Three Ways to Innovate in Your Recruitment Business

Published on

May 8, 2018

Written by

Alison Humphries


“If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said faster horses” attributed to Henry T Ford

Henry T Ford made the first mass-produced car, and his production methods made it affordable to many.

It didn’t guarantee him success for ever, because he wouldn’t adapt to customer demand. From 1921 to 1926 his market share reduced from 2/3 to 1/3 while General Motors introduced different colours and financing options.

And what’s that got to do with recruitment?

Many of the recruitment businesses I speak to have no idea how to differentiate themselves, and/or they can’t articulate the difference.

It simply doesn’t hack it to say “we won’t waste your time with irrelevant CVs” or “we take the time to really understand your requirements”.

In this competitive, profit-hungry market, those are the most basic “permission to play” requirements.

Broadly, there are three levels of innovation:

  1. Gradual change: A strategy of sustaining the same product or service, but delivering it using new or more popular technology. Like newspapers going digital, it is usually in response to customer demand.
  2. Market innovation: the UK gym market is a great example. It barely existed 20 years ago. Now gyms are regarded by some as a basic utility. A substantial new market was created- not because the idea was new but because the timing – and the marketing – were right
  3. Market disrupters: A completely new solution to an old problem. The invention of the car, or the mobile phone, are examples.  These created a whole far-reaching set of possibilities that even their inventors could not have foreseen.

The Bullhorn Report “UK Recruitment Trends Report” makes very positive reading, with 86% of recruitment business owners expecting revenues to increase this year.

It’s a good job, too, because about half are predicting an increase in spending, on either Branch infrastructure, tech investment.

Which highlights the main challenge for business owners: 65% say their no.1 priority is increasing profitability.

Does that ring true for you? Most of us are spending more on marketing, payroll costs now include pensions (increasing), apprenticeship levy (for some) and the minimum wage has just gone up too.

And the oversupply of recruiters in some sectors is producing downward pressure on margins.

So, how many businesses are being truly innovative in what they offer? The answer is very few.

Curiously, there hasn’t been a truly market-disrupting innovation in recruitment since the advent of job boards and Linkedin.  If you are not creating new markets, then are you fundamentally changing the offer?

Here are three examples:

  1. Video Interviewing: the sudden widespread use of Video interviewing platforms is changing everything. It requires employers and recruiters to think in advance about their criteria and questions. Will we finally see the demise of the CV?
  2. Recruitment Chatbots:  Automating as much of the process as possible for bulk recruitment could reduce or minimise the risk of unconscious bias. Big news in the “inclusion era”.
  3. Direct engagement: Providing- and managing- staff to fulfil a project, or contract, rather than just supply of labour, has been the way forward in some sectors.

Alison has a track record of establishing and coaching innovative new businesses. Can you afford NOT to get input from an experienced NED and business mentor like Alison? Don’t let your business be a “me too” recruiter. Call Recruitment Leadership Ltd now and benefit from a free initial consultation.    

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