I would argue that we've reached a point in the Staffing Industry where the rulebook needs rewriting. With so many talented niche market players, generic job order hunting just doesn’t pay the dividends that it used to.
‘Hi, It’s John over at TipTop Talent, we are one of the biggest staffing firms in the USA – I’d love to sit down with you to understand your recruitment process and forthcoming initiatives blah blah…’ just ain’t paying the bills anymore.
It’s time to get specific about what your are offering whilst ensuring that you can deliver on your promise. How?
By driving engagement through strategic market positioning, talent pool development and solid lead generation. When you invest time and effort into creating an intelligence + referral network around your specific niche, market data and opportunities will begin to flow naturally in your direction and you will start to build market share and establish credibility accordingly. Never has the phrase “we reap what we sow” been more pertinent.
Furthermore, once this investment starts to pay off and you find yourself talking with a potential client – position yourself as a strategic business partner (as opposed to a salesperson) by focusing on solving problems first and submitting resumes second. Stop selling and start consulting. Remind the Client that you have a solid candidate pipeline (Candidate Marketing) but take time to understand the business problem first and resist the urge to ask if they “have any reqs..”. The more you learn about your client, the easier it will be to tailor a solution to fit the problem perfectly.
Here are 10 ideas for those of you who've been banging their heads against the same brick wall for a while.
1. Stop calling Clients and start calling Candidates.
2. Develop a technical/domain driven niche and set yourself up as an SME. (LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest etc..)
3. Network furiously with candidates in that space. Position yourself as ‘The GoTo Guy’ and let everyone know "it's all you do".
4. Remove the Job Order (if you have one) from the first conversation with a candidate and find some common ground instead. Adding a candidate to your network (hence, opening the door to their network) is infinitely more powerful than getting a “No, I’m not interested right now”.
5. Drive value into your space by sharing information, articles and even clients with your talent community. Get to grips with Twitter and LinkedIn.
6. Get good at Lead Generation. Build a target list of clients based on your Lead Gen intelligence. Understand your client before you ever approach them. Tech stack, hiring history, org chart, annual report, number of contractors, business initiatives. The more you know - the easier it is going to be to position yourself. Once you know you are looking at the profile of an ideal client - you can begin to situate yourself to earn market share. It's going to take time and conviction. Stay at it. With this kind of approach, they need you.
7. Go to User Group meetings, Meetups, conferences and shake hands. Engage everyone through your problem solving approach (“How can I help you?”) Offer up your advice, your network, your time. Find ways to help people outside of fee generation activities.
8. Treat candidates with respect and don't look upon them as a deal waiting to happen. Take the time to understand your candidate’s buyers gap (The difference between their current job and their ideal position). Offer counseling and advice first. Don't force the issue or the relationship will die on the vine. Remember – bring the candidate (and hence their network) into your network first and foremost. Develop the relationship properly before trying to leverage them.
9. Candidate Marketing. Your pipeline is growing, you know your target market, you are an SME in your niche. Start telling the market. Always have a solid candidate (plus references) to present. Use reference checking as an opportunity to establish new Client relationships.
10. Know your talent, know your target. No excuses.
Once you've accomplished all of this - the clients will reveal themselves and the market will open up to you. I promise :)
Image Credit: Amir Kurbanov
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