(Reposted from Make HR Happen6/19/2012)
Recruiters come in all shapes, sizes and varieties but they all have one thing in common: They all need to look for a new job. Whether the recruiter lives on a large corporate org chart or is an independent floater they need to be engaged in looking for those greener pastures. This goes for the agency guru, sourcing experts, yeoman full-cycle consulting/advising/contracting recruiters and even corporate recruiting managers. No, this does not mean that they should do something else for a living or want to quit being a recruiter. On the contrary, they will become better at what they do by following the same path walked by those they are recruiting. Only by following the job seeker path is it possible to get a big picture view of the entire recruiting universe. Counsel given to job seekers is to think like a recruiter so the opposite is equally true. If you profess to be a recruiter, it is important to look beyond your current situation for a number of reasons.
- To remain proficient in your craft – It is possible to know a process so well that you not only become complacent in your ability to view the big picture but also lose touch with important changes in the recruiting environment. Practice makes perfect and daily you deal with management “experts” who don’t understand what you do and assume it is just a matter of advertising a job, reading resumes that magically show up and then moving paperwork through the system. Even though you know the reality of the complexities of the process, outside variables such as changes in the demand for certain skills and economic impact on factors such as relocation and risk-taking are out of sight unless explored. View the job market as a candidate and see what impacts your thinking about your job as it relates to other possible jobs.
- To discover new things – The status quo will always be much more comfortable to most people so seeking out and experiencing new techniques can lead to personal growth and improve the professional value added. Even if you are a front-runner in the race for innovation there are still things outside of your visual boundaries. Many people who show strong opinions about such things as social recruiting may have valid reasons, but some outspoken critics have not even tried to use any of the popular social networks to recruit. Even those who profess to embrace social media use it the wrong way and merely continue to post and pray in the new medium rather than engage in a dialog to be social. Approach social media from the candidate’s perspective and see how others are luring candidates in an effective way. The results may be surprising.
- To produce effective competitive intelligence – The talent pool for many jobs is very tight while some others are like picking the low fruit. What are the other major players doing and are they doing it right? A better question could be “Is anybody writing effective job ads?” The marketing side of recruiting should sell the company and the job to a potential hire better than the competition. Walking through a job board or corporate career site application process is eye opening and can actually allow you to x-ray the competition’s application process relative to your own applicant tracking system and database. Seeing how different systems work from the candidate perspective gives a good view of the external facing side of their process. It is always useful to challenge your own system and perhaps stage a shoot-out between vendors to find something more efficient and not just from a marketing pitch.
- To improve the candidate experience – Your candidates do not view the world through the same eyes as you do. How many corporate recruiters have actually applied to a position through their company’s career site? Try it and see how far you get before you hit a stone wall or become so frustrated that you no longer want to apply. Most systems have an autoresponder system to notify candidates that the resume has been received. Did you get a reply? What did it say? How does it feel to be acknowledged but nothing further? It may be interesting to apply to multiple jobs and see if the reply sent to confirm application makes sense if there is more than one submission. A classic failure is for a job seeker to be called for an interview only to receive a botched batch delayed robotic reply to another job giving the impression that the company is not interested. Since most companies never survey candidates on their experience, walking in their shoes can be an eye opener.
Audit your job search process and plan a schedule to “job search” continuously throughout the year along with your colleagues. Take detailed notes on your progress and brainstorm with others about improvements to be made to the application, feedback, selection, and hiring process. Formulate a plan for implementation and execution of new ideas and decide on benchmarks to measure the results. Following up on changes are important as well to insure that the situation actually improved and did not create any unexpected new problems.
Of course, there is another side benefit to the faux job search…if you are not willing to stay current in your craft and seek improvement then you probably don’t belong in recruiting anyway and should be looking for a job. Good practice is never a waste!
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