Back in 2010, there were only 5 of us in our business and Social Media Search was something we did in our spare time between delivering WinningWork assignments. We created SMS almost as an experiment, providing support to a FTSE100 FS business. It went well and we took on a handful of other impressive clients. Although I didn’t have time to grow it, I always knew we had something special with real potential.
Back then the service was very simple. £200 bought you 2 hours’ research time for the identification of up to 40 prospective candidates listed on a spreadsheet. That was mostly sufficient for our clients then and this cheery little service carried on as it was for the next few years.
In mid-2012, the opportunity I was sitting on with SMS became piercingly clear to me. To achieve our potential we needed a bigger home; a business with a reputation and infrastructure which would support our growth. By late 2012 we’d become a Norman Broadbent plc company and we were off. In 2013 we took on more and more clients and began building a dedicated team but something wasn’t right. Our client retention wasn’t good. Half of our clients loved our simple, inexpensive service and the other half didn’t. In early 2014, I began diagnosing the cause of our client attrition (‘better and better’ being one of our core values) and it was quite simple; 2 hours just wasn’t enough.
Our clients sometimes needed more people. With more time we would be able to source more people. Our clients sometimes needed more information about those people. With more time we would be able to source more information about those people. Our clients wanted to be able to make contact with those people. With more time we would be able to source contact details for those people. With more time we can include more robust planning, management input and quality control. Finally (this is very important), I had expected our clients were buying our 24-hour turnaround service at £200 because they wanted it fast and they wanted it cheap…. completely wrong! They rarely needed the data super-fast. They weren’t buying based on cost. More important to them was that they filled their jobs.
Because we’re not following an established business model (‘deliberately different’.. another value), we don’t have any blueprint to follow. We’re not looking to other businesses for the best way to do things and not to do things. When we identify room for improvement we make changes fast. So today, after testing our market, we go live with our revised core service. RIP the 2-Hour Target List and take a bow the 1-Day Target List. A full day dedicated to each of our clients’ vacancies enables us to source a huge number of potential candidates, or deep, rich information on a more distinguished shorter list. We are able to source personal contact details for a good proportion of identified prospects. Management has more time to experiment with our Boolean, stress test the search criteria, monitor progress at the 1/3 and 2/3 stage and ensure quality before submitting our work. It’s just much, much better. And with this model we haven’t yet had to re-do our work (touch wood).
If you’re already aiming for direct sourcing targets, talk to me as I’d love to find out your tactics and talk about how we can help. If you’re just thinking about a direct sourcing model, get in touch as we can offer a proper hand-holding service. If you’re simply interested in talking about the future of recruitment, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch on Twitter @Adam_W_Gordon, at adamgordon at socialmediasearch.co.uk, at www.linkedin.com/in/adamwgordon or the good old fashioned way (well not that old fashioned) on +44 (0)7870 268288.
PS ‘totally transparent’ is another of our core values.. #justsaying