QUESTION: Mike, we specialize in providing IT professionals on short-term contract. We have exhausted our personal connections with players, IBM, HP, Deloitte, etc., as they work mostly with large providers for their subcontracting needs. How do we establish ourselves as a recruiting firm for contract staffing requirements in the IT niche? – Darrell

ANSWER: Basically, the companies you rattled off are the premium players in the market, and you recruit specifically as a contract not permanent. The good and bad news is that there is a technique that works, “Hey, I wanted to check in to see if you have any staffing requirements”. It is not that sophisticated, and I would tier down to IT service providers that are not Fortune 500.

Determine what is that tier of companies that provide outsource solutions with $1 billion or even $500 million or less in revenue. Then, find and identify several people that influence the hiring decision within those companies, because it looks like you network with some of those people. I would start, either through their LinkedIn network or through verbal communication, “Hey, who do you know at these smaller companies?”  And maybe some of these people you have worked with in the past or at the smaller companies.

Most people think that the big companies is where all the business is. The big companies are where all the bad business is, or most of it. The small, $250,000 to $500,000, or maybe a billion dollar contract staffing companies have significantly less infrastructure. They are still going to outsource those requirements, number one. Number two, you are going to be able to be much more a partner. That is going to mean much more enjoyable business.

The ways to do that one, if you do email, do not send over, “Hey, checking in. Want to see if we can help you.” Give them one or two outstanding contractors you are working with. Don’t tell them geographically where they are at. Just say, “Working with some other clients. We have got some contractors that are coming available and here’s…,” and use the key buzz words that that market segment would like drool over. And maybe they come of the IBM and HP, Deloitte, or they have worked with one of those, so they have got that big company experience. That’s what is probably going to make them salivate.

And then, when they reply to the email, and the companies that need somebody will reply to the email. Get into a verbal–not an email–dialogue with them. So, that would be a one simple technique, I can share with you that is tangible. Put together a list of few hundred people, hire a researcher and segment down into the small to mid-tier size IT consulting companies to market your services to. Good question. Thank you, Darrell.