Thursday, April 10, 2008

A review of Recruitment Juice - training for recruiters

About 3 weeks ago Louise introduced me to a chap called Matt Trott. Matt is Director of a very interesting outfit called Recruitment Juice, whose goal in the world seems to be making recruitment training more fun. I had a brief chat with Matt about the product he and business partner Roy Ripper offer and was intrigued. Matt described it as part ‘The Office’, part training DVD, which sounded to me like a bloody horrendous combination to be honest; fist-in-mouth, cringe-worthiness delivered by money-driven, robotic, recruitment-sales folk right?

Matt very kindly offered to send me a review copy with the proviso that if I had something interesting to say about the product (good or bad) I blog about it here for all to see. Never one to turn down a freebie, I agreed!

First up – here’s the website. Perhaps go check it out before you read my review of the DVD. I’m not going to go into tonnes of detail about what actually happens in the videos so it may help for you to be a little familiar with the material (plus the website is actually really good fun).

OK, back? Seen the site? Good.

First impressions

The DVDs come in a snazzy box along with some instructions, a workbook and a survey (conducted by the guys at Recruitment Juice) on ‘perceptions of the recruitment industry’. The survey is great; really detailed and well-thought out. It confirms pretty much all self-aware recruitment folk’s worst fears – 70% on average have a PSL in place, only 1% response rate to unsolicited mails, a laundry list of ‘annoying’ recruiter attributes and so on.

The workbook looks good too, although I didn’t go through it myself when watching the DVDs (the idea is to watch 1 DVD a week with a group of people and all complete a variety of complementary thought exercises after each session to aid learning)

The DVDs

There are 6 of them and they probably last slightly over 2 hours in total. I watched a couple of episodes each week and found the pace and volume of information to be more than manageable. Matt’s mention of ‘The Office’ was pretty spot on actually as the series is filmed in a very similar style.

The ‘action’ takes place in a fictional recruitment company, Sunshine Recruitment, and centres around 2 of the staff. Wayne is a useless, self-indulgent, arrogant pillock of a recruitment consultant (an exaggeration one would hope, although I fear Matt, Roy and the rest at Recruitment Juice probably based the character on a few individuals they know pretty well). Charlotte meanwhile is the lovely new girl; all innocence, honesty and enthusiasm.

As with ‘The Office’ a camera crew is following the fortunes of the business. The voiceover chap interacts with the staff (particularly the aforementioned Wayne and Charlotte) to discuss recruitment issues.

The experts

The learning element comes from a number of ‘talking heads’; industry experts whose advice is sought to help Charlotte on her journey from newbie to super-recruiter. The experts are all pretty good and their input is generally both interesting and succinct (rare for recruitment!) A couple of them particularly are great, Angela Ashwell and Helen Curry (Ashwell Forbes and The Spencer Group respectively) standing out. Occasionally some of them slip into full-on ‘recruitment consultant’ mode and remind you of the sorts you get stuck talking to at a networking do with no escape route in sight bar the nearest window, but overall they err on the side of charming, if a little money-obsessed.

The content

So, with a good format, good cast, good experts and good execution the onus is really on the content not to let the side down. Fortunately it does no such thing and delivers in spades. The focus is winning new business this time but I really hope the guys plan on developing this into a series for different areas of recruitment because it could really work. The level of detail is spot on; it would benefit both new starters and seasoned recruitment pros alike.

The pacing of the content is good too, meaning each point can be delivered and absorbed comfortably, even if you’re slightly distracted (I watched one whilst trying to wrap my girlfriend’s birthday presents and despite the intense concentration required to scrunch the paper into a ball, sellotape it to the floor by accident, then my leg, then finally stick it down only to realise I hadn’t cut enough paper off, I still managed to get the main points from the DVD).

The topics covered take you through your attitude to winning new business, the preparation required, how to open calls, questions and communication tips, objections and closing and strategies outside of cold calling. This is pretty much all you’ll need to know if you want to become proficient at winning new business. Delivering that level of information in just over 2 hours is no mean feat.

So is it worth it?

Cold calling has never been my idea of fun but it is a vital part of the successful recruiters armoury. Winning new business can be a nightmare, but it’s not rocket science and this training solution shows that nicely and adds some fun to the mix too. It borders on being cheesy at times but manages mostly to avoid the clichés and empty sales rhetoric that I’ve seen in other offerings.

At £700 it may sound expensive but to be honest it's not really. A half-day training course covering similar material would cost at least £500 per person whilst other DVD based offerings generally cost between £300 and £1500 depending on the calibre of the trainer associated with the product. This offering is totally different to any other production you'll see and the training seems to be easy enough to implement. I'd seriously consider it if I ran my own firm.

I’m pleased I spoke to Matt as I think he and Roy are people to pay attention to in the future. I’d love to see what they come up with next; my suggestion – the candidate side of the procedure could always do with a spruce up and the characters you could create would be a hoot!

Matt also very kindly put me on their affiliate programme, so if you’re interested in buying the DVDs you can do so at a reduced cost by entering the code PARR when you order. (To be clear – as that’s affiliated as well as the discount for you, I get a fee if you sign up using my code.)

Anyway, I’m off to practice handling objections from potential clients, so I’ll leave you to have a proper snoop round the Recruitment Juice site. Any thoughts or feedback, as ever, welcome via email or in the comments.


Louise Triance said...

A much more comprehensive review than the one I wrote!

Is it just me, or is Wayne's surname Kerr?

Regards, Louise

James said...

I think you're right Louise - it only appears onscreen for a second but the pun is definitely there!

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