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What it takes to start and grow a successful Recruitment Company: tips in leadership and management - Part 4
What it takes to start and grow a successful Recruitment Company: tips in leadership and management - Part 4
Your career 17th Jul 2019

Clare Alderton, Owner and MD of A1 Locums was gracious enough to share her wisdom on growing a hugely successful recruitment agency from the very start. This is part four of the blog series which covers:

Part one (read here)
1 Team dynamics
2 Individual attention
3 When to hire more?

Part two (read here)
4 Becoming a manager
5 Company success
6 Keeping up to date
7 How REC research helps

Part three (read here)
8 Maintaining community
9 Employee turn around 
10 Balancing a team
11 Pros and cons of growth

Part four
12 Industry changes
13 Clients and candidates changes
14 Promoting good practice


12 How has the industry changed as you’ve grown?

I’ve been in business for fifteen years which is a really long time in this industry. When I first started, there were only a hand-full of agencies compared to the 70+ that now exist in our industry so it’s a very competitive market. It’s same in all areas of recruitment, by the very nature of what we do- individual recruiters leave the agency that hired them to set up on their own, competing, recruitment companies. I think the fact that we are still going after fifteen years and have, I believe, maintained a solid reputation, in our industry, speaks for itself. 

13 And what about the clients and candidates?

We are proud of what we do, we get a lot of really good testimonials which we share on social media. We always try and be honest and open with clients and candidates alike. Even if we’ve had a shortage of good candidates, we’re always frank enough with our clients to say ‘we’ve got this person free, they may not be the usual standard of hire we put forward but we are going to let you know and then it’s your choice to make an informed decision on whether you want to take that person on and keep your practice open, or whether you’d rather shut down for the day.’ And on the other side, there may be a practice where we know the accommodation isn’t particularly nice, or we know that perhaps the existing staff might be a bit difficult to work with but we would be open and honest with the candidate and explain the situation. We may lose them if the locum chooses not to go to that practice, but we would rather do that and ensure everybody involved is able to make a properly informed decision than waiting for them to arrive and them realising they don’t want to stay making both the client unhappy as well as the locum. My ethos is that I just try to deal with people the way I would like to be dealt with in return. At the end of the day, we are a service industry, we are here to serve people. 

One particularly helpful insight we gleaned from the RITs survey the REC was the disapproval of recruitment agencies who constantly send out inappropriate or irrelevant job vacancies. We, instead, try to listen to what people are asking for and correspond accordingly rather than spitting out hundreds of emails 5 days a week- after all it’s common knowledge that if you keep bombarding people with irrelevant information they’ll end up in the junk folder and they’ll just never end up seeing when that agency eventually comes forward with a job they’d actually be interested in. 

14 Totally agree, how do you communicate that ethos to your team?

When new recruiters start here we explain that there’s a line between being proactive and being spammy but, of course, we don’t want people having to come to us first because they haven’t heard enough from us. So even if we have no new information for a candidate or client we’ll still drop them an email or a text, just to let them know that, for example, we’re still waiting to hear from the client or the practice. Just to reassure them that they are in the know and that we’re regularly checking in with them so they don’t feel the need to check in with us. We want to instil our candidates and clients with confidence in the service we provide as a company. If you keep that in the full front of your mind, you can’t go too wrong. We have to put in the leg work in. I think, in any line of work you have to be decent, you can be a good business person and be a decent person. I really do believe that. You don’t have to be decent. I think that’s probably the best recurring piece of feedback we receive: that we’ve had: that we’re honest, hard-working and respected and we still get a good response from the local community. It’s really a matter of trust. The clients trust that we are not going to send them people that we don’t think would be any good for them, and it’s the same with the locums.


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