8 Ways to Increase Submissions During A Recession

Staffing companies reliant on 360 recruiters for the majority of their business development are seeing larger declines in fee volume than those with dedicated BD teams, which should not come as a surprise.

There are some outliers, however, who are empowering their team with new data, tools and processes to be more proactive with how they generate a fee. I’ve written this opinion piece to share what we have uncovered.

The Challenge:

For most staffing company roles, producing 3-4 candidate submissions takes days of sourcing, screening and preparation time, not to mention additional sourcing costs. So why do so many recruiters place all of their fee-generating eggs in a one-client basket?

The Solution:

Start by communicating pipeline value with your team.

While most staffing companies can estimate the cost of acquiring a shortlist of candidates, it’s rare that they can accurately define the dollar value of that shortlist for their clients.

Clearly communicating the “market value” of your active candidate shortlists is the first step to empowering recruiters to think outside of the box when it comes to generating a fee.

Start by holding meetings with each of your recruitment teams aimed at defining:

  1. How many shortlists of active, screened candidates are generated each month?
  2. What is the estimated market value for a client to purchase one of those shortlists?
  3. How many submissions on average are made for an active, valuable candidate?
  4. Assuming a dream scenario of an unlimited demand for submissions, what dollar increase in fees could be achieved, without the need for additional resources?

Brainstorm BD strategy with the frontline.

Once each team member has a clear vision of the potential value of their sourcing and screening work, it’s easier for them to see the deficit between that value and the fees they generate. This is where incredibly valuable ideas and opinions are shared, that could be the key to unlocking a larger market share for your org.

As a starting point, here are some of the strategies we have seen succeed:

1. Open BD conversations with your most valuable card; Interview-ready candidates.

Time to hire is almost always a huge pain-point for your clients. Leverage the fact that you can dramatically reduce that metric because you have already built the shortlist for a very similar role in that same city.

2. When seeking new customers, match jobs to jobs, not just candidates to jobs.

Too often staffing technology focuses on matching a resume to a job description, and so do recruiters. As an alternative, start with a currently active role on your books and consider the job function, title, location and level. Check Indeed and LinkedIn for similar roles and begin reaching out to those target clients with your incredibly valuable, interview-ready shortlist in hand.

3. Closely monitor and react to, previous and current client’s job postings.

LinkedIn, Indeed and almost all other job boards have easy to use job notification services. Ask each of your recruiters to set up and monitor a job notification for their 30 most recent clients, so that they can be the first to react if an opportunity arises to present a pre-prepared shortlist to a client. This should be made a priority for roles you already have an interview ready shortlist for.

4. Proactively market your shortlists to current and prospective clients.

While we understand that this is not a process that all staffing companies engage in, it does produce results and should be considered. Anonymizing and personalising interview-ready candidate resumes, then floating them to a very specific list of target customers can produce some incredible results.

5. Introduce a submission-based rewards system.

Where possible and manageable, it may be worthwhile to incentivize your team to be proactive with their efforts to increase submission rates. Staffing companies no longer have the luxury of working job to job, and need to instead do everything they can to generate a fee from costly sourcing and screening.

6. Incentivize your customers to hire from pre-generated pipelines.

In conjunction with marketing anonymized candidates, it may or may not be fruit-full to offer a discount for a timely response from clients. As an example, being upfront and honest about the fact that these candidates are white-hot and will likely accept an offer in the next ten days, is a reason to request that the client responds quickly. As an added incentive it may make sense to offer slightly better terms should they respond within 24 hours.

7. Ask candidates which companies or industries they have always dreamed of being a part of.

A simple survey of candidates job-seeking desires can prove incredibly valuable. Most active candidates are aware of what suitable roles are out there, and would be happy to point you in the right direction if the situation is handled with care.

8. Market your shortlist back to the candidate’s previous companies.

Possibly the riskiest of all of the above strategies, but with the opportunity for immediate and significant reward. With the caveat of being particularly discreet, it is sometimes possible to contact a placed candidate’s previous organisation with the interview-ready shortlist your team have already screened. Their sense of urgency is often increased when the candidate’s notice is received, and they may well be grateful to hear from you. It goes without saying that this process should be used sparingly and with respect, and usually by only the most senior members of your organisation. That being said, when handled correctly, it is an excellent way of producing additional fees from an otherwise unused list of valuable candidates.

If you would like to share your opinion, or contribute to this article to help staffing companies during these trying times, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out through our web chat, or contact me on LinkedIn.