Sophie's Blog

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1. Hire the right people to work the desk!

Temp is a completely different ball game to perms, so do not make the mistake of hiring the same type of person for temps.

Traits to look out for:

a) Resilience. Look for someone who will not give up, if they get a ‘no’ from a prospective client. They need to understand that more often than not, it is a ‘no, not yet’ because they have not articulated their value proposition well enough to the client;

b) Genuine curiosity and interest in their fellow human beings. People speak a lot about recruitment being a Business to Business industry and completely forget that it is at its core a Human to Human industry;

c) Smarts i.e. intelligence as you want people who can hold a conversation. Hiding behind a keyboard will not cut it. Does not necessarily mean a university degree as street smarts go a long way;

d) Assertiveness; Being a temp consultant is being an employer; they must be able to engender respect and loyalty from their temps or they will not go to work when you need them to;

e) Someone who moves fast; this one is something observed over my 18 years in recruitment. As running a temp desk is working in a ultra fast paced environment, you want people who think and move fast.

2. Make sure you and your staff have the right mindset from the beginning.

If the mindset and the thinking is right, then they will show up in the right way and be able to influence clients and temps alike. This is most often overlooked or left to chance, yet we know that people’s thoughts (conscious or unconscious) determine how they show up and how they show up, determines their activities, which directly determine their results. There is simply no way around this. Yet how many will interview for mindset? And train for mindset?

3. Training of your team

Recruitment is an industry that thankfully has invested more in the training of staff in the past few years. Without training it is as if the industry is reinventing the wheel every time. It is largely down to this fact and to the low entry bar, that the industry as a whole has trouble commanding respect. Imagine if every time you went to a doctor, they were still figuring out how to examine a patient.

4. Understand that temp recruitment is NOT a shorter form of permanent recruitment or your desk will not be successful or get to a critical size.

Temp recruiters need to have a workforce ready to go at all times. This workforce needs to be kept in work or they will go to your competitor. If you have to recruit for a temp job, you are following the same process as though it is perm. On this particular subject, will you allow your clients to review resumes and conduct interviews for a temp job? Again it is not perm! You need to fundamentally back yourself and tell the clients, you know who they need to do that job or plug that hole. By not claiming your expertise, you will become obsolete as clients will not see or understand the value you bring to the table.

5. Determine what will your service look like

• Will you have a temp guarantee?

• What market or niche will you operate in e.g. Government or health industry?

• Where will you pitch your service? Are you the Harrods or the Pound Shop of recruitment? Ensure this is the same across both temp and perm or you will confuse your clients.

• Who are your competitors? What are they offering?

• Organisational structure e.g. territorial, vertical markets, specialisations

Staff rewards and incentives

• Testing; how and what will you test?

6. Reputation: guard it as in recruitment it is all you have.

Whether it is good or bad, it will always precede you and follow you, particularly in our increasingly globally connected world. Treat people as people, not as numbers, placements or hours. If you have to think about if it is the right thing to do, then it isn’t. If it does not feel right, don’t do it. 

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