Suck it up princess. This is as good as it gets

I rarely ‘go to lunch’. Business lunches, anyway.

But recently I did, with a group of industry veterans including Geoff Morgan, the Founder of Morgan and Banks, and Talent2. In an industry short of true leaders and innovators, Geoff stands out as a remarkably resilient business builder, and creator of careers, as well as shareholder value.

We spoke about a lot of things that day, but one thing he said, simple as it was, shook me, and contains a key lesson for all of us.

Almost in passing, I asked the everyday question, “So, Geoff, what’s your view on when the market will recover”

His answer was short, but mind-shifting for me.

He said, “You know, maybe it has recovered. Maybe this is the new-normal. Maybe, the way it is now, is just… as good as it gets”

And there it is. A paradigm-shifting view. Up until that day, I had been thinking at the back of my mind, “let’s just get through this tough period, and then we will reap the benefit when the market picks up”.

And so are many recruiters and business owners I have been talking to. Toughing it out, ‘until the recovery comes’. But now I say to those people, “build a business that makes good money in this environment. This could well be the way it is, forever”.

And it’s a brilliant discipline for a manager or recruiter. Don’t wait for some magical ‘recovery’ to fix your billings, or your profit. The cavalry is not about to charge over the hill and save us all. You are not going to rise on some magical tide. Forget wishful thinking.

If what you are doing now does not deliver in this environment, change what you do.

Reshape your business, or your offering, or your skill set, to fit the realities of now.

And while you are about it, stop whining about the tough market.

Suck it up, princess. Because this just may be as good as it gets.

Views: 985

Comment by bill josephson on May 21, 2013 at 6:07pm

Glad some are still doing well.

Here in the Defense Contractor Engineering space, things are mighty slow and have been for several years now.  Friends of mine in I/T in the Boston area aren't having much fun from what they share.  Massive resistance/avoidance to paying fees and contracting recruiters having to send out more contractors to stay even as their spreads have been cut.  Lawyers having trouble finding work as wills, trusts, and incorporations are easily Internet downloaded.  Corporate lawyers have been getting laid off.  Even divorce and litigation cases are down as people don't have the money and, instead, make living space adjustments to co-exist, and not litigate.

Is the jobs market generally that good in your opinions, or are you looking at the market making your "hot" assessments in more of a parochial prism based on your own specialized niches?  You see most niches "hot" out there?

Some areas have some life, that I understand.  People made money during the Depression and didn't think that was so bad, either.  But broad brushing the jobs market based on a couple of sectors would be a bit myopic, IMO.

Comment by Jerry Albright on May 21, 2013 at 6:11pm

As a recruiter I find myself obligated to go wherever the market is hot.  IT has been on fire for several years now.  While many sit and ask "will it ever turn back on" - others have capitalized on certain areas.  If I found myself in a market where there was avoidance, resistance, etc. I'd simply move on.  It's just such a basic principal I think.

Comment by bill josephson on May 21, 2013 at 6:17pm

One should be careful to quit an area jumping to another one.
Not only do you start from scratch again but there's a ramp up time as you're naturally slower not knowing the market/having connections often taking 3-6 months to start ramping up.

I agree with what you said in principle, but I've moved from Accounting to I/T in 1983, I/T to Defense in 2003, assisted a Medical Devices company find Engineers, and assisting a recruiter in Software Sales--and I can say it's like being out of shape.

Takes ramp up time to be effective.  You switch your discipline at your own risk, as you do remaining in your discipline.

Comment by Amber on May 21, 2013 at 6:39pm

I am a "generalist" in the fact that I work on different types of jobs on various industries. So I know some would say that if you aren't a "specialist" or you don't have deep industry knowledge then you can't be a good recruiter, but I like what I doing and I'm making a living doing it. I came into recruiting in 2009 and lots of people were asking me why I would do so when it was such a crappy market. Well, I started doing it out of necessity, but realized I could make it work for me financially. And becoming self employed was a bit rough, but would not likely go back to work for someone else at this point.

