I started out my career as more a generalist recruiter.
Working with a few key accounts and recruiting every role they would give me. I liked the variety and the knowledge that I gained about learning a little bit about every role I would recruit for – sales, marketing, administration, IT, finance to name a few. But in the end, I was frustrated. I would come across great candidates in sales (for example) but would struggle to place them if they had no interest in working for my key accounts.
A specialist recruiter will have more of a focus – recruiting in one or two functions and generally within a particular industry. They tend to have a deeper knowledge of their market and will be able to give you, whether you’re a client or candidate, more insight into the industry as that’s the only area they focus on.
If you are serious about your career in recruitment and you decide that you want to specialise, here are the top 3 things that you need to show to be the best specialist recruiter you can be.
1. Knowledge of your specialist market
You need to be able to talk with confidence about any questions on your area of expertise. Maybe you used to work in the industry yourself and have an extensive network of ex work colleagues / ex managers that you keep in touch with. Your network is great way to get referrals or information – recruitment is a people business after all. When speaking with candidates, you can talk about line managers and directors that you work with in the market. The candidates will probably recognize the names or the businesses that you are talking about. This helps candidates to build trust that you know what you are talking about and that you will be representing them in the best possible way to the client. You keep up to date with any industry news and trends through social media (LinkedIn, online news articles etc) and through chatting to both clients and candidates.
Working in recruitment, whether you are a generalist or a specialist, is HARD. It is a sales and target driven environment and you have to be able to handle the pressure and be resilient. Pressure can be constant rejection from cold calling clients or candidates, candidates pulling out of process at the last moment after working on a particular role for several months, clients filling the job internally or placing it on hold and you already have great candidates interviewing with them, people hanging up the phone on you or just being plain rude to you on the phone... Sometimes it is all about speed. The minute after the client briefing about the new role you are working on, you and the team need to get on the phone and call all candidates in your hot list to make sure they are not being represented by other recruitment agencies. You may find that your top candidate has just got off the phone with another agency for the same job. You may be frustrated that you lost out to a competitor but you just have to get back on the phone and call the next person on the list. Sometimes it is about beating your personal best in terms of number of deals made or the amount of revenue that you have generated from your successful deals. It could be making the top billers list in your company. You need to find out what motivates you through the tough times and keeps you motivated and excited to go into work every day.
3. Honesty and integrity
You may have had an experience of dealing with bad recruiters – someone who uses unethical tactics and pushes you into going for an interview or accepting a job that you really don’t want. Or maybe they promised to get you an interview, get you a job or follow up with feedback within a certain timeframe and they didn’t. If you act like this, it will be very hard for the candidate to trust that you have their best interests at heart. No one wants to work with a recruiter that they can’t trust. It is essential to have excellent relationship building skills to build rapport with all people involved in the recruitment process. Once you have built that trust, you are more likely to get repeat business from the client, as well as referrals from the candidates rather than constantly having to go and actively approach people.
Here at Morgan McKinley, we pride ourselves on being specialists in our locations as well as going beyond for our candidates and clients. Our core company values are always communicating, always committed, always building trust and always embracing change. By working for us, you can be rest assured that we want you to be the best specialist recruiter you can be!
Ready to take on the challenge? Speak to a member of our Talent Acquisition team today.