Unique Selling Points in Recruitment

September 26 9 Comments Category: Expert Advice - Recruitment

Expert AdviceI think anyone who has worked in sales for any period of time understands the concept of unique selling points. The keyword for me is the word unique.

What makes something unique?

How many recruitment business do you think claim to be unique? I did some research for a client of uniqueness in recruitment as he was seeking to create difference between his business and other recruitment businesses out there. It was an interesting exercise. There was a multitude of agencies who all claimed to be different. Many of them set their stall out to the world describing what made them different. The most common USP (unique selling point) began “We’re different because…”

What is your USP? | Recruitment Dad

This is a good start. This is what clients and candidates alike want to know – what makes you different? Why should I use you and not your competitor? What followed was less impressive. So many talked about “how they cared” or “How they work hard to understand their customer better than anyone else”. Is that different? Honestly? How can that create difference? Each website may as well have started “We are similar to other recruiters because….” This in turn led to me deciding that the collective noun for recruiter is a flock. As in sheep or birds. A blur of similar looking things, behaving in a similar manner to create safety in numbers.

Unique means one of a kind. How many one of a kind recruitment businesses are out there?

Not many I would motion. How many want to be unique? If the answer truly was “all of them” then what stops them?

Fear of failure?

Not knowing how to be different?

Lack of recognition of the fact they are being the same?

What makes you different as a Recruiter? | Recruitment DadPerhaps they just take comfort in similarity. All it would take, however, is one of your competitors to change and suddenly its catch up time. Catching up though is the race to achieve sameness. Dare to be different and you can achieve difference, uniqueness and a market leading position.

I am pleased to say that my client changed. They dared and succeeded at being different. The net effect was measurable at the sharp end too – bottom line increase in profits of 20% (in six months) plus continuing growth of new account acquisition, client retention and a reduction of their own staff attrition by over half.

To be different requires, at a very base level being different. The change can be a challenge though the rewards to other side can be very high. Ask yourself how different you think your recruitment business is. What makes you and your business a recruiter of choice?

Liked this article? Then take a look at these:

How to stand out from your competitors

Candidate Care – it makes money

The Failure of UK Recruiters – a scientific study

and don’t forget:

Recruitment Dad Reveals His Identity

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9 Responses

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  1. I agree with your observation that recruiters claim to be different and then resort to uninspired cliches that actually demonstrate their very sameness (if that is a word?!)

    However, if you’re client was truly different as you say, can you let us know how please? I would be very interested to find out.


    Catherine 6 October 2010 at 10:01 am Permalink
  2. I’d also be interested to know in what way your client differentiated themselves. This blog seems to be encouraging recruiters to be less vague over claims to differentiate after all…

    If you strip the recruitment business transaction down to it’s bare bones, you’re ultimately talking about X finding Y and charging Z for introducing them (Y&Z).

    Yes, it’s good to be seen as ‘better’ than your competitors, but why place such a high value on being ‘different’ to them? The good ones earn enough from doing the things we all know to the best of their ability. Is that not a good enough challenge to aim for?

    The need for USP’s is more for selling physical products in my opinion.

    Richard 18 October 2010 at 2:34 pm Permalink
  3. What ends up separating recruiters in the end is themselves and their ability to follow through on promises and deliver outstanding candidates. Anything you say leading up to this point is largely not listened to by the client these days. If you’ve been in the industry a long time, hopefully you can offer insight into their industry sector and become a trusted advisor in the recruitment process. True differentiation is a very difficult thing to achieve in today’s highly saturated market.

    Sales Recruitment Australia 25 February 2011 at 10:17 am Permalink
  4. Bravo!! Great Post!!

    Recruiter 23 January 2012 at 4:05 pm Permalink
  5. So what did your client do so differently? Surely this is something to be proud of and is now public knowledge?

    mark 10 July 2012 at 1:27 am Permalink
  6. It’s been a well known fact for many years that we are all sheep traveling along with other sheep within an industry that is split between traditional HR – whom by the way are crap at recruitment! and Specialized Recruiters – who are adept at filling roles with quality candidates. As for being unique forget it.

    How can you write multiple brochures with different words telling exactly the same story – We’re better! We’re experts! We’re there for you! The truth is the industry is riddled with corner cutters, layabouts and fudgers. Mostly because they work for mediocre companies aspiring for mediocrity.

    When you find a good recruiter stick with them, at least they’ll screen the CV before putting their candidates forward. The amount of recruiters blasting CV’s out to their clients without even screening is no mans business.

    Paul 20 May 2013 at 1:47 pm Permalink
  7. Great post. Using interviews on demand is a great way to differentiate your company from your competitors. You can recommend the best candidates to clients and then share their recorded interviews so you can be sure they are not wasting any time interviewing the wrong people.

    colin 26 March 2014 at 5:12 pm Permalink
  8. Use video interviewing to screen you candidates and differentiate yourself from competitors. http://www.intervue.ca

    colin 26 March 2014 at 5:24 pm Permalink
  9. The whole discussion around USPs in the recruitment sector has been debated, challenged, twisted and turned for years and many have invested heavily (time, resources, financial) in developing a proposition that enables them to be that “purple cow” (ref. Seth Godin) in the market.

    Some of the resulting solutions have done well to increase market share for some recruitment organisations, some have been rebadged versions of something that already exists and some have been solutions for customer “pain points” that don’t really exist.

    The main USPs in recruitment, as in any service led industry, are the measurable and very tangible results that our services create for both customers and candidates – recruitment organisations should invest heavily on marketing / presenting all the data, stats and “proof points” they can around the actual results they produce and the consequential long term ROI these results have.

    This is both unique but also worthwhile from a sales and brand development perspective.

    James Osborne 11 August 2014 at 2:46 pm Permalink

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