Hello Pam here and welcome to the site, so…time to write something on my virgin business site.
One thing that really fires me up is looking at a business and understanding what makes it successful. Today I am looking at South East England based Intelligent People a digital recruitment agency.
The Recruitment Game
Now, recruitment is a tough game, or can be if you don’t know what you are doing. People either take to recruitment or they don’t, it tends to be quite black and white. But it is very rare to find a company that takes training their consutants seriously. IP are the exception that breaks the rule. They have an in depth three month induction program for all new recruits.
How does it work? I talked to Doug Bates, one of the founders.
“Well, the first thing to say”, he smiles, “is that we rarely hire experienced recruiters”.
Why is that?
Real Market Knowledge
“Firstly, we like really good market knowledge so that our consultants really do know what they are talking about when they speak to clients. So, most of our consultants have spent time in digital marketing. They have worked on PPC campaigns, done SEO, understand analytics or have worked on campaign or product management. They must know and understand what a customer wants and why”.
How many agencies actually have that in their consultants?
“Very few”, Doug replies, “some consultants in IT (where IP were before moving in to Digital Marketing) have ex programmers or support people, and the more dedicated consultants make a real effort to understand IT from an overview perspective. And, I wouldn’t say “never” to someone without frontline digital marketing experience, but we find, if we get the right personal characteristics, that is the right fit for us”.
In Depth Training
So you are training marketers in sales and interpersonal skills to get the best from your consultants, is that right?
“Essentially, yes, we have been going twelve years now and we find that is the way that works for us. What clients seem to like is the consultants can talk to them on their level. Because they truly understand what the job roles are, we find it much easier to get clients to open up and just talk, because the consulktant and the client are just on the same page”.
“In sales terms we call it “pacing” with the client. In other words, you are talking to them in their domain, in their world. That world is digital marketing or one subset of the market, like affiliate and partnership marketing recruitment, chief marketing officer vacancies or indeed product management jobs. Whatecver it might be if our consultants truly understand that “world”, it puts us at an immediate advantage over recruiters at other agencies that don’t have that initimate knowledge”.
So you training course lasts up to three months for recruits new to marketing recruitment, is that right?
The Right Process
“Yes, very much so. For someone who is new to sales and customer interaction, there are certain traits and skills we need to teach people. We have a very set process we like our consutants to adopt when interacting with clients. Of course there are situations where something different needs to happen. However, essentially, each hire goes through a set process from initial client contact, through requirement capture, candidate search and interview arrangement to finally managing offer and start of work”.
And it’s working for you?
“We’re still here twevle years later”, he smiles.
It’s certainly refreshing to hear a success story where a business has really thought about how and why they work in the way they do. Doug is an impressive individual who very much has his business exactly where he wants it.
Here’s Doug talking about Product Management.