This week’s article is for any recruiter is who looking to build either a new niche recruitment desk or expand an existing desk into a new business area.
Back in February I wrote about a very common mistake that new recruiters make which I call the ‘recruitment hamster wheel trap’. You can read the full article here – How to Be Successful in Recruitment #4 but the abridged version is that to avoid the hamster wheel trap you need to strategically plan your sales to ensure that you are winning business of a similar type.
This then enables you to build an understanding and depth of experience (and candidates) in a particular market sector. And the consequence of that is that you can more quickly and efficiently fill your clients vacancies. Which on a personal level means that you will be making commission quicker in the future than you do today.
What we are talking here is “strategic sales” which is a topic I cover a lot in training sessions with recruiters. In those sessions I very often give the following quote from Brian Tracey which I think perfectly sums up strategic sales:
“Strategic sales is about positioning yourself so you can be on the phone at the right time to the right people; often enough.”
When Brian wrote that quote he was an international sales trainer. Since then he has moved into the personal development field. His website is http://www.briantracy.com/ and from a personal development point of view I wrote a short comparision article – Brian Tracy vs Zig Ziglar vs Napoleon Hill here.
So if we take Brian’s quote to be accurate the first question that raises is
‘Who are the right people?’
And this is really the key question when it comes to strategic sales. If you go chasing after the wrong people then like a ship heading to the wrong port you are going to arrive somewhere but it might not be the best destination for you.
So here are some points to consider when thinking about what direction to take your recruitment desk:
In many cases this predetermines the broad direction that you need to go in. You will be working for an IT, Oil and Gas or similar broadly ‘industry specific’ company.
That said assuming you have the freedom to create a new desk, or take an existing desk in a new direction, under the broad umbrella of your company how can you leverage your company’s existing presence to help?
Well two starting points are find out where the company currently operates within its broader sectors and find out where it has operated historically. A lot of recruitment companies will have been in sectors that are no longer worked due to a single consultant moving out of that sector.
This is the type of research best done in collaboration with your senior management. They will have a clearer idea of what people are actually doing. I commonly find that consultants only vaguely know what markets their colleagues are working in.
And if you are going to base your sales activities for the next 12 months on the plan you draw up then it’s important that your plan is based on thorough and accurate research.
This is the traditional route that consultants go down. They start their careers taking any vacancies that come along then after a couple of placements in a particular area that becomes the one they focus on.
There is nothing wrong with that approach but good strategic planning principles would suggest that you look a little deeper into the placements that you have made and consider some of the other points in this article.
That said where you have already placed should certainly be looked at as possible routes to continue to work.
A simple truth for all of us is that the more we like something the easier it is to learn about it. When you are planning which industries to go into consider what type of ‘stuff’ you like. For example do you like technology, science or legal matters?
I know several recruiters who do very well in specific areas of manufacturing which they personally find interesting.
Do keep this aspect of your strategic planning in perspective. You don’t have to love the sector of industry that you are planning to go into but it will be easier and quicker for you to recruit within a sector that you find enjoyable.
Some industries and business sectors are growing right now and some are fading into obscurity. That’s a natural process that will always continue. It makes sense, prior to entering a particular market sector to check it out and ensure it is on the up.
It’s not that there won’t be business to be done in smaller or even shrinking industries but it becomes harder and part of what strategic planning is about is to not only planning to be successful but planning to be successful more easily.
So do some research and see what sectors are expanding or likely to expand over the next three, five or ten years. The more long term your thinking the more you are future-proofing your recruitment career.
The above gives you some factors to consider when it comes to deciding in what direction to go in. There are no guarantees but the more thorough your research the better placed you will be to make a successful choice. Cultivating two allied markets is also an option if you are nervous about committing wholly to one direction.
This topic will be expanded upon in the new subscription only podcast that will be coming out from Edenchanges shortly, aimed at all career minded recruitment professionals.
Until next time; be successful!Stephen Hart Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com