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The Recruiter's Digest
 Recruiting News, Training & Commentary by Bill Radin

July, 2007

Are You Indispensable?

As a brand-new recruiter, Sally was fairly worthless.

She didn't have any candidates for her employers, and she didn't have any jobs for her candidates. All she had was the intuitive ability to listen, take notes and create reasonable expectations.

Later, when Sally began to get results, she became useful. She wrote a ton of job orders with lots of companies, and she networked with hundreds of different candidates. And every now and then, Sally made a placement.

As her understanding of recruiting grew, Sally found that she could not only match jobs with candidates, she could put difficult deals together, despite obstacles that threatened to keep people apart. Her clients began to appreciate her skills, and they grew confident that whenever Sally was given a search, their job would be filled.

Natural Selection at Work
Meanwhile, a funny thing happened: Sally's client list began to shrink. And the smaller it got, the more successful she became. It seems she didn't need to work with lots of different companies after all.

Was Sally's situation special? No. She simply evolved the way a recruiter should, from being worthless to useful to outright indispensable. Rather than trying to be all-things-to-all-people, Sally learned the value of being all-things-to-just-a-few-people.

Like Sally, all high-performing recruiters give their customers service that's off the charts. In so doing, they not only reinforce their reputations; they make their clients utterly dependent on them.

They'll Only Have Eyes for You
Employers have lots of recruiting choices
—unless they want the very best. And in a competitive market, it pays to be number one. Otherwise, you'll be seen as either worthless or intermittently useful.

Once you become indispensable
—to just a few clients—things begin to change. Your competitors fade away. Your terms and conditions are accepted. Your candidates are interviewed. Your placements multiply. And sooner or later, your services are recommended to others, bringing even more business to your door.

There are lots of ways to improve the quality of your work. Here are just a few of the "extras" that will help make you indispensable:
1. Set expectations in the beginning. Explain exactly what you'll do—and exactly when you'll do it. If there are problems, obstacles or disagreements, discuss them early. If you feel you can't be successful, just say so.
2. Follow up. I'm a big fan of scheduled progress reports. They'll keep your feet to the fire and reassure those to whom you've made commitments that your work is being done.
3. Think like a concierge. Do the little things that make life easy for your clients, such as providing market information, travel itineraries, cost-of-living differentials, fact-checking, and so forth.
4. Leave your comfort zone so others won't have to. Occasionally, a good client will ask you to fill a position outside your specialty. By putting in the extra effort, you'll build a healthy reserve of trust, loyalty and appreciation.
5. Solve peripheral problems. Tackle thorny issues that may arise during the placement process, such as relocation, spousal employment, insurance or pension rollovers, and buyer's remorse.

By providing great service to a select few clients, you'll work your way to the top of the list. So when your clients' jobs need to be filled, they'll think of you—and nobody else.

Additional study: Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power; Seth Godin, The Dip.


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