There are a lot of agencies out there. There are also a lot of candidates, and there are still a fair number of jobs! In the current climate, it can be tempting to go out to many of them, casting a very wide net so to speak, but we at TTR would suggest it is better to keep your agencies limited, or even to work exclusively with just one. Get a feel for them; talk to the team, and work out who you feel you have a good rapport with and who can become a representative for you. This applies to both candidates and clients – you want to be represented in the right way, and you must be able to have trust in your recruitment partnerships to do so.
These are challenging times for us all, but we believe if we all stay true to ourselves, and be honest and upfront with one another, we will all manage to get through this. We’re seeing some fantastic growth in certain areas now too, so we’re busy working to match the right candidates with our clients in what is now a much denser candidate market – another reason to work closely with your recruitment partner and ensure you’re utilising their expertise and getting through the increased applicant numbers we are all seeing at the moment.
Numbers-wise, there might be more candidate availability in the market for new opportunities, but this doesn’t mean there is an abundance of skilled candidates for specific roles. Some might say we’re even facing a tougher skills shortage than we were before the pandemic hit. Be honest about the skills you have as a candidate, and be upfront about what you need as a client looking to fill a vacancy, so that your recruitment partner can work effectively to match the right people with the right role, at the right time.
Stay strong everyone, we can do this!
Technological advances to take recruitment forward in Gloucestershire
We’ve been talking a lot about our partnerships recently; the value of these partnerships is what’s helping to keep Truly Tailored Recruitment going as a business at the moment! But we are also aware that the country is beginning to take steps towards a ‘new normal’, as we wake from our Covid-19 hibernation. Not ones to rest on our laurels, we want to shake up the way we do things, and this is a prime opportunity to make sure we maintain our position as a premium recruitment company in Gloucestershire.
It’s all well and good having intentions to develop and move forward, but to be frank, finding the time to stop and look at the options, trial new things and review/reflect, simply doesn’t exist in the world of an already busy successful recruiter! The recruitment world is full-on, and our precious time is devoted to helping bring people in the Gloucestershire region together!
Using the downtime of late, where recruitment overall has slowed, for internal reflection and development, we looked to metropolitan London agencies and those operating international recruitment for some hints. I mean, if we’re going to offer a premium service, why not look at what’s offered by those specialist and niche agencies, and see if we can reflect this in what we do, to give an even further enhanced service to our clients and candidates.
Beginning with team meetings using Zoom or WhatsApp, we quickly found that they met our needs of fulfilling some face-to-face contact socially for us as a team, but that we needed to address security and our GDPR compliance to take these ideas forward into everyday practice.
Data protection and strong processes are really important to us at TTR; we pride ourselves on our compliance and commitment to diligence in handling sensitive and confidential information.
With our newest predicament of returning to full operation, with social distancing measures in place and the essential need to ensure we were minimising risk to everyone involved, Abi set to work doing her research! There is so much technology available it was hard to decipher what we needed. We went based on what was important to us to be able to offer to clients and candidates but also still enable us to have the face to face service that for us is an essential part of the recruitment process. Our latest partnership therefore is with video technology! It allows us to safely and securely conduct candidate registrations via video link. It is easy to use on a mobile phone, tablet or a computer, and it feels as close as we can make it feel from an interview perspective when we are not actually in the same room! We are able to confirm identity, see original documents and keep all of the promises we have made to our clients that we will conduct the first stage of the recruitment process for them. For the candidate as we are on camera with them, we talk them through the process and they soon forget it is all happening on video as it feels just like a face to face interview.
The reason we have chosen to partner with Hinterview as our supplier of video technology is the added extras it gives; it’s not just a simple online interview. What it actually allows us to do, on top of our original promise to meet and really get to know our candidates, their strengths, motivations and the real person behind the skillset, is to record snippets of the video. This can be presented to a client along with a CV, either addressing specific interview questions as requested, or just to offer a snapshot of your personality to really make you stand out against other candidates. Again, whichever member of our team you’re working with will appear on the video too, and as a candidate, you’ll always be made aware of when video is being recorded; nothing is done without permission, and it’s all securely stored.
