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10 Bad Habits Recruitment Consultants Need to Break

Posted by: Nicola Batty
Company News
Everyone of us is likely to have some form of bad habit. It is also likely that we all have some good habits too! In fact it is likely that the good habits outweigh the bad. Habits can form really quickly - often habits we create are developed unconsciously. At work, if we do the same task repetitively, it is likely we will form habits around that task. I have taken 10 of the most common bad habits that I’ve seen consultants develop; It is for you to decide which, if any, of these you are guilty of and to set a plan to change them.
The first three all revolve around assumption. We all know the danger of assumption, yet can still get caught in the trap of assuming too frequently.


Assuming your candidate is going to take the job if offered. Just because they are going for an interview does not mean that they will accept it if offered. Just because the candidate is the only one the client is seeing then it is a “definite” placement.


Assuming your current clients will always be your customers. When complacency starts to kick in then you take your eye off the ball. You become less attentive, less proactive and then... You’ve lost them.


Assuming that your prospect clients know what you do, because they’ve worked with other agencies. Hopefully you believe that the experience you create for your customers is best in class, yet too often prospects claim that other agencies are “willing to do it for less”. What follows is far more discussion about price rather than truly defining what “it” actually is.
Assumption creeps in over time. Check your assumptions. What are you currently assuming about your business?


Another bad habit is procrastination. When tasks are important but not urgent we can comfortably put them off until tomorrow. The most common things that consultants procrastinate on are:


Putting off business development today as you’ve got live jobs that you are working on. At some point those jobs will be filled. A pipeline of work is easier to generate if sales and business development is seen as an everyday activity.


Aftercare and post placement follow up. We all know how important this is - ensuring that our clients and candidates are happy now that the contractor/ permanent placement has started. If we prioritise other activities over this and put it off until next week, it will start to create a habit that it is OK to do it when “we have time”.


Networking with prospective candidates. Now, more than ever in recruitment, there is a skills shortage across so many industries. Good candidates are well looked after. If we spend all of our time targeting candidates we have live jobs for today and not pipeline new candidates for the future we will create our own productivity bottleneck.
Procrastination is a hard habit to break. There are even books on how to stop procrastinating - the problem is the people who buy it, with best intentions, put off reading it until tomorrow as they are too busy right now!!
The final four habits are all activity based. When you complete tasks so frequently you do them on auto pilot. Once you start a task on autopilot you will deliver it consistently to the same standard. Sometimes that standard isn’t as good as it could be or we would like.


Seeing advert writing as being an administrative task. Adverts are the sharp end of your candidate attraction strategy. Adverts are sometimes your first impression with the candidates you’d like to engage with. Those who see advert writing as admin cut and paste their previous adverts. Poor grammar, spelling and tense, plague poor quality agency adverts. Those consultants are then quick to say adverts don’t work. Search for your own adverts and read them as if you were a candidate. How happy are you with the impression you are creating?


Catch up calls with qualified prospects who still haven’t spent any money with you. How many times do you hear sales calls where:
“It’s just a quick call to catch up and see what’s changed”
Checking in with a prospect every month without creating any form of advance or reaffirming what value you provide. Assuming that because in call one you told them about how you work and your USPs that they will remember them forever and associate you with high quality service. Ultimately you’re on a journey to become a friendly face and not a supplier or partner.


Over whelming candidates about the job you’ve got for them. Our short term memory can only hold 7 +/- 2 pieces of information at one time. If you go through an entire spec, client profile and opportunity and then expect the candidate to remember it all you’re going to find a high percentage of candidates will ask you to email them a spec, so they can read it on their own and not feel so overwhelmed. Alternatively they will say yes and not be fully committed to the role. Good practice? Ask your candidate if they have a pen to hand. Share the pertinent info to get them interested. Slow down. Reading out a job spec to a candidate over the phone has got to be in a candidates top 10 annoying habits of consultants.


Leaving voicemails whilst resourcing without a follow up strategy. 75% of the UK population has a smart phone. Only 18% of those users elect to listen to their voicemails. So, 82% of the voicemails you leave go unheard. It’s a smart phone, perhaps try another channel. Set a plan as to how you’re going to deal with those you don’t get hold of that is more than calling again. If you’re going to email or text then develop some urgency and be a little less solicitous.

The 10 I have described are all pretty common. You may even be guilty of a few of them. To break a habit requires the formation of a new one. It is much better (and easier) to develop a new habit than to simply stop a bad one. Samuel Johnson said it best when he said:
“The diminutive chains of habit are seldom heavy enough to be felt until they are too strong to be broken”
What does this mean? As you form a habit you are often unaware of its formation until it has become so strong that it is impossible to break. It will take some energy and focus. It can be done very quickly if you want the outcome to change enough.

About Jeremy

Jeremy Snell is a leading learning and development specialist, working with recruitment companies across the globe.  Jeremy has worked with the team at Navartis as a key contributor to our ongoing training and L&D programme.

He has trained in excess of 8,000 recruitment professionals, with a focus on developing higher levels of productivity and efficiency. Jeremy’s own background as a consultant and manager provide him with an empathic approach to training. Jeremy’s training initiatives are content rich, with practical, relevant tactics to develop performance.
Participation in his training is immersive, fun and above all impactful.

Original piece written by Jeremy Snell, more information can be found by visiting the following websites:

If your looking for a career in recruitment, book a call with the Navartis team.

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