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The Power of Specialization

20 April 2017


From time to time as recruiters, we may feel like our skills aren’t being fully utilized. If that’s you, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In my recent experience, that feeling kept cropping up, and I found the solution was to choose a more focused route. The title of this article could well have been: the power of focus.

I made my name as a resourceful and adaptable recruiter; one that was busy with various projects and servicing a wide range of clients. I took great pride in that professional characterization, and still do today, despite changing the way I work. Now, I’ve enhanced the value of my time by choosing to zone-in on a particular discipline. This change came about because I decided my strengths would generate more results by being applied to a single, niche market – one I wanted to master.

It’s one thing to sell your capacity to solve general recruitment problems. It’s a whole other ball game to present yourself as a specialist that can respond to a precise problem within a unique market. Being in a position where you dominate your market, own your competition, know your clients and deliver a consultative service is bound to lead to success.

As a generalist, you likely have a large volume of business, several points of contact with your clients and a wide portfolio of services – but your attention is constantly spread across various projects. Equally, you have to compete with numerous other recruiters doing the same thing, and therefore, you’re probably in a less powerful position when negotiating terms of business. Plus, more often than not, you spend a great deal of time, energy and resources on choosing which options to pursue.

As a specialist, you win a smaller volume of business but a much larger share of your chosen market. You have less points of contact with your clients, but more relevant and fruitful exchanges, which contribute towards longer-lasting relationships. You’re in a position whereby you can easily leverage your expertise against your value in return. Working on exclusive terms with your clients is justified, and such commitment favors win-win partnerships.

For my part, choosing to become a specialist has greatly increased the quality of both my professional and personal life.

Today, I’m no longer spread too thin at work, and I have the energy to make impactful decisions in my personal life. I have made a point of simplifying processes and duties in order to preserve my attention, motivation and will to win. Small details make a difference with, for example, preparing for the next day ahead of time, (including my schedule, attire and objectives) I avoid needing to organize it all first thing in the morning.

My clients see me as a high-value partner, with my specialization deserving of more commitment, trust and respect than ever before. I have the understanding to offer insightful exchanges, generating business leads, and closing deals faster. And as a result, I enjoy a higher sense of personal achievement.

I’m also able to monitor and drive my own development. Choosing to focus your field frees up more time to improve your key skills. Some of these are relevant only to the service and market you specialize in, but most of them are transferable.

Here are my essential tips to becoming a specialized recruiter:

  • Map your chosen market first to ensure optimum success
  • Be patient – mastering this market will take some time
  • Learn about your area by reading, attending events, and speaking to those already in the market
  • Say no – specializing means sticking to your guns

Finally, a note about clients. Those that have trusted you as their recruiter previously may ask you to broaden your scope. You should avoid doing this unless you’re planning to create a new specialization within that field. They might be surprised by your answer at first but, in the end, it will only reinforce your value. Grow your market share… not your markets.

For more recruitment hints and tips, contact me on +85237085528, or

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We are Oliver James

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