Barometer insight: Growth is getting harder. Is your recruitment business adapting?

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The Q2 2019 Recruitment Barometer indicates the market is tightening (if you would like a copy of the report please email or message me). While all the key indicators remain positive many of them are at record or near record lows suggesting that growth is becoming more challenging and recruiters are needing to work harder to continue to hit their targets. 

Recruitment leaders who haven’t previously experienced a slowing market may find the challenges very different to the ones they have grown used to in recent years and will need to adapt their management and strategic approach. As growth becomes harder management decisions will become more important.  Good decisions won’t deliver the results they used to, while mediocre decisions will feel like bad ones. Companies that invest time and effort into their board meetings will generally see the benefits but these meeting can also become a melting pot where differences in opinion and stresses between members of the management team manifest. Many companies find appointing a non-executive advisor who can chair these meetings and has experience of growing companies in challenging conditions an invaluable investment. 

It is not just the management team who will feel the stress of the market tightening. As the market slows clients will become increasingly focused on the quality of service and service offering. Recruiters who have previously found it relatively easy to hit targets may find they need to become both more resilient and more disciplined. Slack practices that managers have previously let slide when the market was buoyant will start to cost companies business. Star recruiters will continue to hit targets because they are already disciplined but others will find they need to work harder and smarter to achieve similar results. To help them, invest in training as well as reviewing targets, processes etc.

The good news is that those who do well as the market gets harder will thrive even more when it becomes easier again.

Alex Arnot is non executive advisor to more than 30 recruitment companies.