What is true specialization in regard to the recruiting industry, and is it important? I think the answer is changing and a specialist down the line a bit will be far more specialized than a specialist today. Here’s what I mean.
For years, specialization has been used primarily as a business development line. Not just in our business, but all over the place. “Mr. Prospective Client, I specialize in helping people just like you.” If it’s true, really true, that’s great and it will be effective. If it’s a line, it is the next step to destroying the business. There are tons of people out there claiming to be specialists when all they truly specialize in is BS. True specialization comes from experience in a tightly defined niche. In our business it comes from that experience and strong contacts in that specific arena. A great perspective that I’ll never forget from an incredibly successful person in another business was “I packed 10 years of experience into 4 years”. Experience comes from the actual work, not just time. So if you’ve spent 6 years contacting and placing aerospace engineers and I’ve spent 4 years doing the same but I’ve contacted and placed twice as many as you have, I have twice the amount of experience you have. I have 12 years of experience to your 6 even though it only took me 4 years. Concentrated effort pays and in this example my database in this particular niche is at least twice as strong as yours (I believe a stronger database is greater by more than just the number than a smaller database for a number of reasons).
Now there certainly are true specialists out there. However, most people are not nearly as specialized as they could be and this is going to change. Because of the tools available these days, clients can find more candidates than they used to be able to. There are a number of jobs that they would have needed help filling in the past that they don’t need help filling any more. That doesn’t mean they don’t need assistance filling positions. It just means that the candidates that they can’t find on their own are a different group.
A true specialist in the future is going to look different than they do today. They will have a very strong database of contacts in a tight niche. Those contacts will know our specialist through multiple connections. Many of these contacts will be members of the specialist’s Facebook group, participate in their LinkedIn discussions, possibly follow on Twitter, at least occasionally check their blog, hear from our specialist via e-mail or phone occasionally. Additional contact increases familiarity and these tools and/or newer tools of communication will be used to consistently make the specialist’s database stronger. When someone in the specialist’s target market and database is at a ball game or in the break room at work and a co-worker mentions something about making a job change, they will be able to connect that new person with our specialist on the spot through their I-phone via a blog, Facebook page, or similar. At a minimum they will know our specialist’s name and an easy way to contact them right off the top of their head. Even though clients can reach more people of interest now than they used to, true specialists will have the power to reach far more than the clients will. This is because tools of communication are valuable but the more work put into using them, the more valuable they become. Recruiters who use the tools at their disposal and concentrate their effort in a certain target market will be able to build incredibly powerful networks of their own contacts in their niche. Because of this, their ability to find the people their clients want to reach will be much greater.
Todd Kmiec & Associates