The Talent War in the UK

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Liz Longman TEAMToday’s guest blogger is Liz Longman, the Managing Director of TEAM (The Employment Agents Movement). Liz has been involved in recruitment for over 20 years and previously headed up a region for a generalist agency before joining TEAM some eight years ago.

The TEAM network of agencies with over 400 locations and a combined turnover of approx £1 billion is the largest network of independent recruitment agents in the UK.  TEAM’s main ethos is to assist in the promotion and networking of business and innovations in the recruitment industry across its membership.  TEAM also has a growing number of international affiliates.

TEAM has just completed the round of first-quarter regional recruiter meetings across the UK for its members. Whilst many reported an improving market during 2013, there is now a unanimous show of hands for 2014 being set to be even better. Permanent vacancies are rising at their strongest rate for 4 years which is great news, but demand is far outstripping supply. Nil or sluggish growth on salaries have led to employees staying put and there is increasing evidence of the talent war as many sectors  are reporting difficulty sourcing appropriately skilled candidates.

However, there are signs that employees are gaining confidence in the upturn in the economy and are beginning to “spread their wings.” Those enlightened employers (or perhaps those that have listened to their recruiter!) who are prepared to offer improved remuneration rates are the ones that are currently snapping up the best choice of candidates.

The recruitment market is constantly shifting and good recruiters need to be nimble-footed and ahead of the game. This market calls for recruiters to perhaps spend more time with their clients explaining the dynamics of the recruitment world and how with a professional and well thought out campaign you can still secure the best available candidate for them. The recruiter also needs to acknowledge that the talent war will probably get worse before it gets better. Those quality candidates are the proverbial “hen’s teeth” so when you find them…use them. Even if you don’t have the ideal vacancy, there is a fair chance that another recruiting partner has…so get on that phone and network, network, network.

How are you winning the talent war?

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How Recruitment Agency Owners Can Get Out of Their Own Way

By Veronica Scrimshaw

image of time for recruitment agency ownersI read a great blog post recently called The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: Where Owners Get Stuck. The post was dedicated to owners of event management businesses, but it’s just as relevant to recruitment agency owners. The post discusses the idea that the freedom from having a boss can hinder your firm’s growth, because a boss can tell you to stop spending your time on activities that are not revenue-generating activities.

Recruitment agency owners who are committed to growing a sustainable business must be equally committed to how they invest their time. Perhaps you’re not sure how best to accomplish this. Here’s a great rule of thumb as presented in the Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: Make a list of every task that needs to be completed in your business. Assign an hourly rate to each task, according to what you’d have to pay an ‘outsider’ to do that task for you. As the owner of the firm, you need to spend the bulk of your time on the “most expensive” tasks. Some of those tasks could include:

  • Business Development
  • Client Meetings
  • Candidate Sourcing
  • Invoicing / Collections / Accounts Payable
  • Interview / Interview Prep
  • Managing Offers
  • Marketing

Successful recruitment agency owners figure out pretty quickly that they can’t devote lots of time to $12/hour tasks, even if they enjoy (or don’t dislike) those tasks. If it’s difficult for you to change your habits, enlist your team members to help you. Tell them what you need to be doing to help the company grow and prosper. Give them explicit permission and encouragement to tell you when you are veering from this plan. After all, you’ve hired them for their particular expertise/skill in a certain area – let them do THEIR jobs so that you can do yours.

Time is a finite resource. Invest it wisely, and your business will reap the rewards.

As recruitment agency owners, what are some tasks that you have delegated to make room for more profitable activity? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /

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Video Interviews are a beneficial tool to use in your recruitment process

By Veronica Scrimshaw

image of recruiter conducting a video interviewToday’s guest blogger is Anne Downing with Demetrio & Associates, LLC located in greater Phoenix, Arizona. Demetrio & Associates is a boutique recruitment firm that has clients across the US as well as in international locations. The firm places candidates in sales & marketing, advertising, wireless and software positions. Anne is currently serving on NPA’s Board of Directors.

