When is a Recruitment Specialist not a Specialist?

In recent weeks, we have been asked to recruit a number of newly created senior Customer Service appointments for organisations undergoing major transformation or change across their estate.  Whilst working with the COO for one of these businesses, to develop the profiles for these strategically important positions, one of the #TeamDJ consultants was asked if we could also help them recruit for a senior appointment in their Marketing team.  Firstly, we were elated that the business trusted us to such a point they wanted to engage us on another business critical campaign, as this is exactly what we want to try and achieve with each and every one of our customers. However, as one of the leading Recruitment Consultancies who specialise in Executive and Managerial appointments across the Customer Service and Contact Centre markets, Marketing does not fall into our specialist area.

Would we be able to cast our net wider and work to identify and attract senior Marketing talent and present a shortlist of potential candidates? Absolutely, but would we have the very best network, developed over a number of years, in this market, so we truly know what great looks like? Probably not and it is for this reason we decided to unfortunately decline this piece of work.

This is a really difficult position and one which a lot of recruiters are put in regularly. When you work over many months and years to establish a really strong and trusted relationship with your customer, the last thing any supplier wants to do is to say no to the offer of new business. This is especially the case when you are in fact going to be referring your client to a potential competitor, but isn’t it your job as a trusted supplier to offer your client best advice, regardless?

This scenario led to another conversation and tales from the #DJHQ recruitment vault, (oh we have many more!), when one of the Managing Partners shared one of their recent experiences;  After working with a client successfully on many of their search campaigns, they were asked to pitch and tender for some senior level appointments and an advertising campaign.  After a really good meeting, delivery of a great presentation and the offer of a competitive pricing structure, we were confident of winning the campaign, as the roles were pitched exactly to our market and we had already placed successful candidates across this business and knew the industry well.  A week later, the client called up to advise they were sorry, but they were going to place the business with another company.  We asked why they had chosen to go with another consultancy and the client advised us that they received a slightly more competitive price proposition from another specialist consultant, who too, professed to know the market well.

OK, but we asked our client one final thing,  ‘before you sign can you please call the other Recruiter and ask them to name 5 companies in this market space in 20 seconds’.  The client knew us well and was happy to oblige us in this one request.  An hour later the client rang and advised the signed retainer was on its way, as the other specialist recruiter was unable to answer and name the 5 companies across their specific market.

There are some fantastic recruiters employed in the industry today but in a challenging market it is all too easy to try and do work that perhaps we are not known as a specialist for.  At Douglas Jackson we believe this de-values what we offer our customers and would prefer to offer a truly great service wherever possible, even if that means we have to pass up on the opportunity to work on assignments which fall outside our specialist areas.

What do you think?  We welcome your thoughts and comments and do please let us know if you have had a similar experience.

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