In addition to providing access to trading partners outside of a firm’s geographic area or specialty area, a recruiting network can help hook a recruiter up with a peer within their own market. Just because you work the same territory or niche doesn’t automatically make them your “competition.” Below is a great split story of forming an alliance with your supposed enemy.
Two firms both in the accounting and banking space began working together nearly a decade ago after one owner, Brad, met the firm’s manager, Stephanie, at an annual meeting. Stephanie’s firm was entering the DC market and she hoped that this new acquaintance who works DC and northern VA could help her in getting started, as well as to see if there was any interest in working together and sharing job orders.
“Originally I was weary of an additional network firm working the same market, as in the past I saw far too much duplication in the Washington DC market between member firms,” Brad said. “But in our first conversation, Stephanie informed me that she was working with the larger banks. Due to the fact I typically worked the smaller community banks and pulled from the larger banks, we seemed to have a natural fit. Over the course of several months we got to know one another pretty well and quickly we began having very open, honest and frank conversations.” So despite working the same geographic area, and both working in banking, Brad realized they had different clients and could use their combined knowledge and experience to work together.
Brad said that many days, he and Stephanie talk about the market, but more often than not one of them would have something of interest to share regarding clients, job orders or candidates.
“Needless to say, Brad’s willingness to spend time with me (via the phone) has been one of the most important factors to my success in the market. Brad immediately provided me with tons of market knowledge, candidates for my searches, and backgrounds on banks that would have taken me years to understand,” Stephanie agreed. Brad said as he and Stephanie got to know each other better and share more detailed information, they began to build trust rapidly.
Now, the duo aren’t just trading partners… they are business partners and friends who know they can rely on one another. “We are close enough and comfortable enough that we can run things by one another whether they are cover letters regarding a particular candidate we know in common, fee agreements, recruiting strategies, past experiences with certain bank clients or hiring managers, etc.,” Brad said. They do several splits a year and have placed commercial lenders, commercial credit folks, portfolio managers, and more. “At the end of the day, our clients and candidates benefit most from our partnership,” Stephanie said. “With that being said though, I am sure my career has been way more impacted by Brad than our stats provide.”
They do admit that at times the lines between their clients have blurred, but weekly and sometimes daily contact has kept them aware of what the other is doing so they don’t wind up stepping on one another’s toes. It really pays to reach out to your peers who work in your market or niche. You may or may not be working with the same clients, or even working on the same job orders, but more often than not, you will find a teammate that can help make you more successful.