Are you using video interviews to interview your candidates before your submit them to your clients? If not, you should be. Several years ago, most of us started using Skype and other similar video conference tools to communicate with candidates. Today many recruiters are using “video interviews” as part of their recruitment process. Video interviews are very useful for those of us who have client and candidates in numerous locations. We can’t always meet our candidates in person, so video interviews are the next best thing.

There are two types of video interviews: one-way video interviews and two-way video interviews. One-way video interviews allow the candidate to answer the questions which are then viewed by the recruiter and can be viewed by us at any time. Two-way video interviews are a great replacement for in-person interviews. They allow us to see how the candidate reacts to questions and how they will present themselves to our clients and in the long run to our client’s employees and customers. These are recordable and shareable.

Video interviews can be very beneficial for many reasons. By using a set script, all candidates are asked the same questions which makes it nice when we view all of the candidates’ answers. It also allows recruiters to conduct a large number of interviews in a short amount of time. We can view the video interviews and go back to them as often as needed to write the submittal notes to our clients. Recruiters are able to share the video interviews with their clients. This is a real value-added resource that we can provide to our clients. It also helps our companies cut down on their recruitment expenses because it will ultimately reduce the amount of candidates they have to bring in for in-person interviews.

If you haven’t started using video interviews, I would suggest you start. Below is a list of 5 video interview companies. There are many more companies out there and more are on the horizon. Try it…it will save you time, money, and most importantly your clients will really appreciate the extra effort you took during your recruiting process.

Note: This list is in alphabetical order.

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What Cities Hold Opportunity for Independent Recruiters?

By Sarah Gawrys

“America is another name for opportunity,” stated Ralph Waldo Emerson. As a recruiter working either national or international recruitment, it is important to know which cities in America are currently on the rise in terms of drawing in workers who are looking for higher standards and living and better jobs. Once these areas are highlighted, you are able to secure clients in those areas knowing the candidate pool will be the larger to choose from.

As it has stood for the past decade, the housing market made selling your home near impossible, and with jobs being scarce in many parts of the country, Americans chose to not make moves in relocation or careers. According to Yahoo Finance, these are the 10 cities that have been highlighted for 2014 as the ones drawing candidates and workers.







Source: Demographer William Frey, Brookings Insitution, Census Bureau, Dept. of Labor

What is common among these cities is the low unemployment rate due to local industries thriving. In Austin, Seattle, and Portland that industry is IT. Houston, Oklahoma City and San Antonio are benefiting from the revival of oil and gas drilling and transportation. Charlotte, Columbus, Raleigh and Denver are attracting businesses with lower costs than in other big cities plus an easier lifestyle than that of, for example, New York.

As an independent recruiter, it is important to note these trends in cities as well as industries to be able to extend your reach to what is hot.

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3 Ways Agency Recruiters Can Improve Their Use of LinkedIn

By Veronica Scrimshaw

image of LinkedIn, a tool used by agency recruitersI recently listened to a LinkedIn webinar discussing common mistakes agency recruiters make on LinkedIn, and thought I would recap the salient points here.

Make sure you have a recruiting profile. Yes, of course you already have a LinkedIn profile. But is it a RECRUITING profile? If you’re trying to attract candidates, make sure your profile is written for candidates. If your primary goal is client development, make sure your profile is geared towards new clients. Maybe you need to write for both audiences. Here are a few tips to help agency recruiters create a RECRUITING profile:

  • Add a picture to your profile. It’s been said time and again, but it’s still amazes me how many agency recruiters do NOT have a picture on their profile. Your picture should be friendly & professional.
  • Write a creative headline – this shows up in search results within LinkedIn and will help clients and candidates figure out if you’re a good connection.
  • Use the Summary section to write your elevator speech – focus on what you do and why it matters to candidates or clients. Include skills and take advantage of the ‘rich media’ feature that allows you to attach PowerPoint, video, etc. to your summary.
  • Ask for recommendations from satisfied clients and candidates.
  • Be sure to claim your ‘vanity’ URL – the one that shows your name, not just a series of numbers and letters

Remember to ‘stay in touch.’ It’s not enough for agency recruiters to create a profile and think candidates will come knocking on your virtual door. You have to be social, which means:

  • Sharing or commenting on news articles
  • Updating your status
  • Joining groups, and PARTICIPATING in them – start a discussion, comment on a discussion, ask a question, whatever.
  • Following some companies – your clients are a good place to start. You might also consider following their competitors, or companies you WISH were clients.
  • Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert, not just an agency recruiter. People will be more receptive to your connection requests if they see evidence that there is value in the connection.
  • Remember the Rule of 3′s … 1/3 of your comments can be personal, 1/3 industry-related, and 1/3 recruiting-related. Don’t be “that” agency recruiter who does nothing except blast out job openings!

