38 key points from - 'Secrets to running a lucrative temp desk'​ - Book by Sophie Robertson

For those that don't know, I have some business interests in the recruitment industry, so this post applies to this area. If you're also in this market, then I hope this brings you some value.

  1. Focus on finding quality temps, finding quality jobs for your temps & matching the right temps to the right jobs. Every other task is secondary.
  2. Temporary recruiters should only focus on temporary recruitment. Top specialists don't get sidetracked by other things, such as permanent job orders in this case.
  3. Clients need temps because of employee holidays, sick leave, maternity cover, during seasonal peaks, for special projects, or on a short-term basis until a permanent staff member is found for the role.
  4. Always have temps available on demand, for each type of position that you recruit for.
  5. Test your temps skills during the interview, rather than at home, to ensure they don't cheat & can actually do the job.
  6. Sell to clients on value, rather than rates. Our competitors may be cheaper than us, however the lower rates usually reflects the quality of the staff. For example, you can pay those low rates with them & get the equivalent of a Toyota, or you can a little more through us & get a Ferrari instead.
  7. Your goal should be to fill every job order within 20 minutes.
  8. People become temps because they are looking for permanent work, but are willing to temp in the interim, or they are a student, or travelling, or looking after children.
  9. One great method of building your temp database is by handing out flyers on the street, or at trade shows.
  10. Don't just 'place & forget' temps, instead build genuine relationships with them, to keep them loyal.
  11. Aim to get exclusivity from both clients and candidates.
  12. When interviewing temps get their name, phone, email, skills, experience, location, where they can travel to, earliest possible start date, how long they can work for, what hours & days they can work, the minimum salary they'd need, other agencies that they've visited, what companies / jobs they've already been put forward for & 2 references of former direct managers.
  13. When calling references, ask the following questions. "How were they?", "Were they reliable?", "Would you rehire them again if you had the chance?", "Are you in charge of hiring temporary staff at your company?" & "As you said that you'd rehire them again, since they are available now, when can they begin?"
  14. It's easier to get new temp job orders from existing clients, as opposed to new prospects.
  15. If you're given a perm job order, always ask if they'd consider a temp in the interim, since these roles often take a while to fill, due to long notice periods.
  16. Always ask if temp to perm is an option, if you feel the candidate would make a great addition to the team.
  17. When cold calling always go straight to the top. Even if the person you reach is not the decision maker, when they refer you to whoever it is below them, this person will listen to you more, as their boss told you to speak to them.
  18. Call early & late to get straight through to decision makers, as the gatekeepers usually aren't in the office at these times.
  19. Send handwritten notes to clients & prospects to say thank-you, as a touch point.
  20. Be direct when closing by asking the following questions. "When you next have a vacancy would you feel comfortable giving us a try?" & "What vacancies do you currently have active that we could work on?"
  21. If different departments or offices use different recruiters, then propose a consolidated special group rate to a high level decision maker, in exchange for the entire business.
  22. When having difficulty filling a vacancy, consider subcontracting it to another agency & doing a 50/50 split-fee deal.
  23. When a prospect is using a different agency, ask the following questions. "What is it that you like about what they do?" & "What one thing don't they do, that you wish they did?" Then ask the following question. "If we could do the things that you like, but also offer the things that you mentioned you currently aren't getting, then would you consider using us?"
  24. Show prospect clients & candidates existing video & text testimonials, to prove your successful track record.
  25. Always send agreed upon rates & T&Cs in an email confirmation, to avoid potential future issues.
  26. Never easily agree to offer discounts & never agree to a large discount, or the client will continue to push you around in future.
  27. Be specific with candidates about getting authorised time sheets back on time, or they won't be paid on time.
  28. Invoice clients immediately & always push for 7 day payment terms. If they keep dodging payment, then stop working with them.
  29. Build loyalty with clients & temps, by sending them gifts on special occasions & visiting them regularly.
  30. When visiting temps, use it as an opportunity to find out about temps working at the client from other agencies, other decision makers for recruitment & other active vacancies at the company.
  31. Don't agree to send CV's / arrange interviews for temps easily, just explain the candidate summary on the phone & confirm a start date with the client then.
  32. On the 1st morning of a new temp starting, call the client to make sure the temp has arrived & check in weekly to make sure they're doing okay. Also use this as an opportunity to ask for a referral, with the following question. "Who else do you know that could benefit from our service?"
  33. When taking down a job order, always find out the job title, duties, hours, days, duration of assignment, reason for vacancy, salary, location, how many of these people needed, any other active vacancies, who else does recruitment at the company & what other agencies have they listed this with.
  34. Prioritise your time spent following-up, by spending more time on someone who hires 20 temps per year, rather than someone who hires 3 temps per year.
  35. Your goal should be 1000 hours per week, per consultant, which equals 30 temps, each approximately working 33 hours.
  36. Diversify your clients, as having all your eggs in 1 basket, will be disastrous if that 1 basket changes it's recruitment process.
  37. Measure your ratios for hours to temps, temps to clients, calls to visits, calls to job orders & visits to job orders.
  38. When buying & selling a recruitment business, the most important thing is the 'justified profit forecast'. The tech innovations, database, social media & so on, are all important, but secondary.