Become a Subject Matter Expert…


…And Fast-Track to Higher Billing

As Recruiters we are reminded how challenging our jobs are almost every day. Luckily, with experience comes perspective. So after two decades, I have amassed many “challenge killing” techniques from work colleagues, managers, mentors and coaches.

One of my favorite techniques can answer many questions. “How can I build my candidate pool fast? How can I build my client’s respect? How can I double my production? How can I get more referrals? How can I speed up my sourcing, screening and matching?” It’s hard to believe, that one technique will answer all of these questions.

This technique or strategy came out of necessity. The agency I worked for during the late 90’s had so many client requirements that it was difficult to focus. I learned early in my career that you should target requirements with a high fill potential, but everything at that time was hot. Great for the company, but I was seeing a lot of second prize ribbons, with limited placements.

To give myself a better chance of success, I watched the recruiters who were making more placements and tried to figure out the formula for success. One thing I noticed was Account Managers would go to specific Recruiters depending on their requirements. So I asked why. What they said hit me like a load of bricks. “I go to that particular Recruiter because they are the office expert for the skill I need.”

It was so simple. So I spoke with these recruiters and soon found out some of the other benefits of becoming a Subject Matter Expert (SME). What they were doing was basic. They chose a specific skill or position, (Project Manager, Business Analyst, Java Programmer) that clients were always asking for. They focused all of their efforts to become an expert in that skill starting with sourcing.

I found that focusing on one skill and becoming a SME lead to;

  • Faster sourcing as I knew what companies to target and how to get to the passive candidates,
  • I was building a more focused pool of quality candidates faster,
  • Candidates had a greater trust in me because I knew what I was talking about,
  • I was getting more referrals as candidates trusted me with their network
  • I was getting better qualified candidates as I was reaching more passive candidates,
  • I had a deeper understanding of the core skills and also specializations for these roles,
  • My screening/profiling was faster. I could tell the difference between a solid and weak candidate,
  • My matching was faster. I knew what would work for each client,
  • I was trusted in the office as someone who had the ability to present the best candidates,
  • Account reps came to me directly on these roles. I was getting “special” treatment,
  • I could skill-market every day as I had a steady stream of high quality candidates.

Once I became a SME, it didn’t take long to double my placements and I stopped worrying about the revenue roller-coaster every month. The most significant lesson I learned from this strategy was I could have control over my schedule. I had stopped being a reactive recruiter who was ruled by his e-mail and chased requirements all day. I evolved into a proactive recruiter who stayed focused on daily habits that drove quality candidates through the process and ultimately to hire.

The bottom line is you can take charge of your day and eliminate a ton of time consuming challenges by focusing on one niche. Sure, it takes some discipline and a learning curve. It doesn’t happen overnight. But if you stick with it, you’ll build yourself a great foundation of ready candidates, happy clients, and better placements. Plus, you’ll end up with more time and more money in the bank.

Don’t work hard, work smart!


David Mandar


One response to “Become a Subject Matter Expert…

  1. Pingback: Rock Solid Ways to Fill Hard-to-Fill Positions | Kira Talent

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