Create a Company Page. This is something agency recruiters often overlook on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn’s research, more than 70% of LinkedIn members would be receptive to job opportunities. from companies they are following. 64% of members say they would follow a company “indefinitely” and most importantly, 78% of LinkedIn members are MORE LIKELY to accept Recruiter InMail when they follow your company! When it comes to your Company Page, do the following:

  • Add your company logo and a cover picture.
  • Describe what your recruitment agency does. Differentiate your firm from your competitors.
  • Consider creating Showcase pages that address different audiences (one for candidates, one for employers perhaps).
  • Add status updates! Designate a ‘page admin’ who will be in charge of getting this done.

What’s your best LinkedIn tip?

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Global Recruitment Agencies Report on Business Conditions

By Dave Nerz

image of pie chart to show survey results for global recruitment agenciesAt NPAworldwide we do a twice-annual survey of business conditions for global recruitment agencies. This survey was distributed to the active members of our network, representing more than 400 independent recruiting firms in more than 30 countries. Our member recruiters experienced an improvement in business conditions for their businesses in the last 6 months and are optimistic about the growth potential for the employment markets in the next 6 months. NPAworldwide’s global recruitment firm survey showed that 97% of those surveyed see conditions improving or remaining the same for their businesses over the next 180 days.  That is good news!

Some other results of this survey showed are:

  • 53% of these independent recruiting firms reported improved conditions in the last 180 days, 23% indicated no change, and 23% reported worse conditions.
  • 72% of our global recruitment agencies reported employment markets performing at or above expectations in the last 90 days.
  • 37% of NPAworldwide’s respondents see their market getting more competitive.
  • Only three percent of the respondents have a negative outlook for the next 6 months.
  • 15% project fees to be below the levels realized in the prior 6 months.

This is good news for NPA members and perhaps the contingent recruiting industry in general. On a worldwide basis, it seems that conditions are improving and growing stronger.

The survey also identified “strong” and “weak” industries/segments of the employment markets. The most active markets identified by the survey of our global recruitment agencies were manufacturing/construction/mining and chemical process jobs. Weaker-performing segments were identified related to positions in the areas of accounting/financial services.

What is your outlook for the next 180 days?


Be the Leader of Your Recruitment Firm Rather Than the Manager

By Sarah Gawrys

arnoldhglasow165373As the owner of your independent recruitment firm, in addition to being a recruiter, you may also find yourself as the boss, or manager of a small team of recruiters you have hired to work for your firm. It is common that some of these hires may have had little to no experience in recruitment, and perhaps just had the personality to be successful. Others may have decades of experience in the field and decided to come back and work, and still others may have a couple of years working either independently, or under an owner much different than you. In all of these cases, it is important to view yourself as a leader rather than their manager. Here are the differences.

  1. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”- John Quincy Adams. As the owner of a recruitment firm, you are most likely the top recruiter of the firm. What does this look like? Are you practicing what you preach in the conversations and research you are conducting? Open your door to your recruiters so that they can hear what you are doing to accomplish this success. Share with them the fee amount and the victories, as well as how you overcome the struggles. It is not until they have an understanding of how you work that they can operate under you.
  2. “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” - Henry Ford. You have chosen to hire these recruiters because you saw something in them that you believed in. People are not perfect, especially in a fluctuating career such as recruitment. If a recruiter seems to be struggling or a placement does not occur, do not focus on the fact that there is failure, but on what can be changed so that success occurs. Treat each person as a separate entity and find what makes them work individually.
  3. “Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” – Tom Peters. It is not enough to build a recruitment firm and create a business model for it equipped with a staff who you can instruct on what is expected of them in your vision. A leader will constantly be looking to nurture and enhance his recruitment firm. This means attending conferences, keeping up on industry trends, utilizing new tools, and sharing this with your recruiters. Without education and change, everything will remain the same, which does not equal success in a growing environment. Be open to adjusting your business.

