“Breaking Bad habits, creating success”

Sitting around the log fire at Yarnton Manor, 4 International Recruitment Directors with 48 years experience between them started to exchange their war stories and look at what habits need to be formed to sustain growth. The first words voiced….

…back in my day!!

directors conference

What quickly became apparent however is as we embark on our 49th year, the most basic habits still remain a priority…

Grass isn’t always greener.

What is clear is the high-fives and fist pumps on any sales-floor are more forthcoming when a “deal” with a new client is done. An existing client, less so? Why?

When recently watching I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, over 6 million engrossed viewers fell in love with the new King of the Jungle because he never stopped eulogising about his wife of 54 years. It is about time we started looking at our clients in the same way and strive to remain happily married for the same time period.

Firstly go on more than one date. Clients you sleep with after the first date are unlikely to be marriage material…. In 2018, across Opus, the drive was to focus on client development and not just penetration – the result a 500% spike in face to face meetings. In most occasions, clients were repeatedly met each quarter. Every subsequent meeting has enabled us to “listen” more. The relationship continues to become a true partnership and has allowed us to focus on the prevention and not the cure when dealing with headcount. The irony has been the more time invested in the relationship has subsequently saved us time.

Poor Process

Each recruitment business is unique; unique in its people, unique in its candidates, unique in its clients. But like any business ever in the history of businesses, the good ones all have a pre-determined process that they know leads to success, usually based of historic data.

Your business will have a process they believe is the answer to achieving maximum return, but as human beings we quickly and easily slip away from process and try to cut corners and save time. But how much of an impact can this have on your own business, on your candidates and on your clients.

Managing a process well is to first believe in it. Look at your own business and where your wins have come from. A year ago we implemented Northstar*, a business improvement & analytics product that provides visually engaging information to drive good behaviours and actions. With that data we looked at everything from Candidate attraction, Job Qualification, through to Interview Process and Managing the offer through to close. This allowed us to create tailor made processes for our consultants to give them the best possible chance of success. Something that has been instrumental in the approach and growth of our consultants in 2018.

Relying on Emails & Texts

With the increase use of social media and emails, we have shun away from picking up the phone or meeting people face to face. We have grown to have a reliance on our emails, texts, whatsapp messages, tweets or whatever it may be to deliver a message. In business, email has become a convenient mechanism to avoid certain issues or conversations that we don’t want to have. It is easier, quicker, less stressful and less confrontational to have a challenging conversation sent over email than over the phone or face to face. We’ve all been there where we have experienced unproductive strings of back and forth emails or text that should have stopped after the first reply though for some reason, 3 days later the chain continues.

Rewind back to the early 90’s when we had no email, no SMS, no whatsapp, no tweets… and only had a fax machine, posted letters or a phone. Back then, the fastest way to get an answer was by picking up the phone. Why has the fastest way of contacting people led to us diverging to less efficient, more time-consuming ways of working? Why would you wait what could be days to find out the answer when you could get it now by having a phone call?

Candidate After-Care

Unsurprisingly the best contract candidates are generally the ones that get the jobs. That is pretty straightforward, but finding the best candidates definitely is not! Time is a Recruiter’s greatest commodity, and when you think about how much time goes into sourcing, screening and managing a candidate through to placement, surely Recruiters are as efficient as possible and spend most of their time with their best candidates? Surprisingly not, half of all Recruiters redeploy fewer than 25% of their contract candidates after placing them. Why? Generally because a Recruiter’s interest in candidate satisfaction tapers off after placement. In fact only 17% of Recruiters say candidate satisfaction is a key metric they use to evaluate success. So instead of spending their time working with the best candidates to make sure they’re happy in their roles and to see who they could recommend, the majority of Recruiters instead spend their time tirelessly searching for fresh candidates again and again.

It’s an old adage, but if it wasn’t true it would be dead – ‘good people work with good people’. Invest your time to treat your contract candidates with the same care and attention during the placement as you do before it and they will make your business easy for you. If you continue to offer them a service that they rave about to their friends, then recommending them to you will be second nature.

Recruiters tend to take for granted the tremendous amount of knowledge they have about the market, rates, competitors and lots of other things that candidates don’t have access to. By becoming a real expert in your market, and by genuinely keeping your candidate’s best interests at heart, Recruiters give themselves a real opportunity to become indispensable to their market and their candidates, which makes sourcing a whole lot easier.


Regardless of the 29 degree temperatures in Sydney, 15 degrees in Hong Kong, 3 degrees in Amsterdam or 2 degrees in New York…please keep the embers burning with your key habit to form for 2019



Back to index