My Fellow Recruiters,
How are you?
It’s been a while and I’m sorry that I haven’t been in touch. You may remember me as the guy who always did enough not to get fired in the bad years, yet never quite enough to make it to the company sponsored all expenses, holiday-for-the-top-billers in the great years.
I’ve been away. On a deep dive into the social unknown. On my way down, I encountered many strange things. I have witnessed the horrors of Chatroulette and seen the wonders of Augmented Reality. I have lost hours and days throwing cartoon pigs at cartoon walls, and I have moved from apprentice, to evangelist, to cynic and back again more times than I can remember. But I want to you know one thing. Throughout it all, I never forgot about you.
I have returned and instead of bearing gifts, I bring a letter. For the time I’ve spent away from recruitment has given me thoughts enough to write one. And it’s also made me poor, so this is best I can afford.
Here’s what I think I’ve found out.
1. We’ve Got To Move To Vertical Markets
Yeah, I know. It’s hard to turn away business. It’s not…………natural for us Natural Born Salespeople. But here’s the thing: employers and candidates have all these new ways of talking to each other, and increasingly, they’re doing it before reaching for the phone and talking to you. Don’t take this the wrong way – they still like you – but you cost money, we’re in a recession and they need to cut budget. So the generalist, do-everything-because-I-can kind of recruiter is on his way out. Your business will shrink if you depend only on relationships. So, over to the vertical you go – become a specialist in the impossible-to-find, trade on a unique skillset, get to know that market better than any social network and you’ll be just fine. In fact, become the super connector of that market and you’ll be more than just fine. You’ll be fucking rich, my friend.
2. Stop Cold Calling
I’ve made you angry now. I can feel it in my water. But before you scroll down to the comment’s section and tell me that I only say that because I’m a loser who could never cold call in the first place, let me first say this: I get it that it’s a telephone based job. And I absolutely get it that you’re better at it than me. But see, this is not about you and me. This about what’s going on out there. And out there, is too much information, competing for not enough time. That’s forcing people to choose what types of interruption they deal with, and which ones they don’t. Taking a phone call from an unsolicited and unidentified caller – as thrilling as it once was – is now a high risk move for a person who already does not enough time in the day. And so she either won’t pick up, or will be pissed off with you when she does. Eerily reminiscent of my last girlfriend, as it happens. Understand this: I’m not saying ‘don’t use the phone’ – that would be like saying ‘stop using porn’. What I am saying, is, use it in a different way (kind of like porn) – to deepen relationships already initiated by other means. Which brings me onto
3. Initiating Relationships By Other Means.
Someone in a uniform once taught me that stalking is bad. But the uniform, his buddies, and Her Majesty’s legal system don’t know recruitment like I do. You see, stalking is good so long as it’s online and you’re in recruitment. And social media has been an information bonanza for us recruiter/stalkers. It’s like God went to our community and said, ‘Guys, I’ve been too hard on you all these years, I’m sorry. Here, have some compensation. Its called social media. You’ll love it’. This is personal information that people have voluntarily put online so that their friends can search for it and find it. It’s recruitment gold. Now here’s the thing: most of the time we find this stuff out, we reach for the phone and try to parlay some of those social nuggets into a sales pitch delivered over the phone. Which is a shame, because you could have just contacted that person on the network where you found that information in the first place. Or better still, parlay that information from one social network, say Twitter, into a communication trope on another, say, LinkedIn. They usually don’t know what hit them. Trust me: it’s like you really are their friend. So, if you’re good at dialing 9, there’s a good chance you’ll be good at sending a tweet. It’s really the same thing, but you’re playing with better percentages, and this time, you’ve got their ego on your side.
4. We’ve Got To Dual Desk
Ah, the happy days of being a generalist recruiter on a booming permanent market. Sit tight on a few great relationships and watch those requirements come rolling in, £10K at a time. Been a couple years since that happened though, right? Contract is trending against Permanent everywhere, as companies get edgy about overheads and employees get comfortable with being flexible with their working time. Run a single desk and you are putting all your eggs in one basket; running a single, permanent-only desk, and your eggs are already cooked. I’m not saying that Permanent is dead, only that you soon will be if that’s the only thing you do. Unless, of course, you’re already a specialist super connector of the impossible-to-find, in which case, you’re on a yacht somewhere and only doing this for the shits and giggles
5. Get Away From The Big Boys
As my mother used to say……no wait, that’s a different story. Big companies. Big Brands. It’s getting tough to make money from those guys. Sure, it’s sexier to be recruiting for Zappos than it is for McCompany Insurance Ltd, but the truth is, the bigger the brand, the bigger the pressure it is for them to go direct. This is because recruitment is now more than just recruitment; it’s about marketing, and ideas like ‘candidate experience’ and ‘employer branding’ are topics du jour for HR looking to earn brownie points from the corporate masters who dole them out. Someone must have realised that bad press really does travel a lot farther these days. Something bad happens and before you know it, some little mo-fo’s tweeting about this or posting about that. And companies that depend on brand can’t afford to have bad recruitment giving them bad press. So it’s goodbye big boys, hello everyone else. Mother would be proud.
I could go on, but I think I’ve written enough to show that I care. It’s been tough for me these last two years – I’ve missed you and I’ve been concerned for you and your number. I really hope you make it, get to go on that holiday, and maybe – in between the hookers and the cocaine – find the time to write back one day.
This post was written in homage to the No27 educational resource on the Internets, Cracked.com.
Wise Man Say helps agency & in-house recruiters understand how to use social media to find candidates & acquire clients. Strategy, Implementation, Support & Training. Call on 020 7 739 9358 or email on email@example.com