Why Use Specialized Recruiters?

Generalist Recruiters are not the same as Industry Specialized Recruiters.  Although they may know the ins and outs of how to find people, the broad spectrum of searches conducted by many generalist recruiters limits how much they know about any specific industry.  Different industries have different needs, corporate cultures, and expectations.  When you have an industry specific expert finding your talent, it will yield better candidates in a shorter period of time.
Here is why.
What keyword searches, tracking software, and simple skill set matches fail to do is look at the candidate as an individual. Industry specific recruiters know their industry well enough to be able to look at a candidate’s resume, analyze where they worked and look at the job summaries. From their experience, they can tell if a given candidate has the skills and knowledge to fit the job.  In writing a resume, candidates have to determine how to take all of the tasks, skills, and education they have and summarize it.  Just because in their summarization they failed to include a keyword or specific skill doesn’t mean that they are a poor candidate.  Automated search may be eliminating some highly qualified candidates because of a lack of “matching” words on a resume.
Experts in an industry also know that titles and jobs do not necessarily transfer from one organization to another.  What may be a manager level position at one organization may be called a director level at another.  Each organization is unique.  Industry specialists know those differences from having worked with the companies in their industry over the years. Knowing the players in their industry will allow the specialist to look beyond the job title to the actual job function and thus increase the scope of the search to candidates who might otherwise be missed.
Along with job title on a resume, another evaluation tool many use to screen out candidates is job transitions. These can be very telling on a resume.  However, discerning whether the reason for leaving was an advancement opportunity, some other candidate related issue or an employer related economic issue is difficult.  A candidate who happened to be involved with plant closures is very different from one who cannot commit to a position. Industry specific recruiters have knowledge regarding company expansions, cut-backs, buyouts, closures, mergers, and the effect of general economic conditions on the companies in their industry.  Having that industry expertise can help evaluate why an individual has transitions and whether they are truly job hopping.
Another component is that when the recruiter knows the industry, they know the skills required. They can read the resumes and truly understand the candidates experience from the standpoint of the technical abilities required to do the job well.

Many times recruiters contact potential candidates who are currently not in the job market.  The industry specific recruiter knows what kind of candidate will best fill the role and what is happening within a specific company that may encourage someone working there to potentially be interested in a new position.
The most important reason, however, is the connections.  When someone specializes in recruiting within an industry they know the people. Being able specialize in an industry helps to develop relationships.  Those relationships help bring better candidates to the table.
Expertise in any field is important, executive recruiting included.  Knowing the industry is critical to being able to bring great candidates quickly to the hiring manager.  When looking for talent, hiring the experts will get you more qualified talent in a shorter period of time.