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The recruitment sector is growing.

Which is fantastic. More thriving business owners keen to hire the right talent for their businesses to ensure the constant growth that they are striving for.

As a result, the ability for recruitment agencies to attract the right candidates & retain their client base is tough. But that’s always been the case. So, really, that’s nothing to do with the recruitment sector growing; the right candidate has always been valuable & tough to retain, while the retention of clients has always been an integral part of a recruitment agencies longevity.

What has emerged, however, as a result of this growth, has been how tough it is to attract the right type of recruiter to come & join your agency. & while there are so many factors that influence how you attract not just a good, but the right recruiter to join your agency – one of the most telling & influential factors is your own company culture.

By that, I don’t mean the values you say your agency stands for – integrity, honestly, trust, transparency zzz…boring. Any agency worth their salt will always work against those types of values &, if you don’t, should you really be in the game? To define your company culture solely on those commonplace values is doing you & your agency a disservice. You’re better than that & you know it.

You should work with integrity. Honesty. Trust. Transparency. That’s commonplace. But that won’t separate you from the 101 other agencies all striving to hire the best talent for their agency. So, as a business owner it always comes back to the same thing; how can you create a culture whereby it’s both natural & attractive to the best talent out there?

While there is no proven science to this, there are trends. So what are they? What are those trends?

Shared Vision

For me, this would start in the interview process & be carried throughout the tenure of employment. & that would be ensuring that, at any given point during this business, you & your employees know exactly WHAT you do as a company, HOW you do it & WHY you do it. The shared vision isn’t based around the fact that you finish early on Friday afternoon & have a “bring your dog to work day” every other Thursday – your vision is around the end goal. WHAT you do, HOW you do it & ultimately WHY you do it.

Hire right

Much like creating a culture that you can be proud of, hiring the right staff is easier said than done. & of course, you will make mistakes. Every business does – so this isn’t the part of the blog we become ignorant to the fact that we don’t live in their utopian world where every hire is the “right” hire. But the difference between making a hire & making the right hire could be as simple as ensuring you ask yourself the right questions.

Does this candidate appreciate & understand the shared vision of your company? Do they understand WHAT you do, HOW you do it & WHY you do it?

Have you spent adequate time with the candidate? If it’s just you, perhaps you break the interview process down into stages. Stage 1 you might explore the cultural fit, the background, the person. Stage 2 you might focus on the skills, the structure, the professional capabilities. Stage 3 might be about their vision, their ambitions & where they see them fitting in the business long term.

Are you focussing on attitude or skills? As a small business, there can be a tendency to prioritise skillset over attitude. After all you need someone NOW, not someone who requires 12 months of training & management to get them to where you want them to be. But perhaps it’s more reasonable, as a growing business, to forgo that experience in the early day to ensure you find the right attitude.

Social brand

Approach the attraction of internal staff in the same way you would a candidate/client. You wouldn’t (I hope) passively blast out an advert onto a Job Board (or two) & sit & hope for the right candidate to apply.

You would focus on creating a brand that is well known, respected & valued in the sector you are in. This should be the same mentality you adopt when attracting staff to your agency. One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating a talent brand. Whether that be through blogs, video, podcast, audio – however you do it, produce content that will ultimately attract people to your business.

That brand could be based around that shared vision. WHAT you do, HOW you do it & WHY you do it – just an idea.

I’ll finish with this. In a recent article on LinkedIn, Sarah Larson, a Partner at Third Rock Ventures, said “Work-life balance is not a “thing” in small companies. Own up to it and embrace it. Be honest about it. And then create an environment where you trust the robustness of your hiring process to deliver new employees who understand the commitment they are making, what will make them successful, what the expectations are of them and what they can expect of you.”

That’s how you create a killer culture.