So, if there is  ramp up time in a new sector or industry how is that worse then not making placements in the field you're working in already? I talk to and work with companies and recruiters (internal and external) every day that have no relation to each other and I still can find and place people with them. Even with clients, we place for very different types of positions - engineers, business development, operations managers, etc. 

I don't think the jobs market is hot - there are lots of people out of work or "underemployed", but I have recruiting work to keep me busy and pay the bills. If it ever does "pick back up", I guess that'll just be gravy.

Comment by bill josephson on May 21, 2013 at 6:51pm

I don't know, I must work in a different universe--glad being a generalist works for you.

I find resistance if not specializing in the exact area a company needs help in not wanting to train an "inexperienced" recruiter when they already have a short list of preferred providers.

Comment by Amber on May 21, 2013 at 7:27pm

Well, I do look for companies who aren't locked into a VMS or other processes that they can't deviate from. I refuse to complete a 17 page (yes, really!) form to see if they are willing to add us to their vendor list, because even if we did get added I have serious doubts that I want to work with them after looking at what they ask. I do make a lot of calls, answer a lot of inquiries, and don't get work from all of them. But of the ones that I decide I would be willing to work with, it's a good enough percentage to be worthwhile. I have been is sales for most of my career life and it always takes perseverance, lots of calls, and the ability to keep it up that get the results. 

I hope things pick up all around, until then I just keep on keeping on and enjoy what I have.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 21, 2013 at 9:06pm
I have a niche. I am a recruiter. I specialize in recruiting. I don't have to be able to do the tax work for general motors to find a tax accountant or do time motion studies to find an industrial engineer. It might take me four days longer than someone who has a database dedicated to tax accountants or IE's. But maybe not.

Gregg will like this one..(another west Texas saying). "honey, that bird dog doesn't give damn if he hunts a quail or a buzzard.". "when I say HUNT EM UP, he goes to work, he flushes something with feathers, it's up to me to decide to shoot it or not.". "if I shoot whatever it is, a good dog will go get it and won't mouth the bird as he brings it back"

Gregg you cannot imagine how fun it is to get a bunch of Aussies together with a bunch of Texans. Trading sayings is more fun than getting twisted but sometimes that happens at the same time.

Bill, I would think at this point you would be tired of that whine. Get some new cheese.
Comment by bill josephson on May 21, 2013 at 9:49pm

Why would I stop stating what I see?  Aren't you stating what you see?

Generally, what I've seen for years is fewer fillable positions, minimal urgency, 95-100% hiring criteria, fee resistance/avoidance, companies finding people on their own with internal staff, and Internet/social media transparency allowing companies to perform more of the same functions we do.

You see a hot jobs market.  I see a Depression.  I promise you when I see the jobs market improve as I've seen many times over 32 years, I'll be the first to let you know.

Till then, you're just a vastly superior recruiter than I am.

Comment by Tiffany Branch on May 22, 2013 at 10:03am

As a corporate recruiter, I don't have the option to be a "specialist." I have to switch gears all day everyday. I just completed to interviews for an analyst role, and in an hour, I will be interviewing someone for a warehouse. I build and make connections all day. Yes, I may not have "as many" connections as someone who has a niche, but it can be done and it shouldn't be to hard.

I've never been on the agency side but I think I'd be bored focusing on one area all day, everyday, especially IT and Finance. BOOOORRRRIIINNNGGGG! LOL (This is not a knock to specialist or IT/ Finance recruiters.)

Comment by bill josephson on May 22, 2013 at 10:24am

On the agency side frequently companies will only work with you if you're specialized in the area they need assistance on.

Unlikely, not impossible, a Biotech company looking for Regulatory Affairs people would encorporate anyone other than a Biotech recruiter who'd know the players, companies to recruit from, and the terminology as they'd prefer not to train recruiters on their industry.

Inside you're generally able to be more of a generalist.  The 3rd party exception is when having a solid client who'll sometimes allow you to work on positions outside your niche specialty area.

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