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The Competition

An iPhone looks basically like a Samsung. There, I said it. Flat vertical rectangles with rounded corners. For all the hype, the bluster, they’re similar looking devices built to have nearly identical functions. There have been smartphones which don’t look like this. If you’re bored enough check out the Nokia 7280, the Siemens Xelibri 6, the N-Gage QD, or the slightly more conventional ZTE Axon M. You’ll see how those are distinct.

By the same token, a 1934 coupe by Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Studebaker… well you can tell from the picture they all benefit from the same silhouette. Sure, you can spot the differences- if you know what to look for.

Chances are you also look a lot like your competitors. Not necessarily to you of course, but possibly to your potential clients. Don’t make them play the “spot the differences” game. The first step of not looking the same is to deeply examine the other firms in your industry and geography.

Here’s some things you can do to start sizing up your competition:

Look at their website. Go through the pages. See how they differentiate themselves… is that how you do it?

If it seems weird that you are both “differentiating” yourself in the same way, it’s because neither of you are doing much to stand out. That said, it’s as common as smartphones, so don’t feel bad about it.

Check out the jobs they’ve posted. Are they the same format as yours? The same clients? Similar wording?

We look at hundreds of job postings every year for our students, and they all follow some pretty basic, yet terrible, formats. Too many words, not enough marketing. Bullet points from here to Timbuktu.

You can even put yourself on their mailing list. Many recruiting firms have a place on their website to sign up for newsletters. There’s no need to be tricky about it, just use your own name and email. Chances are they won’t mind. Heck, it could even be great content.

Athletes use their time off to watch and study video of their opponents to gain even the slightest edge. So if you really want to know what your competition was doing this weekend, remember they may have been studying YOU.

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Jason Thibeault, acclaimed recruiter, trainer, coach, and superhero. Jason brings decades of experience in search, and is also a published author, a black belt martial artist and a former chess champ. His specialty is getting into the minds of people and unlocking the big picture and clearing the next obstacle. You’ll have so much fun with him; it won’t feel like work.