“We come too late to say anything which has not been said already,” bemoaned La Bruyre. That was in the 17th Century folks. Add to that 3 more century’s worth of bright ideas and linguistic saturation and what’s left?
People trying to say the same thing differently, that’s what.
It’s especially hard to stand out if you’re a recruitment agency. With more than 35,000 recruitment agencies in the UK (roughly), all trying to say the same thing, how can you possibly get noticed? We asked the experts and gained some valuable insights…
Being a successful temp agency relies on many factors, most of which are entirely within your control. Starting from the top, let’s take a look at the three key areas to consider when making your temp agency memorable, engaging and successful.
Website & Branding
Building a website was once reserved for very skilled (and often very expensive) developers and web design professionals. Whilst we would still recommend using a professional, most people nowadays are capable of piecing together a respectable-looking site on platforms such as WordPress.com, Wix or Weebly.
Created through simple drag-and-drop editors, new websites are appearing at a frightening rate these days. In fact, according to Internet Live Stats, there are now more than 1 billion websites online.
As a temp agency, what use is that information to you exactly? Well, for a start, it tells you just how saturated the internet is – meaning the task of grabbing someone’s attention and then keeping it is all the more difficult.
With your competitors just a click away, you need to give potential clients a reason to stick with you. The first (and best) way to do this is by having a user-friendly website and the best place to start is with branding, content and navigation.
Colour schemes and fonts
Finding the right colour scheme for your website is key and will most likely be determined by your company logo. Free tools such as Paletton provide an excellent reference point for which colours complement each other and what emotions they traditionally evoke. Once happy with a scheme, Paletton even gives you the exact hex code (this is the digital ‘ID’ of the colour) – meaning you can transfer colour to webpage with precision and ease.
Doing some research into colours used by your competitors (or even across the recruitment industry as a whole) is essential if you’re to find your own, unique style. Using calming colours like greys, dark blues and whites can create a sense of professionalism, whilst a more daring colour palette may convey a company looking to ‘shake things up’ a little and offer some refreshing and modern business methods.
These are important things to understand before you decide on a colour ‘just because you like it’. Check out Gregory Ciotti’s article covering the psychology of colour in marketing & branding to learn more about such influences.
In relation to the point above, ensure whatever colours you choose contrast well with your content. Without seeming like Captain Obvious, make your font readable (in size and style) and have it reflect the ‘voice’ of your company. If you’re a temp agency, chances are you want to be taken seriously. This means avoiding ‘Comic-Sans-esque’ fonts in gaudy colours (lime greens, oranges, yellows).
Likewise if you want to be perceived as a more cutting-edge and modern agency, avoid choosing dated fonts like Times New Roman or Lucida (although these can still work well on sites specialising in more traditional, senior-level roles).
Shifting focus from web design for a moment, we spoke to Philip Marshall, Director of Temp Trades, who started his temporary staffing agency in 2014. As a construction recruitment specialist, Temp Trades have experienced year-on-year success, so we thought it would be useful to get some advice from him on what other factors need to be considered in order to thrive as a temp agency in 2016:
When setting up your agency, what key factors did you consider in order to set yourself apart from competitors?
“The 3 things that had to be considered were price, quality and service. We are passionate about getting it right first time every time; from the supply meeting exceeding our clients expectation, to the overall price and charge rate. That is where we differ from our competitors.
Our pricing is completely transparent. We have a fixed low uplift on our candidate’s pay rate and we base this on real time market rates to ensure our candidates get paid correctly. It is very simple, but unfortunately transparency is not often a word associated with recruitment.
I know that everything I’ve just mentioned might not set us apart from other recruitment agencies, but it certainly puts us amongst the best of them.”
Logo and tagline
For the purpose of this section, I’m going to assume you’re either an agency new to the market and looking to create a logo, or an agency with a tired look and in need of a revamp. If you’re neither and currently very happy with your logo, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.
Depending on company and / or industry constraints, your logo can be refreshed and optimised for the modern market. If you’re a long established agency with a solid reputation, we understand that you’re more likely to remain as faithful to the original as possible (maintaining brand heritage etc.). But whilst logo redesigning can be risky and controversial (just check out the response Instagram recently received), certain industries are more accepting than others.
