Friday, January 23, 2009

How to Switch Desk Specialties by Bill Radin

If you're recruiting in an industry that's at death's door and nothing you do seems to revive it, a change in desk specialties may be in order.

You don't necessarily have to drop your existing specialty altogether; you can keep your "core" constituency active while mining for gold in other areas. However, to get the most out of your efforts, the more concentrated time you spend on your prospective market, the better.

As you begin the exploration process, look for a niche that draws on your existing assets, such as your database of candidates and companies, plus your industry knowledge and technical expertise. For example, if software developers are no longer in demand, there may be a market for software sales managers. If no linkage to your assets can be found, then you may be forced to rebuild your desk from scratch.

To increase the odds of a successful transition, consider the following tips:

1. Find a niche that's in demand, not only now, but promises to be in the future. The last thing you want to do is reinvent yourself all over again in two or three years.

2. Make sure you have some degree of affinity for the population you'll be mingling with, and at least a modicum of interest in the new field's technology, skill set or culture. It's hard to be an advocate on behalf of an industry—or a candidate population—that leaves you cold or makes you feel uncomfortable.

3. Don't expect instant success. It takes time to learn the nuances of a new desk specialty and reach the point when the pieces begin to fit together. It's been said that a prospect needs to be contacted six or seven times before any sort of name recognition or rapport can be built.

4. Remember the basics. Your primary objective is to arrange sendouts, either by candidate marketing or by writing job orders. The more interviews you set up, the faster you'll get your production on track.

5. Stay focused. If you wander in too many directions, you'll end up with a Balkanized desk, comprised of disparate candidate and company populations that have no common language. The trick to desk specialty management is to keep your nose to the scent of new business, without taking too many forks in the road.

Bear in mind that the fundamentals of the business will remain constant, even if you switch your desk specialty. If your technique is sound, you'll make progress quickly, provided there's business to be found in your new area of interest.

However, you might want to brush up on (or rehearse) your marketing presentations and recruiting calls before you start making calls to new prospects. Your seniority in the old specialty may have masked weaknesses in technique, and if you're starting fresh, you'll want to make a good first impression, even if you have many years of recruiting under your belt.

Bill Radin is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, tapes, CDs and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction. Please visit Bill online at www.billradin.com.

2 comments:

Beth Kniss said...

Hi,
Another option for recruiters in this tough market, is to "switch your hat around" and offer services to job seekers. The Outplacement Industry is thriving - check out the following research article which shows the opportunities out there:
Outplacement Industry Forecast 2009 -
http://www.insala.com/Articles/career-transition/the-insala-outplacement-industry-forecast-for-2009.asp

Employment Screening Services said...

Hi,

Nice post. But will this be appropriate for a person who is primarily seeking for software programmer and can be made to choose for software sales manager.