Well folks it's been 6 long months since I opened the door to my nice new office here in Orlando, FL and well...I see it coming to a close right before my eyes. With thousands and thousands gone for websites, rent and supplies here I am humbled.
There was a time when making $100k was fun and challanging but in the end you got your placements..now an experienced person in the staffing & recruiting game for the past 9 years and well.....I have nothing.
More and more people have fallen off, clients aren't responding and well...the economy sucks.
I am sitting here in my nice office as we speak thinking about what should have been and the reality of what now is and how I have now squandered my savings to do something I have always wanted to do at the worst possible time to do it.
Now I need to face the realization that I can no longer afford school for my daughter, my car or my rent..let along my cell phone.
Where do you go from here and with nothing...how the hell do you get there?
I feel your pain - I am using the extra time to volunteer - you never know the contacts you'll meet and they'll remember you when they have a position (or know of someone) when the market picks up. I truly believe in the "Law of Attraction" I recommend you read it - it basically talks about "what you think about - you bring about". Helped me get in the right mind set. I also love what a few friends have told me "I REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN RECESSION".
I'm also using the extra time to work on certifications and increase my skills/knowledge. Also, I find networking with folks on LinkedIn to be beneficial. Things WILL turn around - it's just a question of when -and when they do, business will be booming for us. I've started my own recruiting biz 7 years ago and have seen the peaks and valleys - it's a valley right now for sure, but the peak will soon come again!
I have also gone without a placement for 6 months and I am a 15 year vet. I, thanks to GOD, do not have the office space as I work from home, but this is the toughest I have ever seen it and wondered if I had done something wrong or had lost my abilities. I am not sure if this will turn around in time for us.
In April 2001, I left the industry for a couple years, having foreseen the dotcom bubble bursting. I spent a year picking up trainwrecks, plane crashes and flood/natural disasters. One week, I was in a nice comfy chair in a skyscraper in Chicago and within two weeks, my office chairs were an 18-wheeler and the seat of a Caterpillar, traveling all over North America. Did it pay as well as recruiting? Hell no. But it paid... and that was better than nothing. Honestly, it was the most ass-kicking job one could imagine, but damn, we were 10 feet tall when we walked into a big mess of railroad cars piled high like cordwood. Up on our feet - no breaks whatsoever - 24 hours a day for 3-4 days. That was work... and it was glorious hell. In fact, i'd dare call it fun. I'll never forget it and if it paid a couple hundred a year and gave more than 3 days off every 60, I might just do it forever. But... enough reminiscing. Not everybody can switch gears that drastically. I tend to get a "Hemingway Hair" up my ass now and then and run off for adventure, regardless of how it pays. But this isn't about me. It's about you.
We're all going to have to dump the tunnel-vision glasses and look at the whole spectrum. A few spectrums, actually:
Your entire skillset: where else might it be applied, and in today's market, where is it most needed? One place is sales. The best recruiters are salespeople... and no good salesman is ever out of work. The worse the economy is, the more sales companies need. (Sales, incidentally, is one of the better specialty niches right now should you choose to stick it out in recruiting)
The various industries out there - In a down economy, one business I know of is BOOMING. Startups. Sure, it can be hairy and risky, but the fact is, the more unemployment you have, the more people can afford to hire talent on the cheap. Many of the biggest companies we know got started in the depression or recessions. HP, IBM, DuPont, etc. These founders do need help. No, you can't milk them dry, or they'll be out of business.... and so will you. Yes, you do have to charge less - sometimes 50% less - but you get a lot of mileage/loyalty out of a client you helped to create. In the startups, we follow one golden rule: we're all in this together, sink or swim. Put the success of the startup in the top priority slot, above your desired top dollar. We'll all have time to opportunity to be rich later on. Do this and I can assure you that you'll have plenty of startup clients in short order, because, unlike most firms... you "get it".
The Corporate Spectrum
Many of us - most, in fact - hire in the bottom half of the corporate org chart. Problem is - especially nowadays - so do most of the recruiting companies in the world... and they can do it a LOT cheaper than we can. So, how do we get the edge? We specialize. In a given role. In a given industry. In a given horizontal on the org chart. Anything which makes us a SME. If you only hire Account Execs, Product and Program Managers in the Software marketplace, you can look in yesterday's email and fine 20 candidates who could stomp all over what the average "do-it-all" firm could find if they searched for a month and you'd be far more able to find the right candidate. Become the go-to-guy and you're way ahead of the curve. Also, you can specialize in higher-level positions only... above the level most hire at. There's no way in hell a tele-recruiting firm in the US or India is going to get a job order for an executive, much less be able to fill it. You just cut your competition by 80%. You can cut out the rest in price, service and delivery. I regularly take C-suite job orders from new clients for 50% less than the big exec firms charge. Retained. With a commitment to give me more business if the 1st one is a success. Oh, no, I just made $50k+ and got 2 more retained positions at 25%-30% to boot! Poor me.
Multiple Income Streams
Surely you have close contacts, maybe even social friends who own a business and sell to the same types of clients you do. As long as you're out there talking to clients, why not recommend them? Example: as (dubiously) respected executive in the technology field, I am approached fairly often for "who do you know who does great websites?" or "We're thinking of doing offshore development, but there are SO many out there and I've heard success stories and horror stories. Who is good?"
Currently, I take in 20% of gross billing for every web job I refer to my friend Shannon, who owns an incredible award-winning webdev firm. From Alex, I get 10% of gross billing from his development firm in the Ukraine. I get 20% from Lilian, who has a development company with her partner in Shanghai.. and I get 15% from another form Sam, a strategic partner in India. (I offer all three, because each brings significant and distinct strengths and weaknesses to the table).
Shannon, Alex, Lilian and Sam don't need a sales rep here. Nor do I care if they have 20, because I'm not out there competing with anyone for "new" clients. I just handle my clients and keep my eyes and ears open for any opportunity for me to create some possibilities. When I see an opportunity, I make sure there's a substantial chance for a good fit, then put two people together. Now, how much difference is there between this than recruiting? Practically none. How much additional work? Practically none. It's a glorified referral... and it pays rather handsomely.
These are just a few ideas to help you all out. Others would address efficiency and cutting back expenses, also good ideas.
My best advice to the anyone in the industry is... dump the tunnel vision. See where all you can add value, and what all you can add value to. Then get out there and do it.
Best of luck!
Keep an open mind. Unprecedented results always begin with unconventional methods.
Sounds like you need a conversion. Here is what you are experiencing. 100 people get laid off. Only 25 will ever work in a salaried position again. The other 75 will learn to freelance, consult, start some sort of business.
So you need to give up on your clients, I assume the employers, and just start connecting up all the unemployed in similar groups and start a free web site here at NING according to what they do. Like one for engineers. Have them start to write about projects they have done in the past and then advertise these websites on Facebook, etc. Twitter. People who need something like that will go to the website and find someone near them that can solve their problem.
Many have said it, and I am sure I won't be the last to say it...we are also experiencing the economic crunch, you are not alone. We saw this after the "dot-com bust" but things will turn around. We need to keep a positive attitude and continue to work on our networking abilities, candidate management skills. After all, that's why we do what we do.
Keep up the spirits.