It’s hard to believe that the Bowerman Group has been in business for a decade. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned in that time.
As I’m writing this post, I’m reflecting on the last 10 years in the recruiting business. It was actually in November 2009 that I started The Bowerman Group, realizing a dream to start my own search firm after 15 years as a recruiter and building my desk in the luxe brand niche.
“How about starting a new company on the heels of the (as-yet-unnamed) Great Recession? What could go wrong?”
Well, that was precisely the plan. If a recruitment company started in an economic downturn could thrive, then we must have a good business plan!
Think back for a moment: 10 years ago we didn’t have iPads, Uber, Spotify or Airbnb. Google Chrome was only a year old — we were barely scratching the surface of the tech revolution to come! Some have talked of the potential demise of recruiters; with LinkedIn, A.I., Internal Recruiters, etc., the entire recruitment process can be automated! Not so many years ago, Monster.com was going to replace us. But, 10 years in, my search firm just had the best month in its history.
Why? At the end of the day, I believe it’s because we are humans and want to interact with other humans. Algorithms and A.I. can never replace conversations and the innate knowledge of company cultures and personal stories that a seasoned recruiter has amassed with time working in an industry niche.
Technology has brought us some wonderful advancements that bring us information at a dizzying pace. Of course, my company benefits from technology and we leverage all of the tools at our disposal to more easily find and reach out to people. Beyond the initial outreach, however, recruitment is a personal engagement—what conversations are more important than those affecting your career and how you spend 40+ hours of every week?
I truly believe that the human element can never be replaced—hundreds of social media “friends” and “followers” don’t fully replace the human voice and face to face interaction.
Another death knell for recruiters is supposedly the increase in companies’ use of internal recruiters. Why pay recruitment fees when one person, with one annual salary, can “cover all of those fees?” Truthfully, we love partnering with internal recruiters to add value to our clients’ recruitment process! There is a higher candidate response rate to outreach from a reputable recruiting firm than an internal company recruiter. Think about it: If you are in the mood for coffee, would you prefer a Starbucks with dozens of options or a cart that only sells 8 oz. black coffee?
If you’re a candidate who is open to new employment opportunities, are you more likely to reply to the outreach from a company with one brand/one product line and likely one position, or a recruiter who is entrenched in your niche and could have many possible options for you now or in the future? Amplify this by the fact that—if you are a candidate in a desired employment demographic—you are likely receiving many, many emails, InMails, calls, and texts pitching different opportunities.
I think it’s an interesting commentary when a candidate says to us “Wow, you actually called me? No one does that anymore!”
Remember that Bruce Springsteen song, “Human Touch” (start humming to yourself here, and if you don’t know it: Google it): I just want someone to talk to, And a little of that Human Touch. Here’s to the humans in our business—connecting with other humans, changing careers and making a difference.
Rob Bowerman is President and Founder of The Bowerman Group- a leading executive search firm for luxury brands in the US and Canada. Rob is also President of The Pinnacle Society, the premier consortium of industry-leading recruiters in North America.