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How to Niche Down in Your Recruiting Practice

QUESTION: What process do you suggest to decide how to niche down, geography, industry, job type, titles? – Brian

ANSWER: Great question. The most honest answer I can give you is it depends. Let me give you a couple of ways we niched in different market segments, which might help. 

For example, my recruiting firm developed a brand new practice in construction. That was a pretty regional geographic desk in that we were dealing with small construction companies that usually were run by an owner of the company. They were not top 100 construction companies because when you target half a billion or billion-dollar companies plus, you end up having to deal with internal recruiters, portals, and VMS systems. I do not know how to sell effectively against that. I have found that up to $100 million, up to $250 million is the sweet spot where it is so much easier to get great clients.

As an aside, if you are struggling and you are going after the big companies because you think that is where all the openings are, niche down. When you niche down, like in construction, you are dealing with the owners.

We were dealing with companies in the commercial construction market, not residential, that were in annual revenues of probably $10 to $75 million. In those searches, we were dealing with the owner on placing superintendents. There were really 3 titles they would pay for:  Superintendents, Project Managers, and Estimators.  

Another desk in my recruiting firm, which happened to be my desk, was technology sales. More specifically, it was connectivity, enterprise network salespeople. It was not just all software and hardware. It was connectivity, hardware and software routers, bridges, back then bridges, switches, and only salespeople, and this was a national desk.  

Now when I say a national desk, the primary cities companies up to $100 million would hire in, off the top of my head, were Boston, New York, the DC metro area for the federal government, Atlanta, southern Florida, Dallas, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Seattle. If somebody called up and said, “We want somebody based in North Dakota, in Sioux Falls,” I probably would not take that without a retainer because I know I am not going to come up with another opening in Sioux Falls. However, I knew that I would come across openings every month or so in the major metros.

When you look at your niche, I would look at the probability of getting 300 to 400 companies, maybe even 500 companies, under $200 million in revenue. Based on that, Brian, what do the demographics tell you? Meaning – can you specialize in one position, say commercial lenders, or do you have to do more positions? Maybe you just want to do commercial lenders, so maybe then it is Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, Kentucky, so surrounding. It can be regional, but you want to have a demographic where you can have 500 companies to start to target because that list will dwindle down, and with the range of say $200 million or less in revenue.  

Great question and hopefully I gave you enough to go on for now. Thanks so much for submitting the question. 

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

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