Hey Recruiters… Shhhhh… here comes the secret.

What if I was to tell you I’ve been holding back? No really…  I’ve been keeping secrets from you…

My last 2 blogs covered such ground breaking and thought provoking issues as whether we should wear ties, or carry compendiums in the recruitment workplace.  Some of you saw it for the light hearted entertainment it was supposed to be, whilst others wanted me burned at the stake – or banished to the Victorian equivalent of Siberia (in my estimations that location would be Orbost, but you may have another in mind – Sale perhaps?).

Anyway, as shallow as my blog content may have seemed at the time, the main point of the tie and compendium posts revolved around the central theme of differentiation – and that my friends is still the key to all things!

It’s funny, but the longer I am in the Rec2Rec space the clearer it becomes, and recruiters – from newbies to oldies – I am about to share with you, once and for all, the secret to becoming the best damn recruiter on the block!!

They are forever telling us what it takes to be a great recruiter.  Quality targeted activity, high levels of billings, client and candidate relationships, sense of urgency blah, blah, blah…  But it is very rare that we are told how to be a great recruiter… well rare unless you (or your employer) fork over the cash to attend an over priced and underwhelming training course.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many fine training courses out there for recruiters – just be sure it’s one that has had its content reviewed and updated to include lessons learned from the GFC and something about new recruiting technologies… sorry as usual I’m going off on a tangent… shiny things distract me like disco balls and that reflection your watch gives sometimes when the sun hits it just right and you can make you dog – or cat – chase it all over the wall… sorry there I go again, but don’t pretend you’ve never done it…

The way I see it becoming a great recruiter – and differentiating yourself in the market is very simple, and can be broken down into 3 simple words. Know your market.  There you go – that is the secret.

I can hear you all now. ‘He’s had me read 386 words of absolute garbage and all he has to say for himself is Know Your Market!  He should have bloody stuck to the compendium crap – at least it was almost funny…’

Don’t give up on me just yet… please. Let me elaborate…

I want you to ask yourself honestly – Do you know your market?  Let me take it one step further.  Do you know your market better than all of your competitors?

Most recruiters are specialists. It might be Accounting & Finance, Business Support, IT&T, Supply Chain, Light Industrial etc. Point is – once you identify your market (are you sick of the italics yet? I know am.), you need to become the expert in your market.

Below is a 5 point Recruiter Health Check to ensure you become – and remain – the best recruiter you can be. Re-visit it often and make the adjustments necessary to stay at the top…

  1. How’s Your Knowledge? – By this I mean are you an expert in your industry and market?  You should be subscribing to relevant blogs, and newsfeeds.  If there are major projects, or tenders coming up which affect your clients and candidates you should be feeding that information to them.  You should be truly consulting to your clients – and have them rely on you for expert commentary and source of information.
  2. How’s Your Network? Do you know every major player in your space?  Your Linked In (and possibly Twitter network – if industry appropriate) should be filled with every candidate and client relevant to your market.  You should continually map who is who.  Join relevant Linked In groups. Attend networking events and be very visible.
  3. How’s Your Skills? – Monitor your own activity levels and success.  Work out your own ratios in terms of interviews to placements etc. and compare them to other successful consultants.  If yours don’t stack up find out what they are doing differently that works. Whatever you do – always be pro-active.
  4. Know Your Competition – If you are not the best in your market find out who is.  Ask your clients and candidates.  Ask them why they are the best. Look at their Linked In account.  It will tell you the groups they belong to, the training they have completed etc. Replicate their behaviours then go one step further, by focusing on points 1-3 above.
  5. What Motivates You?  – Quite simply, if you do not honestly know what motivates you then you will struggle to be the best.  Is it recognition, family, money, ambition or something else?  Whatever it is – it is the essence of who you are and will drive all of your other behaviours.  So, get to know it, polish it and use it!

So, there you go. The secret to being a great recruiter… and not a decent joke, or humorous anecdote in the whole stinking post!

Seriously though, if you do like our blog – do yourself a favour and click the follow button on the right hand side of the page… and I will leave you with this little gem…

A couple of weeks ago I was having a pint at the Mitre Tavern down there on Bank Place with Rick Astley.  Yes… that’s right Rick Astley – the talented and multi-award winning songsmith and prodigy of Stock, Aitken and Waterman.  Anyway, I said to Rick, ‘Rick, can I borrow you collection of Pixar/Disney dvds?’

