It’s a critical question for any business, but even more critical during challenging economic times: what makes your business stand apart from the many competitors in your space? Simply put, what makes you different? Marketers can talk about the “value proposition” and the “secret sauce” that makes your business great, but it all means the same: why should people come to you instead of the business down the street? For us, the answer is simple. We are deeply committed to the business of people. Our main business is not “recruiting.” It’s people.
This belief is core to everything we do. This might seem like splitting hairs or an irrelevant distinction, but for the team at TalentReach, it is something we live every day, and so it’s worth explaining in detail. When business decisions get made, it is our guiding principle. Our business model is simple, but is actually very difficult to execute, and this is why we have continued to maintain strong partnerships with our clients since our inception.
Personal relationships and getting to know and understand personality traits and strengths is what draws professionals to the human resources industry. A good recruiter or HR exec can be part psychologist, part researcher, part matchmaker, part detective. In a fast-paced hiring environment, there can be lots of pressure to move fast to fill positions – people become “headcount” and not, well, people. We are committed to not ever looking at our candidates or our clients as mere numbers or revenue sources. We take the time to get to know both, and find out what drives them, what their strengths are, what their pain points are, and what their needs are. Our commitment is to a long term relationship, and that does not always mean a quick placement or commission and sometimes means saying ‘no’ to potential clients. And that’s OK with us.
For our clients, we don’t just want to know the role that needs to be filled. To be fully engaged in the process we have to dig much deeper. Here are just a few of the things we want to know:
- What does success look like for both the organization and you personally?
- What are your top priorities? This quarter? This fiscal year?
- What’s the hardest part of your day? If you had the magic wand, how would you change this?
- Which of your unmet needs have the most significant impact to your business and or completely inhibiting success?
- In simple terms…can you articulate what this person(s) will be doing?
- What kind of personality would fit in with your team dynamic the best?
- What hurdles could potential pop up and derail this initiative?
For our candidates, we also have to dig deeper. It’s not about just plugging them into a role, it’s about finding a good match where they can be successful and satisfied in the long term. We try to get started by finding out the answers to these questions:
- What are your career goals?
- What roles have worked for you before? What roles haven’t?
- What kind of environment makes you thrive?
- What is most important to you in an employer?
- What job requirements or employer characteristics are a “hard pass”?
We know that getting to know the full story takes longer than simply doing keyword matches. Two people that have the same title (like “project manager”) are not interchangeable. Sometimes this means we have to tell a client “no” – that we do not have a candidate who would be a great fit for them. But because we have taken the time up front, our clients trust us to deliver them the best people FOR the role. They trust us when we say, “This is a GREAT candidate for you, even though their experience might not be a perfect match to the job description” or “Based on what you’re telling us, you don’t really need a VP of Sales, you need Director of Sales.” Our core competency is professional match-making, and knowing when the hungry and motivated candidate is a better fit than a more experienced but ambivalent one. And we’ve got the experience to know what experience in a different industry or vertical is going to translate well into a role in a different one. That experience and knowledge keeps our clients happy and coming back.
By building long-term relationships with our clients, we get to see the success of our candidates down the road. Then when they call us up, they can tell us, “Joan was a FANTASTIC fit for us. We need another one with skills and attitude like hers.” Sometimes they can tell us, “We THOUGHT we needed a person with just solid engineering skills, but now we know that we also need someone who thrives on collaboration as opposed to being an individual contributor.” We continue to add to our knowledge of what works and what doesn’t for a client, and we get even better at getting it right.
That’s it! We’re giving away our “secret sauce.” Invest in people, and in long-term relationships with both clients and candidates. We know there are hundreds of recruiting agencies in Seattlle alone, and countless more beyond the city limits. So we have to stick to our core mission of being in the business of people. As a small boutique agency, we do not have layers of hierarchy in our team, with multiple points of contact or layers of management. It’s all direct relationships – the only way to truly get to understand people. As with all relationships, honesty and integrity are crucial, and we are proud to have earned the trust of our clients and candidates. At TalentReach, we’re committed to being different. We welcome the opportunity to show you just how much.