10 Action Items To You Will Be Glad You Took ...To Save Your Recruiting Business!By Jeremy Sisemore

Part 2 in a 2 Part Series.


I’ve now been in recruiting for 20 years, and with a business partner, built a small and successful search firm called ASAP Talent Services.  We’re based out of Houston, TX and our firm is extremely niched into the SAP (IT, ERP Software) and Cybersecurity space.  We’re a blended firm offering Retained Search Options for executive search, but also offer smaller priority-engaged search options, exclusive contingency options, and even staff augmentation options for our clients (C2H, Interim Executive etc).  My early career was as an AE/Recruiter for a MRI Office in St. Louis and I was a Rookie of the Year for MRI back in 2001.  Having been through a very difficult 2009 and learning valuable lessons that can be the difference between surviving or thriving, I wanted to put out 10 key action items that can help you survive and thrive in 2020 and into 2021.  Below is Part 2 of a 2 Part Series.


6.  Down markets bring opportunities for those that seek them.  Now is a great time to top grade your own teams, look for great recruiters or AE’s that you might hire.  Look for opportunities to diversify your business or go into new markets that are related to but slightly different than your core market.  For some direct-placement firms, they may look at this time as an opportunity to expand into contract-staffing.

7. Be smart with your spending and monthly over head.  Now is a great time for financial spring-cleaning.  What do I mean by that?  Go through and try and reduce your monthly/quarterly overhead by 25% or more.  For us, we reduced our Indeed Budget and looked at going from LI Recruiter Pro to the Recruiter Lite version.  We looked at our monthly statements at all the $20 and $50 charges and many of them were situations where we needed to call and cancel subscriptions to services we didn’t really need.  We all spend more money too easily when times are great and now is a great time to button down the hatches on wasteful spending.  Go through with a fine tooth comb – justify the spending – do we get a great ROI from this product or service.  For some spending, we might turn it off for 6 months and turn it back on when things pick back up.


8.  Don’t ignore or hide from difficult decisions.  There is a conflict within many of us between helping others and the concept of stewardship when it comes to making the best decisions for our company.  Now is the time to be decisive when it comes to letting go of staff that was barely making it before Covid-19 Pandemic hit us.  The top 30-35%, if they work really hard and focus on activity, might survive an extremely tough 9-18 month recession.  In the interest of survival, we each need to decide if our investments have a reasonable likelihood of making it in this type of market.


9.  Don’t dwell on the negative or let fear run your life or your business.  After making tough choices and making 2-3 key strategic decisions about your business or your desk – now it’s time to go All-In and focus on executing on your new and revised Covid-19 business plan.  Focus on the future with a strong attitude of survival and helping your clients and candidates survive as well.  The byproduct will be seen in a successful business that survives when many others are may be failing.  Those that focus on what they have, rather what they don’t are more likely to survive and thrive.  Also, make sure your conversations are centered around being a “Solution Provider.”  We are the answer, so don’t focus on negative about Covid or the market.  Avoid negativity all together.


10. Be more flexible and creative.  Now is the time to focus on landing any searches that you can, be flexible on level of role, type of role, and yes maybe even be flexible on fee structure in these unique and challenging times.  Could you do a 18-20% fee if they gave you $3k and an exclusive?  Could you get 50% of the fee at Net 30 and the other half at Net 60?  Could you do a flat fee structure or a Contract-to-Hire, even if it wasn’t what you usually do?  Sure you can.  


We are now on a mission to help our clients save their company, to exceed their revised business goals, to help them save their own jobs.  I’m a firm believer that the #1 biggest factor that predicts success or failure is our attitude.  The belief system we bring to this business everyday and the energy we put forth into the marketplace is a direct result of our own attitude.  I can’t think of a more noble mission than helping people navigate careers which has a direct link to livelihood and happiness.