First tip is, have you worked in your industry? It’s very important to walk the walk and talk the talk.
I have been in retail all my life– salesperson, manager, owner, buyer and recruiter. When someone asks me for a DMM I know that means a Divisional Merchandise Manager, and that they supervise buyers. Someone outside the industry would not know what a DMM is or an OTB (Open to Buy).
So the way to master your market segment is to be an insider in that industry which automatically gives your credibility. It means you are knowledgeable. Note: If you have not worked in the industry you are recruiting for then I strongly urge you to sit down with experts and decision makers in that field who can teach you the lingo, the specifics of a job and the right questions to ask potential hires.
Second, belong to as many groups as you can in your industry. LinkedIn is a great way to start. The more groups you join in your specific industry the better your pool of contacts. You can send free inMails to members of your group. Attend any trade shows or conferences put on by the major players. Walking the floor of an event is a great way to meet potential candidates and potential hiring officials.
Third: Read the most important trade publications in your industry. I subscribe to Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) because it gives me the latest news on all the retailers. Which companies are making their numbers and which companies are not. Who the startups are. Who the new leaders are. Who has a new concept. Who is successful.
I also read Beauty News, Footwear News, NRF Smart Brief and Retailing Today. I know what’s going on in my industry which makes me credible and knowledgeable. It also gives me a great idea of which retailers are looking for new hires.
Fourth: Talk to other recruiters in your industry. When I first started my own agency, I reached out to other retail recruiters. They may be your competition, but you learn so much by talking to them. Plus, I made some great friends in the process
If you have a difficult search you can partner up with another recruiter in the same industry. Sometimes you just want to have a fellow professional to run things by and be a fresh pair of ears; it can really help you out. Check out their websites. You get insight in to what companies use recruiters and you learn a lot about your competitors and what they specialize in. You always want one leg up on the competition.
Happy hunting and remember to know your industry!