Have Recruiting Expertise, Will Travel: How to Become a Hired Gun

Hired Gun RecruiterSo, you decided to throw caution to the wind and offer your recruiting services as a hired gun. You’ve paid your dues learning the business inside and out, from sourcing to recruiting, the offer stage and retention. And you have become a recruiting software and social media ninja. You’ve compiled an extensive and impressive personal, and professional network of valuable contacts that should form a healthy seed starter for your new venture.

But now what? How do you effectively market yourself to potential clients? How can you leverage your unique expertise and subject matter knowledge into a lucrative recruiting career as a consultant or recruitment process expert?

Unique Marketing Challenges

Like any consulting enterprise, it takes mega marketing efforts using multiple media channels, networking, hard work, confidence, determination, courage and the ability to deliver. But the fast-paced and constantly changing recruiting industry presents some unique challenges, especially with the economic downturn. And the competition is cutthroat. How can you effectively transform and package your expertise and soft skills as a product? Finally, can you survive without one consistent employer? Lots of questions and no easy answers.

A Hired Gun is not Ethically Dubious

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term “hired gun,” as “an expert hired to do a specific and often ethically dubious job.” Sure, unscrupulous lawyers and corporate bagmen deserve the “ethically dubious” distinction, but certainly not highly trained recruiting consultants. Although, some ethically challenged agency recruiters have given the industry a bad reputation, the valuable talent acquisition services provided by sophisticated recruiting consultants can move the needle towards increased profits and positive employer branding.

A Hired Gun is not Disposable

Expert recruiting consultants are neither disposable nor unscrupulous, but rather valuable partners in acquiring top talent for organizations. During the height of actor Charlie Sheen’s epic, and very public dispute with the powers that be behind the TV series, Two and a Half Men, he sarcastically said, “Clearly I have no influence, I’m just a disposable hired gun that created the whole freaking ball of wax.” Really, have you watched Two and a Half Men lately? Without Sheen’s valuable contribution and unique expertise, albeit insane, the show has dropped in the ratings. Perhaps the Charlie Sheen analogy is a bit of a stretch. But expert recruiting consultants provide real quantitative value to organizations by providing top human capital that powers the engines of corporations.

Their market value is recognized and respected by CEOs committed to obtaining top talent. A quality senior level placement can pay dividends to the organization for years to come. Expert recruiting consultants are worth their weight in gold.

Contingency Consulting

Recruiting consultants have a number of fee arrangements and contracting situations to choose from. Many recruiters prefer the relative safety of consulting with search firms and working as contingency recruiters. They leverage their expertise and contacts to secure short-term contracts with companies to fill vacancies with top talent. They are paid on an hourly basis or a fixed fee. Recruiting contractors can decide to work as generalists and serve multiple industries, or opt to specialize in niche markets, such as IT and finance. Once these expert hired guns deliver the goods, they are paid and the contract ends. A company may also retain the exclusive services of a contract recruiter to conduct a comprehensive search for a C-level executive. Working a portfolio of clients on a contract basis makes it possible for a hired gun to thrive without having to depend on one major client company.

Corporate Consultant

Recruitment Process Outsourcing or RPO is the wave of the future in talent acquisition and human capital management. Hired guns can ride this wave to become valuable strategic consultants to organizations, offering a full menu of recruiting services from filling positions and sourcing, to solution consulting, including employee planning, management training, coaching, talent management, sound corporate governance and compliance practices, including succession planning. Many high-powered corporate consultants also specialize in enterprise architecture consulting, project portfolio management consulting and IT strategy and transformation. Organizations realize the value of strategic RPO and are willing to pay for it. The sky is the limit!

Metrics, Metrics, Metrics

Savvy experienced recruiters can convince organizations of the value proposition of their “product,” by providing a detailed ROI analysis, industry metrics tailored for each client and a detailed outcome assessment when the contract ends. Sourcing effectiveness, predictive pipeline modeling, market-sourcing analysis, interview-to-hire ratio, offer-acceptance rate, cost-per-hire, candidate and hiring manager satisfaction, and recruitment process-management improvement, are some of the more important metrics for a corporate consultant project.

The growth in RPO and organizations’ need for top talent to sustain economic health will continue to provide a viable market for the multifaceted services of recruiting consultants and recruitment process experts. Becoming a respected hired gun and valuable corporate consultant has never been more lucrative, even during a sour economy. But to become a successful top gun, you also must excel in social media marketing, networking, brand promotion and attraction based marketing to draw clients to you.

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Marie Larsen
Marie is a writer for Recruiter.com covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.