As any business owner knows, surviving a recession is no easy feat. Surviving two in as many decades is even more challenging.
Even rarer is the ability to not only survive, but thrive in the face of adversity. Yet that’s exactly what Triumph Services, a recruiting firm in Richmond, Virginia, did.
Founded in 2001, Triumph is a Small But Mighty recruiting firm that emerged in the aftermath of 9/11. Then, they lived through the 2008 financial crisis. So when 2020 hit, they knew through hard-won experience that the best way to survive was to push forward even harder.
Two years later, their local firm has grown into a highly reputable national recruiting agency.
Since Triumph is a Great Recruiters customer, we sat down with founder Logan Bragg to pick his brain and hear his advice on how other firms can follow in their footsteps, and scale from a local to national recruiting firm.
The benefits of expanding your recruiting firm nationally
Before we dive into Logan’s story, let’s take a moment and answer the question: why should you consider expanding your local recruiting firm into a national organization?
After all, there’s something to be said for remaining a “friendly neighborhood recruiting firm.”
However, small, local agencies don’t have the same opportunities as large, national ones. These can include:
- Enhanced resources. National agencies have access to larger databases, job boards, automation technologies, and can invest more in talent development.
- Efficiency. With access to a larger candidate pool and sophisticated search tools, national agencies can find the best candidates faster, increasing the value they can offer to clients. The ability to pool resources & invest in time-saving automation also makes them more cost effective.
- Expertise. Because of their experience working with a wide variety of candidates, a national recruiting firm can provide better expertise, which will both attract better clients and enhance the candidate experience.
If you feel like you could improve your recruiting agency in any of the above areas, then it’s highly possible that you need to start to scale from a local to a national firm.
7 steps to expand your agency from local to national
Scaling from a local to national recruiting is neither quick nor easy. There are a number of serious challenges that come up along the way.
Multi-location agencies, specifically, necessarily have to deal with red tape, varying legal and compliance requirements, and the difficulties of maintaining a common culture across all their offices.
There’s also the question of competition: how do you compete and differentiate in a saturated market, when before you were able to thrive in a geographically limited niche?
Triumph founder Logan Bragg gave his top seven tips for overcoming these challenges.
1. Leverage your current relationships
For local recruiting agencies, the value prop is clear: you have access to local talent. Plus, it’s easy to set up face-to-face meetings with candidates and clients and create a more personal experience.
According to Bragg, the first step in scaling up is to focus on the relationships you have already. These can include referrals, friends or colleagues, or even former candidates or clients who’ve since moved from your city.
Find those natural extensions of your footprint, and use that to open new doors, which in turn will open new doors.
2. Don’t push the panic button
Triumph Services expanded in the middle of a crisis. But whether the crisis is external or internal (i.e. you want to achieve aggressive growth NOW), Bragg made it clear that you should never hit the “panic button.”
There are always going to be ups and downs. The key is to have a game plan for when things get tough. That way, you can weather the storm and come out on top. Usually, that means doubling down and keeping your current customer base satisfied, then looking at your value prop to figure out the best opportunities to expand.
Intentional, steady movement is what wins the race.
3. Come together as a team
Especially in a service-based industry, the quality and morale of your team is everything. Without it, you’ll be unproductive, inefficient, and will most likely fail.
Work to make your employees—recruiters, salespeople, back office, and everyone else—feel like they’re part of a cohesive unit. Invest in your company culture, and create a fantastic employee experience.
Most importantly, don’t freak out. There’s nothing that your team can’t accomplish if you work together, keep your spirits up, and move forward as a single unit.
4. Be proactive
The recruiting industry is always in a state of change. Sometimes, the jobs are limited and employers are in the driver’s seat. At other times, like the moment we’re living in now, it’s the opposite.
But one thing will never change: there will always be a need for jobs and people to fill them. That means that we’ll always need recruitment agencies. But when the market is competitive, you just have to work that much harder to win business.
This is where investing in your digital reputation comes in. By asking for candidate and client reviews, and then displaying them publicly for all to see, you can demonstrate that you’re a trustworthy recruiter, and get candidates to work with you.
5. Keep the candidate experience front and center
In today’s market, the candidate is in control of the recruitment process. If you want to grow your agency, Bragg says, you need to ensure that you’re investing in a quality candidate experience.
That means continually monitoring your recruiter performance, making real-time adjustments when they miss the mark. Having a process for capturing and acting on real-time reviews is a key component of making that happen.
Ultimately, it’s about treating people like people, not a number on a board or a peg to fit into a hole. Build a team that focuses on people, and you’ll attract quality professionals to your firm.
6. Use technology to your advantage
Change is inevitable. It’s a fact of life. And, as much as we may resist it, change is also necessary for growth. In order to scale your agency from local to national, you have to embrace change and develop processes and systems that allow us to adapt quickly and efficiently.
One of the most important changes you can make is to automate those tasks that can be handled more effectively by technology. This includes candidate screening, referral collection, follow-up and candidate nurture, candidate tracking, etc.
By automating those things that technology does well, your recruiters can focus on what they do best: creating authentic, exceptional human experiences.
7. Make long-term decisions & strategies
Although many recruiters are not trained to think of this as a long-term job, the most successful focus on building strong relationships with candidates—even if they know only 5% of them will end up as placements.
By taking the time to get to know their candidates and clients, they are able to better understand their needs and wants. This understanding allows them to more effectively match candidates with open positions and tailor the candidate experience to their needs and wants.
When recruiters focus on long-term relationship building, rather than just short-term cash-grabs, they end up building a more loyal, dependable pipeline and talent community.
If you’re looking to scale your recruiting firm beyond your local area, heed the lessons of Triumph Services. Remember to build relationships, stay level-headed, and use technology to your advantage.
Most importantly, focus on the candidate experience and making long-term decisions. Do that, and you’ll be amazed at the success you see.