Generalist vs. Industry Niche Recruiter?

Lately I’ve had conversations with candidates asking me whether or not I would follow up with them after submitting their resume to a client. That’s a great question and something candidate’s should be asking. I’ve seen postings on LinkedIn that share stories of a recruiter asking for a candidate’s resume and then never hearing back from them. This really boils down to one thing…many conversations with clients that don’t understand the difference between a Generalist Agency and an Industry Niche Professional Recruiter.

Whether you are a company needing to grow your organization or replace an under-performing team member or a candidate looking for your next challenge and opportunity, make sure that you’re choosing to align yourself with the right choice for you. There are key differences in Generalist Agencies and Industry Niche Professional Recruiters.



Will work in most industries and with most functions. Generalists are far more transactional – they tend to post on job boards, collect resumes, and submit resumes; rinse and repeat. A Generalist tends to primarily match a resume to a job spec. The key attribute for Generalist firms is speed; and if they’re not successful quickly, they need to move on to another assignment.


Industry Niche Professional Recruiters

Specialized in a given industry and have earned an industry-wide reputation. A Niche Recruiter at a professional search firm will focus on specific client needs and devote careful time to selection and qualification; rather than a being a resume service. A Niche Recruiter will develop relationships both with the client and candidate. They will get a full and complete understanding of their client’s needs and qualify candidates and provide information beyond a resume… that takes time, attention and most important…respect. They will have their finger on the pulse of industry trends, conditions and technology. They speak with their industry’s leaders every day and will understand the culture of their client and what traits a candidate will require to achieve success. As a result, retention and ramp up time will be improved with their presented candidates.

Another big difference is in the quantity and quality of candidates presented. A Generalist Agency will wade through hundreds of resumes with limited industry experience. A Niche Recruiter will have a firm understanding of the role and function and what will be required in order to achieve success. In the end, the client will ultimately receive three to five qualified candidates that have been thoroughly qualified for both a professional and cultural fit. The Niche Professional Recruiter will save their client time and money by presenting candidates that are both interested and qualified and ready to make a move to their organization.

Generalist Agencies and Niche Professional Recruiters offer different solutions, based on the client’s needs. If a client has a position that requires a large volume of applicants and only transferable skills, the Generalist Agency may make sense. A Niche Professional Search Firm is a better fit for clients that require candidates with a highly specialized skill set and strong industry knowledge and established relationships.


About Egret

Egret Consulting was established in 1999 and has grown to become the largest search firm exclusive to the Electrical Industry. Egret Consulting has a proven search process that includes 32 discreet steps to identify, attract, and land qualified candidates in Sales, Operations, Marketing and Engineering roles.


Written by Rob Wieska

Ask the Expert – May 2017

Q: Hi Prudence, I’ve been interviewing with a distributor for about two weeks and just spent another full day with them. Nearing the end of the time with them they told me that the ball was in my court, not “do you want the job?” or “we’d love you to come work for us”. I’m not sure how to read that, do you think they mean if I want the job to say so? I have had the same job for almost 20 years, and I never technically interviewed for it. It was a friend’s dad who hired me. Needless to say, I have no idea what I’m doing. Any advice? – Eric

A: Hi Eric- You didn’t mention if you actually wanted the job, but let’s assume you do. I think they’re looking for you to ask for it. If you do want this job…tell them! Call the person you’re interviewing with (don’t email) and tell them that you have been really impressed by the company and the team, and you’d love to come on board. Then be quiet, this will be hard, but put it out there and read the reaction. Sounds to me like they want you but want you to make the first move. Best of luck! Let me know where you land. – Prudence


Have a question? Click HERE to ask one of our experts!

LIGHTFAIR and Future Thoughts on Technology

Ted Konnerth and Brooke Ziolo returned from LFI last week with a list of thoughts and ideas that came from their meetings with dozens of exhibitors and clients. Nearly everybody they spoke with had comments on the trends of IoT. The industry appears to be quickly adopting IoT concepts into their product line and the future of sensor embedded lighting is poised for growth. In many ways, this reminds me of a conversation with a lighting CEO about 8-10 years ago, when at their LFI booth, the CEO mentioned that as far as you can see, it’s all LED, but every rep he spoke to said that their revenue of LED equipment compared to legacy equipment was about 3% LED. In short… the LFI conference was a future mart; not based on current realities.  IoT is definitely the future, but for whom?

In a joint collaboration at LFI between Ted Konnerth, Bill Astary, and Russ Clark, there was an open discussion of the impacts of technology on channel partner adoption. Bill Astary and Russ Clark are both Georgia Tech faculty members and involved in research on a variety of channel impacts of technology adoption.  The key issues from the presentation were boiled down to: Who’s going to sell this stuff?

The electrical industry has been on a rapid transformation. Grid automation, smart meters, distributed generation and alternative generation have combined into a blizzard of new technologies, new concepts and new approaches. But the question remains…who’s going to sell this stuff?

The industry has absorbed a lot of these changes with a grudging merger of tech talent and legacy electrical talent. But the key to revenue growth is always tied to direct relationships with the customer. And customer relationships tie back into the quality of your sales organization and product development.

