Disrupting Your Competitors

Executive Comment

Being treated as a commodity service is one of the biggest challenges recruiters face.

Paradoxically, despite there being more internal recruiters than ever before, the number of recruitment firms in the market keeps increasing. The impact of internal recruiters is clear: fewer jobs are being released to agents, and as recruitment firms proliferate the result is greater competition for every job. Against that backdrop, recruiters can easily become commoditised, where their product is providing CVs and their variable is price. The danger of this approach is that recruiters end up working on fewer jobs, and doing so for lower fees as well. With that in mind, recruiters facing red-ocean competition should think about applying disruptive techniques to gain market share.

Firstly, given that recruiters are always competing for candidates, and advertising is the primary way of attracting those, how can you compete against a competitor which is spending significantly more than you? One guerrilla marketing technique involves creating Google AdWords based on the name of your competitor and your area of speciality. The best example of this I have seen in recent times involves TransferWise and CurrencyFair. Both offer the same service, for almost identical fees. Given that TransferWise is a tech unicorn, it has a significantly larger marketing budget; however, when you enter TransferWise into the Google search box, the top result is a sponsored post for CurrencyFair. You could be doing the same with your business, piggybacking on the spend of your competitors and building your brand in the process.

In the same way, if you see that competitors are spending large amounts on sponsoring events, why not organise a small event yourself, based around a specific theme? For example, “Post Brexit, what professional opportunities are there if you want to move back to Continental Europe?”  Hire a small venue, run an e-shot to your target database and have delegates there who are genuinely interested in the topic in question and are likely to register with you if you can show that you are thinking about their needs. Make it a compelling theme and follow up with people who show interest, then time the event so that it is before the event your competitor is sponsoring. That way any people who may be going to the subsequent event and who come to both will register with you first.

Finally, be nimble. Big businesses may be better capitalised, but decisions there take longer to be implemented. Make your size your strength, and look to identify the new niches emerging as they emerge. For example, in IT five years ago, although Python was a recognised language, you wouldn’t see Python specialists: now Python is one of the fastest growing areas of demand. A recruiter who was close to the ground then would have been able to identify the emergence of that specialism and build their candidate pool sufficiently, meaning that they became the go-to person. Having accurate market intelligence on hiring trends can give you the confidence to specialise in such a way that you are able to disrupt your competitors and move ahead from a position of strength.

Over the last ten years Vacancysoft has worked with recruitment firms of all sizes to help them map out market activity in order to identify changes in demand. For more information about how we can help, please contact us.

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