Increase Recruiter Profits with New Niches

by Dave Nerz

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:

  1. Healthcare
  2. High Technology
  3. Clean/Green Technology
  4. Life Sciences (Pharma/Medical/Biotech)
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Financial Services/Banking/Insurance
  7. Energy/Utilities
  8. Business Services
  9. Internet/Online Services
  10. 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?

Recruiting Networks and Personal Relationships

by Veronica Blatt

Recruiting networks can be formal or informal. There are many different business models that are successful. Some recruiters are drawn to a transactional model, where the focus is on the placement, not necessarily on a long-term partnership. Other networks, like NPA, are relationship-based. While our members are certainly focused on making placements, they are vested in NPA as member-owners of our cooperative structure. They spend time cultivating relationships.

I am proud of the close relationships our members have with each other, and equally proud of the relationships between our members and our staff. Our members are successful because they meet each other face-to-face. They talk on the phone. They shake hands, they share war stories, they vacation together, and they cheer for each others’ kids. NPA members celebrate their successes together, and lift each other up when the chips are down.

Since May, NPA members have supported each other through the deaths of three of our longtime members. They have attended funerals, sat Shiva, sent cards and memorials, and helped run their fellow partners’ businesses. Heartfelt condolences have come from members throughout our global recruiter network. NPA members know each other.

These members were more than just email addresses. They were mentors, leaders, volunteers, and friends. And they are missed. Rest in peace Lou, Dave, and Dan.

Selecting an Independent Recruiting Agency: 5 Tips for Candidates

by Terri Piersma

If you are unemployed and looking for a new job or currently employed and desiring to move to another company, many ways exist for you to find that new job.  For example, networking with your family and friends as well as friends of friends is ideal and may result in you finding that new job.  However, if this preferred way of finding a job does not produce results, you may want to consider another option.  The option I am referring to is working with a third-party, independent recruiter.

Companies will hire an independent recruiting agency for a variety of reasons. It may be growing quickly and not have the time or ability to hire the desired employees.  It may have tried to find employees for specific jobs but has been unable to find employees who meet their requirements. Or, it may be searching for employees outside of its reach located in a different location than the company headquarters; for example, in another state/province or another country.

If you decide to look for an independent recruiter to help you find a job, consider the following before you invest time in the relationship:

1.    Recruiting Experience
For how long has the recruiter been working as a recruiter in your industry and/or other industries?

2.    Knowledge and Capabilities
Does the recruiter understand your industry and the area in which you specialize?  Or, do they have access to other independent recruiters either through an informal network or formal network who do understand the specifics of your situation.

3.    Geographical Reach
If you are searching for a job in another state or province, does the recruiter belong to an informal or formal network of recruiters which would increase the likelihood that the recruiter would know about non-local jobs?  If you are searching for a job in another country, does the recruiter have global recruiting capabilities?

4.    Integrity
After speaking with the recruiter, do you feel the recruiter operates with integrity?  You may want to ask the recruiter for a couple of references; individuals with whom the recruiter has worked and placed in new jobs.

5.    Commitment
For your relationship with the recruiter to be fruitful, commitment is important.  However, commitment goes both ways.  I recommend you remove your resume from job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder and tell the recruiter you have done so.  Why should you do this?  Employers will not pay recruiters for finding candidates if they (the company) find them on job boards.  Therefore, many recruiters choose to not work with candidates who have posted their resumes on job boards.

If you have worked with a third-party, independent recruiter in the past, do you have any other suggestions for someone investigating this option?

Recruiting Franchise vs. Recruiting Network – Which one is right for you?

by Veronica Blatt

When hiring is robust, like the cycle we are entering (or are already in, depending on the market), there is high interest in starting a recruiting business. It can be a lucrative and rewarding career; it’s attractive to many former HR and corporate recruiters, and high-producing third-party recruiters who have no equity in their current employment situation may consider going out on their own.

Two of the more common models for starting a recruiting business are purchasing a recruiting franchise, or going it alone with the help of a recruiting network (it’s the old “buy or make” dilemma). If you’re interested in starting a recruiting business, here is a list of key differences between a recruiting franchise and a recruiting network that might be helpful in your decision-making:

Recruiting Franchise Recruiting Network
High start-up costs – purchasing a franchise can cost more than US$50,000 Low start-up costs – you can start your business from your home with a phone and computer
Franchise fees   – a portion (5% or more) of gross REVENUES paid each month Recruiting networks can charge monthly dues, brokerage or commission on placements, both dues and brokerage, or be free
Varying levels of autonomy as a business owner Total autonomy as a business owner
Purchasing a business process and corporate marketing/branding Purchasing access to connections, referrals, and/or trading partners
Software – usually have to purchase and use corporate-mandated system Software – free to choose your own based on what works best for your needs
Prescribed business practices – A franchise must be run according to the corporate model Guidelines and best practices – A recruiting network will offer guidelines and best practices as opposed to a specific business model, with a community of peers to learn from
Lots of training Varying levels of training

Purchasing a recruiting franchise can be a great option for those with a lot of up-front cash who want to follow a corporate model with lots of training. For those with a more entrepreneurial style, an independent business combined with membership in an established recruiting network can offer more freedom and flexibility. Both choices can be successful; the key is to find the one that best fits your needs.

Business Growth for Recruiters

by Dave Nerz

The economy is recovering, or at a minimum it is much improved from 2009 and 2010 levels, but are you seeing an increase in recruiter profits? Are you feeling that you have a plan in place for business growth for recruiters and your business?

If you want to be a very successful business owner or recruiter, so much of your success depends on focus.

Warren Buffet is quoted as saying, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” That is why I am a proponent of a “Stop Doing This List.” In order to focus, we all must decide what we will stop doing to make time for the really important stuff. As with all things in life, moderation in the execution of an idea like this makes the idea more realistic. Don’t give up eating, sleeping, and breathing, but look for other things that add no long-term value to your focus and defined goals.

Here are some ideas I have been working on. It is a work in process for me so check back and I’ll let you know how it’s going.

  • STOP…Spending time on junk email. I have spent time setting up some really good filters on my Outlook so if it hits the “Junk Folder” it doesn’t even get a second look.
  • STOP…Doing things at or past the deadline. It takes less time to do these things on time or ahead of schedule. Less follow-up emails and reminders to worry about.
  • STOP…Sending very long emails. Pick up the phone it might even save you time.
  • STOP…Being disorganized. It takes time and creates stress.
  • STOP…Taking phone calls, emails, or meetings that do not align with your goals. If you made a commitment or if you see potential for profit, saving, learning, or growth, then go for it. Don’t turn off new ideas, but choose to be selective.
  • STOP…setting all meeting times for 30 minutes or 1 hour. If you set the expectation of an hour, it will last an hour. Try setting a 15 minute meeting instead of a 30 minute session. Or, be really strange and try a 12 minute meeting.

You get the idea. It is not easy and the old habits will die hard. But your sacrifice just might create some space to do something that increases recruiter profits and creates growth for your business.