How to stop recruiters calling (& recruiters: how to get ALL the business)

I want to start this post with a massive (but true) brag: we’ve never cold pitched at anyone for new business. EVER. Not once. We have a waiting list, and a current and past client list that most recruitment companies would chop off their left arm for. I want to let you into one of the secrets of how we did it – and hopefully help both sides of the discussion get what they want. It’s really easy, and is (one of) the key(s) to our success – only sell things to people who want to buy them.

Crazy huh?!

Let me expand. If you’re a recruiter, and you’re spending time cold calling companies or hustling for new business, you’re doing it wrong. Recruitment is a well paid, constant business flow. If you service all your clients and candidates REALLY well, instead of spending that time on calling people who don’t want you to – two really important things happen:

  1. the extra time you spend on really giving great service and filling every role you take (as far as is possible) earns you recommendations. Having people (clients and candidates) knock on your door because you’re doing a great job is far easier and much more enjoyable than cold calling and playing a numbers game.
  2. you don’t piss off a bunch of potential clients.

These two things will soon form a beautiful positive feedback loop, and before you know it pretty much anyone with any sense who’s recruiting (ie, your perfect clients) will be knocking on your door to work with you! Cool huh? And the crappy clients who have a bad rep, or have companies you know it’d be hard to resource for? You can turn them down! More awesome for you – great clients, great candidates, you get to pick, more business than you can shake a stick at – all because you chose to spend your time doing a great job, and not bothering people who don’t want to be bothered. Marvelous.

Companies being bothered by calls – what can you do? Don’t work with any agencies you haven’t directly approached. The only reason any business can keep running is if they make money. Somewhere, somehow, recruitment agencies who everyone hates and moans about are making money. They’re making money because someone is paying them for their “services”. I’ve seen plenty of occasions the studio manager or HR person took new recruits off spec from a recruiter they didn’t know because they had received a cold call or CV and liked it. It undermines any decent recruitment firm working with you and the teams, and meant ultimately will mean decent recruiting people stop working with you – why waste their valuable time on searches if you just accept CVs from anywhere? If you or your HR department do this, you’re causing this problem to happen. It’s that simple. Even if THE BEST CV IN THE WORLD lands on your desk from a recruiter you haven’t personally requested to send you one, you MUST decline, or you’re perpetrating the problem.

Lastly, a note about pages like this. In my opinion, they don’t work (from feedback I’ve had with companies who have them). The crap recruiting/sales people just ignore them, and decent people who are any good see them as a company who doesn’t understand the importance of a team building partnerships. We would never agree to those terms or way of working. So we just give them a wide berth.

I genuinely hope this is a useful blog post to people working in recruitment, and those who suffer the frustrating and annoying calls.