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4 Reasons to Consider Hiring International Candidates

By Veronica Scrimshaw

globesIf your client is reluctant to hire candidates from other countries, here are four reasons to help change their minds:

1. Consider the skills gap. Your clients want to hire the best candidates available, right? More and more, those candidates are not being found in the USA. Multiple studies points out that we are producing fewer college graduates in the critical STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines than are needed. Clients and recruiters alike bemoan the dearth of qualified candidates. Yet, few will consider hiring international candidates. It just doesn’t make sense. By opening the talent pool to a larger population of candidates, employers are more likely to find the right candidate for their job.

2. International candidates may be more committed long-term. Sometimes clients are leery of hiring international candidates due to the costs associated with sponsorship and work visas. However, it’s not all that easy to transfer a work visa to a different employer once it’s been obtained. Furthermore, candidates who move to a new country for a job opportunity have likely thought long and hard about what that means. They’re not going to accept an offer they feel ambivalent about. Employers may just find that international candidates are much more likely to stick around long-term.

3. Video interviewing makes it easier. It’s expensive to fly international candidates in for interviews. Expecting candidates to foot the bill themselves will probably result in those candidates bowing out. Phone interviews are good for initial screening, but just aren’t the same as a face-to-face visit. Live video interviewing can offer most of the same “personal connections” as a face-to-face setting. Using pre-recorded video interviews can help employers cast a wider net, more efficiently (and more economically), further increasing the chances of hiring success.

4. Competitors are already doing it. That’s right. Your clients’ competitors are already hiring international candidates. They, too, are suffering from the skills gap and can’t find the talent they need domestically. Applications for the H-1B visa can be submitted beginning April 1st this year with the cap of 65,000 expected to be met within the first week. Staying ahead of the competition means, in part, having better employees. Don’t let your competitors hire the candidates you need to drive success!

Are your clients hiring international candidates? Comment below!



Hot Specialty Niches for Recruiters

By Dave Nerz

image of hot markets for global recruitersMore and more, the recruitment industry experts say that you need to specialize on an industry in order to survive in the current recruiting marketplace. I agree that it helps to have a specialty rather than being exclusively a generalist. But for those that are moving from a generalist recruitment business to a specialty niche it might be best to target a hot recruiting niche and keep yourself open to generalist jobs that have made you what you are.

In 2013, our network of more than 400 recruitment firms found “chemical process” and “process engineering” jobs to be one of the hot recruiting niches. Nearly 25% of all the splits done by NPA member firms were done in the “process” specialty niche. The manufacturing specialty niche was a close second in terms of placement results for 2013. So if you are moving from a generalist recruitment business and beginning to specialize, pick one of the best niches for recruitment rather than a specialty niche that might underperform in the year ahead. Generalist recruiters have to have strong skills in order to survive. If you use those skills to focus on a hot recruiting niche, you are likely to excel once you get some industry/niche experience. As a generalist, you can make a decision to focus on particular specialty niches on a regular basis, depending on what might be the hot specialty niches for recruiters in the months and years ahead.

I’m interested to learn of recruiters that have moved from a generalist business and added a specialty niche in the last 12 months. What do you see as hot specialty niches for recruiters in the year ahead?

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It’s Time for Recruiters to Adopt Mobile Marketing

By Veronica Scrimshaw

mobile-sticky-itToday’s guest blogger is Mandy Curtin, director of marketing for sticky IT, a web design company specializing in branding for recruiters worldwide, and NPA Alliance Partner. With 7+ years of experience pleasing perfectionists, the gurus at sticky IT have learned a thing or two about recruiters. Building a brand should be fun & easy; sticky IT spins the web so you can get back to work! 

Interesting Fact:  91% of adults have their mobile phone within arm’s reach 24/7?

Weird (but not surprising) Fact: 75% of Americans even bring their phones to the bathroom.