For our clients, we understand the pain that can come with recruitment and timescales. Particularly with roles that require more than one hiring manager to be involved, co-ordinating schedules can be challenging. Imagine almost bypassing the first interview stage by letting TTR do the work for you! We will provide a bespoke link for you on the platform so you can log in whenever it suits you to be able to access candidates logged against a specific job on your account. We could provide a series of competency-based, or your own requested questions and answers, put to a suitable shortlist of candidates, and present you with a neat video of us doing your interviewing for you! This video can be shared between any hiring managers or HR team as required, and it is our aim that we can streamline the process so that in effect, a final-stage interview is all that’s required – if that’s what you want!
We can tailor a recruitment process to meet the needs of our clients more specifically than ever now. If you’re strapped for time, let us do more of the work on your behalf (after all, you’re paying us for a service, we want to prove we earn it by delivering the best possible). If you are all about the detail, and finding a role tricky to fill, this service can help to really drill down into the motivations of a candidate. Competency-based questioning, delivered by our industry-trained team of specialists, can provide deeper insight into a CV to reveal the individual inside.
One of the big benefits to clients in working with us using this technology is whilst we may have individual specialities, we are a team, and we work for a team goal. Once you choose to work with us, we can conduct a video meeting that allows us to learn all about your business and potentially even tour the building remotely. This technology enables us to share this video amongst our entire team, who can then work with a far better understanding of your requirements, not just working on messages passed along the grapevine. The TTR team are driven by team success, and will always work together to bring the right clients and candidates together over individual glory. Information will be transferred far more directly, through clearer communication channels, right down to giving candidates an insight into their potential new workplace, before even setting foot on site.
The key to utilising this video technology, we believe, is to use it to emulate and enhance the real-life experience. There is an element of candidness to the recorded interviews; they’re not recorded over and over again until we get the ‘right’ answers, and this brings through the individual taking part. That’s not to say that we don’t want it to be taken seriously. All candidates will be encouraged to prepare and present as if they are at the first-stage interview, and to find a quiet, calm space to conduct the video session.
We are rolling out links to personalised platforms for hiring managers already and the feedback we have had so far is incredible! Again, we’ll be honest, there’s some polishing and streamlining for us to do – we can’t improve without really robustly testing and reviewing this. So, if you’ve not got involved yet, we’d love to get online and get video-chatting with you, whether you’re seeking a new venture, or you’re looking to add to your team. Please help us so we can help you! We really think we’re pioneering a new way forward in Gloucestershire recruitment and we would be delighted if you could be a part of it too!
Recruitment – it’s all about partnerships!
The Covid-19 crisis of 2020 has had a huge impact on businesses across the country. Ours included. As the director of the business, I am confident we will see through these times and remain as successful as we have been over the past few years.
I can attribute the entire success of the business to strong partnerships. It sounds simple, but building these partnerships – of which there are many – takes time and commitment. I’m extremely lucky to have incredible bonds with every single one of my team, bonds that have been tested to the extreme in these current difficult times. We’ve had to change everything about the way we work, whilst keeping the ethos of the business exactly the same.
We have two customers in our field of work; our clients and our candidates. The relationships we form with them, and the partnerships we build, are vital to what we do.
Our partnerships with candidates are incredibly important to us; we ensure we take the time to really get to know the person behind the CV. We take a deep dive during our registration process to find out what makes them tick, get a proper feel for the sort of environment the person will thrive in and spend significant period of time understanding their motivations, their personal morals and what they would be doing if we could “wave a magic wand”! It’s paramount that we get to know the whole person so when we do place them, we know they are going to be fulfilled in their role. We try to take a holistic approach to placing people so that we can ensure candidate satisfaction whilst ensuring a maximum return on investment for our clients too.
