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Overcoming Recruitment Challenges in 2024 - Business Development

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Business Development can be challenging at the best times, but in a tough market, it can feel nearly impossible to keep your head above water. 2023 has been a challenging economic year, particularly in the UK. 

This created a challenging market for a lot of recruiters, as headcount was stripped back, budgets were cut, and a feeling of uncertainty was present. A lot of recruiters within the industry had to focus on generating a lot more new business than they would in previous years due to these rapid changes, which created its own set of challenges.

2022 was an incredible year for the recruitment industry. Business Development, something that has always been difficult, was probably the easiest it had been since pre-pandemic conditions. So, to experience the complete opposite in 2023 took many recruiters by surprise.

However, challenging times can strengthen us, and many recruiters have had to focus on their business development efforts to ensure that they can finish this year on a high, and start the new year on the “right foot”. 

How to refresh old/stagnant clients

Business Development isn’t just about new business, it’s about nurturing the relationships that you’ve built over time, too. In a tough market when a trusted client isn’t responding or providing you with roles, it can be easy to think “I’ve got terms signed with them, so they’ll always be around” and start hunting for new business. However, this can lead to complacency and your trusted clients potentially forgetting about you and refreshing their supplier lists due to your inactivity.

Too often, recruiters think that no business equals no contact when in reality you should be focussing on other ways that you can create touchpoints with clients whom you have already signed terms with. When the market picks up, they’ll be the first to use you. Knowing how to keep stagnant clients fresh can be challenging, so here are our top three strategies for success:

    • Create touchpoints that aren’t just centred around emails: Whether it’s a phone call, video content, or organising an in-person meeting, you don’t want every follow-up email or check-in email to be the same format and tone. This is inauthentic and often adds no value for your client. Think about how you can cleverly use tools such as video to create market updates and engaging, short-form content that your current clients will enjoy in a quieter market. Remember, recruitment isn’t just about hiring new people all the time. It’s about retention, culture, employee engagement and business growth, too.

    • Land and expand: Just because your specialism/team within a client isn’t hiring, doesn’t mean that other areas of the business are experiencing a hiring freeze. Finding out who else you can plug into the business is actually best achieved when hiring is at its quietest. Hiring managers in a slower market will have more capacity in some cases to have introductory conversations - so figure out who you can introduce and build relationships with.

    • “How else can I help” conversations: As we mentioned earlier, don’t just be laser-focused on trying to make new hires. In a tough market, sometimes clients need an external partner to talk to for advice, so create the space and time to speak to clients even if you know you won’t immediately gain something from it. Not only does it position you as someone who can have a consultative approach, but it still allows you to build that relationship “in the background” so when hiring picks up again, you’ll be chosen to help.

Is recruitment all about traditional methods?

Too often, traditional methods are coined as the “be all and end all” of success in recruitment, and although this is partly true, we think that in tough markets, you can’t simply rely on the phone and cold-calling as a successful methodology. We’re incredibly lucky in our industry to have access to high-quality tech and new approaches which in many instances are more effective than old-school approaches. 

Of course, if you’re seeing success from traditional methods, then stick to them. All markets are different and depending on the demographic that you’re dealing with, some will be more receptive to methods than others. However, a good recruiter can always become a great recruiter, and great recruiters embrace digital methods to elevate what they’re already doing. 

The value of video outreach

Being a video platform, we’re going to be biased and say that our approach is something that you should try in a challenging market, but we don’t just say that without having evidence to back it up…

We all need human connection, and although a phone or an email can be effective if you aren’t seeing results, then it’s time to try different avenues. Video allows you to show your personality: your tone of voice, your body language, and your knowledge. In a challenging market, it’s even more important to try and stand out, and if you’re using the same methods as the majority of recruiters, you aren’t going to be memorable. Video can provide you with a bit of insurance for whatever state the market is in. It can get you wins on both sides and still give a human element to your approach as a recruiter! Whichever way the market swings, you’ve got incredible tech to ensure you’re ok.

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