A New Niche

Recruiting is hardly considered a calling. Some professions we can accept this – military, police, clergy. People may have calling, a deep innate desire to be that when they grow up. But few, if any, children daydream of growing up to be a recruiter. We end up here, find we like it and make great money, and settle into our niche.

Yet from time to time, niches change. If you place in manufacturing in the United States, that’s a rapidly dwindling crevice. The world likewise doesn’t need more Blackberry developers. We must adapt.

This was happening with one of the members of the Church of Executive Search recently. They were struggling and wanted to know what they needed to do to change their specialization. Here’s what we told them:

Relax, you should know your skills are highly transferable. Finding design engineers is not fundamentally different than finding nurses. Interviewing someone is basically the same thing, regardless of their position or level. Selling them to a client is also basically the same.

First Problem: You’re going to feel like a fish out of water. Maybe it will hit you in the middle of an interview when they drop a piece of industry jargon which bewilders you. Or you suddenly realize you don’t even know what to ask them to know if they are good at their job.

First Solution: Start asking this question, “What does someone need to do in order to be great at X?” Let X equal the new niche. The more people you talk to, the more answers you get until you know when they are full of nonsense, versus the true experts.

Also. You live in the internet age. Google and Wikipedia can get you more information in a day of studying than weeks just twenty years ago.

Second Problem: Your website, LinkedIn page, emails, and everything about what you do needs to be rewritten. You’re appealing to a new audience.

Second Solution: Stop trying to do everything yourself. There are people who can help you develop content, people who will rebuild your website. People to design you a new logo. With a little guidance, they’re less expensive than you think.

Third Problem: You may feel like a pretender. For years, you may have been able to share your personal expertise in your niche field with clients and candidates alike, and now you can’t.

Third Solution: First, not being an expert is great. You can stop talking about yourself and start listening. You will make mistakes. But your niche isn’t your expertise. You’re a damn good recruiter. You recruit people, not job titles.

Final Thought. Think back to when you started recruiting. You made a lot of mistakes. Would you do things differently if you could go back? This is your chance to start over and make none of the same ones. You can do this, and there’s a lot of help out there. (Email either of us if you need coaching through this challenging time.)

8 Reviews

  1. thank you for this article as it’s very apropos for my time and place.

  2. excellent information thanks for sharing this!
    When I started recruiting almost 24 years ago I knew nothing about my niche!

  3. Thanks for bringing this to the masses. I had no choice nor desire not to have a niche. The candidates I represent were then and now the also rans of the legal profession, namely black and hispanic attorneys. Undesirable, no, unliked no, lack of HR and internal decision makers especially in California and Texas that couldn’t or wouldn’t understand that diversity and inclusion were becoming the standards in the hiring of great talent. Texas and California are better at understanding this but they are light years behind states and corporations outside of their borders that got it. I love my niche and it has been so since I started 28 years ago. Thank you again.

  4. So timely like a needed kick in the behind…. you though I was going to say…lol
    So timely

  5. Great article and the content very timely for the economic times we are faced with. Recruiting is recruiting, just listen and learn what your clients wants and you will be fine.

  6. I’ve always found Tricia to be exceptional for many reasons, her energy, her drive, focus, compassion, and how she does not accept what many would. She is a fantastic coach, a better friend, and a thought leader that inspires people into action.

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