Client partnerships are just as important. We work our very best when we are exclusive recruiters; we aim to set ourselves apart from the rest by offering a full service and we won’t lie, we’re not the cheapest on the market, but our service offering justifies us charging our fee. Ultimately, we want to become an extension of the client’s team and carry out the recruitment process for them as if we were recruiting for our own business. We’re currently working in challenging times; ordinarily, we go to meet all of our clients, have a cuppa, get a feel for the environment and understand not only the skills required, but the person that will best suit the company’s key behaviours and ethics. We are now partnering with new businesses to supply us technological solutions that will allow us to still give everyone the personal experience we want to deliver, but not necessarily ‘traditionally’ face to face!
Actually, we work with a lot of business partners who are our unsung heroes in the background that we honestly could not do without! With their expertise they enable us to deliver the best service to our clients and candidates. From Hive360, who we use for our payroll and employee benefits packages, to Reform IT, who’ve been taking us into the virtual world and a new way of working. The businesses we work with need to blend together too, which is why we chose to use Voyager Software as our CRM system, as we are not just looking for a database of candidate names and client locations! We want something that will integrate with ease into other areas of the business, like MailChimp for marketing, and Logic Melon for job board posting.
Working with local businesses, we have forged strong partnerships; for example with our photographer Steve Rolfe who produces quirky visuals for us, and Squashed Robot who create our much-loved video content! As a predominantly local Gloucestershire business, we like to strengthen our network with other proud, high-calibre providers where we can.
It’s been really important to us to partner with other businesses, including those that would ordinarily be considered competition. We are realistic. Sometimes, we might not be the best suited to working with a particular business. We won’t take money for the sake of it, and we’re open to utilising our network of specialist recruitment partners to help our clients receive the best service, even if sometimes that means we share a placement fee. We maximise our partnerships we have built with TEAM (The Employment Agents Movement) members to enable this to happen. For us it’s a far cry from the dog-eat-dog sales world that our industry can get a bad reputation for. Good recruiters are so much more than salespeople. They’re excellent communicators, relationship-builders, industry-trained professionals who need to be skilled in understanding the industries they recruit for.
In an ever-changing world, strong partnerships are key to survival. Without excellent communication, including the ability to be frank, open and honest with one another, a recruitment business can easily fall flat. I’ve been in the recruitment game long enough to have worked through the ‘good old days’ in booming economic times, and then through a much tougher time for recruiters; through both candidate-led and client-led markets, into now, where things are set to change again! The whole way of working and recruiting is now new for us as well as our clients and candidates alike; our continued partnership with the REC, enables us to remain at the forefront of the industry to guide us through these changes as they happen. I hope the foundations we’ve laid are going to see us leap into the new way of working with gusto and on to continued success. I am confident in our abilities to support our existing partner businesses as they come back from the Covid-19 crisis, whilst building new partnerships in the business world; all the while supporting candidates looking for work and creating new partnerships for them with businesses who need their skills.
Have I said it enough times yet? Partnerships! Partnerships – good ones – are the key. I’ve found some really, really good ones in my time and I’m not letting them go!
5 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Job
5 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Job
It’s true that people who are happy in their job are less likely to have mental health issues and benefit the company they work for as they will take less sick pay and perform better. In fact, it is shown that people who are happier at work take 57% less sick leave.*
But if you are feeling unhappy or dissatisfied in your workplace. What can you do to fall in love with your job all over again?
- Feel more valued.
People who believe they are undervalued at work can often feel their efforts are not being recognised. This can quickly and easily lead to feelings of dissatisfaction. However, there is always another perspective to consider. Perhaps your boss is unaware that you are feeling like this. The answer is to ask for a meeting with them so you can discuss your feelings and request feedback. If you are doing a good job, completing your work to a high standard, in a time efficient manner, then maybe you are ready to take on new challenges. A meeting is the perfect opportunity to ask to learn more and upskill yourself for both your own and the company’s benefit.
- Improve your communication skills.
