November sees the REC hitting the road for Business Brains On Tour, which brings together some top UK business talent to share their business knowledge to help you grow and develop your recruitment business.
One of our “brains” is Johnny Campbell, the CEO the Social Talent who is the recruiters social media favourite. His session will bring you up to speed on how to use social media to grow your business, attract the best candidates and use content to differentiate your business.
The REC caught up with Johnny for a quick chat to find out what we can expect from him on tour.
1. Please sum up your business philosophy in no more than 140 characters?
Be brilliant in everything you do and good things will happen. If you can’t be brilliant, do something else.
2. The economic pressures on recruitment agencies have grown in recent years – what one essential tip can you give to recruiters to help them build their business?
Companies used to rely on agencies for 80% of their hires. They are now moving towards 80% direct. If you want a share of the remaining 20%, be a specialist who is the absolute best at providing candidates in your niche. If you want to go after the 100%, you need an RPO model.
3. Recruitment has undergone huge changes in the way that it operates – what characteristics would you say are the most valuable for a successful recruitment business owner to have in the new environment?
You must be agile and focused on making yourself indispensable to your customers. Agility could mean being flexible in the pricing model that you offer, providing unusual services beyond fee based placement or just embracing the latest technologies in your operational model. What has not changed is the personal touch. This is still very much a people business. When you focus too much on the tech and the latest shiny new things, you can lose sight of the people and the relationships that are vital to the success of any recruitment business.
4. Social media has had a massive impact on the way that recruiters operate and there are a range of options on offer – what approach would you advise recruiters to take to get the most out of their social media?
Don’t use social media for the pure sake of it. Just because your competitor is on Facebook does not mean that you should be. Understand the potential value of all new tools and resources and then decide what is right for your business. To me, there are three core opportunities that recruiters can leverage from social media: 1) the enormous database of candidates that are there to be found, 2) the opportunity to market yourself and gain influence through social sites that are gradually consuming more and more internet users’ time and 3) new ways to communicate with and talk to potential candidates and clients.
5. The UK recruitment industry is continuing to grow and operate on a more global scale – what benefits are there to recruiters considering overseas markets?
With the growth of social and professional sites and the proliferation of the internet via mobile you can now hire for any job in the world using only your mobile phone. You no longer need to be in the same country, let alone the same city as the clients and candidates that you rely on, therefore the obstacles to developing business and expanding overseas have all but vanished. If you have a great business model and deliver a fantastic service, you can offer that anywhere in the world without ever leaving your local town!
6. Retaining high quality staff is key to driving business forward – what advice can you give to recruiters to make sure they hold onto to their top talent?
I met with a client recently who wanted us to deliver our Black Belt training to their staff but with one caveat; they wanted us to hold back some of our “best stuff” as they feared that if their recruiters had all of our training, they would surely leave and go elsewhere. I was discussing this with a colleague who made an excellent point; what happens if their staff don’t get the training…..and they stay! My advice is to invest in your staff, encourage self-direction, invest in a learning culture, give them something to believe in and then get out of their way and let them do their job. You don’t need free beer and fooze-ball tables to retain staff. Treat them like grown ups and say thank you once in a while and they may surprise you!
7. As an expert in your field you’re always asked for the best advice – however what would you say is the worst piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
When we started Social Talent I had this over-riding belief that if we gave away our best advice for free, people would come and they would pay for our other services. I hosted our first live webinar in January 2011 and since then we have uploaded over 30 hours of free training material to YouTube. When I first suggested doing this I was told I was mad by everyone I knew in the agency market. They just couldn’t see the value of building an audience who trust your advice and understand that it comes with no strings attached. I was told to give a little and hold back the good stuff. I decided to ignore this and believe that our whole business has succeeded on this premise. When you help someone without asking for anything in return they will at the very least ensure to recommend you to everyone they know. At best, they will seek you out above your peers if they ever have an opportunity to repay you.