"Anyone can match a résumé with a job description. That takes a week or so to learn. And you may even make some placements. But it’s the craft of recruiting I am talking about. The art. The skill of it. That takes years. Decades. Forever. Great recruiters are sponges. For life. You are never totally ‘on top of your game‘ in this business. You can always get better."
A quick thanks to Greg Savage for this comment on LI last week which gave me the idea for this blog post.
What a great definition of our job - the art of recruiting. I sometimes forget how much I've learned over the many years I've been in recruiting until I read something like Greg's post. I love that there is an art to my job even though many people think anyone can do it. The recruiters who "have it" know what I'm talking about.
Here's a few of the skills that I think make a successful recruiter:
1. We create relationships with our candidates.
From my initial phone call with a candidate, my goal is to learn about what makes them tick and if they can do the job at hand. If I'm lucky they have a good resume to start the process going, but in case they don't, I ask enough questions to figure out if they can do the job. Make sure the candidate understands the job, the culture of the company and what they will be doing for the company. If your candidate has always worked in a government job, don't submit them for a start-up company job even if they say they want it. It won't be a fit. The culture of the company is just as important as the job description, so make sure they understand both before submitting them.
With so much competition in the recruiting industry, you need to create the trust of your candidates. Keep in touch with them continually throughout the process. Once they have a phone interview with your client, call them. Make sure they're still interested in the job. Then it's on to the face to face. Call them again and see how it went and make sure they are still interested. Ask them if they would accept the job? If they have any concerns find out before they say NO to the offer. You can often help them get what they want if you ask about their concerns.
2. We create relationships with our clients.
To be a successful recruiter your clients need to know you're good at your job. That's what makes them want to do business with you instead of the other joe blow recruiter down the street. Just like we want our candidates to trust us, your clients need to trust you too. That means send them the best candidates you can find. Look for the needle in the haystack and don't stop until you find the "A" player they are looking for. That also means if you find someone that can do the job, but may not have everything they are looking for talk to them about considering your candidates. Just be sure they can do the job and look for the "right fit". For example, I had a candidate that only had 3 years of sales experience and my client was looking for 5-7. My guy was good though and could sell circles around some more experienced sales people. I submitted him and told my client - he can do the job!. My client loved him because he was hungry, determined and smart. He did get the offer and still works for the same company 3 years later, which in sales is a long time.
3. Always be available (sometimes this is hard)
Amazing work ethic is a must for good recruiters. That means being available to your candidates and clients when they want to talk with you and trying to be happy about it. It might also mean talking to candidates over "their/your" lunchtime, in the evening or on a weekend day when they aren't at work. When I first started in recruiting our company had a twice a month evening phone call blitz. It wasn't my favorite part of the job but it did serve a purpose. We didn't have the day to day interruptions of meeting with candidates or clients and we could just call/call/call. It helped connect with candidates, so if you find yourself not making enough phone calls during the day, try once a month to make calls at night and see if it's successful for you. Change it up and don't do the same thing day in and day out. It keeps you fresh!
4. The goal is to focus on getting results, find the best but also try to get there first.
As a contingent recruiter, we have to find "A" players. We have a relentless pursuit for excellence. We don't settle for second best, but look for the best. As I mentioned earlier in the post, look for the needle in the haystack and don't stop until you do. The goal is to make a good match with both the client and the candidate in a seamless and efficient way. Be a matchmaker and use your instincts for a long term fit. There is nothing better than the feeling I get when I realize I've found the right candidate for my client. It's a buzz, a high and a relief! My candidate gets the offer and I get the money.
5. Good recruiters are never done....and can always get better.
Good recruiters are numbers driven and focused on results. We are highly analytical and great problem solvers. We're always looking to fill a job req and can celebrate a placement for about 24 hours, then it's on to fill the next job requirement. We're always learning and trying new ideas to find great talent. Now can I find you a job?