Communication is something that should be instinctive to us, but all too often, when we try to communicate with others things can go horribly wrong. We say one thing, the other person hears something else, and misunderstandings, frustration, and conflicts develop. This can cause serious problems in your work relationships. This does mean that for many of us, communicating more clearly and effectively does require learning some important skills. 65% of all communication is non-verbal and the best communicators are also the best listeners. You need to learn how to be engaged when you are listening, understand how to read nonverbal cues and ensure your nonverbal communication is delivered appropriately. Learning these skills will improve your connections with your work colleagues, build greater trust and respect between and improve teamwork, problem solving, and your social and emotional health.
- Improve your job satisfaction.
We all need to feel professionally fulfilled to remain satisfied in our jobs and this is often something that goes beyond the pay cheque. Is there something that you feel you could do to bring improvements to your job or company? Perhaps it could be giving ideas about how processes can be streamlined or pitching ideas for new products or services.
There is a huge focus now on corporate social responsibility and this could be an area that you could help improve for your company or perhaps you could be the instigator to implement a policy. If your salary isn’t the only benefit you gain from work, you will feel more fulfilled and satisfied.
- Challenge yourself!
Learning brings new opportunities and new horizons. There are many new skills you can learn that will benefit you, your organisation and your co-workers. Your company may be able to get some additional funding for you to learn new skills. Maybe you could get your co-workers involved in a team building exercise that could raise money or awareness the companies chosen charity. You will have loads of fun and could bring you and your colleagues closer together. Go on challenge yourself and everyone around you and you will all benefit.
If all else fails..
- Is it time for a change?
Consider a move to a different company where the culture, ethics and ethos are more aligned to your personal values. Sadly, it could be that you have to accept that you are in either the wrong role or in the wrong working environment. Speak to us – we have years of experience helping people find a role within a company that suits them perfectly!
New Year’s Resolutions
It’s widely reported that New Year’s Resolutions rarely work – the 12th January has been named “Quitter’s Day” because of this fact. By this time in January many have fallen by the wayside. So why do we all start a New Year, with all these positive intentions to change ourselves?
The idea that we look back at the previous year and decide what we would like to change for the future is a long-standing tradition. Making New Year’s resolutions dates back as far as 153 BC and for years people have been making (and breaking!) their resolutions.
Resolutions surrounding health, including eating better and exercising more, are the most popular. However, one that remains firmly in the Top 10 list year on year is a change in career. In those last few days of the Christmas break, many people begin to dread the thought of going back to their current job. Not only are we battling with January being widely reported as the “worst month of the year” for many reasons including the Christmas come down blues and awful weather, the most popular one is being skint! So for anyone that has had a job that’s not the right fit for them, the start of January can be a really tricky time. Why are they working so hard in job they hate and have no available cash to show for it?
In spite of our early dedication, for many of us these resolutions will be a short-lived, with our drive to complete them withering away within just a couple of weeks. So why don’t New Year’s resolutions work? Why do we lose that drive that we felt at the beginning of January in a less than 2 weeks?
Resolutions don’t tend to stick for many reasons from setting unobtainable goals, to trying to do too much too quickly. Some of the most important reasons are insufficient support from others and a lack of belief in yourself. If you have regularly set yourself resolutions in the past and not managed to stick to them, it can be hard to have confidence that you will complete your goals. If this is coupled with you feeling that you have insufficient support then this will exaggerate your sense of failure. This year it is even worse as not only are we in a New Year it is also a new decade! Can we really have let ourselves down & those around us we rely on for support already? It through these wobbles your network are more important than ever for reassuring you that you can and will achieve them.
If one of your resolutions was to have a change in career, then Truly Tailored Recruitment can offer you the support you need to achieve this goal. We can be there for you to hold your hand throughout the whole process right from your initial enquiry, to CV and interview advice to handling the end of your contract and resignation worries. We are completely transparent with both our candidates and clients and the team here will work incredibly hard to find you the job of your dreams! We can make sure that you are not on your own through this process as finding a new job has been reported as being as high on the stress level list as moving home or getting divorced! Let us be part of your support network and give you the confidence to leave your current job and pursue a career that will make you happy in 2020.