alf or more of the agency/search firms in Los Angeles...bad times.
Ken, I'm going to dodge your question since I am a niche recruiter using techniques dating back to the invention of the wheel and fire....
I recruit the old-fashioned way-
I do confirm what my recruiting brings forth using LI [why not, its there, use it]....I also use LI to check backgrounds of people I detect so I can confirm data about someone I targeted and want to call to be sure that person I have in my sights has the 'right' background.
[Oh, and before I forget, I forgot to mention yesterday that I must be recruiting X's, Y's and Millenials since my Allied Health people are about that age.....but I don't get much 'tude from them and calling them at work has not been any more of a problem than it has ever been. So maybe I'm lucky in that regard.]
I don't hang banners, I don't advertise except for Retained Searches and I don't do much scraping at Indeed.
So it could be said I am not 'qualified' to comment on the current tools and technologies since, simply, I don't much use them.
Since what I do works for me- so called 'direct recruiting' is what it seems to be called nowadays....along the lines of what Maureen does...then I have not needed to make any procedural changes. I take advantage of what LI/ZI has to offer but I don't live by it.
What LI and ZI provides is not -as much as it might surprise one to hear this- all-inclusive.
What I do can be done from a corner telephone booth, using pen, paper and a roll of dimes. And I get everyone possible doing this while there are 'holes' in what LI/ZI offer.
Now, to answer your question:
Were I training newbies and/or starting a new search firm, I would insist that everyone on staff learn all the tricks of the trade of employing Social Media websites, Boolean Strings, use everything LI, AIRS, ZI has to offer, etc., etc.
In other words, I would insist everyone on staff learn to use the tools you guys use. You can't have too many bullets on your belt. Watching out for myself I can do as I have been doing....almost deliberately insulating myself from certain tools you guys use since, simply said, I can. But were I starting a new firm with staff, well, that's different. Try telling X's, Y's and Millenials they can't use Social Media and I'd be swinging from a rope.
I would, of course, insist also that everyone on staff learn direct recruiting so they are never 'stuck' if their computers decide to run away and join the circus. In other words, they all need to learn how to recruit using only the telephone. You have to learn to walk before you learn to run. Besides, as I said above, using Social Media, etc. does not guarantee a 100% catch every time you drop your net.
I've seen Retained search firms using Social Media and mass communications that never bothered to call local and see what might be right under their noses. And each month goes by while they collect their retainer while not referring candidates simply because no one [qualified] had responded to their 'tools and techniques'. That is not 'recruiting'.
As for markets, that is a tough one to identify; especially since markets are constantly changing. What is hot today is not necessarily hot tomorrow.
Nursing and Physician recruitment still works and will continue to do so for a while; IT, in all its different manifestations continues to work, also. Especially as how that pertains to Start-Ups.
BioPharm/BioMed will always require engineers and appropriately talented executives. This will not change for a long while.
I would also suggest specializing in Executive recruitment since that puts one in the eye of the storm. A recruiter who knows the politics, workings and drama of executive changes is in an advantageous [business] position... In other words, I'd suggest the same markets K/F, Heidrick & Struggles, Spencer Stuart, et al work.
With this in mind, I would also recommend someone on staff align themselves with VC's so they can be strategic partners and know when and what kind of 'specialists' will be needed for Start-Ups and can provide them as necessary.
I would also recommend someone work Financial markets. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to suggest this.
In a recruitment firm, you want some plodders working the middle markets and you also want stars working the high-profile high-value Executive and Technical markets.
Again, none of this takes a rocket scientist to calculate where the money is.
Where do I put less emphasis? Marketing and Sales executives. Anyone on staff who seems to have a proclivity for this arena would be encouraged but for me it is not a favorite area.
Government recruiting via the BAH's, CSC's, et al would be considered but only if we had someone on staff who had lived that world and had one of those little black books full of strategic contacts. Since government spending is capricious in nature, I would be suspicious of this niche, especially since so much collusion and under-the-table 'wink-wink, nod, nod' deals are an integral part of this kind of market. As much as the money is good, it is a crooked market.
I don't think I've said anything unique here.
The real issue -as a subset to your question, Ken- is to work in a manner/operate a search business that is insulated from systems that disrupt/radically affect how recruitment fees are charged.
Whether this refers to KTR's who cheat the system by offering cheap-sh*t fees so as to overcome 'new to the business' barriers or organizations such as LI, AIRS and ZI that provide easy pickings to the point where clients take it into their heads they can reduce their payouts to headhunters are key issues that need the most consideration.
There will continue to be a concerted effort by the F1000 to configure and equip their recruitment departments so they can operate separately from the TPR.
Controlling the ability to continue to recruit using the traditional [33.3%] formula is one of the most compelling issues related to Executive Search.
There will always be discernible markets to work, entrepreneurs will always find and exploit them.
But the erosion of our ability to charge 'full fee' is an issue that is and well should be haunting all of us TPR's.