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It will really depend on who is reading this on whether or not you agree. When a company has a vacancy it tends to go through HR who use a select list of suppliers for all of their recruitment matters. Which is obviously great for them when they need to manage a certain amount of contracts, agreements, constant phone calls and emails from recruiters - but sometimes not so good for a hiring manager looking for a technical person with niche skills!

The agencies on preferred supplier lists for these companies tend to be the large corporate recruiters who have teams of recruiters working on various accounts with no real knowledge of specific technologies that end up working various jobs throughout a week - Fine.

However when it comes to a niche or 'specialist' technology it's not as simple as placing an advert online or spamming out an email to a database of irrelevant candidates! This is where being a specialist recruiter comes into its own.

I have had clients tell me many times that their PSL has had a job open for over a month and nobody is interested! Within a couple of days they have interviewed and offered a perfect candidate which the PSL may never have been aware of - WHY?

Well its certainly not because I am some kind of miracle recruiter who has a magic formula that members of PSL's don’t have. I'm a member of a number of PSL's, however they are only relevant to the technologies I specialize in. By keeping your finger on the pulse and interacting with people in these areas on a daily basis you are much more likely to know who is available at any given time and who might be suitable for new openings! You will create a much more extensive database of candidates who will treat you with respect as they know you have knowledge of the work they perform day in day out - because they will inevitably have to contact you at some point when they are back on the job market.

So I urge any managers who have a requirement and don’t know where to turn when their PSL hasn't supplied the goods - contact the specialist recruiter who sent you an email in the last month introducing themselves to you!

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Comment by Jeff LeFevre on September 30, 2010 at 10:03am
Matthew, Good article and you do have some good points, but I must say that there is much more going on in these scenarios. We started out in accounting and finance and over there years have placed so many different types of people in practically ever vertical. My feeling is when you understand HOW to recruiter one vertical from another no longer matters. With a specialist such as yourself you should have the talent already in your ATS and therefore be able to fill the job, but it's not always that easy. The client my perhaps have a crappy salary because they think they can do to the economy. What I would do if I was the client would be to find "you" the specialist in that vertical for a brief period of time because you should have the talent already but then look for the recruiter that has the ability to hunt and that I enjoy to work with.

Cheers! Jeff
Comment by Matthew Stedman on September 30, 2010 at 10:18am
Thanks Jeff - I agree with what you say about being a good recruiter you should be able to fill any job. For instance I have filled many roles not relevant to my technical focus purely because I know how to find the right candidates by gathering the information I need from my clients. However its not just a case of building a database. Its about building a reputation and having people approach you when they are looking for work or people because you have the right connections/knowledge they need.

A specialist should always fill a position in their technical area much quicker than a general recruiter who picks the job up and goes about their standard recruitment practice with it in my mind.

If they dont then they aren't much of a specialist :-)
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on September 30, 2010 at 3:25pm
to day you need to be able to recruit in many verticals. It would be nice for a company to say

call A for Software
Call B for Engineers
Call C for accounting.

That is not the ways it works in this market. I will take the work and if I can do it I find a firm that can and we become partners.
Comment by Leo Amarillas on September 30, 2010 at 4:16pm
Matthew it is true, Specialist Recruiters are the option for niche positions because they know the marker better and are connected and well known in those markets; I believe that a corp recruiter can do the job but it can take longer in some cases. This have nothing to do with the recruiter ability it's more about having the right contacts in the market.. remember specialist recruiters were HR or Corp Recruiters once but they got into a niche market. And yes there are boutique Staffing firms just focused in some skill-sets as CB Stallings mentioned.
Comment by George Peacock on September 30, 2010 at 8:43pm
Reminds me of the old adage I learnt in marketing 101 that you either get big, get niche or get out.
Having been a client before getting into this mad business I always preferred dealing with specialist recruiters as they invariably did not waste my time and delivered well briefed quality candidates.
Also specialists can access the near to market candidates rather than those relying more on those who are perhaps in more than a few cases getting a bit desperate.
That said I guess those of us who focus on the niche have come across opportunities with clients and placed accordingly when we have come across the right candidate.

Last point - perhaps just been my experience or perception but the specialists tend to include more of those who have actually - managed people or done the job they are recruiting for. Always amazed me when I was the client and some of the big firms sent in their new grads who had no experience at all of the business I was in and had little work experience let alone ever had to hire anyone themselves or manage them. I had a client recently who said of one of my competitors (one of the high street firms) that at least with me he could meet me over a drink and go through his needs as he did not believe they were old enough for the pub...
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on October 1, 2010 at 12:07am
preferred supplier lists
Comment by Matthew Stedman on October 1, 2010 at 5:23am
I am by no means degrading what the corporate recruiters do - I have my opinions of them because of what I have heard (I have always been a specialist in a vertical market). It has been alot of work networking and building a presence in my areas. I imagine their day to day role is alot different to mine.

However I will not waste hiring managers times by ringing them unless I know I can do business from their roles. I do not need to chase leads in other areas as there is enough work out there for me to continue in what I specialise in.

I suppose its the old 'Jack of all trades - Master of none' - however there is a good reason why the corp recruiters have such a high churn of placements with major clients. They are doing an excellent job and generating massive amounts of profit from high quantity recruitment.

I would find it difficult to be inspired by that form of recruitment personally as I enjoy what I do and am genuinely passionate about building my personal brand of being the best recruiter in my industry.

If I were a hiring manager I would much rather a specialist recruiter called me up and sent me 2 -3 relevant CV's for my role that day than someone who will send an option of 10 CV's that I have to sift through to find the best candidates. The specialist is taking away alot of the work for me in more than likely half the time - a better service for more than likely the same price...
Comment by Paul Alfred on October 1, 2010 at 11:09am
Yes totally agree with Matthew being in a few niche markets myself - but i will say this I would expect a non specialist recruiter to still send me 2 resumes per role I always like to think the Recruiter has made the hire before the submission if he/she is trained correctly...
Comment by Leo Amarillas on October 1, 2010 at 11:48am
Paul, as you said this should be the golden rule!! 3 resumes, best candidates available, bet your job on a hire from there... for an Specialist or a Corp recruiter should be the same!
Comment by Paul Alfred on October 1, 2010 at 11:52am
Yes in terms of the process of recruitment ... But I work in a number of areas of Specialty and Clients do want you to speak their language lets say its IT Security or Business Intelligence the Specialist will be the go to Recruiter every time ...

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