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!

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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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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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10 Low-Cost Marketing Tools

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Mel-Kettle-PhotoMel Kettle is a communications and social media consultant, speaker, blogger, educator, coach, bookworm, obsessive foodie and eatie, and a budding photographer. She blogs on marketing and social media at Mel is passionate about working with organisations to show them how to communicate effectively so they can develop communities, share their stories and raise awareness. She particularly enjoys working with people who want to make a difference to other people’s lives. In her spare time Mel writes a food blog, The cook’s notebook.

I speak to many people about marketing and there is often the assumption that it is expensive. Well, yes, it can be. But it really doesn’t need to be, particularly if you are a small business or a sole trader.

My top ten low cost marketing tools are:

1. Have a marketing plan. My last post was about how to write a simple marketing plan. It doesn’t need to be sophisticated but should at least include: marketing/business objectives, target market, key messages, communication tactics appropriate for your target market, budget, action plan, evaluation mechanisms. Key to a successful marketing plan is making sure that you undertake regular and consistent marketing activities. This way you won’t be caught out during slower times.

2. Know your target market. Knowing your target market is essential. Not only does it make your marketing job easier, it saves you money as you can precisely deliver the right messages to them. Determine your target market using parameters such as geography (where they live/work), demographics (age, gender, income), buying behaviours (for example, online vs. bricks and mortar, impulse shoppers vs. like to plan and think about it), activities and lifestyle.

3. Use your networks and contacts. The more people who know what you do, the more likely they are to refer business to you – so get out there and talk to people, and ask your networks to talk about you (in a good way of course!).

4. It’s cheaper to market to your existing clients than to get new ones. Think about the work you are currently doing for your clients – now think about what else you can do for them. Can you work with them on a more permanent basis? Are there other people in their business you can work with? Can you develop a new product or service that will suit them? Are your current clients aware of all the services/products you provide? If not, then tell them!

5. Get a website. It amazes me how many businesses don’t have a website. There is really no excuse, particularly with so much free software such as WordPress or Blogger available to start a simple site. Even a one page site with a brief statement about what your business is and how people can contact you is better than nothing. Once your website is up and running, promote it on everything include email signatures, brochures, gimmicky give-aways, business cards and anything else you can think of.

6. Email newsletter. Sending an e-newlsetter is a great way to communicate with your clients and prospects, get information and promote your organisation. Make sure it’s simple for people to sign up and tell them what to expect. How often will they hear from you? Don’t make your newsletter all salesy – it needs to provide value and benefit for the reader. Give them valuable content so they will keep coming back to read it.

7. Media and publicity. To quote my friend Sally, “Find timely, newsy angles that appeal to traditional media and … go!” If your pitch isn’t newsworthy, it won’t be read. Also do your research and work out the right journalist for your story. Don’t pitch a business story to the sports editor (unless it has a clear sports angle). Be aware that local and community newspapers/radio/tv are often on the lookout for local interest stories, and trade mags often look for industry information.

8. Say thank you! Be sure to thank your customers, thank the people who refer business to you and thank your suppliers. A bit of gratitude can go a long way in business. It never ceases to amaze me how much goodwill can be generated by sending a simple hand written thank you note.

9.  Social media. Social media is really changing the marketing world for small and large organisations. The benefits of engaging via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. are many, and include:

  • increase your visibility and target your niche market
  • build relationships and communities by engaging in conversations with current and prospective clients and suppliers
  • share business tips and find business contacts
  • give and receive referrals
  • follow interesting people who might give you business ideas
  • share and discuss business ideas and useful information including web links and photos
  • show the human side of your business.

Make sure you do actually engage and have conversations with people. It’s not about selling your products. Social media is about relationships. That’s why it’s social. If you are on Twitter, please say hi – @melkettle.

10. Use the free resources available to you. There is a massive amount of information and huge volume of free resources on the web (type “cheap marketing ideas” into Google). Other great resources are:

  • Your local library – not only can you borrow books (yes, books are still useful!) but membership of many community libraries will also give you access to online databases providing access to the latest in marketing trends and information as well as for your industry.
  • – an Australian free weekly e-newsletter for soloists and small business – loads of great information and you don’t need to be in Australia to join!
  •– free subscription service that emails ‘call outs’ for sources from journalists and bloggers in a number of countries.

What are your favourite low cost marketing tools?

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What is Important to Job Seekers?

