A little sleep deprived on a red-eye back to Boston, with a snorer to my right and a crying baby behind me, I felt compelled to write my thoughts down about a now-blurry 48 hours in Vegas (no slot machines required).
This Tuesday and Wednesday, I attended and spoke at the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS)' annual conference...two and a half jam-packed days geared towards arming recruiters and staffing firm owners with the tools and strategies to succeed in today's heavily saturated, constantly in-flux, absolutely fascinating industry.
Here's a free-flowing roundup of what I learned and some reflections baked in - all of which can be applied to any sales- or entrepreneur-type role.
IT ALL COMES BACK TO THOUGHT LEADERSHIP.
The common thread in every keynote and breakout session I sat in on was an encouraged recruiter transition away from transactional, one-off deal-wheeling to the role of mentor, consultant, and advisor - to candidates and clients who know, like and trust you.
You are catalysts who are in the business of people. Understand your candidate's thought process and how your hiring manager makes decisions. And be a resource for your target audience so that when they do have a need, they call you up first.
YOU CAN ONLY AUTOMATE SO MUCH.
In my session, I talked a lot about how social media can be a vehicle to elevate your personal brand and credibility in front of your customer. It requires a weekly commitment, an always-learning mentality, and a knack for finding and sending good content. A question from an audience member, "How can I automate this?" gave me pause. Of course you can schedule postings, but when it comes to interacting on an individual level, your buyer wants to know and engage with YOU. There should be no substitution for that. What makes you unique is oftentimes your competitive advantage.
KNOW YOUR "WHY."
This was a big one for me. So big, in fact, that after the last session of the conference (my own!), I sat in the hotel lobby in a swanky, sophisticated, modern white sofa chair and wrote the crap out of my "Why." Why I've created this business, Why I get out of bed in the morning, and Why Netflix takes a back seat to my eagerness to continue producing and creating.
Get clear on your "Why" first. Write it down and stick it somewhere it can be a constant reminder. Let it move you and inspire you to persist when things get tough.
Click to tweet: "The biggest mistake recruiters make is forgetting they're in the service industry" - Greg @bullseye @naps360 http://bit.ly/2d4JQCj
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL RECRUITERS VIEW THEMSELVES AS ENTREPRENEURS.
As Jeff Kaye declares the beautiful truth about this business, "This job sucks." But if you're willing to invest some elbow grease and true grit, it can be the most rewarding career.
Once you know your "Why," you can better connect the long-term goal to short-term behavior and work to close the gap between your achievements (today) and your potential (tomorrow). (Thanks Jeff Kaye.) Plan the crap out of your day; be introspective and recognize times where you are most and least productive and adjust. Know what your business, in revenue, looks like in 2020 (go ahead, write that number down on a piece of paper), and back in what you need to achieve each quarter, each month, each day, to get you there.
STOP WRITING BUSINESS YOU WON'T WIN.
How much time do you think you waste trying to fill job orders you knew from the beginning you probably wouldn't fill? Great question, Barbara Bruno. Let go of a scarcity mentality, don't be all things to all people, and build a pipeline of candidates and companies you know you can match, within a niche. Be confident in the amount of opportunity to generate more business within your areas of specialty and don't write business you won't win.
Click to tweet "Your greatest strength or weakness is your ability to walk away" - @TomErb_Tallann http://bit.ly/2d4JQCj #naps360 #recruitment
SPEND SOME TIME FIGURING OUT WHO YOU ARE.
There are anywhere from 17,000 - 20,000 staffing firms in the US. As Tom Erb says, your value proposition may be more similar to your competitors' than you think. Spend time honing in what exactly makes you and your firm different, stop using the word "quality," and as Greg Doersching chimes in during the All Star panel, back up your value proposition with cold, hard data. Then, commit with every fiber of your being to your message.
Greg Doersching - Creator and Owner of Bullseye Recruiting, Millennial and 21st century workforce expert
Jeff Kaye - Co-Chief Executive Officer of Kaye/Bassman & Next Level Exchange,
Barbara Bruno - President of Good as Gold Training, candidate experience and referral program advocate
Tom Erb - President of Tallann Resources, value proposition teacher
Jordan Rayboy - President & CEO of Rayboy Insider Search, data storage recruitment, "work to live" preacher, travels out of a tour-bus RV
Lunchmeat & Life Lessons, best selling author and NAPS keynote speaker, Mary B. Lucas