In Recruiter Daily today, John McCaskill recently commented that being a specialist far outweighs the positives of being employed within a larger, more diverse company. Whilst I agree that being a specialist is important, I think it is possible to achieve this in a larger agency. This way, you can actually get the benefits John talks about (strength of brand, team culture, size, established procedures) but you also get the benefit of specialising in a space and becoming a true expert.
Some of the larger agencies (20+ consultants) actually work like boutiques, but with the strengths listed above coupled with a team focus. For example, let’s say you are an accounting recruiter working within a large agency, but you specialise in qualified accountants in technical sectors such as mining, oil & gas and construction. This way you are able to specialise and offer your clients strong benchmarking abilities and expertise within your sectors. Additionally, you are also building your business alongside other consultants (e.g. Oil and Gas specialist, Mining specialist, business support specialist etc) enabling you to have a team of consultants targeting the same clients and marketing together to build your company’s brand. Each consultant contributes to marketing activities and “mapping” of your client to ensure that each business unit is getting specialist attention, but you are sharing information to give your client a better experience. Only having a key sector focus within divisions of these agencies makes this possible. I have spoken to many consultants who work in larger agencies and not many of them get this right. The only way for it to work is:
All consultants commit to specialising within their role types and sector, and work with the group to share information
One consultant works as the key account manager in each major business to ensure information flow
Each consultant makes sure that they are focussed on the greater good – many consultants when they get busy tend to focus on their areas alone
A true team culture exists where sharing of candidates and information is part of the company make up.
I think the benefits of working in a larger agency with a specialist focus far outweighs the small boutiques who target one sector alone. Two examples of this in the past month include a business support consultant billing $115k for March, and a Technical recruiter billing $138k in her fifth month (Marcn) in our business. Consultants working together and sharing referrals outweigh the benefits of working on your own.