Several of us who are happy generalists have been trading giggles about a statement Josh made here that "if you are a generalist and use the job boards you won't be around long."  Well, we are generalists, we use the job boards, get great candidates and we've been around for over 30 years.  Niche is great if that's your model. We reach out to niche partners for splits, bringing them more biz.

 

It occurs to me that most internal recruiters have to be generalists able to pivot on a dime, recruiting for multiple departments since most companies have accounting, sales, administrative, marketing, distribution, mfg etc.  Don't know many internal recruiters who can get by with saying to the boss.."i only recruit engineers you want an accountant i can't do that."

 

What makes a good generalist?  Why are you a generalist?  Did it make last year a little less painful because you were a generalist?

 

I am a generalist because i get bored working with only one skill set or one industry.  I am a generalist because when one industry is slow another one is moving so i can move with them.  I am a generalist because it makes me a better recruiter to know accounting, engineering, IT, sales, R & D , medical and how they work together.

.

I think a good generalist has a broader ability to help move a candidate with several skill sets across industry lines.  It works to move a feedyard accountant into healthcare accounting when one knows that cattle on feed for 180 days is accounted for with feed cost, cowboy labor, medicine cost exactly the same way number of patients in beds, nursing cost, med cost and operational cost is accounted for in hospitals..and can explain it to a hiring authority.

 

So if anyone tells you that being a generalist means you will fail tell them you know some good generalists who have been around a long time and are fussing at their CPS's about all the tax they have to pay.  You might want to go internal at sometime in your career so it might be good to know something besides a very narrow niche.  There are plus signs on all the different models of recruiting.

 

I have a niche....My niche is recruiting.  If you have a pit i'll find a rattlesnake to hiss in it.  If you are Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm i can find some daisies for your basket

 

 

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So how did you decide upon your niche and what steps did you take to make yourself a market expert in that area?

Joshua Letourneau said:
For the record, I only work very difficult-to-fill roles. This is another area that many disagree with me about, but that's ok. There's room for all of us to fit in. I'm certainly not saying my strategy is the best or only one. It just works for me.

If we took my philosophy to Toyota or Honda, they'd laugh. What works for Aston Martin is something completely different, so they'd agree with my approach. It's all relative, so I respect your approach.

I know that I just recruited a gentleman from Hong Kong to the U.S. in less than a week . . . at a 30% fee. How did I do it so fast? Niche specialization. Niches lead to a global rolodex (thank goodness we have Skype) :) I mean, maybe I'm not "getting real", but I know the check coming is real. Real checks pay the bills.

And being that I'm not recruiting 60 hrs a week right now (as I'm working on another simultaneous initiative), that's not too shabby. I can now yield the same headhunting result in 8 hours what used to take me 40 (before I built a competency network and built trust.)

I don't see being niched as about exploding one's sense of self-importance. To me, it's intelligent business. With further and further micro-fragmentation of not only consumer markets, but also talent markets, I can't imagine operating without a niche mindset. That being said, to each his own.

P.S. I'm suggesting targeting a given niche, and then being a generalist within that niche as you need to. But ultimately, stand for something. Have an elevator pitch that resonates, not "Hi, I'm Bob and I'm a Recruiter."
You missed it. I didn't say being niched was about exploding one's self importance. I opined that pontificating about being an "expert" is self grandizing as opposed to being a generalist, specialized or niched if you prefer niched to specialized.

How does "Hi, I'm Bob, i'm an expert" ring in the real world?

My own self, it resonates just fine for me to say, "Hi, I'm Sandra, I'm a Recruiter" That stands for something in my world that has more than paid the bills, sent a couple of kids to college, supports a herd of horses and allows me to work when and how much i want to but then i never aspired to be an Aston Martin. I understand they are very high maintenance. The nicest thing that ever happened to me was when i got over my cheap self and got my ego in order. When you get to the point that saying "Hi, i'm a recruiter" is enough i predict that you will be much more content to allow others to be and do who and what they are and want to be without the need to tell them they will fail. It's perfectly fine with me if you aspire to be an Aston Martin just an observation that talking down to anyone makes you look like a ford with an Aston grill. :)
Gregg, I am not a trainer by any means. I am just fortunate to stand on the shoulders of Giants. My "sense of reality" in the search space is investing in learning from the best of the best. If you want to look into this, I'd suggest Doug Beabout training ("The Art of the Recruiting Masters"). It's 10 weeks long and you can grow along the way.

In terms of niche development, I'll have to stay high level and recommend you focusing on finding some 'blue ocean' in a high-growth sector. As for me, I don't like blood-infested, red waters of market over-saturation. So I'd recommend finding a decent growth category (projected out 10 years), and then find an underserved market (a 'niche') within that category. Learn the category by reading as much as possible about it, then start contacting candidates to have recruiting conversations. From there, take your best MPCs' and market them into organizations that have a need. If you want them to take you seriously, don't call them and say, "Hi, I'm Gregg and I'm a generalist." If you do, expect a dial-tone because that's the same call they're getting all day long. You need to differentiate - disrupt their mental schema so you can avoid the old "Sure, send us your marketing material" line.

