Why Do I Think the Recession is Irrelevant?

Mark Lally asked this in a comment on a previous post. Thanks to him, I have something to write about this week.

The key words in the previous post are ‘to our niche.’ Everyone calls it a hard niche but it is really just what the best trainers describe. It is something that is in short enough supply that the demand is always there. There’s a finite amount of these candidates and everyone always wants them.

Look at our own industry. They’re dropping like flies again and I guarantee there’d still be a feeding frenzy if a 300k annual producing recruiter wanted to go to a new company (not all my fantasies are ‘adults only’).

In good economic times it is easy to ‘cheat’ on many aspects of niche-building and making placements. We’d all be silly not to do some of it but that low-hanging fruit makes a lot of us too fat to climb the tree when it is gone. Many people never are taught to climb the tree to start with.

Here’s one of those statements that sometimes gets me into trouble…If you are a good, experienced headhunter, your numbers might be a bit off or they might not. The Pinnacle meeting was about 50/50 last month but none of it was drastic. Nothing has happened in the economy yet that should cause anything but working harder, re-aiming a bit, and maybe actually doing what we tell the clients we do.

Here’s another inflammatory comment. If you use any job board in your practice for ANYTHING other than researching companies…i.e. if you post ads or get candidates…you have no standing to even discuss how the economy affects recruiting because you are not recruiting.

Article Continues Below

That is not intended to put down the boards or people who use them. It is simply a matter of perspective.

We all ‘sell’ to our clients. “Tell me your need and I will go get you your competitor’s top people.” Just find me one person who does that who also says the current economic climate makes him or her do anything more than maybe concentrate a bit more.

I KNOW how far I am from that model. It varies from time to time. I don’t think most people who are complaining about the economy either know about this as a model or agree with it. I’d love to see some discussion on this.

Thanks again to Mark for the idea. Apologies if it seems anything is attributed to him beyond making me think about ‘the recession.’

Dave Staats places top executives as well as implementation consultants with software companies. He also has made more placements in Artificial Intelligence than any other headhunter. His career began during the SDI (Star Wars) years and included placement of scientists in laser, stealth, and other high-tech fields. During a short hiatus from the recruiting industry in 1994 he obtained a Private Investigator's license which he keeps as a constant reminder that a headhunter is what he really is. Dave is on the Board of Directors of The Pinnacle Society and a founder of The Tennessee Recruiters Association. He has a BA from Western Illinois University. Dave also blogs at Truth, Justice & the American Way of Headhunting


4 Comments on “Why Do I Think the Recession is Irrelevant?

  1. Sorry Dave,

    I don’t have time to respond to you properly but I’m too busy recruiting top people for my clients in a very narrow niche.

    Although I have been busy and am busy now, I don’t have the kind of search backlog for toy jobs that I usually do. That said, by December 5th, I’m pretty confident that I will have turned up a new search or two to begin the following week.

    The way I view these periods is that I’m the big fish in my little pond. As long as I’m willing to swim hard and fast there is sufficient food for me to eat although there is not an abundance of food. I suspect that the “little fish” are very hungry and that over the next year some of them might go belly up (belly up is very bad for fishes).

    I don’t think the recession is irrelevant, but it’s just another challenge in this always challenging business. As a solo shop, I have a low cost structure and I am also the leader in my niche. I foresee making a little less money next year. That’s okay, some years I make a little more!

    All the Best,
    Tom Keoughan

  2. Hey Dave;
    These are my words and sentiments exactly. Having gone through 5 recessions myself, this is childs play.
    In 1981 I made 500 calls to get one job order. I do not have to make 500 calls today to get a job…maybe 13 to 14 attempts usually gets me something to work. Don’t get me wrong these recessions always feel bad, and as we get older we have more to lose the stock market, but you still have to know how to scramble and make lemonade…I have a half smile on my face knowing that my Pinnacle buds are saying, “yea bring it on”.
    Just keep dialing the phone.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *