Thoughts on picking a recruiting vertical; building a new desk

What is a good vertical market to recruit in?   I get asked this question every week.    

However, most often the question is more a question of what I “feel” would be a good market to start a new desk specialty in.  

“Donato, what do you feel a good new desk specialty would be?” 

I say. “I feel like a great market would be placing sales reps in recruiting software companies that do real time data mining of contact information.”  

They respond, “but Donato, Broadlook is the only company I know that does this kind of thing.”

“That’s right”, I say.  “..and I don’t pay fees”   <grin>

About this time they realize I am having fun at their expense and I chime in. “You asked me what I feel, not what I think.”

Most recruiters don’t think it through thoroughly when starting a new desk.   Lets face it, thinking is hard.  A day of designing software wipes me out more than a triathlon (ok I’ve only done one). It’s not their fault.  This is how they were taught.  Or I should say, this is how they learned.  They watch someone who was a big biller and tried to do what they heard.

When discussing the creation of a new desk, I hear a good deal about reading everything from an industry, articles, journals, etc.  Wake up, this type of activity is about learning about the industry, not if the niche will support a desk.  If I am going to trust my livelihood to one vertical or another,  forget the gut, give me data.

“Hey Donato, are you telling me to ignore my gut instinct?”  


The role of the “gut instinct” in this whole process should precede the data gathering.  The gut should lead you to the top several candidates and then you then expose to the scientific method.  The gut gets excited while reading and learning.  Don’t let it get carried away.

The gut is the emotion, the wind.  Let the data be the rudder and the sail.

To start a new desk, I would prefer solid facts about a potential specialty, such as:

How many open jobs, by state and nationally?   (size of universe)
How many recruiters specialize in the niche?     (competition)
What are the average fees paid to recruiters?    (compensation)
What resources can I use to build a candidate pool?  (sourcing)
What resources can I use to win business?  (marketing)
Will I enjoy working this desk specialty? (mental health)
Can I own the space, can I brand this space as mine?  (branding)

Once you do decide on a new desk specialty, based on the data, the first thing to do is think about branding yourself.  I’ll focus on the other questions in my next few blogs.  A great example of branding is Harry Joiner and his site

How easy is it to brand yourself?   Two areas that I know are hot are Physical Therapists and Nanotechnology.  Very different, but both very hot.  So I went out to and checked the following web sites:

BIOFUELRECRUITER.COM                            (FREE)
FUELCELLRECRUITER.COM                          (TAKEN)

Most of them were free and only one was taken. Again, all hot, hot, hot.

Heads up.  Don’t try to go register, PHYSICALTHERAPISTRECRUITER.COM or NANOTECHNOLOGYRECRUITER.COM because I just registered them.  The others are free as of this writing.  I may not fetch the 99K that Jason Davis is asking for, but they will sell for a hefty profit.

The first Physical Therapist Recruiter to purchase the Broadlook Suite, you can have that site for free.  (I have no passion for that desk).  New clients only.

Don’t ask for  Nanotech excites me.  It’s mine.

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