Don’t turn yourself into a commodity!
Job Seekers – Career Changers – Employers and Recruiters all have high expectations on the value of ‘finding and hiring’ each other. The recruiting reality, however, suggests that there is more commodity behaviour than expert, quality and value exchange for the services and the talents traded. I believe there is an opportunity to change this for all involved.
Are You a Job Seeker?
Are you salary shopping instead of job searching? Do you gauge your value to a company by the salary you require? I regularly notice this sort of mindset when I interview Job Seekers who engage us to optimise or re-write their resumes or application documents. Remember, people hire people to solve problems at a reasonable cost. If you shop salary, you are thinking and acting as a commodity. This will limit your job potential.
I have five considerations for you, which require some self-reflection, so you can embark on a more rewarding job search without the looming threat of turning yourself into a commodity.
- Are you displaying any of the signs of a price shopper, like signing up on job boards that only post ‘high paying jobs’? If you do, you limit yourself from seeing other opportunities, as this and most other job boards deal in commodities.
- Are you turning down a low paying job on a first telephone interview? If so, that is turning down an opportunity to meet the hiring manager who has the problem and the hiring need. The initial phone interview is usually an HR rep going through a checklist… i.e. think commodity!
- Are you taking personal offence to a low salary offer? It doesn’t matter what they think (they don’t even know you), it’s more important that you know you. So don’t become a commodity by selling yourself on market value. Present yourself as a problem solver and meet people who will appreciate what you can do for them.
- Do you know your intrinsic value (everything that makes you… you), both the tangible and the intangible? And, are you maybe obsessing about market value? If you are tying your self-worth, self-esteem, skills and abilities to the current market value then you could be counter-productive, as you are assessing your worth on something that is set by market conditions. Market conditions are out of your control.
- If you can’t control it don’t worry about it. This is the reason I suggest to my blog readers to stop reading the doom and gloom of the jobless numbers. If you are out of work, the unemployment rate is 100%!
Present yourself as a valuable asset who can solve problems and the salary will generally take care of itself. You are now selling your intrinsic value and will have a better chance at earning a salary that you deserve.
Are You an Employer?
With increasing numbers of job seekers banging on your door you might think it’s ok to handle applications with automated responses telling them they’ll be contacted if a match exists. If you haven’t already discovered the trends, you should, because there are new and better solutions and apps out there. They show that the whole hiring process is changing and focusing a bit more on the human interaction and not just process. I am pretty sure that you will lose the best prospects if your recruiting strategy doesn’t adapt soon.
All the new hiring solutions point to a coming time when the quality job seekers will have their choice of jobs and companies they want to work for. So, it’s imperative to begin (or enhance) your dialogue with applicants in order to cultivate a relationship that lands you “A” talent.
I have five considerations for you, which require some self-reflection, so you can embark on a more rewarding candidate search without the looming threat of turning your business of ‘talent search’ into a commodity.
- Job Seekers are no longer content with the bare minimum for an employment site. Job Seekers are mobile and armed with gadgets. Don’t ignore it, like so many employers still do. Job Seekers demand a user experience that is interesting, informative and easy to navigate. I suggest that you act like a candidate and take a good, hard look at what your on-line presence is delivering. Maybe check if it engages applicants in a visually appealing manner or does it just have a link to a mission statement, a list of benefits, and job openings?
- Consider dynamic visual content that positions your company as an employer that values its workers. Maybe even deliver job-specific mini-sites or videos that take an applicant through a “day in the life” of a current employee, spotlighting a department, its achievements, staff and technology, and showing typical career progression.
- Consider FAQs, message boards, blogs and other means of communication. Beef up your social media presence and make sure you have functioning backward and forward links. Start with sites like LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook.
- And, don’t forget about that initial email – make it interesting, visually appealing and offer the opportunity for two-way communication.
- Lastly, consider re-targeting those who visit your site. Re-targeting is about delivering relevant advertising to those who have landed on your site and are now surfing the web somewhere else, either right away or maybe even at a later stage, in a few weeks or a few months.
The time has come to foster applicants with relationship-based recruiting (if you do the recruiting yourself). You don’t have to fear the numbers. Use smart technology software or cloud based solutions. Try http://www.jobscience.com/– these guys have great solutions. Top talent will love you for it and you’ll be positioned as an innovative employer everyone will be clamouring to join.
Are You a Recruiter?
In today’s staffing climate, most recruiting businesses are created to satisfy needs within their surrounding business community. But, often in the daily grind to build the recruiting service and capture the market ahead of another player in the market, it often becomes nothing more than a commodity exercise, largely indistinguishable from all of the other recruiters out there.
I am convinced that staffing companies have to move beyond being commodities and offer more if they want to survive. Real value is the key differentiator that can determine the relative success or failure of the business. Which do you deal in: a commodity or a value?
I have three considerations for you, which require ‘recruiter’ self-reflection, so you can embark on a more rewarding client search without the perception that your business is just focussed on commodities.
- Demonstrate the difference between commodity and value. I guess it’s clear a commodity is a generic descriptor used to identify items and services that are produced to satisfy wants and needs. I have experienced an increased perception that recruiters are “just recruiters” and they all offer essentially the same services and benefits. So, the common mindset is that they are simply a commodity. On the other hand, value is a noun used to indicate services that have value, worth, or importance. I am suggesting that you have real value differentiators. Let’s say, for this example, that you draw attention to the fact that you offer not only all the usual services, but also new after-sales services, consultation, and on-site reviews or assessment. I know they come at a cost but … which would you consider to be a value? Would it still be valuable even if the price was slightly higher? Most clients would consider the extra benefits that increase the value for them, even if it results in a slightly increased price, because they could go to a single place to have more of their needs met.
- Push your differentiators. So, as one recruiter in a sea of thousands, how do you create value? I suggest you start by determining what sets you apart from all of the other players in your field. What is it that you have that others don’t? If it’s not something you can immediately put your finger on, why not just go out there and ask your customers. They will generally tell you straight to your face what it is that would prompt them to dial your number when they need new talent, even if there are new providers and solutions out there.
- Create & maintain value. If you know what it is about your business that is different from every other staffing business out there, then you need to put that to work for you. I believe the best solution is to highlight what sets you apart from everyone else – every day – all the time – at every opportunity! Maybe your customers call you every time they need staffing because you are good at answering the phone. I’ve dealt with many recruiters and repeatedly redialling wasn’t one of my favourite activities. Or, maybe they prefer to call you because you are one of the “hands-on” guys and are better than the services they get from other providers. I also believe that it always helps if you make it a point to ensure your clients understand that you are not just a staffing agency, you are a solutions provider. Also, just as a reminder, prospects won’t believe you just because you say you are better. You have to prove it. How? Maybe share client feedback, case studies, statistics, … anything that delivers credibility to your claims. Lastly, make every effort to always over deliver on your value promise. In that way, your customers will come back to you when you need them.
So, no matter who you are; Job Seeker, Career Changer, Recruiter or Employer, don’t turn yourself into a commodity. You’re worth much more, so consider your future approach and remember
to hunt wisely!