By Sarah Gawrys

See No EvilAs an independent recruiter, your recruiting firm hopes to get those passive purple squirrel candidates to present to the client. While a high salary can start to persuade those candidates that are not currently seeking a new position to consider working with you, most times that is not enough in this highly competitive world to have anyone commit to a move.

This is a good guide as well for job seekers to consider when looking for a new position.

In addition to salary, some other benefits to advertise and negotiate for your position include healthcare plan, vacation time, pay raise, employee benefit, performance bonus, and retirement plan.

It is important to know your candidate in regards to their family life. Are they married, have children? What benefits would be most important to them based on those things?  Some employee benefits include paid child care as well as life or disability insurance, which is going to weigh heavier on someone with a family.

Location is also a factor to many passive job candidates. If you are aware of the fact that they will be moved further from home or potentially have to relocate completely, make sure you have relocation packages and benefits negotiated as well. Give them information on the area they are moving to, and what the company goals are if the region is expanding.

As a job seeker looking for a company, research not only the position you are looking for as it relates to other companies, but also the stability. You could find yourself in trouble within a couple of months or a year if you join a company that is about to be bought out. If you’re looking at a smaller business then make sure to evaluate the whole industry as a whole to determine stability.


Get Serious About Making Split Placements

By Sarah Gawrys

getseriousaboutsplitplacementsAs an owner of a recruiting firm, you may have often heard the saying that, “half of something is better than all of nothing.” This statement relates to adding revenue to your firm with incorporating split placements in your business model. Having a whole network of recruiters sharing their talents can only bring about a wealth of strong candidates and dedication that is sometimes missing or hard to find in a small independent recruiting firm. The goal with adding split placement revenue is to increase profit without having to increase overheard; you want the network to work for you.

Split placement recruiting involves two recruiters who work together to find the best possible candidates for a position. This is done to provide the client with the best quality when it comes to selection, as well as utilizing resources. If you are attempting global recruiting in another country, you would feel much more at ease having a contact in that country with a direct relationship with the candidates you are going to present rather than spending hours and days using social recruiting to find these usually passive candidates. As this is true with national recruitment as well, think of the time that can be saved by being able to use another recruiter’s database to fill a position.

If this is not the first time you are hearing this information, or if you belong to a network that offers this opportunity and you are not making the most of it, it is time to GET SERIOUS.

  1. Join a network. The first step is to stop researching and get to action. You will not know if a split placement network will work for you until you belong to one. Chances are, if you are already making split placements, or you are a relationship-based recruiter, this will be a good fit. Click here to learn more about NPA membership.
  2. Develop a split mentality. One of the first things we are taught is to share. When you develop a split mentality, to be successful you have to want to share. The network you belong to will put you in contact with trusted peer partners that have the same mission and goals. Learn to trust them and be open with them in order to help your business succeed.
  3. Tell your clients you can do more. Many clients are aware of split placement networks as well as global split placement networks. Feel confident in approaching them and letting them know about your expanded reach with your networks and peers and ask for more opportunities. If you are aware they have operations in another country, ask to be given a chance to work some of those positions. Take that to your network and ask for help, and be surprised by the results.
  4. Connect and reach out. Make it a goal to get to know 1-2 new recruiters in your network each week. Pick up the phone and give them a 10 minute phone call. You will be surprised by what you can find out in 10 minutes, and you may find a strong trading partner for the future.

3 Reasons to Have a Salary Survey Tool

By Veronica Scrimshaw

image of toolbox to represent salary survey toolToday’s guest post is from Megan Wilkes, the social media & marketing manager at JXT. JXT simplifies marketing opportunities for employers and recruiters in the digital world and has created SalarySpy, a smart survey tool that recruiters can quickly and simply embed into their websites, for tracking salaries in their sector or niche. It provides clients and candidates with a monitor of where the market’s sitting on salary by job type. And it gives the recruiter a position of ‘authority’ in their game. Nice. Learn more at

We all know what a salary survey is… but what benefit do those [smart] people get out of running them, and how can producing a salary survey help out your company?

Here are just 3 reasons… [but I'm sure you can think of some more!]