Rick took a swig of his cider, wiped his mouth and said. ‘Craig, you can have my Toy Story, you can even have my Finding Nemo… but Craig, I’m sorry but I’m never gonna give you Up!’ *Disclaimer. I did not make up that joke, nor at any time have I shared a beer, cider or otherwise at the Mitre Tavern with Rick Astley…

Craig Watson


13 thoughts on “Hey Recruiters… Shhhhh… here comes the secret.

  1. Darren Ledger on Reply

    Amusing style, but generally just a re-hash of the kind of stuff that those questionable and dubious ‘that can’t teach’ trainers (or mystics, gurus, gamesetters as they like to think of themselves) deliver at seminars and conferences and training events.

    Basically if you don’t already know these things, then it is doubtful you will ever become a great recruiter.

    As I said though, very nice light and amusing style of writing.

  2. Trevor Monkfish on Reply

    Another great post, keep up the good work chaps. Do you do requests? I read a very interesting piece on guardian.co.uk about introverts and why they are unfairly treated by society (basic jist is that we think that loud is impressive, quiet is weak) This got me to thinking about how introverts probably struggle at a run-of-the-mill interview, but might actually be very good at the job. Whenever Ive been interviewed for any job I seem to be being judged on my confidence & articulation, when actually they are not very crucial for the role. What are your thougths on whether interviews are a reliable way of appraising candidates, or are they a bit outdated. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/mar/13/why-the-world-needs-introverts?INTCMP=SRCH)

  3. danny barton on Reply

    I enjoyed the read and when got to the “secret” initially thought… yes well I know that already.

    What advice would you give to me – I am not a newbie to recruitment though I haven’t been around years and years. 4 years I have been in the game – only the last 2.5 have been successful. Prior to this I was in the UK attempting to make my way with everyone else through the recession.

    Until 6 months ago I was working for a very large well known brand that were on all the major PSA’s all over the place and I was simply handed accounts and advised I wasn’t allowed to do much else – I became extremely knowledgeable about my account, who was doing what where and well I suppose was able to do what you advised – feed my clients information that was going on within the space.

    I am however now with a firm where I am building completely from scratch and unable to work within the market space I was in before. The market hasn’t been amazing and there are no PSA’s to speak of and obviously feeling the pressures of needing to perform in a new role and prove myself. So have taken a more scattered approach to what I work rather than specialising.
    The operational side, the delivery and my approach I have down pat… though differentiating myself at the moment in a market that is saturated with consultants is seeming impossible.

    1. Craig Watson rec-to-rec on Reply

      Hi Danny,
      Great points you raise – and it’s easy for me to sit back here in my ivory tower (well it’s more jaded than ivory) and give a big picture ocerview like I did in my blog….
      Short answer is it is always very difficult to leave a large known brand with PSA’s and regular repeat business to go to a smaller player with no recognisable presence in the market and a bunch of SME clients, or a database full of prospects. What scares me is that you yourself used the word ‘scattered’ The scatter gun approach screams desperation and transactional short term wins. I suggest you sit down with your manager to create a long, term relationship driven strategy. The IT market in particular is projects based. Do some research to find out where the projects are coming up, map the market, get to know every candidate that matters – even if you are buying them a coffee just to learn more about their market… Create a blog about your specialisation… Are there any Bloggers writing specifically about IT recruitment (i’m not sure if you are a vertical specialist) in your market. Promote it via Linked In, Twitter etc. Are you bound by territiory? If, not find a territory that has a need in the IT recruitment space – Brisbane for example and target it.
      Simple fact is – if you don’t develop a long term plan that is brand and relationship (as well as being the expert) based, and you continue to apply the scatter gun approach, you will begin to resent your job and the stress will build… Hope this helps and if you want to have a detailed discussion offline I’m on 0414 341 843.


      1. Danny Barton on Reply

        Hi Craig,

        Thanks for the swift reply. I think perhaps scattered was the wrong word. By scattered I suppose I meant working any roles that came in through my networking or BD as opposed to just chasing anything and everything.

        As it happens since starting I have focused more on building relationship and not being like everyone in the market. I am attempting to focus on one specific area in the IT world… it happens to be digital & media.

        I think I am getting caught up in my own head of needing to ensure that I am performing while still trying to build a reputation in my chosen area and getting used to the fact that the roles arent just coming straight to me while I am building those relationships at the same time.

        if that makes sense.

  4. Steve on Reply

    a little late to the party, but nicely said. Although my secret is that relationships build businesses. Now, if only I had the time to waffle on for 500 words about that!

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