Don’t Switch Niche, Switch Tactics

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Oct 16, 2013
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.

Dear Barb:

I have been placing engineers in manufacturing for the past 10 years. I’ve had a decent six months, but wonder if I should consider a new niche in the future. Each year it seems like more and more manufacturing is done in China or other countries that have cheaper labor. I have produced a little over $160,000 so far this year which is $40,000 less than I did last year. Is this the right time for me to switch to medical or IT which I’ve heard are hotter markets?

Ron Z.

Cleveland, OH

Barb Responds

Dear Ron:

You have 10 years of experience in the engineering niche, and also have a client base and network of engineering candidates. Many of the aging baby boomers are engineers, and there are not enough students in engineering programs to fill those jobs. This is a very lucrative niche that should provide the quality of life you deserve to live.

My suggestion would be for you to get more focused and specialized within your niche. Go back two years and study the criteria of the business you have closed. Do not review where you wrote job orders; only review business that resulted in placements. Now spend 85% of your time focused on that exact business. This focus will help you lower your placement-to-fill ratio and close more deals.

In this competitive market, one of the keys to success is getting two or three of your candidates in the final interview process, and sending your candidates on more than one opportunity. The Internet has made it easy for candidates to schedule interviews on their own and most candidates prefer to make a choice.

Your reduction in production is not due to your niche, and I would seriously reconsider walking away from the network you’ve established both with your engineering clients and candidates.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.
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