Dear Mitch

Mitch Sullivan‘s a man many Recruiters will know. Never one to shy away from debate or express an opinion, he’s been a Recruiter since the days of fax. His desire to not have his eyes bleed every time he saw a job ad drove him to start his own Recruitment Copywriting Course.

In this series, Mitch is answering your questions. For every query your boss can’t or won’t answer, you can write to Dear Mitch. In this article, Mitch is delving into 360 recruiting, marketing, future growth industries and online recruitment personalities.

1. Hi Mitch, do you think 360 is the right model? A friend at another agency is an Account Manager and makes a lot more money without ever having to ‘BD’. Would be interested to see what you think. Rhys 

I’m not a fan of the 360 model.

I think recruiters need to learn the job at component level and generally the best place to start is in researching and sourcing candidates. It doesn’t happen very often because agencies tend to want new employees to become profitable as quickly as possible.

I also think the ability to make good money is largely dependent on the sector. Those in high-growth mode where the candidate supply is relatively short tend to be the sectors where that is easier. They also tend to be the sectors where the BD element of the job is easier too.

2.Hi there. We don’t have a Marketer in house at my new company. At my last job they were so helpful. How much do you think this matters to my day job? Have I made the wrong choice? Ally L.

I think that depends on a lot of other things – like how good at marketing the marketing manager is and what kind of marketing we’re talking about.

There’s as much bullshit as there is truth about marketing since we all sold-out to digital.

But yes, in general I would view an agency that considered marketing important enough to employ a marketing expert more favourably than one that didn’t.

There’s an argument to be had that recruitment is fundamentally all about marketing – especially job marketing. We’re all in the business of selling jobs, aren’t we?

3. Mitch I’m looking at my options as I’m stuck in a market that’s going nowhere. Interested to know what industries you think are worth looking at. And going to be good for 24 months. Anon.

Why only 24 months? Are you one of those ‘spot trader’ recruiters that only wants to work those sectors where the best/easiest money is to be made?

If you are, Google will have better info on this than me.

If you’re not, then stick with the sector you know best. Things go in cycles anyway and clients are easier to win in recessions – especially if you know what you’re doing and can articulate that by not sounding like every other recruiter out there.

4. Hi Mitch, as someone who’s larger than life online, who’s your fave recruitment personality and why? (Apart from yourself) James

Not sure what you mean by ‘recruitment personality”. If you mean people who actually refer to themselves as recruitment personalities, then I think all of them are d*ckheads. You know, the kinds of people who if they took Viagra, would just get taller.

If you mean a recruitment personality in the sense that the personality is a construct, then my favourite would have to be Ed Hunter. He (or she) writes brilliantly, knows agency life well enough to parody it and has a good sense of humour.

If however you mean recruiters who use social media well, then I’d probably go for Bill Boorman. Bill practically invented Twitter for recruiters.

I can’t really comment on too many recruitment personalities because quite a few of them have blocked me on LinkedIn.

5. Mitch, I don’t ever seem to be able to get above 20% agreed. What are the best terms you ever worked with on a role and how did you get them? Can you help me get to 25% regularly?

I’ve never charged a client more than 25% as I think anything more than that is moving into rip-off territory.

A lot depends on what it is you’re selling.

If you’re selling the ability to engage with and persuade exceptional candidates to come to the client’s interview table, then, given that you can show the client how and why that would happen, most clients would happily pay 25% to have a job filled that is usually deemed problematic.

Where client’s tend to kick-back on fees is when they feel like they’re agreeing to such a high fee with a host of recruiters who are all hoping to get lucky. Their own previous experiences, both as a hiring manager and as a candidate, will have informed much of this attitude.

For me, the best way to get 25% is to demonstrate how what you do will produce better candidates than any other agency – or if they tried to fill it themselves.

The bottom line is that most hiring companies will pay whatever they have to pay if they have complete trust that the recruiter is going to fill their vacancy.

PS… Yes, I can help you get to 25% more regularly.


Missed any of the previous articles from this series? Check them out here. And if you’ve got any of your own questions you’d like answering (anonymously or otherwise) you can reach the main man himself, right here: [email protected]