The peak of the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t a great time for finding new clients for a recruitment agency. Except in health care and in industries that employed essential workers, furloughs and layoffs were more common than workforce expansion. For a business owner running a recruitment agency, the phones were probably quieter than usual during the first half of 2020.
The U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 14.7% in April 2020, the highest it’s been since the Great Depression, the Pew Research Center says. By August, the unemployment rate had fallen sharply, down to 8.4%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonessential businesses began reopening or making plans to reopen — and for some, that meant resuming the hiring process.
How can you position your recruitment agency for growth in a hiring market that’s still feeling the effects of COVID-19? Here are four ideas that could help your agency land more clients.
Identify Expanding Industries and Employers
Focus your lead-generation efforts on the areas where hiring is increasing. Retail, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, education and health services showed notable job gains in August 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Besides keeping track of government employment data to find clients for a recruitment agency, you should conduct market research and follow business news reports. Perhaps a company in one of your current or desired niche markets is launching a new product or project. A merger, new ownership, or a change in executive leadership could be a signal that an organization is rethinking its hiring strategy — and that there could be an opportunity for your company to guide it.
Reach Out to Prospects
Once you’ve identified an organization that might be in hiring mode, contact the hiring or recruitment manager, and pitch them on how your services can help them find the right candidate faster. If you’ve put successful candidates in tough-to-fill positions in their industry, tout that experience.
As you’re doing outreach to gain new clients, don’t neglect your existing clients. Stay in touch via phone calls, email, and newsletters. While you’re at it, see if you have any dormant clients in industries where hiring is on the rise; if you do, give them a nudge. Ask clients who were happy with your hiring campaigns for referrals.
Going the extra mile to entice potential clients to contact your business can also make a difference. An overhaul of your agency’s website might enhance your company’s inbound marketing appeal.
Show Off Your Social Media Savvy
Employers know how important social media has become in finding and connecting with Gen Y and Gen Z talent. HR Technologist reported in November 2019 that 90% of recruiters considered social media skills a must-have for the industry. Given COVID-19’s curtailment of in-person recruiting events, social media platforms will only become more important.
If you’re running a recruitment agency, follow the social media accounts of potential clients and use those platforms to market your agency. Place ads, share blog posts or offer webinars with tips for employers looking to get back into the hiring game after the slowdown.
Harness the Power of Artificial Intelligence
To land clients for your recruitment agency, you’ll need to show prospective clients that you have the tech tools to help them to recruit more successfully. If you don’t offer an applicant tracking system powered by artificial intelligence, for example, a potential client could choose a competitor who is more technologically up to speed. AI has advanced the capability of digital recruitment tools beyond scanning resumes; some AI-powered functions can even conduct deep pre-interview evaluations and initial screening interviews, according to a June 2020 report from the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals. The use of digital recruitment technology was already trending upward, and the pandemic has only accelerated that movement, the ATA notes.
Market research, constant communication, social media and technology are the formula for growth in the recruitment business. A small business loan could help you invest in these strategies and grow your agency.