There is only one word to describe the value of a recruiter who excels at his job—inestimable. When a recruiter successfully connects an employer with the right candidate, he has, by this one action, paved the way for the company’s growth prospects. The opposite is also true—recruiters with inadequate skills can contribute to incalculable losses for a company in terms of wasted time, resources and high job attrition.
What does it take to ensure that you are a prized asset for your company (and not an invisible albatross around its neck)? As with any profession, there are inherent personal traits that are good to have and will benefit you as a recruiter. There are also hard skills and attributes that can be learned with practice and commitment. If you are preparing for a career in recruitment or simply want to get better at your profession, read on to understand what it takes to be a top-notch recruiter.
What is the connection between recruitment and marketing? If you are working for an RPO vendor, you will promote its services and unique expertise to a client organisation. Once on board, you must market the client-partner by convincing potential candidates about the career opportunities it provides. Conversely, you must also be able to persuade employers to hire the right candidates from your database. Good sales and marketing skills are thus essential for professional recruiters to negotiate and bring together employers and job-seekers.
Recruitment firms operate in a highly competitive sphere; to succeed and grow, you should be able to work under extreme pressure. This holds equally well for hiring managers working in industries like IT and engineering, where the competition to acquire high-skill candidates is fierce. Recruitment firms that work on a commission basis get compensated depending on their performance, which means having to constantly achieve targets. If you are not ambitious and target-driven, it may be advisable to reconsider your profession.
Recruiters with a stellar track record actively search for talent before an actual need. Some ways they go about proactively looking for candidates are:
Besides maintaining tabs on promising talent, smart recruiters also actively network and build relationships with qualified candidates. When job openings come up, they are up to date on whom to look up for the appropriate skill-sets or work experience. They are also well placed to:
Proactive recruiters understand an important truth—that the best talent consists of passive job seekers, people who are already employed but willing to consider greener pastures. To find and persuade such professionals, you must do your homework and be prepared to make a move when the right opportunity presents itself.
The business of human resources demands that a recruiter possess strong and effective communication skills, whether chatting on a phone call, meeting people face-to-face (increasingly, on video chat) or sending an email. A good communicator should be tactful and show empathy in difficult situations, for instance, when informing a job seeker why he or she did not make the grade for a specific opening. Effective communication reflects both on the individual recruiter as well as the organisation he represents and keeps the door open for future interactions.
At a time when young job seekers prefer online devices to search, apply for jobs and interact with hiring organisations, familiarity with social media and knowing how to leverage its varied channels for recruitment marketing is a top skill for a recruiter.
Being up to date with rapidly changing IT technologies also gives you an edge over others in terms of professionalism and the ability to keep up with new trends.
Unpredictability is a given during hiring. Candidates will not show up for interviews; organisations will inform you after you have scheduled interviews that they have filled up a vacant position; at other times, you may struggle for a long time to find suitable talent; further, scenarios like candidate impersonation may emerge during large-volume hiring drives. A good recruiter should be able to think his way through unforeseen challenges, come up with out-of-the-box solutions and not feel overwhelmed when situations seem out of control.
Recruiting is the business of connecting two sets of people—employers and job seekers. It is a no-brainer that an effective recruiter must be a “people person”, someone who naturally enjoys interacting with diverse personalities. Good recruiters consciously build relationships with all stakeholders in the industry, seek out time to network with them and convert opportunities into positive outcomes. To successfully nurture relationships, a recruiter should be seen as trustworthy, professional and dependable. With attributes like these, both employers and job seekers you have helped will come back to you every time they need a service, saving you the effort of constantly seeking out new business opportunities. Positive word of mouth travels far; a candidate who is happy with your services will spread the word about you among peers and family, seeding future business opportunities.
In enterprise hiring and large-volume hiring (for example, campus hiring drives), you will usually need to work with teams of recruiters. At other times, you may have to work with or lead a group of fellow recruiters to hire high-calibre talent for a specialist position. Here, an essential attribute of a successful recruiter is the ability to engage with colleagues in pursuit of a common goal, communicate clearly and dispassionately and steer clear of misunderstandings, disputes and personal animosity that can derail the hiring exercise.
During interviews, a candidate’s body language offers subtle but strong clues about his or her personal attributes. A smart recruiter should be capable of reading these clues while assessing an applicant’s overall suitability for a particular role.
Do you prefer being with people a lot? Do you thrive on interacting with diverse personalities? If the answer is yes, it is most likely that you have a high level of confidence. That makes you a natural for the recruitment profession, which involves a high degree of networking. A good recruiter needs to be confident about himself and the skills he brings to the table while negotiating with clients or assessing candidates.
A warm and likeable demeanour puts candidates at ease and engenders trust in clients. Good recruiters understand the importance of empathy and rapport with clients, job seekers and teammates. Nurturing professional relationships carefully is an intelligent business strategy. Clients will see you as a partner in their progress and even recommend your services to others, while job applicants will open up to you without hesitation about their needs and expectations.
Can you think on your feet and switch between diverse tasks without dropping the ball? Or does multi-tasking frazzle your nerves and make you anxious? Recruiters typically work for multiple clients simultaneously and must be able to juggle tasks with ease while also being able to prioritise unforeseen but urgent demands. This also means that a good recruiter should have good time-management skills.
Murphy’s Law frequently prevails in the recruiting industry, despite the ease that automation has brought to hiring processes. Interviews may get rescheduled; at other times, an initial round of assessment may not throw up promising candidates. Good recruiters need to have deep reserves of patience and maintain their equilibrium when hiring outcomes do not work as expected.
Good listening skills are a corollary of patience. Recruiters with outgoing personalities may be tempted to hold forth at length about their organisation. However, listening keenly to a client or candidate is essential to understanding their needs and is more likely to lead to positive business outcomes, be it signing up a new organisation or finding the perfect role for a talented job seeker.
When a hiring schedule kicks off, there are certain must-dos that all good recruiters are mindful of. Some examples of such imperatives are:
While talking to candidates, you must aim to build trust and provide the candidate with a relevant profile of the organisation. To this end, you should share insights about the job and offer information about the company’s ethos, vision and growth prospects. Ask questions and listen patiently and respectfully to the candidate’s expression of his needs and objectives. A positive and cordial interaction is the first step in effective talent acquisition.
A skilled recruiter knows how to find the balance between an organisation’s expectations and those of a candidate. While candidates come with prior notions about compensation packages, work roles and the type of company culture that will appeal to them, businesses have their own expectations about candidates’ capabilities. During the recruitment process, a good recruiter knows the importance of being tactful yet upfront while spelling out expectations, to avoid later disillusionment on both sides.
A savvy recruiter will always involve the company’s business leaders at the appropriate stage in the hiring process. This enables reporting managers to check out promising candidates and gain insight into their skill sets and personality attributes.
Thinking critically through the available information on a candidate, filtering out non-essentials and taking impartial hiring decisions are the markers of a recruiter who is result-oriented. Further, to successfully drive hiring outcomes, a good recruiter should:
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