How Recruiters Can Help Employers Combat Rising Costs

Earlier this year, the British Chambers of Commerce surveyed 900 businesses.

Almost three-quarters claimed that the employment cost burden had risen, compared with five years ago.

And a third said that the cost burden had increased significantly!

Most recruiters hate this kind of news because it’s usually followed by a dip in demand for their services or, at the very least, a demand for a reduction in recruitment fees.

But I don’t think like most recruiters.

I see this differently.

I see this as an opportunity to bring into the spotlight the powerful assistance that the best recruiters can bring.

All you have to do is ask your prospects and clients these questions…

1. Do you feel that the cost burden of employment has increased over the last few years?

That’s right. There’s no need to dodge the issue. Get it out into the open and discuss it.

Your prospects aren’t forced to bring it up because they probably assume it’s irrelevant to your work and interests. So, ask them the question and show some empathy.

It’s too easy for employers to assume that recruiters are good for nothing more than hoovering up candidates. By intelligently discussing their business needs and challenges in a holistic fashion, you position yourself as your job title rightly should – a Consultant.

Identifying a prospect’s pain points and showing them your solutions is a basic marketing and sales strategy. But you don’t need to limit this to pain points around recruitment. Your impact on your clients’ business goes way beyond helping them find people to interview.

The quality of the people you place and the efficient manner in which you do it has a ripple effect across the short-term and long-term development of your clients’ business. 

Demonstrate your understanding of the challenges that businesses face and be empathetic about their specific problems, and you raise the perception of your expertise and experience.

2. How do you think the increase in employment costs has affected your business?

We’re not done with this topic yet.

You’ve brought up a key pain point and now it’s time to agitate it a little.

If the prospect doesn’t have any specific understanding about how this is affecting the firm beyond the need to generate more profits – raise the subject of training and development. Explain that some firms are feeling compelled to reduce investment in this area and that this has a potential knock-on effect on the abilities of their staff and even their retention rate.

3. Do you think retention rate is the responsibility of the employer or the recruiter?

I can almost guarantee that the prospect will say “both”. It’s the most reasonable answer that doesn’t put them entirely on the hook or imply that they have unrealistic expectations about what a recruiter can provide.

But whatever answer they give, you now have an opportunity to introduce one of your key benefits.

Explain that you believe the bulk of the burden should fall on the recruiter because, in your experience, the most critical factor is the quality of the hire. Your justification for this belief is that, while many employers have a retention rate around 70-80% after 12 months, YOUR clients have a retention rate of 96% (this is our figure – but if you’re hitting anything above 90% this is still going to sound impressive).

This is also a good place to introduce the free replacement policies you offer to back-up these numbers.

4. How big an impact do you think a bad hire has on your employment costs?

 You can expect a “don’t know” here, or an estimate that is wildly off the mark.

But even if they have a fair understanding of the true cost of a bad hire, you now have a great opportunity to wow your prospect by showing them specific figures and a calculation of their costs based on their own estimates.

We use a custom calculator for this purpose. I’ve discussed this in a previous article.

There’s nothing like hard numbers, showing the terrible financial wastage of a bad hire, to really drive home your point.

Now the easy question…

5. Given that employment costs are rising and a bad hire is so expensive, how important do you think it is that we help you maximise your employee retention and provide you with a free replacement policy to minimise your risk?

You’ve demonstrated your understanding of your prospect’s challenges, your interest in helping them care for their long-term growth and the ability of your recruitment solution to deliver over and above their expectations.

This represents a very solid basis for the rest of your pitch. Especially when the next recruitment firm they meet rolls out the same tired lines about speed of delivery and deep networks.

In fact, if you have the moxie to get away with it, you can suggest to your prospect that they reframe some of these questions to the other recruiters they meet and see how much they don’t know about these important issues.


The growth in employment costs are unlikely to reverse anytime soon. Not as long as the economy is slow, labour shortages are high and Brexit is… well… Brexit.

There may never be a more relevant and important time to help your prospects and clients understand the exorbitant expense of a bad hire and how you can help them to experience massive savings and minimal wastage.

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