Provided your logo redesign is done well and maintains identifiable features that are key to your brand, you’ll find a refreshed design can do wonders for your overall marketing and brand strategy. A recent example of an international company that has successfully redesigned their emblem is that of the Italian car manufacturer, Alfa Romeo. Their 105-year history and legion of passionate fans didn’t intimidate the design team, who brought the marque’s badge into the 21st century with style.
Factors to consider with logo design these days include:
- How well will it look across multiple social media platforms?
- Will it translate into an app icon (if you have or plan on having an app)?
- Its usage on company footers, graphics and marketing collateral?
Pro tip: having your logo designed as a hi-res vector (in PNG or JPG format), and with a transparent background, will allow for seamless and efficient company branding. For some design inspiration, check out some of these minimalistic logo inspirations.
As for taglines, think about what you want your agency to say. Then, whatever that may be, reduce it to 6 words or less. Aside from being more punchy and catchy, a shorter tagline can sit much better alongside logos, across your website and in email footers.
It also sends an unspoken message to the world that you’re an efficient company which doesn’t waste time on the unnecessary. Less is more in this case.
Let’s face it, if entire stories can be written in 6 words or less, then your tagline certainly can.
Contact details & navigation
Last but by no means least, you must ensure that your contact details are easily accessible. By easily accessible, I mean literally from every page of your website. Whether that be via a standard ‘contact’ link in your website header / footer, or by one of those new-fangled thingamabobs at the side of every page (widgets I believe is the technical term), giving potential clients the easiest route to contact is an essential box to tick.
Customers (especially those of the anonymous online variety) are fickle creatures and, no matter how many thousands you’ve spent on your super impressive website, if they lose patience trying to find your phone number or email address, they will simply click off and go to the next agency. So make sure your details are highly visible and clickable.
This leads rather nicely onto navigation. Whatever your plans may be when it comes to giving your site a nice, modern feel, never compromise the navigation capabilities of it. Always offering a clear route to and from other pages or sub-menus is fundamental if you wish to reduce your website’s bounce rate and keep people engaged for longer.
If resources and time permit, having a blog full of unique and quality content that revolves around your primary business focus will help to alleviate you above many competitors, along with enhancing your clout within such industry discussions.
2. Social Media
It’s 2016 people. Everyone should be on social media. Even my dog has his own Instagram account (@thestoryofsimba if you’re curious). Being active on social media is especially important if you’re a temp agency looking to get noticed more. So if you’ve not already, get yourself set up on the big 3 and check out our quick tips for each below
The first and most obvious network for an agency to consider. With over 433 million users, LinkedIn is renowned for putting like-minded professionals around the world in touch. Contacting people and finding relevant talent is straightforward, as the search tool allows you to transcend industries and job roles – meaning you can search for potential candidates or even companies looking to hire.
Joining relevant recruitment groups can also help you to stay in touch with current news and events within the industry, allowing you to contribute and share content that will get your name noticed. Remember though, ensuring your company page is well-polished and up-to-date is the first step to take before doing any of this.
Another way to get your agency recognised as a knowledgeable and reliable company is by using Twitter. Whether this is to share company updates, external (but high quality) content from reputable sources, or weekly competitions and riddles, Twitter allows you to connect with a wide range of potential candidates, clients and other useful contacts within the wider world of recruitment.
As with any other social media outlet you use, Twitter should be utilised to its maximum potential – meaning that regular interaction and outreach should be made with key figures and influencers in your areas of expertise.
You could be forgiven for overlooking Facebook as an effective resource when it comes to recruitment or advertising as a temp agency. Before you do though, just take a look at these eye-opening stats:
- 52% of job seekers used Facebook to look for work in 2012 (Mashable).
- 22 million people surveyed used social media to find their last job in 2012. That’s up from 14.4 in 2011 (Jobvite survey).
- 84% of job seekers have a Facebook profile (Time Business).
- 50% of users say a brand’s Facebook page is more useful than its website (Work4).
- 81% of jobseekers want to see job opportunities posted to Facebook career pages (Work4).
With more users than any other social media platform, Facebook is far more than a personal space filled with cat memes, holiday pictures and prank videos. With the younger generation so influential over the future of businesses and recruitment, it makes sense to appeal to them on their most used platform.
A savvy temp agency can stand out by having a strong presence on Zuckerberg’s social network, as it will (at worst) put your name and brand into their consciousness and, at best, generate a wealth of business opportunities and a consistent stream of young talent.
