Why small is beautiful! 8 advantages of working with small recruitment agencies..
Simon Kemp, Director
When you create your recruitment PSL, do you find yourself reassured by having big names and big businesses throughout?
It’s possible you are missing out.
In many businesses, recruitment included, small has its advantages. During my two and a half decades in recruitment I have worked for two international power houses and three boutique agencies.
Today, I am one of three directors in a small firm I co-founded in order to be able to provide the level of service I think every client should be able to enjoy, and a place where every employee is valued and encouraged to be brilliant.
This is why I think small is beautiful!
Small companies are accountable & responsive
Everyone in our small business is visible, accountable and committed to the vision we had when we started out.
Everyone takes responsibility for their own clients and candidates and it is clear to all parties who their point of contact is. There is never any need at Connected for someone to say that they don’t know who someone should speak to, or that they’ll have to speak to their manager before being able to help. Things here happen directly and quickly – no delays, no silences, no passing the buck.
Small companies deal with people – personally
In any business, it can be very easy for a whole company to get a bad reputation because of an experience with one member of staff.
With a small business, we are able to be sure that all our recruiters are on point with communication, service and quality, and behave with the values that we laid out for our business when we set it up. Each has an intimate knowledge of their candidates and clients and treat them as individuals.
For candidates, that means we always provide feedback – sensitively and constructively.
For clients, it means clear, regular and honest communications. Our recruiters are confident and authoritative enough to be frank about where we can help and where we can’t. We let our clients know if a role is proving tricky to fill and discuss ways forward. We don’t go quiet and disappear, because we know it’s important that clients trust in our ability and our commitment to their success.
Small companies offer flexibility, agility and partnership
Small means that everyone in our business has direct and easy access to all of the partners, which means that we can quickly deal with problems, challenges and diversions from the norm.
We do not run a one size fits all business because we know that everyone has different pressures, resources and styles.
If a client wants to engage us on a highly confidential basis and is looking for a market map of talent but they don’t want a full search, we will present an operational and commercial model to fit their requirement.
If a client is looking for a small payroll service we can provide a highly compliant, cost-effective personalised service so that no line manager or contractor feels like a commodity.
If a client needs guidance on the best way to achieve something, we spend time with them to listen, advise and produce a plan.
The trust we have earned with our clients means that we can give honest feedback on the feasibility of the brief and, with our understanding of their business needs and practices, we can suggest approaches to their resourcing challenges that may not have been considered.
And because of our size, we can make quick decisions and start working on a new role, new brief, or new contract immediately. There’s no long chain of command and our clients get to work with the person they bought into at the beginning. We don’t hand off to other staff once the negotiations have finished.
Small companies can truly represent your business
We have worked with many of our clients for many years, which means we really understand them. This has three huge benefits:
Firstly, we are able to present those businesses and projects in an extremely accurate and attractive way to potential candidates.
Secondly, we have an extremely strong grasp of our clients’ culture, meaning that we are able to screen out poorly fitting candidates early in the process and save the time of both the client and candidate.
Thirdly we are able to provide excellent client insight and briefing to candidates.
Small companies can treat each case on its own merits
I once worked in a large business where I’d been part of the team that had built up the client base.
One day, it was announced by the CEO that we shouldn’t work below certain margins any more or provide contractors in certain geographies. There was no discussion there was no flexibility on a sector by sector basis. Overnight we gave notice to a fantastic blue-chip client and 70 contractors. We also had to tell another international client we had spent years developing relationships with across the globe that we could no longer support them in many locations.
With our small business, we do, of course, have to look at our figures and make difficult decisions. But we have the opportunity to look at everything we do on its own merit and never apply sweeping policy decisions. Low margins can be offset by volume, or potential future business, or can be accepted on a short-term basis on promise of review of performance.
Small company compliance, onboarding and contractor management is seamless and personal
In a compliance-centric world some clients may feel safer working with a household name in the hope that every check will be done and their business will be protected. At Connected Consulting we take onboarding and compliance as seriously as anyone, completing checks to the same (if not higher) levels than large companies, and often within a fraction of the time. We treat this process as part of the overall service we are proud to provide and give it the same level of attention as everything else we do.
Because we are small, our Business Operations Manager has the opportunity to start building relationships with the contractors she will support weekly for many months. This is another area of the business where relationships and continuity of support make the experience more transparent and painless for everyone.
We continue to keep in touch with our contractors throughout their contract, welcoming the opportunity to support with mortgage applications and tailoring sometimes arranging early payments to help them through the first few months.
Additionally, we have an on-boarding checklist for every client as we don’t want to demand higher levels of insurance than the client contract requires, for example, or under-reference a candidate because the client’s requirements are outside of our cookie cutter standard process.
Small companies are service-oriented and offer real value
There is a perception that small businesses are unable to offer competitive rates because they don’t have the volume of work to make discounts.
At Connected, we are always keen to come to an agreement that suits everyone, and because we know the value of the excellent and personal service we can provide we know that the rates we offer provide value.
The questions here is, Do you want the service you pay for? We can’t compete with offshore outsourced people rates, but we can offer so much more that our success and satisfaction rates are incomparable.
Small companies have happy staff – and happy staff equal happy clients
Small businesses really foster a sense of team and ‘we’re all in this together’. That means we work well together, share in each other’s successes and genuinely care how everyone is. As with our clients, being able to manage everyone as individuals means that we can flex with their needs. Being responsive to them is motivating for them, and a happy team is a productive team.
I would strongly recommend that every business puts a small recruiter on its PSL. You’ll get a different kind of service and then you can let that inform the value that you attribute to it.
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