Recruitment Blog

What recruiters and agency owners need to focus on in 2023

Greg Savage

The latest JobAdder global industry report is another fascinating insight into the recruitment sector, with many prompts for action for recruitment leaders.

As the data illustrates, the market is slowing, job numbers are dropping and candidate flow is increasing.

I encourage owners of recruitment companies to heed the warnings embedded in this report.

It’s critical to avoid the mistakes of the past as we enter a downturn. Specifically, we must all get off the ‘recruitment see-saw’.

In 2020 and part of 2021, we had a shortage of jobs, so we fired 60% of our recruiters.

In 2022, job growth boomed, and we lacked candidates, so everything was about accessing candidates, candidate care and hiring back all those recruiters. As the market shifts, it will all become about clients again.

The intelligent recruitment approach is knowing that we always need both sides to make this match. So as hiring demand drops, don’t return to the lack of candidate service ethos that has characterised our industry for so long.

Even as you increase business development with clients, make sure you don’t take the focus off activating your candidate pipeline because it’s how you treat those candidates when you don’t need them that will dictate how many candidates you have when the hiring market improves.

The danger signs are evident in this global report. After many quarters of improving proactive sourcing success, recruiters are now taking the focus off this and going back to reactive sourcing. I would encourage more focus on candidates via your database, not less.

This report provides compelling evidence that proactive sourcing is faster and cheaper. Identify from JobAdder every candidate you rated as ‘good’ but did not place in 2022 and 2021. Then contact them to reignite that relationship. That could lead to a new candidate or client, but it will definitely positively impact your brand.

The report also reinforces the fact that client work is critical now too. If you haven’t done so, now is the time to ‘brick wall’ all your existing clients.

Often recruiters invest more time seducing new clients instead of nourishing relationships with existing clients. The work-from-home trend has made this worse, as many recruiters never meet with their clients anymore. It’s time to flex your business development muscle. Be visible to your clients.

Furthermore, now is the time to reignite dormant client relationships. The so-called ‘second tier’ clients. They are even called that internally. Get in touch. Go and see them. Engage whenever you can. Eschew superficial communications. If a call is better than an email, do it. If a video call is better than a call, do it. If a face-to-face meeting is better than a video call, do it.

Finally, this report shows that fees are edging upwards in Australia and probably most other locations. As the market tightens, it will be tempting to discount your fees. Don’t do that. Focus on value. Explain to clients that it’s harder to recruit great candidates in a depressed job market, not easier. The volume of applications increases, and the best candidates are reluctant to move. So, a recruiter works harder for the outcome. 

The post-COVID-19 hiring boom was as unexpected as it was profitable for recruiters.

The test will come when things return to something approaching ‘normal’.

Can we take the longer-term view and invest in candidate acquisition, client development and recruiter development, all at the same time?

That’s what is needed to thrive in 2023 and beyond.

This analysis was featured in the JobAdder Global Industry Report Q3-Q4 2022. To access all of the report’s data and insights, download it now.

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