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Recruiters and Brands

Harry Joiner: I don't think most recruiters have a brand. I think most recruiters are completely undifferentiated. I went to the directory of websites and pulled up a list of executive search firms. Here's ten, starting at the top. AL Associates, Allen Darling Consulting, The Alexander Group, Allen Search, Barrett Webb, Basil One Oliver, Bellwether Executive Search....

What the hell do any of these companies do? What is their differentiation? I like what Al Ries said in "Positioning": a brand is like the edge of a knife. You need a sharp edge. And the extent to which you try to extend that brand over too many things is the extent to which you dull the edge of that brand. You ought to pick one horse and ride the hell out of it. Look I'm no genius, we all know that, but I think everybody ought to have a brand that speaks to whatever it is they do.

Animal: But look at Jason Warner from Starbucks. He makes candidate experience his recruiting brand.

Harry Joiner: It's impossible to occupy a top-of-mind position in an over-communicated market based on touchy-feely soft attributes like how you make the candidate feel. He wouldn't be able to accomplish the same objective if he was working for Rawlings Sporting Goods or Baxter Health Care. There is a certain cachet about the Starbucks brand .

Source: 46 minute mark, Animal Panel 07.10.10

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