So the future of IoT and related technologies exposes the weaknesses of all of the industries that are combined in an IoT program: Sensor development, sensor placement (i.e. the host product), communication network (Datacom, telecom) data aggregation and data analytics (IT systems), and feedback loops into actionable responses (building automation, factory automation, ERP systems, data management systems, etc.).  So, who’s going to ‘sell’ this?

  • Sensor manufacturers?
  • Host product manufacturers (lighting, grid equipment, HVAC manufacturers, machine tool manufacturers)?
  • Building automation providers?
  • Software companies?

If you think about ‘channel’ for a quick minute… the list above demonstrates the complexity of channel relationships. So, if the HVAC community assumes their share of influence on IoT deployment, then HVAC sales organizations and channel partners will promote IoT. Similarly, lighting, power-distribution,machine tool,datacom, communication, and software people all have their sphere of influence to promote IoT.  So getting to the customer introduces significant complexity.

And then there’s the sharing of technology issues. I call those the ‘can’t we all get along’ issues. You’ve heard the buzzwords: interoperability, communication protocol, security, scalability, liability, etc. Each of those is critical to successful adoption of IoT. None of those have been adequately addressed to the point of agreement across the players.

And then there’s the tactical side of the issue; who’s gonna sell this stuff? Where are the sales and product people that can comprehend the channel strategy to define ‘customer’ and identify how to coordinate the pieces into a professional presentation that leads to an order? The lighting industry has seen a growth of talent from the tech industry enter the market. Many of those are performing well at the technical level; but many are failing at the connection to the customer side.

The current state of the talent market is simply… scarce. We are largely at full employment. Technical people with college degrees are over 97% employed. Advanced degreed people are over 98% employed. And now we need talent that can comprehend new business models: SaaS, Li-Fi, licensing IP, LaaS, niche marketing and emerging technology that is beyond just ‘lighting’: agricultural lighting, vertical farming, human centric lighting, UV sterilization, biological lighting and more.

And the growth in new markets has only begun. Just think of new technologies that have been introduced… and then think how lighting will interact with: drones autonomous cars, EV charging, cyber security, smart cities, smart homes, solar power, DC power generation/distribution, wireless controls, Amazon and more to come. Lighting has arrived at the Second Pivot: Pivot 1 was LED and smart lighting. Pivot 2 is the future; it’s the digitization of lighting and the impacts of that move into tech that awaits us all.

Which begs the question: who’s gonna  sell this stuff?

To see the full presentation of:  The Impact of LED Technology on Leadership Talent, CLICK HERE

Top 5 LinkedIn Tips

Your LinkedIn profile might be low on your radar with the busyness of a job search. While it seems great as a quick place to put your work experience or for connecting with people, you may shrug it off as not much more. The truth is, your LinkedIn profile should be in tip-top shape before you even begin your search.

Our recruiters have created a list of the top 5 LinkedIn tips, from how to create an amazing summary to how to showcase your accomplishments and skills.

#1 – Make sure your photo is professional

While you might love a recent selfie or a quick photo a friend snapped, it may not be the best choice for a professional network. The best photos are head-shots that are clear and well lit.  There are even photographers who specialize in head-shots.



#2 – Create a great summary

Your summary should be between 3-4 paragraphs long. You can even add a bulleted area showcasing the things that make you standout. Your summary is your story. Walk the reader through your education, what qualifies you, specific skills and show numbers to show your achievements.



#3 – Add your work experience

While many people add the name of the company, position, and dates of employment, you should take it a step further. Add your job description, projects you’ve worked on and  links to the website if it shows something you have worked on.



#4 – Get recommendations

While this might seem unimportant, it’s great for recruiters and companies to see what others say about you. Ask current and past coworkers to write something about you but be specific. If you worked on a project together, ask them to talk about that and what the experience was like. Ask for recommendations once a month or a few times a year. You will also notice a section for endorsements. These are great as well, but recommendations hold much more weight.



#5 – Start writing

Now on LinkedIn, you can publish your own articles. Write about things going on in your field. Add your opinions, explain what you may see as a solution or suggest industry related ideas. This will help show your passion for your industry!


Forbes names Egret Consulting amongst the Top 250 Best Executive Recruiting Firms in 2017

Mundelein, IL – May 15, 2017 – Egret Consulting Group, the largest search firm dedicated solely to the electrical industry was named amongst the top 250 “Best Executive Recruiting Firms” listed by Forbes for 2017. The recent article was published on on May 3, 2017, written by Jeff Kauflin.


Forbes worked with analytics firm Statista to compile a list of 4,000 executive recruiting companies. They then asked thousands of recruiters, employees who have worked with recruiting companies and H.R. managers to take an online survey, and recommend up to 10 recruiting firms (excluding their own). With over 20,000 recommendations, each company was then ranked by the highest number of recommendations.


Egret Consulting is proud to have been named on the 2017 Forbes list and looks forward to continually working hard to assist both clients and candidates in their search. Egret’s CEO, Ted Konnerth, PhD said after receiving the news “ We’ve always felt that Egret has been the largest and most professional search firm serving the electrical industry, but this validates our value proposition of client-centric, ethical and professional recruitment practices. We are honored by the nomination”.


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