A year ago I started working with a client helping them find some people for their organisation in a very specific field. We met up, and worked on a very specific brief between us, that really provided focus on the roles (all very technical, IT developmental stuff). It provided real clarity on what they were looking for and should have made life quite easy for me. However, it didn’t. Just because I had pages of detail, I wasn’t terribly prepared, as a more generalist recruiter to understand and answer the potentially endless list of technical questions I may have needed to field from potential candidates who would be trying to understand if the role would be right for them.
While I could provide detail on the organisation, culture, career development opportunities and the like, what I couldn’t do was sound a credible recruiter in their field.
This I feel is where a lot of recruiters, especially those more generalist among us, go wrong. They try to work on positions they don’t understand, and either irritate candidates or put the wrong people forward to the client and damage what was in this case, a fledgling but potentially good partnership.
In this instance a wise colleague pointed out to me that this was an opportunity to learn. So learn I did. I spent time understanding the specifics of the role, what all of the jargon meant in real life, and studied examples of what certain things did. I took examples from the client of what they required and built these up so as I could show potential candidates what the client was seeking. I spent time with potential peers of the new recruits and watched what they were doing and had the opportunity to ask questions of them while immersing myself in the clients’ culture by spending time in their offices with their people, and a cracking bunch they were too.
Only after doing this (a crash course of about 10 days) was I able to put together the right campaign for the client, hold positive in depth interviews, and fill all of the roles they had available.
So, back to the question in the title; What is your ‘sweet spot’?
Well this was the funny part of it. The client has been back several times and we have worked similar roles and had great success with them. However, their most recent requirement was for a Senior Executive in a more general organisational management role. To us, a role we would excel at. But, the client almost didn’t discuss it with us as he felt it might not be our ‘sweet spot’! His words.
So, what is my sweet spot? I still don’t know. But, what I do know, is that every day at Agenda Partnership is a school day. We are always challenged by our partner clients to find them people who fit and to do that properly we are always learning. About them as organisations, about the specifics of what they do, and who really fits in and succeeds. Now, I’m not saying we always get it right, but generally, by listening and learning every day, we do our best.