Yesterday, I was on a show called: Drive Thru HR with two of my friends/colleagues (check out the replay here). We had the chance to discuss what we see as necessary qualities for today’s Recruiters and Talent Acquisition professionals. There’s no question that there has been a shift from when I started over 10 years ago. If you speak to the average jobseeker (and this includes candidates internal to your organization) – that shift isn’t exactly a positive one. It appears that as technology improved the quality of Recruitment has decreased. The opposite should be true; but alas it isn’t and people are fed-up.
I have a few friends in the market looking for new work. As such, I have become the go-to gal for all ridiculous Recruiter stories and antics. While I am rarely shocked, I am often disappointed. For this reason, I am listing the essential qualities that I believe make a Recruiter successful.
1) Jobseeker Advocacy- I am always stunned by the Recruiter that doesn’t get that it is their job to advocate for their candidates. It may be a sore spot for me, because I worked in staffing once upon a time- where everything from your paycheck to your performance depended on your ability to find talent and get them working as soon as possible. Hiring managers look to the TA professional or Recruiter for guidance on the candidate landscape and market. As a Recruiter, it is not only your job to snatch up the best candidates; but it is also your job to advocate for the ones that have the potential to be a great hires. You’re probably thinking- well doesn’t everyone have potential? The answer is “it depends”. However, there are times when the hiring manager wants what they want and despite their stubbornness you have to be courageous enough to advocate for your people; so your qualified applicants have a fair chance at being evaluated. I have advocated for candidates that were not necessarily the hiring managers first choice; but they were the best qualified and it turned out beautifully.
2) Understanding the Need– Too often, I hear about Recruiters engaging jobseekers without fully understanding the job they are recruiting for. Not only does it make the recruiter look ridiculous, but it is also a poor reflection on the company. How can you expect the candidate to get excited when you can’t answer basic questions about the position? Last I checked, the first thing a recruiter needs to do is to sit with the hiring manager and understand what they need . The next step is to do your own independent research about the position to add to what you already know. The moral of the story here is: know what you’re recruiting for and stop trying to herd jobseekers like you would cats.
3) Humility– We have all been in a position to look for new employment at one point or another. The Recruitment Process is not the place for a power trip. Often times, people are at their lowest when they are coming in for an interview- especially at the entry-level. Anything you can do to make them feel at ease-so they can put their best foot forward is advisable. Treat candidates as you would want to be treated.
4) Setting Expectations- Recruiters are busy. Nobody gets that more than I do. That being said, help yourself and the candidate by letting them know what to expect in the beginning-so they don’t have to constantly bug you for status updates. If you do this and there are still complaints, you can at least rest easy at night knowing you attempted to provide some guidance to your candidates for what they should expect during the hiring process. If candidates know what to expect they will be less inclined to stalk you for answers.
5) Get Out There- I don’t care how much Social Recruiting you do- it is no substitution for getting out of the office and out to events to meet with potential candidates. In my previous life, I was often the only Recruiter willing to go to events, job fairs and the like. Some of my co-workers were reluctant to do so relying only on internet sourcing to fill positions. To each their own, but it is almost blasphemous to be a Recruiter and not want to be out and about networking. Step away from the screen and get out to an event. It allows people to connect with you in person rather than the normal channel of applying online.
We all get busy or forget to follow-up from time-to-time. However, these should not be the defining a whole industry such as Recruitment. As with any job, the focus for Recruiters should be to deliver a consistent and quality experience. Your reputation and your company’s reputation depends on it.