Build a Niche They Said; A Year (and a bit) Later

Saragossa

Build a Niche They Said; A Year (and a bit) Later

After rather drastically changing my approach to recruiting just over a year ago, I thought I’d try my hand at writing a blog about it. I want to talk about the importance of carving out a niche to anyone currently considering a career in recruitment; existing recruiters who have perhaps hit a wall; and companies who are inundated with prospective recruiters (mainly to remind you that we’re not all bad!).

Not another IT recruiter?!

I first decided to build my own niche because I was fed up with being labelled a ‘typical’ IT recruiter, trying to specialise in every area and every technical role within the industry. I wanted/needed to do something different, as while I was generating results, in my mind the job wasn’t as sustainable or rewarding as I wanted it to be.

At the time I felt I was selling myself as a real asset to businesses which were hiring. But when I stripped back the words, all I could safely say I was doing differently to most recruiters was being honest with my service. With that said, honesty certainly isn’t a trait to be overlooked when it comes to recruitment (given the amount of daily blogs, articles and general rants about ‘dishonest’ and ‘lazy’ recruiters), but I knew I needed to offer something more if I was going to make a real impact.

Why Insurance?

By the time I decided to change my approach to recruitment, I had (by chance) one or two Insurance clients at that point. Insurance interested me because it’s a straight-forward business model (everyone needs Insurance), and at the time there was a lot of excitement around the sector.

Insurance start-ups were launching left, right and centre, and whilst start-ups are not the best place to make money quickly, their enthusiasm about their businesses allowed me to attend events and meet people who could aid my development in the sector.

Insurance also tied in well with the Saragossa brand and focus on financial technology. Name a hedge fund, asset manager or investment management firm in London, and the likelihood is we are one of their preferred suppliers; so it was time to extend our expertise to the world of Insurance.

The challenges of carving out a niche

One definite lesson for me this year has been that building a niche takes time! Having not focused on one specific area previously, part of me naively thought I’d be recruiting for every UK Insurance company within the first 6 months!

Initially it was a challenge to stand out, as I quickly learned that a number of recruiters were already selling themselves as specialists within Insurance, with no credentials to back it up.

I now work with a host of big Insurance brands, but as the saying goes, ‘You can’t work with everyone’, as even now some people still don’t want to listen to me! However, I think part of the reason for that is it’s very easy to say you work with ‘X’ ‘Y’ and ‘Z’, and also saying you’re a “specialist” is old news; now it’s about proving that you really do know what you’re talking about.

It’s not all about Insurance

Business is business, and I still recruit for roles outside of Insurance, but it’s becoming less frequent as my Insurance portfolio grows. What I would say when building your own niche is that you need to strike that balance between maintaining a profitable desk and working with clients you have a good relationship with. But it’s also about looking after your own future, and in my personal case, that’s Insurance.

Success

Like I said above, I still recruit outside of Insurance when it makes sense to do so. But as I sit here today, my current vacancies are all within Insurance:

  • Business Architect (up to £120k)
  • Solution Architect (up to £60k)
  • Infrastructure Architect (up to £95k)
  • Enterprise Architect (£95k)
  • Test Manager (£60k)
  • Automation Test Lead (£50k)
  • Infrastructure Engineer (£60k)
  • Senior Data Warehouse Developer (£65k)
  • Senior Software Developer in Test (£75k)
  • Senior JavaScript Developer (£75k)
  • Data Architect (£75k)
  • Head of Testing (£120k)

 

Plans for the future

My plans are in sync with the plans of Saragossa; we are growing, as is my client base within Insurance and my team as a result. The plan is simply to keep identifying the best talent in the market and connect them with more and more Insurers. It’s my aim to be the ‘go-to-guy’ for the Insurance market, and for Saragossa to be the agency of choice when hiring. Wish me luck!

Saragossa are a talent provider specialising in the Financial Technology, Financial Operations and Data Science sectors. Our role is to match clients with high calibre candidates. Our work encompasses filling temporary contracts along with building permanent teams and resourcing projects. To find out more, please contact enquiries@saragossa.co.uk or call 020 7871 3666.