Ask a Recruitment Leader – 5 Questions with Mark Eldridge


In today’s age, it’s not too difficult to find advice on any subject. Advice you can trust from a qualified expert in the subject?—now that’s a tall order.  That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce our new series: Ask a Recruitment Leader. We’ve assembled a group of the recruitment industry’s most prominent thought leaders and experts, and picked their brain on some of the most pressing issues facing recruitment agencies in 2017.

Today’s expert—Mark Eldridge,

Recruitment agencies cited the talent shortage as the number one challenge in the 2017 recruitment trends report. How does the talent shortage impact the way recruitment agencies should approach candidate engagement? What steps can recruitment agencies take to win candidates for difficult-to-place positions?

The Recruitment Industry is fast-paced and dynamic because the market is always changing.  Agencies that recognise where their efforts should be spent and adapt quickly stand the best chance of success.  When client’s requests can be altered or tweaked in response to the shifting candidate base—the recruitment agency is doing its job. In instances when client’s needs are inflexible, the client is often the one gets frustrated.  Having the courage and diligence to work with clients on this matter is a key contributor to success.

It’s important to remember that candidates will often have many options. Instilling a sense of loyalty to a project or job can be difficult, but inspiring a sense of loyalty in the candidate-recruiter relationship is the only tool that we all have.

What is stopping most recruitment agencies from becoming more efficient? What actions should they take to correct this?

Having a clearly defined process for all efforts within your business is the foundation of efficiency.  While our industry encourages recruiters and salespeople to operate their own “businesses” understanding what is expected of every member of the team in order to maximise efficiency requires accountability.  Striking a balance between accountability and success can be a hard leadership task for even the most experienced executives.

What’s a common misconception about winning new business? What are recruitment agencies overlooking in their current approach to winning business?

We tend to forget that at one point the company for which we work was not on any of the vendor’s lists that we are on today.  Hearing that a client has a list does not mean that you can’t do business there.  In addition, many salespeople and recruiters get focused on the skill sets required to make a placement.  Instead, their focus should also include the process that the client employs to make a placement.  I have heard many people complain that a client is difficult or frustrating.  In most cases, what is really being said is “Here’s another example of something about this client’s hiring process that I wish that I had known before.”

What will be the greatest challenge recruitment agencies face in the next five years? What will be key to overcoming this challenge?

There are a lot of unknowns on the horizon.  Perhaps more challenges and changes than at any other time.  We face a new administration, robots, continued proliferation of VMS and MSP programs, automated recruitment solutions, the Gig Economy, IT productivity enhancements – too many variables to cover them all.  Therefore the greatest strength for any recruitment agency today is flexibility.  The ability to change and adapt as the landscape shifts.  The industry will change – those that adapt fastest will be fine.

How can recruitment leaders be innovative in the current landscape? What examples of innovation in recruitment have you seen?

There are so many ways to be successful in this business.  There are companies that thrive on a narrow list of clients and companies that do the exact opposite.  The key is not to innovate more than everyone else it is to focus on the innovations that will have the biggest impact for your business.  The innovations that will make your teams more effective or your clients happier or your candidates more engaged.  Once those decisions are known – from there it’s only about execution.  Get behind the innovation.  Have the goal to be not that the innovation succeed, but instead that if it fails that it wasn’t for lack of effort, strategy, and support.

Want more great insights from Mark Eldridge and other recruitment leaders? Check out the new ebook, Recruitment Speaks Out: Global Recruitment Leaders Share Their Best Candidate Engagement Advice.

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