How I Became A Headhunter, Part 3
Made My Debut On

How I Became A Headhunter, What's Next

Over the years my firm, e-Strategies Group, Inc., has morphed a few times in the services it has provided. While perm placements in IT have always been at the center of the business we have changed as the market has changed.

In the early days we helped our clients with job fairs and responses from newspaper and web ads. It gave us the ability to establish credibility, learn what the hiring managers wanted, learn the culture, and establish a personal relationship. When job fairs and ads were not producing the right candidates for a particular job we would get an exclusive on the position.

This was a win-win for both our clients and us.

After the dot-com bubble burst we continued to do perm placements but now they were splits with other recruiting firms. Much of the business was us supplying the candidates to our partners and their job orders.

Post 9-11 we started focusing less time on splits and more on project work while doing our own perm work. During this time we found many of our recruiting partners, and a couple of our own recruiters, leave the business. Project work was a way to build recurring revenue even though the margins were pretty slim.

In the last two years we have seen levels return to what I believe are “normal”. Not the hype of the late 90’s and not the recession of 2001. But “normal”.

I have always had office space of my own, as I need a place to go to work. At home I am easily distracted and while some are more productive at home, I am much less.

I started a conversation with what I have called our “loose confederation of recruiters” about a year ago. I wanted to get everyone in the office working together with central operations. Many have resisted a more formalized system.

I made a choice.

e-Strategies Group is undergoing a makeover. Literally. I have pulled down the web site, and have started a re-design. A name search is underway with my attorney. e-Strategies Group does not really say what I do or who I am.

This blog, MN Headhunter that I started in May, was the start of the re-branding.

The sub-lease on my office space is coming to an end in September and I am choosing between two new locations. One in the Warehouse District next to Downtown Minneapolis and the other blocks away from the University of Minnesota.

I should have the work on the new company name, marketing materials, and office space completed by October 1.

My clients and candidates have been very supportive of this decision and many have responded with critical and positive feedback on the plan.

Over the next year I am going to reach out to recruiters, researchers, and admins I have met over the years and see who is interested in being part of a search firm modeled after the way many law firms operate. After the first of the year I will begin searching for office space that will put us all under one rough and one operation in November of ’06.

In the mean time I will be focusing on strengthening my relationships with my current clients and marketing to new ones. The focus will only be on perm and contract IT positions. I would prefer to work on the positions that current vendors are not filling. Either because they are not “cool” enough or the ones that are really hard to fill.

My belief has always been that a Headhunter should only be paid a fee for a search that the client itself could not do.  Basically I want to be the guy, soon to be firm, that a company calls to find the right person to fill a critical position.

Being one of many on a vendor list and being forced to use the job boards to quick fill a position at a low fee or slim margin is not what I am looking for. I am looking to fill positions that a client truly sees value in paying a Headhunter to fill.

I will continue to work with student groups at the University of Minnesota by way of my seminar on how to do a job search.

I will spend quite a bit of time getting the word out to non-profits in the area aware that I have created a sister blog to MN Headhunter, Here groups can post their technology needs and volunteers from the tech community and contact them directly to help out.

So that’s the past, present, and a plan for the future.

Time to get to work…


Jim Durbin

Great for you - living out the American Dream.


The comments to this entry are closed.