Don’t just take our word on all of this though, as Phil Marshall of Temp Trades gave his view on this as well:
I can see you have an active presence across multiple social media channels, was this something you implemented from the start and, if not, at what moment did you realise that you should become more socially active?
“I would have to say from day one. The moment I decided to get into the recruitment industry the first thing I did was join LinkedIn. One of the keys to success in any sales role is to get connected, and LinkedIn is a great way to showcase individual talents and the services that your business provides.
The exposure on this social media platform has definitely helped in generating new business. Twitter is also a great tool for business networking, and Facebook is great for connecting with our workers. These are my top 3 social media platforms that (when used correctly) get your name out there and attract new business and fresh candidates without the need for cold calling.”
3. Become a Specialist
A big decision to make for the future of your temp agency is whether it will take a generalist or specialist approach. Getting this right from the start will make it clear to your potential clients exactly what service you offer and if it’s useful to them. While being either a generalist or specialist agency have their merits, let’s take a look at some questions to ask yourself before you decide which you are:
- Do you have valid experience in a particular field?
- Is your local area a particular hotbed for a specific industry?
- Are there more vocations you’d find difficult sourcing for than you’d be competent at?
If your answer to all three of the above was yes, then you’re likely to be more suited to the specialist route. Not only does this allow your agency to focus on what you’re good at, but it also guarantees that you’ll be confident in delivering the same level of quality service every single time.
If your answers were mixed, then you can still be a specialist in certain areas, but offer more general staffing solutions too. While this sounds like a bit of a contradiction, there is definitely a market for agencies who can ‘zone’ in on one particular field more than another. With complex industries such as IT or Construction for example, there are some agencies which specialise in senior management roles but will still entertain the prospect of an entry-level vacancy.
You could say this approach compromises the whole concept of being a specialist, but it does give your company more scope when it comes to maximising workflow and, done correctly, will only enhance your reputation across multiple fields.
So how do I stand out as a specialist?
First of all you (or your team) should have applicable recruitment experience in whatever field you choose. As obvious as this may sound, you’d be surprised at just how many companies are out there winging it these days.
Next, you need to optimise your website with the right keywords and industry-specific terms. Not only will this assist you in getting found in web searches, but it will instil a sense of confidence into your potential visitors that your service is thorough and knowledgeable.
Publishing your own content and sharing related, high quality content, revolving around your area of expertise will exemplify your niche skills and reaffirm an up-to-date knowledge of that industry.
Lastly, and with reference to the website design earlier in the article, ensure your site reflects the industry you specialise in. So for example, if your a temp agency specialising in construction or engineering, your website will not only include contextual imagery, but should be fairly linear in its navigation. The minds of an engineer or construction worker think in terms of how well things work, so an operational site that delivers its service so efficiently and precisely makes sense.
In contrast to this, If you’re a temp agency looking to specialise in the Digital / Creative field, then you have more freedom to make your site more… well… creative!
Bringing all of the above tips together will ensure your site is never mistaken as being anything other than a specialist in your chosen field.
If you take nothing else away from this article, take this: the best way you can stand out in business is to provide an honest, high quality service. That’s the secret to any company, not just in recruitment. Getting all of the other factors working together (efficiency, social media, website design, specialisms) will then elevate your agency to the next level.
Speaking to Phil from Temp Trades for a final time, we asked what his philosophy is on staff retention and what methods he believes ever temp agency should consider using in order to grow and retain their client base:
The combination of a modern website and active social media platforms are two well-documented foundations to a successful business in 2016. Specific to the recruitment industry, what other measures have you taken (or plan on taking) in order to attract and retain even more clients in the future?
“At Temp Trades we are all about client retention. Now we do understand that attracting new business is a fundamental requirement for growth and sustainability, however we don’t do this by sales calls. We rely on word of mouth, advertising and our social media presence.
By having a great company name and brand out there, detailing what we do and the service we provide, it gives potential clients the information needed as to whether they want to work with Temp Trades.
Working with Agency Central has also been a smart move given their position in the market as the go-to company for companies seeking reputable suppliers. We are also a member (and approved supplier) of Constructionline. Catering for the construction industry this has opened a few doors and elevated our status within the temporary recruitment market.”
I guess what sums up Phil’s last point is always ensure that your customer service is carried out with integrity and professionalism. This then becomes your brand, which is better than any logo or tagline.
To end as we began, here is a quote from the American marketer and entrepreneur, Seth Godin: “Fitting in is a short term strategy. Standing out pays off in the long-run.”