The smart players in recruiting take the position that you must be a recruiting specialist to win in the recruiting business. I think what they say makes some sense. Many trainers and industry experts suggest that a recruiter become expert in a niche. They suggest a recruiter should know all the key companies, key decision makers, the social media connections, the industry jargon, and all the openings that the niche might produce over the course of a year. In a strong and growing economy, or from within a large recruiting practice, this concept is completely sensible and can increase recruiter profits.
But what happens in the rest of the recruiting world, the small office recruiters and sole proprietors, when such a narrow focus exists?
The top 10 growth industries for recruiters doing executive placement, as reported by ExecuNet are:
- High Technology
- Clean/Green Technology
- Life Sciences (Pharma/Medical/Biotech)
- Financial Services/Banking/Insurance
- Business Services
- Internet/Online Services
- Consumer Products
So the average sole proprietor or small office recruiter cannot possibly be focused on every niche. Diversification within a small office is more difficult. And the concern is, what happens if you do focus on one niche and it goes cold, gets hit by a disaster, or becomes “overfished” by other recruiters? What are some strategies you can employ to avoid being trapped in a bad niche at the wrong time?
Here are ideas I have heard recruiters use to protect recruiting revenue and recruiting profits:
- Join a networking group that expands my contacts and works niches other than my own
- Find partners that have niches that cycle differently than mine and work cooperatively on a split basis on the hottest area
- Have a “back-up” niche that you track and just don’t work as a primary unless your primary niche goes cold
- Become a generalist and do not specialize…diversify
- Cross that bridge when you come to it!
What do you think would work best for you? What is your diversification plan? How do you protect recruiting revenue in a down market while increasing recruiter profits in good times and hot niches?