Business and technology consultancy QuoStar has identified three of the biggest factors holding back recruitment businesses. Many recruitment firms are niche companies, defined by the quality of their sales staff, but also by their lack of IT teams and limited technology budgets, a factor that is limiting the growth potential and profit margins of many within the industry.
Robert Rutherford, CEO of QuoStar, comments:
“Understandably, recruitment firms tend to be very sales centric. However, a divide is emerging between firms which are purely outward facing and those which devote a share of their attention to getting their internal systems and processes right. A huge volume of information passes through recruitment companies on a daily basis, and whilst Candidate Management Systems and dashboard reporting is a great start for utilising that information for placements and business improvement, there is much more that firms can do to give themselves the edge.”
Rutherford offers three tips for recruitment firms on using technology to improve their efficiency:
1) It’s not all about the office. Whilst Candidate Management Systems are great for handling information within the office, very few companies have any effective means of working remotely or of capturing information at meetings with candidates or clients. Firms that build a portable IT resource that is fully compatible with, and connected to, the main office infrastructure will save hours and capture the valuable information ‘in the heads’ of consultants. The client-knowledge of the consultants is often the only real IP a recruitment firm has.
2) It’s easy to underestimate security. The confidentiality of data is central to the recruitment sector, not just for the protection of business leads and information but because of legal obligations under the Data Protection Act. In the near future we will see more and more examples of corporate espionage as unscrupulous firms use off-shore pay-per-hour hackers to infiltrate the competition. The industry’s leading firms will be those which take the lead on data security before the threat reaches maturity. They won’t be doing anything new, just using the security systems already out there properly.
3) Technology is nothing without the ability to use it. In an industry full of highly competent salespeople, secondary skill sets can often be overlooked. It’s easy to get tied up with client and candidate contact, but firms will always find that time set aside for IT applications and systems training will bring dividends in terms of return on spend. It will also reduce the unnecessary IT related stress and frustration of consultants with weaker IT knowledge.
“Recruitment is a very fast paced industry, and it’s easy to push aside some of the more mundane aspects of the day-to-day business in favour of sales, but firms that lose touch with the fundamentals will be in danger of losing ground in the industry.”