As an Executive Recruiter, Talent Access Professional, Search Consultant, Director of Human Capabilities, or whatever title you have given yourself, we have a few primary goals:
- Help our client-companies identify the best talent for their critical needs
- Match professionals to those needs
- Make a living while doing it
While the order might be different in your mind, aren’t these the three primary goals most of us have in this wonderful world of recruiting?
Let me break it down to the “old school” way of saying this: Find an opening...find a person...get paid. This is what I was taught way back in 1997 when I first started with Westport One - it was called Management Recruiters of St. Louis-Westport (a mouthful I know!) back then. After all, we are part of the MRINetwork. MRI created the client-paid fee and the candidate marketing approach. Make a lot of calls; and I mean A LOT of calls, to companies pitching your Most Placeable Candidate (MPC) to see if they have a need for someone like that or some other type of opening.
While this process is absolutely still relevant today, layers have been added. Whether that layer is emailing, texting, Facebooking, Zooming, or Linkedin’ing and every other communication tool that we can add “ing” to, our ability to communicate with both the decision-makers and the talent has grown exponentially!
There is one layer of communication that is more subtle, yet just as powerful: Be a Champion!
You might be asking yourself, “what the heck are you talking about, Chris? Be a champion? I’m a recruiter.” While there are still some generalists in recruiting, the vast majority of us are highly specialized. How you are specialized may vary, whether it be by discipline, skillset, executive level, geography. Most of us have narrowed our recruitment focus so that we have a chance to build a pool of people and companies we focus our recruiters’ gaze.
With this specialization, you learn the movers and the shakers, the companies that you want to work with...and the ones you want to recruit from. Just as important, you sometimes learn as much about the industry intel (sometimes more) than the people working in the industry. Some of this intel is good and some of it is bad.
You have the ability to become a true champion for your industry. You can do this with every conversation you have, every email/text you send, and with every LinkedIn message you post.
This is not a short-term process, mind you. You will not gain immediate respect, notoriety, or applause for this. But, over time, your peers that matter to you the most -- the hiring managers and professionals within your specific industry -- will begin to notice. They will begin to respond. They will begin to seek out your advice. They will want to work with you!
What does “Be a champion” mean?
Being a champion in your industry means that you share your knowledge and the stories from the field with the field. There are a variety of ways to do this:
Have a direct conversation with an industry leader and share what you have heard and seen within the industry.
Write an effective LinkedIn post about recent conversations you’ve had with industry professionals regarding changes in the industry.
Write a LinkedIn post defending your industry.
Offer your expertise to be interviewed on an industry podcast.
Speak at an industry conference.
We have conversations every day with hiring managers and industry professionals (potential candidates). We ask them questions about themselves, their company, the competition, and the industry. Take that information and identify 3-5 trends. Use those trends in all future conversations for the next couple of weeks. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day or every week. These trends are your launching pad to being that industry expert, that champion. The moment you start sharing this intel that some decision-makers don’t expect you to know you are immediately on a different playing field from your recruitment competition!
LinkedIn Posts - recent conversations
Take those same trends that you’ve identified and turn each of them into a LinkedIn post. In these posts, share your thoughts regarding how this will impact your industry. Elicit their thoughts on the impact. Work to engage in conversation with those that respond.
Now, understand that your initial posts might not gain much traction. But, don’t be deterred. Stick with it 3-5 times per week. Schedule it. Do it!
LinkedIn Posts - defend your industry
I don’t know about your industry, but mine is healthcare. Over the past 10 months with the Covid-19 pandemic, my industry has taken a BEATING. Other than the frontline workers being hailed as “Healthcare Heroes”, there has been very little good said. The deaths within the hospitals and nursing homes have been on every news story every week. The bad is 99% of the stories being shared. In reality, the bad is really only 1% of the story. There is so much good being done to keep the patients and residents safe, healthy and engaged, it has truly amazed me.
I am sure there are positive stories about your industry as well. Scream them from the rooftops! Post about it! Talk about it!
Almost everyone has a podcast today. Come to think about it, I actually think literally everyone does. While I’m being a bit facetious, there are many amazing podcasts being created in every industry we work. Have you listened to any? Do you realize how difficult it is to come up with regular content for their audience? Many would love industry experts to volunteer themselves to be interviewed. Try it!
While most of the industry conferences have gone virtual over the past 9 months, that won’t last forever. These conferences need speakers. Find out who is putting the conference together and offer your expertise. With the conferences being virtual for now, you don’t even have to travel. But, please put some pants on in case you have to stand up...
As you can see, there are many ways to be a champion. You have the knowledge and expertise. You simply have to put in the effort and have the desire. You do it because you love what you do and you love your industry. Scream it from the rooftops! As Carrie Underwood belted out in her song ‘The Champion’, “They’re gonna say that I did it for the glory, but don’t think I did it for the fame, yeah I did it for the love of the game.”