Successful Sales in Recruitment during Covid-19

Successful Sales in Recruitment

Corona and recruitment are not best friends. At least, not for most recruitment agencies. So you must have been breaking some sweats during this crisis, that’s why I will share with you my five successful sales secrets in recruitment I learned during our last crisis, which are paying off now!

Decrease in perm & temp staffing

Alain Dehaze, CEO of Adecco, reported in March a 25% decline for Q1 and for April a possible decrease of 40%. That’s huge. Most likely, Manpower and Randstad will report similar results. If you are that big (all 3 did more than 20-billion-euro last year), a global crisis like this one hits you big time. But these companies will undoubtedly survive. They have enormous reserves, excellent client networks, and shock-proof workflows and processes. And as soon as markets pick up, they are the first to recover.

What about you, a small or medium-sized recruitment agency?

The three big ones do around 15% of the global turnover in recruitment (which is approximately 491 billion euros). The rest (85%) has to be divided amongst 150.000 agencies worldwide. That is a lot of competition for a modest piece of the recruitment pie. Under normal conditions, it is for most recruitment agencies a challenge to have enough profitable revenue. In corona times, it might seem nearly impossible for a recruitment agency even to survive, let alone being profitable, or survive while minimizing your losses.

Is there a way to generate enough sales?

Always. Of course. No doubt. And perhaps it might be even easier than you think. The best remedy against every crisis is made before the crisis.

How does that work? Whenever a crisis hits agencies, sales and recruiters realize that they have to have a strong and great relationships with their customers. Every crisis again, the entire recruitment industry suddenly starts to care about their clients. Calling them. Being kind to them and trying to squeeze every little assignment out of them. And they are not that successful, because their clients are also in a crisis. And their clients just smell the hypocrisy. When all went smoothly, I didn’t hear anything from you, and now that you need me, I am suddenly your best friend… Does this sound a little familiar to you?

How to stay out of the crisis?

As written above, the best way to avoid the downside of a crisis is to prepare yourself during the times the economy is booming. But, in case you didn’t (and most recruitment agencies don’t – so you are not alone), the stuff you have to do before the crisis hits is the same stuff you can do while you are in the crisis.

How can I beat the crisis?

It is easier than you think, but perhaps more work than you would like to.

1st Secret for Successful Sales in Recruitment 

Is for the Agency Owner or General Manager or Country Manager. This person, the leader of the company, should always be in regular contact with their TOP 40 clients. And this should be done in the good times already. If you didn’t do it in the good times, start doing it right now and never stop it anymore. Agencies with this kind of leadership attract most of the business during a recession. If you, as a leader of your company, only rely on your sales team and think that you don’t have to show up in front of your best clients….be prepared to accept a decline in revenue and profits—short-term, long-term.

2nd Secret for Successful Sales in Recruitment 

Of course, if you did this in the good times, it will greatly pay-off during crisis times. If you didn’t do it in the good times, you would find it very difficult to deliver long-term value and to be help-driven. But, while you are in a crisis, you have no choice. If you don’t serve your clients big time, your agency will vanish. So, when you want to start getting great results: give your clients value. Give them more value than what they pay for. Be totally help-driven. Give and help without the expectation to get an immediate return. The more you do this, the longer you do this, the more you will benefit, and if you did this already in the good times, the present crisis does not have that big of an impact on your business. Don’t believe me? Ask and They will be happy to tell you how to built loyal customers and how to support them in times of crisis. And in times when everything is great.

3rd Secret for Successful Sales in Recruitment 

Which does not, no NEVER, mean asking for business. It is offering your clients solutions for the problems they have. Help them with legislation. Help them with taking care of their staff and the constant stream of new Covid-19 regulations. Help them with pressing HR needs and problems they might encounter. Perhaps they need urgent recruitment, maybe they need to downsize their headcount, they might be needing to outsource certain activities on short notice, but they can’t pay you in full and need longer payment terms. Your action should always be HELP, SUPPORT, FACILITATE. And if you did this already in the good times, it’s easy for you to do it now. Or even easier because now you can be of fantastic value for your clients.

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4th Secret for Successful Sales in Recruitment 

Make sure that you, your sales team and your recruiters have a list of 40+ dream prospects. Companies you would love to make your client. And weekly work with these prospects. Follow what they do, eat with them, drink with them, give them great information, answer their phone whenever they call you (also at the weekends, even when you are on your holiday, also when you are having dinner…always answer their phone). Give them all you’ve got, give them precisely what it is they want, and they’ll give you what you want.

5th Secret for Successful Sales in Recruitment 

Did you notice that the trend in recruitment goes from off-line to on-line? You probably did, but what you don’t realize is that the ENTIRE recruitment process will go on-line. Also, face-to-face interviews will be replaced by on-line solutions. Those who don’t believe this will not be prepared. But here is the biggest opportunity of all. Start taking your entire recruitment process on-line. Start now with implementing the most advanced recruitment tools so that you can deal with the present crisis and be a leading recruitment force when the economy picks-up again.

STAA Increases our Revenue in Ukraine

During the last four years, we have developed two recruitment applications. State-of-the-Art. Top-notch. One is a full-stack ATS or Applicant Tracking System, like Bullhorn but than to the 10th Power, and the other one is STAA (Sales & Talent Acquisition Application). We have invested until today around € 1.6 million in both, and we are now testing STAA in Ukraine. And guess what. Now that permanent staffing, in general, has come to a nearly full-stop, STAA is getting us 2 to 3 new clients per week with permanent staffing assignments. From new and existing clients. Even in good times, we didn’t get three new clients per week. That is what the best-in-class recruitment applications can do for your business.


And get it fast because if you don’t, you are not going to survive with your recruitment agency. All the new recruitment applications run on machine learning and soon on artificial intelligence. And guess what. This technology is getting better and better all the time. And the agencies with this technology will outperform every agency without this technology.

Just to give you an idea. STAA can contact in one day ALL the companies having posted a vacancy that day in any country. For example, in Germany, 20.000 new jobs are posted on-line in one day. STAA finds them, matches these vacancies in seconds with relevant candidates, finds the contact person and his or her e-mail address, and can introduce all suitable candidates.

The corona crisis speeds up progress,

and only the strongest and smartest will survive.

Due to the craziness of this crisis, every company is forced to embrace innovations rapidly, and those who don’t won’t survive. Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler wrote about this development in their book “BOLD.” I would say that this book is a MUST-READ for every entrepreneur. They are writing about the Six Ds of Exponential Growth:

  1. Digitization
  2. Deception
  3. Disruption
  4. Demonetization
  5. Dematerialization
  6. Democratization

And the corona crisis is just speeding up this process in every business sector.

All the best,

Gerard Koolen

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