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The Power of Reputation & Referrals

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​In my experience, recruiters are pretty lousy at recruiting other recruiters!

Bold statement but entirely true.

They are even worse at taking the time to make sure that recruiters who interact with their companies walk out with the right first impression.

One of the most critical parts of running a recruitment business is making sure that people out in the market WANT to work for your business and of course, want to refer their friends to your brand.

So, what makes me think that recruiters are so bad at getting this right?

Numbers before People

Recruiters are so busy asking about the numbers that they forget to ask about the person.

Before you go crashing in there talking about billings and numbers, check out the story first! Who are you? What drives you? Not just at work what is your lifelike. You know in the same way you would with a candidate you were trying to place! These are the things that stick out to a candidate and even if they are not the right fit, they will walk away with good positive feedback. They will say things like, they took the time to get to know me etc.

Remember to sell your business

Recruiters always ask the same questions in interviews and therefore if they are meeting 4 businesses, they have been asked this over and over!

The difference between what your business can offer a new hire and another recruitment business is probably not that much in real terms. Yes, perhaps you have a better commission scheme, perhaps you don’t. Perhaps you recruit in a different way to everyone else (everyone needs a USP) but whatever it is, make sure that you take time to sell your business to each and every candidate you meet whether you want to move forwards or not! There is real merit in this and never a step that should be skipped!

Recruiters talk A LOT! The number of times I speak with recruitment consultants and they push back on meeting a business based on what their mate told them about an interview once…you would be surprised!

Use meetings effectively

Meeting is either too formal or not formal enough – strike a balance!

Whilst you do not want to be all coffee and cake making, you do want to make sure that the candidate feels relaxed and wants to come back! I would ALWAYS recommend showing a consultant around the office at the first stage. (If you are going to do this remember they will look at the sales board to check out earning potential)

In my opinion, the more people they meet and the earlier in the process this happens, the more buy-in they have!

That said, DO NOT send in person after person after person asking the same questions again and again. So often candidates tell me that they have no idea who they met and feel overwhelmed! Keep it to 2 people max in one sitting the rest is a walk around and hello in the office.

Time Kills

2 stages is MORE than enough! 3rd is to meet the team (if you cannot make that happen at the end of stage 2)

I can absolutely promise you that those processes that are swift with 2 stages and team meet, are always the most successful! NEVER let them leave without agreeing the next meeting and never leave it more than a week between them! Trust me even if they were passive at the start, the are probably now active and will start chatting to their mates who will start suggesting they meet this business or that and BOOM, you have lost them to a competitor.


Presentations, Presentations, Presentations! There is some value in it but don’t do it for the sake of it!

No need to elaborate, we all know that this totally happens.

Be open minded

Sector moves make sense! Don’t just look for people wanting to move within the same sector, there is new fresh talent working in other areas of recruitment.

I speak to people from a variety of different markets and I can tell you that numbers do not mean the same thing. If you are working a temp desk in Trades to bill 200K you need to have some serious skills! £0.80p margins in some cases, that is a whole lot of men at work versus 5 runners in IT?! Do not fall into the trap of thinking that your sector is much harder and more important than everyone else’s! All markets are tough in different ways, don’t be known for being a snob about it!

Of course, within recruitment we all understand the power of reputation and referrals with our clients. It is a no brainer; do a good job and ask the client/candidate to refer a friend and so on and so forth… but what about those who we are hiring for ourselves?

Whether we want them or not, they will tell people about the experience with your business, so it is important to make sure that every potential hire leaves you, wanting more!