Lessons Learned From 2019

December is traditionally the time of year when you get a chance to sit down with your umpteenth hot chocolate and mince pie to reflect then review what you have achieved in the year gone by against your new year’s resolutions perhaps and certainly against targets set out by your employer!

However, I think it is also important to take stock and think about the “softer” elements of the lessons learned- certainly in terms of what behaviors you would change to improve your performance, what you will change next year in terms of your attitude towards situations and even who you will try and avoid next year…..

I challenged my colleagues to also think about what they have learned most this year and this is our summary; we hope you find it useful and we would be interested to know whether you have
had similar situations in your business too?

Sign of the times

We always get signed terms agreed upfront with any hiring client we want to partner with, which have clear clauses surrounding fees, payment terms and rebate periods. Ordinarily, our clients have been previous users and so there is rarely an issue around paying us once a candidate is placed- all part and parcel of contingency recruitment.

However, you meet a client who is through a recommendation and you agree on fees on email; however, you don’t get the actual signed document assuming the email agreement is enough. A word of caution- if this client then turns into your worst nightmare and refuses to pay your full fee-splitting hairs over this, it transpires that a signed document is the only way to protect your business.

Sadly, this scenario resulted in this client being removed as a partner to our brand as for us, trust is the most important thing and we could never place someone else into a business that breaches
that so viciously. We will certainly be very cautious taking on new clients going forward and always with signed terms. Has this happened to you? What was the outcome?

Marmite people

As you get older, you learn to appreciate what sort of people you want to surround yourself with- I have certainly found as I have passed 40 by, that there are those I want to be around and then
those I have to tolerate and in business, this is no different. For example, in recruitment, you do tend to come across a lot of strong characters and just sometimes they border into narcissists- those who lack empathy or commitment to anyone but themselves. How do you predict who these people are going to be other than trusting our own intuition and life experience; even we, as seasoned recruiters, occasionally get the wool pulled where someone will test our patience and trust. However, we would recommend the 3 strikes and you are out rule as there is only so much bad luck one person can have during an interview process. What do you do when you are dealing with someone you don’t like?

Crystal ball reader

Sadly I am not a psychic nor can I predict the future; therefore my summation is that every recruitment situation you face will be unique and that you can never predict what an outcome is going to be. What you can do to navigate away from risk and steer towards a positive outcome is to always ask open questions, be prepared to listen and ask for the “no”, be genuine in your own approach so that you create an open and transparent engagement with your customer. It is so easy for me to say take a pragmatic view as I run my own business so don’t have shareholders or a boss to please; however the less we worry or become fixated on “making money” and more importantly focusing on outcomes – getting the right people their right job- will make you a much more professional, calmer and honest operator in whatever market you operate within. Have you found this in your market? Are there nuances you can predict?

USP value

Understanding what your USP is should form a critical part of anyone’s future plan for career development or business operating. Why does someone buy from you – whatever your product or
Think about this and from this USP, build out your value proposition so each and every time you engage with a new customer you can simply position why you are the best person to assist them.
We have learned this year that our QUI, sorry “key” USP is that we are highly discerning in our approach (one interview to get someone a job- placed ratio is 1:1.16) and this leads to a high quality and confidential service maintaining a candidates confidentiality and saving them time.

What is your USP? We hope this gives you some tangible reflections to build your new year goals onto. We would love to hear them. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my blogs on UnderCover Recruiter in 2019, all the best for 2020.

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