Today’s guest blogger is Liz Carey, network coordinator for NBN. NPAworldwide and NBN merged in September 2014, and our two networks are working toward a full integration effective January 1, 2016. We’re happy to have Liz on our blogging team.
As a recruiter, do you prefer to be a specialist, or a generalist? As the name implies, a generalist recruits for a wide range of job functions and industries. A specialist recruits within a particular niche or industry, usually on higher-level jobs with particular skills.
Generalists have a broader focus and work on a wide variety of positions, potentially offering more opportunities to candidates and having the ability to get more job orders from an array of clients. Generalists have a great understanding on recruiting fundamentals and principals and have fewer restrictions on which types of job orders they can work on. While generalists can take on more job orders and draw from a much larger pool of candidates than specialists, a hurdle they face is getting specialized job order roles from clients who may prefer to work with specialists that cater to candidates with a particular skill set.
Specialists are deeper “in the know” of their area of specialization; for example, financial services recruiters keep abreast of the latest federal rules and regulations in the banking industry, understand the industry terminology, and know all the key players and competitors – oftentimes, specialist recruiters have a background in the field themselves. Being in tune with the industry means knowing where to go to look for qualified candidates, and understanding market trends and the going rate. Rather than just going to general job boards, specialists will belong to industry groups and have industry contacts. Because of this narrower focus, they can often find the hard-to-get candidates and target companies looking for highly-skilled top notch candidates. A hurdle that specialists face is ever-changing markets: whether it’s due to increased regulations or expanded requirements, specialists can face lulls and slow periods, and working within a highly specialized niche can limit you.
As we all know, recruiting comes in all shapes and sizes – if you’re a specialist, what was it that made you want to focus in a specific niche? Have you ever considered becoming a generalist? Why or why not? Same questions for generalists – have you always been a generalist, and if not, why did you make the switch?
One Reply to “Specialist Recruiters or Generalist Recruiters: Which is Better?”
“Generalist” is such a dirty term in our industry. People think it means you are a jack of all trades, master of none. I couldn’t disagree more. I believe that recruiting is recruiting; cold-calling and finding good people is a learned skill and with enough training and experience, a good recruiter can work on any role. Our staff has filled Principal level Scientists to C-level, as well as Executive Assistants and hourly workers. Our approach, albeit Generalists, is to specialize in OUR CLIENTS… their technologies, their products, whatever they do, and know their culture as if it was our own and we were an employee. Client-centric model. In that model, we are Generalists who can service them at all levels, because we know who works well in their culture and will stick.
I think the Niche model is no doubt, a profitable, smart model! I often think, “We should do that!” But I think a Generalist model is exciting and fun, allows us to stay on our toes and always learn more. I think the only downsize to a Niche model is that you better be aware of the marketplace, economic shifts, and just be able to adjust if need be.
So to answer your question; we have always been a “specialized generalist”. That may seem like a oxymoron, but it’s been a business model that works for us.
Comments are closed.