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The Resilient Recruiter

May 29, 2020

As the market continues to be challenging due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the search and recruitment industry remains ultra-competitive. How can small boutique recruiting firms and solo recruiters compete against the large, well-known search firms who have greater resources at their disposal?  

In this episode of the Resilient Recruiter, my wonderful guest Matt Schwartz shares how he runs his retained search practice in New York City, one of the most competitive markets in the world. Matt is the President of MJS Executive Search, a small boutique search firm that he has been running for 17 years. With fees averaging to $100,000, his firm is serving Fortune 500 companies including American Express, Mastercard, and PepsiCo. How does a small boutique firm pitch against incumbent top 10 search firms, and win? Listen to this episode and find out.

Also, he shared his astounding journey on how he recovered from Covid19 and as well as the mindset and actions he had to take while recuperating, enabling him to close a very significant deal while on his sickbed.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [1:10] Matt shares what he had to endure and how he recovered from the coronavirus.
  • [4:18] How he closed a search while recuperating.
  • [6:30] Proactive steps Matt took to overcome his frustration caused by the virus.
  • [13:25] Matt narrates his career and transition to building his own search firm.
  • [25:55] How does a very small boutique search firm win against incumbent headhunting firms?
  • [27:55] What is “removing the black box” approach?
  • [33:45] How to negotiate a relationship with talent acquisition partners.
  • [38:23] What helped Matt’s firm to “get their foot in the door”
  • [40:30] Matt shares his greatest learning and how it resulted in a drastic change.

“I was being careful but probably got it through my travels.”

Matt is based in Westchester County in New York, which was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US. He described in detail the symptoms that he had to endure. “It was frustrating, a lot of days,” said Matt as he shares what was going on in his mind while recovering. Matt shared proactive steps he took to overcome that frustration and how he still took care of business. Amazingly, he was able to complete a search and earned a placement fee of $185,000.

Setting His Firm Apart from his Competitors

Operating in a highly competitive market, what sets MJS Executive Search from its well-known competitors?  As Matt puts it, “We are great at identifying people from alternative industries who are the best of the best of what they do, and bringing this mix of skills to diverse organizations.”

“Typically we are up against, one other firm, and typically its a large one.”  Being a smaller firm does not mean reducing your fees. “We are not any cheaper, at the end of the day it’s up to them to have a comfort in terms of who they feel more comfortable with” Part of Matt’s success is properly setting expectations with his clients and preparing well in giving his presentations. “I don’t treat a sales conversation as a sales conversation. I treat it as a consultative meeting. I come in prepared with great questions.”

Matt Schwartz Bio and Contact Info 

Matt Schwartz is the President of MJS Executive Search. MJS Executive Search is a leader in recruiting and placing senior level, transformational Marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, User Experience, Segment Marketing and Acquisition, Digital Innovation, Employee Engagement, Corporate Communications, Media Strategy, Product Management, Product Marketing and Sales leaders for Global Fortune 500 to Entrepreneurial Start-ups. Matt has been running his own firm for 17 years. Prior to that, he was with Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. Prior to that, he was with Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. 

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