Thoughts on picking a recruiting vertical; building a new desk

What is a good vertical market to recruit in?   I get asked this question every week.    

However, most often the question is more a question of what I “feel” would be a good market to start a new desk specialty in.  

“Donato, what do you feel a good new desk specialty would be?” 

I say. “I feel like a great market would be placing sales reps in recruiting software companies that do real time data mining of contact information.”  

They respond, “but Donato, Broadlook is the only company I know that does this kind of thing.”

“That’s right”, I say.  “..and I don’t pay fees”   <grin>

About this time they realize I am having fun at their expense and I chime in. “You asked me what I feel, not what I think.”

Most recruiters don’t think it through thoroughly when starting a new desk.   Lets face it, thinking is hard.  A day of designing software wipes me out more than a triathlon (ok I’ve only done one). It’s not their fault.  This is how they were taught.  Or I should say, this is how they learned.  They watch someone who was a big biller and tried to do what they heard.

When discussing the creation of a new desk, I hear a good deal about reading everything from an industry, articles, journals, etc.  Wake up, this type of activity is about learning about the industry, not if the niche will support a desk.  If I am going to trust my livelihood to one vertical or another,  forget the gut, give me data.

“Hey Donato, are you telling me to ignore my gut instinct?”  

NO

The role of the “gut instinct” in this whole process should precede the data gathering.  The gut should lead you to the top several candidates and then you then expose to the scientific method.  The gut gets excited while reading and learning.  Don’t let it get carried away.

The gut is the emotion, the wind.  Let the data be the rudder and the sail.

To start a new desk, I would prefer solid facts about a potential specialty, such as:

How many open jobs, by state and nationally?   (size of universe)
How many recruiters specialize in the niche?     (competition)
What are the average fees paid to recruiters?    (compensation)
What resources can I use to build a candidate pool?  (sourcing)
What resources can I use to win business?  (marketing)
Will I enjoy working this desk specialty? (mental health)
Can I own the space, can I brand this space as mine?  (branding)

Once you do decide on a new desk specialty, based on the data, the first thing to do is think about branding yourself.  I’ll focus on the other questions in my next few blogs.  A great example of branding is Harry Joiner and his site MarketingHeadhunter.com

How easy is it to brand yourself?   Two areas that I know are hot are Physical Therapists and Nanotechnology.  Very different, but both very hot.  So I went out to GoDaddy.com and checked the following web sites:

PHYSICALTHERAPISTRECRUITER.COM   (FREE)
NANOTECHNOLOGYRECRUITER.COM      (FREE)
BIOFUELRECRUITER.COM                            (FREE)
FUELCELLRECRUITER.COM                          (TAKEN)
GREENENERGYRECRUITER.COM                 (FREE)

Most of them were free and only one was taken. Again, all hot, hot, hot.

Heads up.  Don’t try to go register, PHYSICALTHERAPISTRECRUITER.COM or NANOTECHNOLOGYRECRUITER.COM because I just registered them.  The others are free as of this writing.  I may not fetch the 99K that Jason Davis is asking for CEOjobs.com, but they will sell for a hefty profit.

The first Physical Therapist Recruiter to purchase the Broadlook Suite, you can have that site for free.  (I have no passion for that desk).  New clients only.

Don’t ask for nanotechnologyrecruiter.com.  Nanotech excites me.  It’s mine.

Social networks, data mining, voice recognition, politics and your user profile

I am behind the times.  Kicking back tonight I caught the Apple TV commercial that you can now access facebook with the iPhone.  My facebook profile needs updating. I do love my iPhone, so I jumped on and learned that AmyBeth Hale was having coffee with her bro and that her space heater was on the blink.  Not the information I was looking for, but, the ease of accessing it made me think (I am a fan of AmyBeth, so don’t say any different). 

The biggest explosion of the social networks will be when voice recognition nears 100%.  Yes, everyone types, but we are just putting up with it because we don’t have something better.  Think.  Microsoft software is now in cars.  It does voice recognition.  Microsoft invested in facebook.  Soon we will be seeing in AmyBeth’s profile that she just took a left turn on the drive over to the next SourceCon event.  AmyBeth won’t have to type it in.  It will all be controlled by a set of preferences.  If she does not want the world to know her whereabouts, that option gets turned off.  Technology converges and then excelerates.   The key elements are (1) Superior/intelligent input devices and (2) rules to determine what to do with the input.  We will see it. 

Back to the stream of thought:  Ease of access to information.  Back on facebook.  Political commercial on TV.  Check out how the candidates are doing.  Search on each candidate.  Stats found:

In race
John McCain  59,902 facebook supporters
Hillary Clinton  113,248 facebook supporters
Barack Obama 515,332 facebook supporters
Mike Huckabee  – not on first page of results for “Mike Huckabee”

Not in race, but worth mentioning
Ron Paul 84,145 facebook supporters 
John Edwards 32,630 facebook supporters

Wow.   The Internet cannot, will not be ignored in this election.  Ignore it or don’t leverage it is political death.    It will be interesting how the numbers affect momentum and final results.  Businesses and consultancies will be built on the analysis of this information and how it affects the real world.  Keep in mind that this is the presidential election and we are seeing it many months in advance.  Closer to election day we will start to see the congressional candidates more visible as well. They are there now, we just don’t see “facebook groups” for state and local elections popping up.  We will.