Mobile marketing is no longer an up-and-coming trend, it’s happening now and it’s taking the recruiting industry by storm. Business owners are quickly finding out that mobile marketing is not just a fad. Our devices have become priceless extensions of our businesses and ourselves. Smartphones and tablets are bringing job boards to the palms of job seekers worldwide. Welcome to a new era of recruiting tools! To those who are resistant to change, this is the perfect opportunity to breathe new life into your strategy.  You’ve always wanted to be the leader of the pack, right? It’s time to pick up the pace!

Truth is in the facts.

Just how much impact is mobile having on job seekers nationwide?

  • As of April 2013, 23% of job seekers are using mobile.
  • 85% of job seekers believe all companies should have a mobile-friendly [career] site. (mobile optimization is the new normal for websites)
  • 45% want to apply for jobs.
  • 45 million LinkedIn mobile searches occur every month.
  • 222.4 million people will be smartphone users by 2017 (that’s 67.8% of the U.S. population!).

Mobile stats:  Social Talent

One of our favorite little gems: According to (using Google Adwords) 23% of Google searches that contain the word “jobs” come from mobile devices (185m v 55.6m). These job seekers are on the move, they’re actively searching for jobs, and your website is at their fingertips! If ¼ of all the potential candidates out there can’t apply for, or even view jobs without pinching, zooming and scrolling endlessly…it’s time to think about mobile!

What does your site look like on a smartphone or tablet? Take a look at what we mean.

“In a competitive recruiting market, you need tools that make users comfortable with your site. Most of my positions target a tech savvy audience. This generation is comfortable making decisions from a phone “on the fly.” You’d be crazy not to have a mobile site. Job seekers are expecting it.” – Elizabeth Tischer, Duet Recruiting

The Process

Here’s the good news. Going mobile doesn’t require a lot of work (at least not on your end.).  The two most common scenarios are:

“I don’t have a website (or if I do, I’m too embarrassed to advertise). I need to make a name for myself, starting with a website. Should I go mobile, too?”mobile-tablet-sticky-it

Three words, “first impressions matter.” In recruiting, the whole package matters. The perfect candidate could arrive wearing sweatpants and carrying a Walkman from the 80’s. While they’re insanely talented, they don’t care how they look and aren’t interested in keeping up with technology. Don’t be “that guy.” Investing in your brand is investing in success.

“I already have a website – make me mobile!”

Depending on the age and technology “behind the scenes” of your site, you could be mobile in less than 2 weeks.  However, something else to consider is the age of your current desktop site. If it’s time for an update, think about rolling out a slick re-vamp along with the mobile site.  You do not want your mobile site to be more robust than the desktop version. A mobile site should be your desktop site in a clear, convenient and neat little package.

screen-variety-sticky-itWhat’s it worth?

In recruiting, it is difficult to measure the exact ROI of this type of investment.  However here are some numbers to illustrate the harsh truth of a recruiting office without a mobile website.  Our largest client averages 6268 hits in a week. During that week, 10% of visits are via a mobile source (phone or tablet). Seems like a solid number, right? Well, consider the number of bounces from the site. Of the 6268 visits, 1214 visits made from a mobile device immediately leave the site without interacting with any pages.  Without a mobile-friendly website, 1214 potential clients may leave your site without bothering to learn more about your business. You have 5 seconds of loading time before you lose mobile interest (


“As a business owner, our recruiters feel we have responded to the modern business environment with a “leading edge” in recruiting technology.” – Rick Sinay, Owner, Davalyn Corporation.

How do you get started?

The first step is admitting you need an update, whether it’s evaluating your whole brand, or simply recognizing the need to “freshen up” your image. Once you’re ready to catch up to the times, you’ll need a partner. We recommend taking a look at some industry partners with experience in the recruiting space. What matters most is finding the right fit. Here are some tips from our team:

  • Keep an open mind – remember, they know what they’re doing. It’s likely this isn’t their first rodeo.
  • Details matter – Your partner should always have your best interest in mind. Their tools should help make your website work for you.
  • Look for variety in their portfolio – your business is unique, your website concept should be, too.
  • Service – Your design partner should have consistent and friendly support that doesn’t end when your project launches.
  • Quality – A partner takes pride in their work. If you succeed, your design team does too.

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