P.S. Your profile just says "Gregg" - am I missing the rest? With some context, I could be more specific. For example, are you an Internal Recruiter, are you working for an agency? (if so, what kind, meaning a Big-Box Candidate-Frier, or a targeted Boutique Firm? You know what I mean - McDonald's versus El Bulli) :)
Joshua,
Appreciate and understand everything you referenced as well as taking the blue ocean strategy approach. it does make a ton of sense to take that direction.
Me, i've been a tech guy all these years, focused mostly within investment banking in New York City.
Unfortunately, i don't see the niche within the niche in this specific marketplace and in all honesty, tech and tech candidates doesn't do anything for me.
I find it challenging to locate some marketplace that hasn't been saturated to some extent.


Joshua Letourneau said:
Gregg, I am not a trainer by any means. I am just fortunate to stand on the shoulders of Giants. My "sense of reality" in the search space is investing in learning from the best of the best. If you want to look into this, I'd suggest Doug Beabout training ("The Art of the Recruiting Masters"). It's 10 weeks long and you can grow along the way.

In terms of niche development, I'll have to stay high level and recommend you focusing on finding some 'blue ocean' in a high-growth sector. As for me, I don't like blood-infested, red waters of market over-saturation. So I'd recommend finding a decent growth category (projected out 10 years), and then find an underserved market (a 'niche') within that category. Learn the category by reading as much as possible about it, then start contacting candidates to have recruiting conversations. From there, take your best MPCs' and market them into organizations that have a need. If you want them to take you seriously, don't call them and say, "Hi, I'm Gregg and I'm a generalist." If you do, expect a dial-tone because that's the same call they're getting all day long. You need to differentiate - disrupt their mental schema so you can avoid the old "Sure, send us your marketing material" line.

P.S. Your profile just says "Gregg" - am I missing the rest? With some context, I could be more specific. For example, are you an Internal Recruiter, are you working for an agency? (if so, what kind, meaning a Big-Box Candidate-Frier, or a targeted Boutique Firm? You know what I mean - McDonald's versus El Bulli) :)
Greg, I'm aware of a niche that I'd love to go after . . . but I can't right now. Give me a call and we can discuss. Well, drop me a line at jl@knightbishop.com and we can sched a time soon.

You know, this is what community is all about. By all of us sharing insight and knowledge, we all move the needle ahead. The community manifests itself when we take it to the phone level and build deeper relationships than the web can offer.

P.S. I'm always willing to change my mind, but I write in a way that seems like I'm not. Sometimes our web persona isn't who we really are :) (This speaks to a great post by Benjamin McCall this morning).

P.S.S. It's one of the reasons I respect many in the RBC social circle (Sandra M., Jerry A., Karen M., Maren H., John S., Rayanne T., Julia S., Geoff W., JD, and everyone else, etc.). While we don't agree on every granular issue (how could we as we're human beings!), I commend their guts to have a voice and be heard. They're not afraid to don their gear and get in the game, rather than observe from the sideline. And the more people in the game, like you Gregg, the better the community becomes :)
Now this is what I call valuable information for this site. Thanks! I'm going to make this over the weekend and add a protein.

Maureen Sharib said:
I want the Bernaise sauce recipe, if'n u don't mind.
I'll trade you my Caesar Salad par Excellence

Caesar Salad Dressing
1 can flat anchovies
3-5 cloves garlic Chop together in food processor
Add 1 cup olive oil
3-4 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 egg yoke
1 generous teaspoon (I use Grey Poupon) mustard
Juice of (barely) ½ fresh lemon

Better if you let it "melt down" before serving - (abt 1/2 - 1 hr)
Mix and toss into 2-3 heads Romaine Lettuce torn or chopped and ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese and ½ cup croutons. Fresh cracked pepper if desired. This can easily serve 12.
(Another hint: grilled chicken/steak or shrimp on this salad should be at least warm! Throwing in a ½ cup of chopped green onions is good too.)
I PROMISE YOU THIS - THIS IS THE BEST CAESAR SALAD YOU HAVE EVER EATEN.
If Maureen asks nice i bet you might share your asian salad secret.

If anybody is interested in a weather report Amarillo , Texas is snowed in like an island on an iceberg. All highways closed, schools, courts, libraries. Business is down to a crawl. All my local candidates are snowed in and the airport is closed. My horses are in the barn 15 miles from town. Being a generalist i called a deputy sheriff i helped find a job a few years ago, he is on his way in da big serfs jacked up pickup to feed my horses. There are some benefits to hanging out at McDonald's. HA! :)

Peter Ceccarelli said:
Now this is what I call valuable information for this site. Thanks! I'm going to make this over the weekend and add a protein.

Maureen Sharib said:
I want the Bernaise sauce recipe, if'n u don't mind.
I'll trade you my Caesar Salad par Excellence

Caesar Salad Dressing
1 can flat anchovies
3-5 cloves garlic Chop together in food processor
Add 1 cup olive oil
3-4 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 egg yoke
1 generous teaspoon (I use Grey Poupon) mustard
Juice of (barely) ½ fresh lemon

Better if you let it "melt down" before serving - (abt 1/2 - 1 hr)
Mix and toss into 2-3 heads Romaine Lettuce torn or chopped and ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese and ½ cup croutons. Fresh cracked pepper if desired. This can easily serve 12.
(Another hint: grilled chicken/steak or shrimp on this salad should be at least warm! Throwing in a ½ cup of chopped green onions is good too.)
I PROMISE YOU THIS - THIS IS THE BEST CAESAR SALAD YOU HAVE EVER EATEN.
I'm askin' nice.

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