On the other hand Ron Paul is doing better on facebook than John McCain, but he is out of the race.  Interesting variables.  Where is the buzz to influence ratio?  Ron Paul, buzz, McCain has the support of the voters.   I take no sides here, I just find it interesting. I’m curious.

This data can and will be data mined.  What will be done with this information once it is stored?   What information do you add to the social network?  Who will cross reference this data with national cell phone databases?  Who will I be getting calls from on my cell phone come November?  

Has anyone thought of a version of the do-not-call-list for data stored on social networks?  One repository with permissions for usage of data.  Google has their Open Social system for working with many social networks.  Maybe someone can leverage it.

Never know where a blog is going until I’m done.  Meeting with my adopt-a-blogger Dan Hughes in the early am.  Should I spend time posting my appt on facebook or find  a facebook appointment interceptor widget?   I vote widget.

Adopt a blogger

For those expecting a technology blog today, you can skip this posting.

The most common comment I get from people reading my blog is “thanks for the original content”.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Many of us are tired of “me too” postings.  Reposting Youtube, reposting of this, reposting of that.   Why is this?  Why is there essentially a culture of copy out there?  What can we do to fix it?   Many of my readers are recruiters.  Well, if you are a recruiter then you must recruit or better yet, adopt a blogger.

What stops someone who has much to say… from saying it?  As easy as setting up a WordPress blog is, it will stop most non-technical people in their tracks.  

I was having a discussion with Dan Hughes, one of the people who helped build and grow Broadlook Technologies with me.  Dan wants to blog.  Dan did not know where to start.  We even thought of a name for his site (The Sales Trench).   Weeks later, no blog.   So I’m adopting Dan.  I registered SalesTrench.com,  installed WordPress for him and configured it.

Adoption is not a one time event.

I will be pestering the heck out of Dan to get some of his great ideas down.  Right now, the site is empty, so, Dan, you are out there, the world is waiting, now you have to write.   

Dan and I talk almost every day, he can’t escape.  I’ll be a blog-parent until he flies from the nest.  Dan, happy birthday.  Have fun with the site! 

Call to bloggers  

Who will you adopt?  Can you think of someone with great ideas that really should be writing them down?   Adopt them, help them, encourage them, pester them if you must.   More unique content will lift us all.  Send me a note about your adoption.
  

Spam, blog spam and breaking trust

I am in Disney World.  My 4 year old daughter crashed in the hotel room after a non-stop day of fun.  It’s a happy place. I’m happy.   I quickly check my email and what do I get?  Blog spam.  Lots of it.  Ok, good, I’m happy I’ve got a bunch of readers now.  For those of you who leave comments email me directly, thank you.  I enjoy the feedback, positive and otherwise, as long as it is thought out.  

But 50 blog spams?  Ouch, I didn’t sign up to be an administrator and a human spam filter.  (please oh experienced bloggers out there, tell me what you do to avoid this.)

The blog spam gave me an idea.   It is a cool one.  I have often received spam at my private email address even though it is one I never have given anyone.  This private email I use to register for sites that I never intend on using again.  (newspapers, register for white papers, etc). The strange thing is that the spam I get in this email account has nothing to do with sites I registered for.  Someone is selling my information.  Are they breaking the terms of service for their site?  I don’t know.

 A discovery process. Here is what I am going to do:

Step 1:  Setup

-create a fictitious company
-register a new domain. 
-not use my real name & make whois information private
-add phony names, titles & emails to the site.  VP of sales, Director of Marketing, etc
-add some basic content to the site and make sure the search engines can find it. 

Step 2:  Seeding

-Register for as many sites as I can.  For each site, I will use a unique email and name that is not printed or listed anywhere for the fictitious company domain.  In addition, I am going to save the privacy terms of each site in a database.
-Save every email for each unique email address.  Each email should only be getting email from one source.
-Let the experiment run for a period, it might be 6 months to a year.
-I will make sure to include all the major email services (Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) and I will always select “NO” to share my information with partner companies (when that option is available)

Step 3: Publish

-all sites registered for
-dates & sources which each unique email received email from

Who is breaking terms of service?  What is the implication of registering on various dot com sites?   It should be an interesting experiment.   If something like this has been done already.  I would like to see the research.

hmm, on second thought, this seems like a darn good deal of work. 

Now  I think I’m looking for an intern who wants to do a research project.  Anybody have a referral?  I’ll give them full access to the Broadlook set of Internet research tools.

To many ideas, too little time.  Daughters awake, back to the magic kingdom. Time for fireworks!

Donato & Cala in Disney