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STEPHEN CARTER | Partner - Sharp & Carter

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WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS WHEN YOU BELIEVE RECRUITMENT IS ABOUT INDIVIDUAL RELATIONSHIPS?

Over the ten years our business has been operating, Sharp & Carter has never done any marketing as a business. Obviously in the first few years of a new business you are really just trying to survive, but in the last four to five years this has been a deliberate choice.

In order to give you some background to the reasons for this decision I need to outline how we see the recruitment industry and how different recruiters approach the market. There are lots of recruitment companies who believe the key to running a successful recruitment business is the process – these recruiters are often known as “transactional” recruiters. The transactional formula focuses on just getting enough people in a recruitment business making sales calls, conducting interviews, going on client meetings and sending resumes out the door. This process leads to a certain number of jobs to be recruited, a certain number of candidates interviewing for those jobs and then a certain number of fees!

And to be fair to these types of recruiters this process has worked for years now (I think with automation and technology the days of it working are numbered but that is a topic for another day). But one of the downsides to this type of approach to recruitment is that these types of recruitment companies tend to suffer from high staff turnover, because this endless focus on the process and on targets causes recruiters to either burn out or leave in search of something more meaningful – something that doesn’t feel like they are just part of a production line.

We believe the key to recruitment is not the process but THE RELATIONSHIP between a recruiter and a customer. We believe that a customer would prefer to deal with an INDIVIDUAL who knows them, understands their company, their culture and the hidden talent in their market that can make the difference between a good team and a great team. As such, the focus of the leaders at Sharp & Carter is to retain our staff for the long term so that we can retain the relationships and the knowledge of a market that a recruiter holds.

Given this belief, we have never done any marketing about Sharp & Carter as a firm because:

1) We have been focused much more on retaining our staff and;

2) We don’t believe customers engage with recruitment brands, they engage with individuals that they have a relationship with.
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Now having said all that, I recently encountered a situation which caused me to ponder the sustainability of our marketing free business. A situation that highlighted our inability to own the narrative around our business if we don’t ever speak out, and which in turn led me to this path of sharing my thoughts and experiences via this medium – something I am hoping to do regularly from this point forward.

So, what happened? Well, we recently hired a new consultant from a large global competitor, and when I asked this person how their resignation process went, they said it was really tough…

They really slated you guys…. they said that:

1) You have made a number of bad hires recently;

2) You have had really high staff turnover and;

3) If I went to you there would be nothing in it for me and I would only be working for my manager.

Now I don’t have any issue with their opinion on whether we have made a number of bad hires because that is just that – an opinion. However, the high staff turnover piece is a lie. In actual fact, we have averaged 8% staff turnover p.a. over the last 4 years – a stark comparison to this other firm whom our consultant discovered during their exit process had 100% staff turnover in the past 12 months. In addition, the statement that there would be nothing in it for this person is also wildly untrue, as I know we pay our consultants significantly more than this firm. But how is our consultant supposed to know this if we do no marketing?

If we do no marketing, there is nowhere to check these facts, and there is a void that can be filled with lies. Considering that we are now a 115+ person business with a national presence I feel the time is right to complement (rather than replace) our relationship driven approach to recruitment with some first-person accounts of our Sharp & Carter way.

I want to write about what we stand for and what we believe in. Explain how treating people well has been the key to our success and share a few stories along the way. I will endeavour to make the articles informative, interesting, and humorous.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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Stephen Carter
Partner, Sharp & Carter
0411 543 833