Ask James Caan 18th February 2011
In this week’s Q&A column, James Caan, explores the hurdles facing traditional agencies, how to market the skills of ex-police men and women and the benefits of networking.
This week I’d like to address the concerns of a different set of people: recruiters and the difficulties they can face when trying to market a unique proposition.
For example, I received a very interesting letter from Peter Scott, a budding recruiter with an excellent idea for a business.
Peter has just started his own recruitment consultancy, serving police officers who are ready to leave or have left the service, and are now seeking a new job. He tells me their average age is 50; they exhibit a huge amount of skills, and can apply their experience in a wide range of industries.
His problem, however, is that whilst he has a huge pool of candidates, he doesn’t know how to market these highly skilled individuals.
I imagine that ex-police men and women can face the same employment issues as those who leave the army, marines and navy. Adjusting to ‘civvy’ street can in some cases prove difficult because private sector employers aren’t aware of just how valuable their skills are.
Peter, on the face of it, you’ve come up against the challenge some jobseekers face: showing interviewers the importance of transferrable skills. Your challenge therefore, is to come up with innovative ways to engage with employers and show them just how viable your candidates’ skills are.
My first action would be to identify the industries most aligned to the Police, and develop contacts accordingly. Obvious options would have to include training, IT, sales, security, management, driving and investigative work.
How do you collect candidate information? Is it stored on a database? And do you conduct individual interviews to ascertain what they are looking for and can offer?
What marketing/promotional activity do you have in place at present? From looking online, there are job boards catering to ex-Police men and women that have significant interest from corporate companies – so you can see the interest is already there for this calibre of candidate.
I think the key is to not only market your candidates, but also you as a brand. Employers seek recruiters who are responsive and can add value. Recruitment is a people business, and as such, you should listen and act upon the feedback you have already received to inform your actions.
Networking must also be high on your priorities. I’m pleased to see you’re already using LinkedIn, but do you think you’re capitalising on it as much as you can? LinkedIn is a powerful tool, with 100,000 people in the UK joining every month. So use this to your advantage: create groups offering a platform to exchange information and candidate profiles, and start contacting companies to find out what recruitment needs they currently have. There are so many possibilities when it comes to LinkedIn, so set aside some time to find out how you can make the most of it.
Another suggestion, if you’re not already using it, is email marketing. After collecting potential customer data and segmenting by industry/company size, you could send out powerful messages tailored to the recipient, highlighting the skills of your candidates. Email marketing is incredibly powerful, can be measured easily and has significant return on investment.
Add to this potential advertising opportunities, targeting the IT, training, sales, management and driving trade press, and I’m certain you’ll start to see some activity.
Above all, remember that being a recruiter in today’s current climate can be difficult, but if you listen to the market place, develop ideas that satisfy employers needs and add value, you will be on the road to success.