  1. Owned Media: Salary surveys bring data to your organisation that can’t be seen anywhere else, a continuously growing tool that will keep them coming back to your website, not to mention all the great blog/news content you can get from the data!
  2. SEO: Imagine all that job related – keyword rich content sitting on your URL (well, it *should* sit on your url in order to get ANY SEO benefit.. i.e, not to mention with increased engagement, you’ll have longer time-on-site, and do the salary tool right & they will stick around to check out your jobs and other services.
  3. Value Add:  Salary surveys provide real value to your candidates and clients. Salary surveys give your audience a way to benchmark their salaries (on either side) – to determine how competitive their company’s salary packages are against the industry or the general market in order to make informed salary decisions. It also becomes a trusted hub for your candidates & clients to go to when they are switching roles, negotiating a salary or trying to figure out how much they should offer that rockstar candidate…

It doesn’t matter if you’re a large or small recruiter…. niche or generalist they will work for anyone who wants to get a little more of the above. Check out to check out a smart salary survey tool.


Work Smarter, Not Harder, and Stop to Smell the Roses

By Veronica Scrimshaw

image of rose bush

Today’s guest blogger is Julie Parsons of Premium Consulting in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Julie is a member of the NPA board of directors. Premium Consulting is a boutique independent recruiting firm that provides professional and practical recruitment consulting advice specializing in retained recruitment, partial services, psychometric assessment and appraisals, outplacement and career counseling.

Work-life balance is being able to balance your personal life with your career. No one should sacrifice one over the other.

Having been in the  recruitment industry for many years, I am still intrigued by how many plug and plough away at any job with any client and hope that they get a few over the line. It becomes a numbers game; throw enough CV’s out there and something might stick. It tends to be the way of the contingent recruiter.

I would rather do quality work, with fewer clients on real jobs we can fill. Once a client has committed to you, the urgency of getting as many CV’s out as quick as you can, tends to go. Quality process takes its place and you become a trusted advisor and preferred partner as the client welcomes your professional advice.

The winning edge can also include having the right systems and software in place to manage process efficiently with a great skilled and fully-trained team.

It’s competitive out there; we are up against in-house recruiters, LinkedIn-savvy candidates, job boards, changing technology and more.

Top tips for work-life balance: Value your time, life is not a rehearsal.

  • Love your life
  • Love your job
  • Share your words and feelings with loved ones, don’t leave it too late
  • Be positive, enthusiastic and passionate
  • Stay healthy and active
  • Reward yourself
  • Take time out, have holidays and long weekends
  • Keep your skills up to date
  • Utilize your time well and effectively
  • Have some structure in place
  • Set reachable goals, plan and prioritize

All work and not enough play makes Jack a dull boy.

I have been around long enough to know that a balanced lifestyle ensures a healthy mind and body…and I still party like it’s 1999.

Expect success and it will come your way.

And, remember to stop and smell the roses.

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LinkedIn Tricks for Job Seekers

By Dave Nerz

image of LinkedIn, a tool used by agency recruitersAs a recruiter you have know-how and tips job seekers crave.  With the landscape of recruiting changing so fast, have you kept up? For example, LinkedIn tricks. Are any of your candidates not using LinkedIn? Most likely about 95 to 100% are on LinkedIn, but far fewer know the things you should know as a recruiter. Here are my favorites to share:

Did you know you can edit your endorsements? It is simple. Just go to Edit Your Profile, scroll down to the Endorsements Section and hit Edit. Start the clean-up. So if you have goofball friends that have voted up your “accounting skills” when you are a sales professional, get busy making the change. I had lots of one-off floaters from someone that knew me 25 years ago. It helps to keep things clean. Tell your candidates to do this before the client looks them up during a due diligence process.

Have you used LinkedIn to search for a job and then apply? Well, you should do it at least once and do it from your smart phone. This is so easy, it makes me want to get more jobs out on LinkedIn to see what can be dragged in. I tested it and I’ll be interested to see if I get contacted. Sure makes it easy for anyone to apply for your open positions.

Try the LinkedIn Resume Builder. In about 10 seconds you can build a decent resume from a LinkedIn profile. So that candidate that you talk to that will take 3 weeks to get you a crappy resume…problem solved in 10 seconds. Personally I would never use this resume for myself, but for an initial submittal with a highly repetitive and strongly connected hiring manager, I would give it a go.

Did you know that candidates can add media, files and presentations under the summary and experiences? Candidates in the marketing world should have a small portfolio under their positions held. Others can celebrate papers they have written or other documents that show something about creativity and passion.

Finally how about keywords for LinkedIn? Recruiters and employers search keywords on LinkedIn. Please tell candidates they should be using keywords…particularly those you will never be able to place. Give them the benefit of your know-how that they crave. It won’t cost you anything and it makes the tool more useful for everyone.

Of course as a leader of a split fee network, I believe in sharing. Everyone wins! Let me know your favorite tip to share with job seekers.

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