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Key takeaways from Recruitment Agency Expo

Last week, the team here at BlueSky PR were lucky enough to attend Recruitment Agency Expo. We attended talks, networked and finally caught up with some of our clients… in person! Here are some of our takeaways:

Recruitment leadership

The first talk we attended was from Ann Swain, Global CEO of our client APSCo, on Recruitment Leadership and what a way to begin! As with most sectors, the recruitment arena has had to contend with the challenges posed by Covid-19. However, now almost two years since the pandemic began, it is a sector that is recovering exceptionally well. In fact, it is widely agreed that staffing arena has come out on top. Though this may be true, Ann went on to explain that to get ahead of the competition, the industry (famously not the most adaptive) must embrace change and adapt its strategies. Ann used the term “Adaptability Quotient”, being the key for recruitment leaders to be successful in 2022 meaning the willingness to not only adapt but also adopt.

Coincidently, a common theme adopted by most speakers at the expo was the inherent need for recruitment leaders to embrace the right technology. Leaders must stay informed about developments in tech, AI and other huge changes facing the industry. And by doing so can establish a tech programme that is right for their business. Finally, Ann explained that being a successful recruitment leader means attracting the right staff. This no longer means simply looking out for core behaviours and the relevant experience for the role at hand but how staffing companies can support and train them? How can they upskill? Can the business embark on apprenticeship schemes, for example?

Diversity in recruitment

Another great talk we attended was from Jo Major, founder of Diversity in Recruitment on inequality and the power of recruiters. Upon review of recruitment services and candidate pools, Jo found a huge lack of diversity, something that NEEDS to change. Jo explained that to break down these barriers it is essential for recruitment leaders to mix up the talent pools while also changing their work culture and environment. The effects of the pandemic have permanently changed the world of work and ensuring an office environment is suitable for all staff should be the priority of all recruiters. Recruiters need to be aware of job seeker privilege and must think of ways to overcome this or level the playing field.

This is what recruiters need to STOP doing, according to Jo:

  • Agreeing to client identity ‘shopping lists (e.g., “I want someone from this background…”)
  • Making diversity about marketing
  • Accepting positive discriminations
  • Using quick fixes (e.g., deflecting and distracting) – recruiters need to be aware of the depth of the problem

Jo explained that diversity, equity, and inclusion are more important than ever, recruiters must think about who they WANT to apply to their roles and adapt their strategy to reflect this. However, we must also be mindful of future generations such as Gen Z who will want to see themselves reflected in roles.

Recruitment evolution

The first talk we attended on Day 2 was from James Osbourne on the Recruitment (R)evolution. As reflected in talks from day one, James began by asking the big question… are you doing well because of YOU or the market? Due to the pandemic, the recruitment industry has flourished and savvy recruitment agencies are using this unprecedented time to make their mark. James explained that there are 4 key elements recruiters need to be focussing on to increase performance, capacity and firepower: Is your strategy profitable, sustainable, scalable and will it stick?

The main questions asked by James were:

  • Do you want more ROI?
  • How do I give my recruiters more time?
  • How can we expand our footprint?

The answer? Focusing on the CLV (customer lifetime value). You must concentrate on the people and adapt your strategic goals to reflect this. There are more jobs available now for recruiters than software engineers, and recruiters must take advantage of this to stay ahead! James explained that you must embrace new working models and build a scalable team structure. All of your recruitment campaigns must embed solutions for your customer base in a long-term solution. The focus must always be on your MRR (monthly recurring revenue) and if that means outsourcing or automating repetitive tasks that take up the vital time of your recruitment agents, then so be it! The concept of your workflow is essential and must focus on your CLV.

Strategies for growth

Another talk we attended at the expo was held by Jump Advisory on Recruitment Strategy for growth. This was an excellent talk as the focus was on creating a world of outstanding leaders who can shape the future of modern recruitment. So, what are the biggest opportunities for growth in 2022?

  1. Not chasing the next ‘big thing’ but going back to basics

We are in a candidate-driven market so therefore the biggest focus should be on service. From a candidate’s point of view, this is the most important thing. Use the tools in your arsenal to your advantage but also use the market and your employers.

  1. Hire, hire, hire!

We are in a post “Great Resignation” year and the talent pools are vast… expand your workforce and if you can’t hire, focus on delivering the best service you can give to your current clients.

  1. Build relationships

Being a personal and up-close recruiter is the best way to develop connections but not only connections, connections that provide recurring business… be a solution provider! Put tech and AI aside and focus on building a loyal client and candidate base.

They ended by asking: What strategies should recruiters be adopting to maximise their ROI in the current market? The answer? Put succession planning in place, we are in an applicant rich market, market your candidates and work closely with them.


We are feeling extremely lucky to have been able to attend the expo with so many influential recruitment leaders. We will certainly be incorporating some of the fantastic information we picked up and look forward to heading to Birmingham in October for the next one!

CharlieAuthor: Charlie Nunn

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