I remember many years ago my boss saying recruitment is recession proof, quite a bold statement but in some ways true. His point was recruitment can move from one depressed sector to a new growing one. If there is one thing we all know is some companies will prosper during a recession, you just need to look at the likes of Aldi one of a few mentioned on the BBC article “Profits of Gloom“.
Saying that some recruitment companies will find it more difficult these days, because we have become more specialist and as a result we may find if more difficult, the banking sector is certainly a hard hit market at the moment.
Having been through a couple of recessions and times of difficult trading, I have found that the smaller agencies can succeed, but for me and what excites me is it is a time when the smaller company can gain ground on the rogue agencies and your bigger competition, because they can often slip up opening opportunities for you. If your smart you can not only survive but grow, it is just a case of sticking to basics and being prudent with all your decisions.
I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day Sarah Bennett, a trainer in recruitment and asked what she would do and quite simply her response was get to know your clients better and go that extra mile. It is also a known fact that being small has major advantages over large corporations who can take months to make a decision, where as you can see what you need to do within an instant and make the necessary change.
So what would I do if I felt the market was getting difficult, firstly make more calls ask more questions build better relationships with your clients and candidates, get to know your market better and look at your costs it could be as simple as going from BT to Voip. And if you are doing this already then I am sure you are already making in roads on your competition. If you are a team get the team of consultants together and spin some ideas rather than just beat them up if they are not hitting target. On top of this it is a time to make tough decision such as firing the poor performers, who can bring your company down and a recession will expose them.
But for me the most import point is that this is an opportunity, and if you treat it like this then you will undoubtably succeed.
I have to agree with your point re the banking sector, we specialise in the Insurance industry and have seen a rise in the number of candidates for this area, we are gaining candidates but are not placing them as there just aren’t the employers at the moment! some recruitment agancies will definitely grow in this difficult time but not ours unfortunately.