Recruitment Events

Public Speaking

I do not want to keep apologising for not being in a rhythm, when it comes to writing post here on Recruitment Views, but as I have said before I have my head down working hard like most of you.

My latest reason was because I was asked to do a talk to the National Recruitment Federation for Ireland, if only I had said no when I was first asked, by Gary Mullan of Prosperity! But they say you should confront your fears and get out of your comfort zone, if you want to better oneself.

Well I glad I did the presentation, although I am sure I could have done better, it was just those nerves getting the better of me, still you have to start somewhere….

The presentation was aimed to try to give some inspiration during these difficult times and as I felt the content would be helpful to other recruiters I have posted the full presentation here. As it is fairly large it can also be downloaded here if it is of interest in a PDF format.

When the going gets tough!

A presentation by Stephen Fowler of Arithon and Recruitment Views


Thank you for inviting me here today and I certainly feel honoured, but more importantly I feel slightly under pressure to put something together that I hope will inspire and more importantly give you a few tips to help get the most out of the current situation we find ourself´s in.

Having been in recruitment for over 20 years I have been through the odd recession, but I have always survived, so when I was asked to come here today I wanted to try to communicate what worked for me. I hope in some way you pick up a few ideas, which you can use to your advantage, to turn this tough market into an opportunity, to grow and become a leader in your chosen sectors.

As I said this isn’t the first recession I have experienced, so when I was asked what title I wanted to give one phrase came to mind instantly. It is a phrase that has always driven me during times like this, quite simply “when the going gets tough the tough get going”. Now I know it may sound sound cliché, but it has always worked for me.

I think on a personal level it will always remind me of when I used to be an Athlete and on those occasions I felt like dropping out of a training sessions, a good friend of mine Andy Carter, whom incidental reached the final of the 800 metres at the Olympic games in Montreal, said to me “No matter how you feel finish the session”

Its was this mentality that has always meant that no matter how difficult it was, if I dug in I would always survive and come out stronger, the same still applies.

Mind you these days I do curse that phrase, as I try to regain my fitness!

The Great Depression

Before I get into what you need to do to succeed, I thought it would make sense to see what happened during the last great depression of 1929 and what I found was of no surprise, many companies not only survived during the depression they succeeded.

Probably the most famous of these were the likes of Kellogs, Proctor and Gamble. Chevrolet and Camel Cigarettes. These companies didn’t cut back on advertising like their competitors, they drove on and as a result the public had more confidence, whereas the the companies that cut back drastically gave the impression they were struggling. The effect was that the customer bought products with the perceived successful companies.

Chevrolet during this time achieved the unthinkable, by passing the then almighty ford to become the number 1 car manufacturer in the States. Kellogs even took on more people by adding another shift, you can imagine the positive effect this had on the employees and the general public.

I think John Rockefeller summed it up with this statement “These are days when many are discouraged. In the 93 years of my life, depressions have come and gone. Prosperity has always returned and will again.”

More info on companies who survived the Great Depression can be found here and here

What Recession!

Moving to more recent difficult times I personally was always driven on by the number of lorries, pardon the pun, which were going up and down the motorway. It confirmed the fact that people were still doing business, contrary to what the the media was telling us and opportunities are still out there, I just needed to find them.

Today the same applies whether it is Dublin, the UK or the World even when there is so much doom and gloom one can still be encouraged by the amount of people doing business. In fact my taxi driver had to make an alternative route to avoid the traffic, because of Ireland’s world cup qualifier, someone was making a few Euro s that day!

Still there is no denying it is more difficult, but it is important to remember there are plenty of opportunities. Take for example the Spanish Bank Santander who have been buying our UK troubled banks at bargain rates, with the most recent purchase of Bradford and Bingley. Sir Richard Branson also said this year “the recession will provide “massive” opportunities for entrepreneurs.” and I am convinced he knows what he is talking about, you can see the video here on the BBC.

And specifically for Ireland … well after a quick search I could see many opportunities for recruitment companies and so far this year well over a 1,000 new jobs have been created;

100 jobs with

1,4 billion pounds invested in infrastructure in Northern Ireland

200 jobs with Four Star Pizza

50 jobs with SGS Tools

400 Jobs with Subway

223 million investment for 3g

The University of Ulster a major development plan of £250m

Northern Irish financial software company First Derivatives is to create 142 new jobs

The Gerson Lehrman Group will start operating in Dublin and will hire at least 25 staff immediately.

Primary healthcare centre officially opened in Co Kildare, to create 120 jobs.

Delta Index to create 100 new jobs (Dublin based company)‏

You can use this link to see who is recruiting and laying off in Ireland, thanks to Google News

So who will win?

In my opinion I believe that Today’s companies will need good recruiters more than ever, and with more unemployed, less vacancies and with quality candidates staying put, companies will find it harder to recruit and those agencies that have a closer relationship with their clients will I am sure be the winners,

So in bad times, I can guarantee opportunity will come by abandoning things that no longer work and finding new things that will, based on new needs. Recession itself is a great opportunity for those who choose to see it that way.

There has never been a better time to be in Recruitment”.

Why do I say this when many recruiters are beginning to seriously panic. Well for me those recruitment companies that offer no added value will vanish, leaving the professional recruiter to take advantage of this new era and the word consultant can again be included in “recruitment consultant” again.

11 Point Plan to Win

To get us all focused on what needs to be done I have put a 10 point plan of action to get you all thinking in the right direction:

1) Firstly look at the last 6 months and see what worked and what didn’t, particularly analyse your figurers starting at your placements and working backwards, you may get a few surprises all that money you spent in that magazine didn’t produce one single placement or a decent candidate, success leaves clues

2) Brainstorm with your team, see what ideas you have collectively, multiple heads are always better than one and don’t forget your consultants have their finger on the pulse.

