Recruiters...shhhhh here comes the secret...

What if I was to tell you I’ve been holding back? No really...  I’ve been keeping secrets from you…

My last 2 blogs covered such ground breaking and thought provoking issues as whether we should wear ties, or carry compendiums in the recruitment workplace.  Some of you saw it for the light hearted entertainment it was supposed to be, whilst others wanted me burned at the stake – or banished to the Victorian equivalent of Siberia (in my estimations that location would be Orbost, but you may have another in mind – Sale perhaps?).

Anyway, as shallow as my blog content may have seemed at the time, the main point of the tie and compendium posts revolved around the central theme of differentiation – and that my friends is still the key to all things!

It’s funny, but the longer I am in the Rec2Rec space the clearer it becomes, and recruiters - from newbies to oldies – I am about to share with you, once and for all, the secret to becoming the best damn recruiter on the block!!

They are forever telling us what it takes to be a great recruiter.  Quality targeted activity, high levels of billings, client and candidate relationships, sense of urgency blah, blah, blah…  But it is very rare that we are told how to be a great recruiter… well rare unless you (or your employer) fork over the cash to attend an over priced and underwhelming training course.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many fine training courses out there for recruiters – just be sure it’s one that has had its content reviewed and updated to include lessons learned from the GFC and something about new recruiting technologies... sorry as usual I’m going off on a tangent… shiny things distract me like disco balls and that reflection your watch gives sometimes when the sun hits it just right and you can make you dog – or cat - chase it all over the wall… sorry there I go again, but don’t pretend you’ve never done it…

The way I see it becoming a great recruiter – and differentiating yourself in the market is very simple, and can be broken down into 3 simple words. Know your market.  There you go – that is the secret.

I can hear you all now. ‘He’s had me read 386 words of absolute garbage and all he has to say for himself is Know Your Market!  He should have bloody stuck to the compendium crap – at least it was almost funny…’

Don’t give up on me just yet… please. Let me elaborate…

I want you to ask yourself honestly – Do you know your market?  Let me take it one step further.  Do you know your market better than all of your competitors?

Most recruiters are specialists. It might be Accounting & Finance, Business Support, IT&T, Supply Chain, Light Industrial etc. Point is - once you identify your market (are you sick of the italics yet? I know am.), you need to become the expert in your market.

Below is a 5 point Recruiter Health Check to ensure you become - and remain - the best recruiter you can be. Re-visit it often and make the adjustments necessary to stay at the top…

  1. How’s Your Knowledge? – By this I mean are you an expert in your industry and market?  You should be subscribing to relevant blogs, and newsfeeds.  If there are major projects, or tenders coming up which affect your clients and candidates you should be feeding that information to them.  You should be truly consulting to your clients - and have them rely on you for expert commentary and source of information.
  2. How’s Your Network? – Do you know every major player in your space?  Your Linked In (and possibly Twitter network – if industry appropriate) should be filled with every candidate and client relevant to your market.  You should continually map who is who.  Join relevant Linked In groups. Attend networking events and be very visible.
  3. How’s Your Skills? – Monitor your own activity levels and success.  Work out your own ratios in terms of interviews to placements etc. and compare them to other successful consultants.  If yours don’t stack up find out what they are doing differently that works. Whatever you do – always be pro-active.
  4. Know Your Competition – If you are not the best in your market find out who is.  Ask your clients and candidates.  Ask them why they are the best. Look at their Linked In account.  It will tell you the groups they belong to, the training they have completed etc. Replicate their behaviours then go one step further, by focusing on points 1-3 above.
  5. What Motivates You?  - Quite simply, if you do not honestly know what motivates you then you will struggle to be the best.  Is it recognition, family, money, ambition or something else?  Whatever it is - it is the essence of who you are and will drive all of your other behaviours.  So, get to know it, polish it and use it!

So, there you go. The secret to being a great recruiter… and not a decent joke, or humorous anecdote in the whole stinking post! So, I will leave you with this little gem…

A couple of weeks ago I was having a pint at the Mitre Tavern down there on Bank Place with Rick Astley.  Yes… that’s right Rick Astley - the talented and multi-award winning songsmith and prodigy of Stock, Aitken and Waterman.  Anyway, I said to Rick, ‘Rick, can I borrow you collection of Pixar/Disney dvds?’

Rick took a swig of his cider, wiped his mouth and said. ‘Craig, you can have my Toy Story, you can even have my Finding Nemo… but Craig, I’m sorry but I’m never gonna give you Up!’ *Disclaimer. I did not make up that joke, nor at any time have I shared a beer, cider or otherwise at the Mitre Tavern with Rick Astley…

Craig Watson


Views: 1561

Comment by Bill Schultz on March 15, 2012 at 2:01pm

Craig- One time I pointed my watch reflection at the face of the Jesus statue in church and caused a minor miracle.  

I enjoy your post and your humor.  And agree wholeheartedly.  Matter of fact, I wrote a similar blog recently

Comment by Craig Watson on March 15, 2012 at 5:54pm

I just go RickRoll'd!!!!!!!  Hahahaha

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on March 16, 2012 at 10:05am

Spot on!  If you don't know your market better than everyone else then you'll be left behind and the one that knows all will win all.  You have to know the big players in your market, you have to know the up and coming players in your market - you just have to or you waste so much time trying to find the right person.


I don't wear a watch but I think it would be fun to see my dogs chase the light beam!

Comment by John Comyn on March 19, 2012 at 3:19am

Craig there are many elements to being a top biller. Knowing your market is one. Recruiters biggest enemy is time - we all know this. Right at the top of my list is time management. It goes all the way back to the old 80/20 rule. Do business with companies that you know are buying and who like you for all the right reasons ie "knowing your market" or should I say clients that "are never going to give you up". People don't buy from people they do not like - finished!


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