Steve Barnhurst
by Steve Barnhurst
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The world has changed more than we could ever have imagined a mere few months ago. And while more businesses are bringing people back off furlough, the market they return to is so very different to the one they left behind.

Not long ago the demand for candidates was simply off the scale. Jobs were bountiful, and in response to skills shortages clients were increasingly flexible. Some companies were willing to pay well over the odds to secure talent. Others just had to hire fast, and the classic line of ‘hard to find candidates for hard to fill jobs’ was never more relevant with the lowest levels of unemployment for decades.

We’re all acutely aware of the reason for the market shift, so the question is what can we do to counter this change that will actually make a difference?

Well, your website is more important than ever before – a bias statement, I admit, but I make no apologies for that. You need your digital ‘shop window’ to work harder for you than ever before, especially if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having less recruiters these days to spread the good word of what you do. Since meeting candidates in your office is currently not a viable option for the majority, you need your website to convey your brand, personality, specialisms and approach to recruiting.

​As a rule, recruitment websites are geared towards candidate attraction. With more available talent your focus is not necessarily wrong, but it is not necessarily right – you likely have candidates, but you need clients!

​So, how can you best leverage your website to win more clients?

  • ​Testimonials: Every good agency has testimonials from previous happy clients These now need to be front and centre. No matter how good you tell someone you are at recruiting it pales into insignificance compared to third party endorsement.

Candidates: In the same way agencies have promoted ‘hot jobs’ for the past few years to attract potentially passive jobseekers, you now need to promote ‘featured candidates’ to showcase your ability to attract sought after talent. If a candidate is unable to find suitable jobs on your website, they will most likely leave within a few clicks (and not return). So why would you think a hiring manager will behave differently? They need evidence that you are experts in their sector and can attract the right kind of candidates to fill their roles.

Consultant Profiles: Companies hiring right now are likely to be inundated with direct applications without the time or resource to manage these (well) and look after their brand reputation. Some hiring managers may never have worked in a candidate rich market before if they are relatively new in the role. Highlight your recruiter’s skills, expertise, market knowledge, insight, and credentials. Use your staff as a valuable asset to gain competitive advantage.

Process: Once you have the attention of a hiring organisation, you need to assure them about the way you work. Be sure your website explains the critical steps you go through to ensure success for both the client and the candidate, and give them an insight to the quality approach you undertake to deliver on every assignment.

​Recruitment in a client-led market is different. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to consider your content, messaging and website should be different too. Why have your website navigation start with the standard sequence of Candidates, About Us, Services, News. How about instead: Happy Clients, Hot Candidates, Star Recruiters, Our Steps to Success?

​Now is the time to be brave, to challenge the norm and play to your clients first. A new website navigation may help you stand out from the crowd. More client-focussed content will help you rank higher for associated search terms. What’s to lose?

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