I’m celebrating the fifth anniversary of starting my company, The Rivet Group.
All my life, I have struggled with not giving myself much, if any, time to reflect when I accomplish something. I tend to zoom off to the next thing. I was having coffee with one of my dear friends and she told me that a five-year anniversary for any business is kind of a big deal and challenged me to humble brag about it. If you indulge me for a bit, I’ll tell you why I started this journey.
When I set out to start my own recruiting shop, it was for a variety of personal and professional reasons.
One of the primary drivers was to focus more on quality than quantity. Recruiting agencies, like many sales organizations, are a numbers game: “Hire X recruiters to Interview Y number of candidates and throw them against Z number of searches and inevitably some of them will make placements and therefore money.”
In that formula, the “ideal” client company for agency recruiters to work with are the ones who regularly churn through temps or employees with a high frequency that a recruiter can keep refilling, ideally after they made it past the guarantee period. Get enough of those clients, I was told, and you can make a great living.
I know that model is incredibly numbing to job seekers, who hate to be treated as “inventory” or “sold” on a bad opportunity. Likewise, I heard from clients about the bad behavior of recruiting agencies. Either slapping the hiring manager with dozens of marginally qualified candidates they scraped up or outright lying to everyone in the process to make that next placement.
I understand the activity math equation. It has produced results for decades for the industry. I felt like I had outgrown the model. It just wasn’t for me.
I started by out by targeting growing companies that had a lot to offer a candidate and were a great place to work. I chose to avoid high-turnover companies that “eat their young.”
Instead of talking to dozens of job seekers each week to pad my “inventory,” I chose to spend much more time finding a handful of exceptional candidates, or finding candidates genetically engineered to fit a role my client needs.
So far, it’s been working. I have a fill rate around 90%, in an industry where 25% is considered pretty good. That is mainly due to limiting which clients I work with. I work with a fraction of the candidates I used to, which is giving me more time to spend with each one, or and to be available if they need to discuss something about their search.
I find that recruiters are often like plumbers or mechanics – generally off the radar until there is a problem that needs to be fixed. But apparently what I do and how I do it does get noticed. Most of my business at this point is referrals, which is an amazing compliment.
The past five years have absolutely been a journey – and I hope to continue for many more.
If you find yourself in the middle of a career crossroads and want to have a conversation, let me know. If you are just ready to find a new job with a new employer, or are building a great team of your own, I can help with that too.
Thanks for reading and here’s to many more years together.