3) Ask intelligent questions, Not “are you looking at the moment” When I made a call to a client, I made sure every call was different and unique to that client, ask them what issues they are having, be a partner rather than a sales man, you maybe surprised with their response,

4) Ask yourself “do you really know your market,” where do your clients spend their money, what associations do they belong to, who do they sponsor or which charities do they support and do the same.

5) How can I improve, how can I do this job better, look at your processes, maybe you could be more efficient are you getting the most from your systems, maybe you team needs sales training to address new problems, maybe you need to upgrade your IT (A good recruitment software package can save you at least 2 hours a day)

6) Don’t compete create opportunities, there is a miss conception that more calls will produce more business, it doesn’t. The best salesmen are the ones who make the least calls, but they do make the most productive calls.

7) Have Focus know what you want to achieve each day, each month, and each year, and set the presidents each morning to achieve those goals,

8) Stop the nice but consuming activities and projects

9) Improve relationships by giving a better service, maybe introduce special deals for more exclusive business

10) Be prudent with your costs are their cheaper ways to do the same thing, it may be time to consider Voip such as to reduce call costs, head hunting rather than advertising etc.

10) Stand out from the crowd, if you do all of the above you will!

Become experts in your field

In essence all I am saying is be efficient and be experts in your fields, in truth many just pay lip service to this, but when you become an expert people will seek you out, and the cost per recruit will drop and business will become easier to find,

It is no longer a case of picking up a directory and phoning thousands of companies, it´s about mixing with the people you want to do business with. Today it has never been easier with the likes of social networking, where you can communicate with the people with like minded interests and best of all it is often free.

So if it was me how would I create more business, well to start with it really isn’t about generating more vacancies or finding more candidates it is about doing things more intelligently. I learnt many years ago that it was not the number of vacancies I found, it was the number of companies I booked into our offices to interview that counted. I realised quickly that out of 5 companies booked into the office I would place 4 of them it was virtually a money making system, it never failed.

It worked because the client had confidence in our ability to select the best selection of candidates, because we understood what the client wanted by spending time to really understand his or her requirements. In those days they came in without even seeing the cvs! Remember if you are more professional with your client and candidates, you will need less vacancies and candidates to achieve the same and you will more likely do more business.

How to become an Expert

Today it has never been easier to become an expert or knowledgeable in your specialist field, the internet has enabled this with the likes of Google News,RSS Feeds, Blogs,,, Forums,and the various Job boards. We are continually bombarded with information, but if we use this information to be better informed, just think how or candidates and clients will perceive us.

So turning this around it wouldn’t it make sense that your candidates and clients also check your ability via these tools! Which means you need to have a professional on-line presence that says “Look at me I understand your market and I can do a good service for you”

Write a Blog

For me there are only 2 ways to become more than a recruiter the first and easiest is a Linkedin profile , which in my case is at the bottom of every email I send out. The second but ideally in addition, would be to have a blog and for me it has been the most successful tool I have ever used.

It surprises me how few recruitment companies have a blog, given the fact it will drive new clients and candidates to you for free.

By being switched on within your niche by using the tools I mentioned earlier, you can become an expert or someone that can be trusted. Just think about it, if you wanted to look for a new job who would you talk to for advice….someone that shows they understand your business, the same goes for clients.

About a year ago I was asked if blogging will help you be ranked higher in search engines, and although it can help, I realised afterwards it missed the point. Blogging isn’t about search engine rankings it is a way to communicate within your chosen field of speciality. In my case Recruitment Views helped me get my job at Arithon, it was instrumental in getting Arithon´s biggest client, it also gives me creditability when I speak with other recruiters, making the sale much more easier and it is worth noting if I did Rec2Rec the same would apply. On top of this it is my blog that has given me the opportunity to be here today. I am not seen as just a Sales Rep for Arithon, but someone who has more to offer in respect to recruitment.

Of the few recruiters that do use blogs such as Prosperity and 10 percent, they have both seen benefits and you can read what 10 Percent Legal and Prosperity said blogging achieved for them.

And if you think it is difficult, 3 years ago I wrote a blog for welding, when I was helping set up a recruitment company. That site still gets hits from hundreds of welders looking for jobs, with many leaving their details on the site. The beauty was it was virtually free to set up and my knowledge came from reading other blogs and welding news via Google, just imagine what I could do if I was a welder!


Although your fitness may not be the most obvious thing to mention in this presentation, but how you feel is just as important as it affects how you preform. One thing that has made a huge difference to me is drinking water, the result is that I have more energy and I am less tired, coffee just wasn’t having an effect. So my advice to you is drink more water, at least 2 litres a day and if you think coffee and coke is fine, it isn’t, just try if for a week and see what happens.

Also try to eat healthily and do some physical exercise, this all will help you perform at you very best at a time when you need to be the best you can be. Oh and being fit an healthy helps you reduce stress, which I am sure many of you are finding at the moment!


To sum up this is a time of opportunity, although it may be difficult but by getting your head down and becoming more focused, getting closer to your candidates and clients and above all be a true recruitment consultant and give the clients and candidates the best possible service. You will then start to win business from areas you wouldn’t expect, while the CV shifting recruiters fall away.

By doing the above you will come out the other end stronger and fitter, but just maybe you will become the number one in your market.

As Henry Ford put it “Don’t wish that things were easier, wish instead that you were better!”

Finally as there was a lot of interest in blogging and its advantages, please feel free to contact me direct, for free advice on Blogging as there was not really enough time to cover this subject or even how to get the best out of social networking,

My direct number is 0044161 408 0505 or email me at

And please feel free to connect via Linkedin


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