Adapting to the Changing Landscape

When I co-founded Protis Global with Laura Gonzalez nearly 25 years ago, the recruiting process was straightforward, made more so by the training and guidance we received from Management Recruiters International. Coming out of the consumer products industry, I leveraged my contacts to find some good candidates to market. I actively developed relationships with several companies, placed some candidates with these companies, and received additional job orders in return. I hired a few more people and the business grew.

Our days revolved around phone time; our goal was to make about a hundred calls a day – send-outs, job orders and second interviews. For quite a few years, the formula seemed simple: grow the candidate database, market to companies, get send-outs, place candidates, receive more job orders, hire more people then repeat. Stick to the formula and the business would grow; it worked, and Protis became successful and well-known in our areas of focus. To a point.

In 2002, LinkedIn was born, and things slowly began to change. Fast forward, technology has made the world smaller and more open. In essence, proprietary candidate and client databases went the way of the buggy. I knew Protis Global had to find ways to adapt. Over several years, I arrived at three fundamental insights that shape the way Protis conducts its business today:

Becoming advisors. First, our clients need more from their search partner than just filling their open positions. They need advice to help them shape their organizations, to present their companies as great places to work and to identify culture gaps that prevent them from becoming employers of choice. We began to train our teams to align with client companies and deliver more robust solutions – not just marketing placeable candidates, but acting as a true talent advisory partner.

Uber was born because taxi services would not innovate, and Kodak died because it stayed analog. We must leave behind the transactional approach by learning to drive in-bound inquiry through storytelling and serving our clients as advisors. If we do not accept that job orders and placements are by-products of a consultative approach to organization and company building – rather than the number of phone calls made – we, too, will go the way of the horse and buggy.

PREMIUM CONTENT: The Gig Economy and Human Cloud Landscape: 2019 Update

Deep client understanding. My second belief grew out of something I read, but then experienced directly. In essence, if you can explain to someone their pain better than they can articulate it themselves, they will subconsciously give you permission to resolve their issues for them. Using technology, research and, most importantly, active listening, we learned to identify our clients’ challenges, respect their brands and build messaging that not only attracted candidates but also reinforced their market positions.

Brand awareness. The last insight that greatly affected our reinvention of Protis is the realization that we have to build our own brand to create name awareness as thought leaders in our chosen industry sectors. Even a great company can lose out to an average company if the average company is better known in the marketplace. By reenergizing our public relations efforts and implementing inbound marketing through social media, multi-media initiatives and engagement, we will move up the value chain. We use a broad range of tactics – blogs, podcasts, short story videos, infographics, webinars – to showcase our knowledge of market trends and insights that matter to our clients. And, we help our clients see the need to do the same in order to build their employment brands.

Recently, my experience at Protis – and those revelations regarding the need for fundamental change in in search and recruitment businesses – led to my acquiring MRI, where I became CEO. With over 50 years of pioneering innovation, MRI has helped thousands of search firms and individual recruiters find success in our industry. But, like our industry, we are evolving. At MRI, we are building on our history while embracing new approaches and new services to help our MRINetwork member firms face the new reality. Our evolved worldview is being reflected in every facet of our services, including training, organizational development, marketing, and business performance and strategy consulting. We also are making select services, for the first time, accessible to search and recruitment firms outside MRINetwork.

All of us in the industry must embrace the current disruption and make it work for us. Disruption need not signal the decline of our industry, but rather its transformation. The upheaval is already upon us so there’s no time to waste. Please join us!

MORE: How HR tech can turn you into a strategic talent advisor


Bert Miller

Bert Miller
Bert miller is CEO of MRI Network.

Bert Miller

Share This Post


Related Articles

Powered by ·