Is it a secret sauce? One part confidence, two parts networking, a dash of strategy – shaken and then stirred? Are there a select group of people who are destined to be a success in the recruitment profession? Or is it measurable, quantifiable and learn-able?
For me it’s a bit of both. Certain traits are helpful – this is the case in any industry, but recruitment is changing, it’s diversifying and it’s opening up to different skill-sets. Some of the most successful recruiters are interested in sales, marketing and communications; they’ve fallen into recruitment and thrived. The key to success could be a composite mix of these traits, add them together and you create the “perfect recruiter.”
Introvert vs. extrovert
Extrovert-ism is typically prized by the recruiting industry. Conventional wisdom prizes the extrovert. Great recruiters are always seeking out new opportunities and connecting with new people, building relationships and closing deals. Personable, outgoing, maybe even eccentric – these are the traits we tend to associate with successful recruiters.
But there’s a new breed. The growing idea of inbound recruitment is giving rise to a new breed of recruiter. Tools like social media and talent communities let recruiters create and nurture online networks of candidates. Sharing and marshal-ling influence in this fashion allows typical introverts to thrive.
The best recruiters understand that, at its core, recruitment is sales – except it’s harder. You have to sell twice. Step 1: sell your company to the candidate. Step 2: sell the candidate to your hiring manager. The best are flexible and can leverage their skills to influence candidates from all walks of life, and can then send (thoroughly examined) applicants through to a (pre-sold) hiring manager.
Successful recruitment is a competitive sport. HR bloggers constantly reference the war for talent and the talent shortage that companies have to deal with. What might fit better is the phrase “shortage of quality talent.” Selling to applicants swells in importance when you consider that companies are competing for the same candidates; it’s one giant game of “Hungry Hungry Hippos” (one of my favorite childhood games)! Recruiters are responsible with highlighting their brand as the sexy choice, the only choice for applicants.
With companies redesigning recruitment around candidates, engagement is more important than ever. Companies need to be branded and personalized, and recruiters are referring to the marketing playbook for ideas. This needs to pervade all areas of the hiring process. The language of job postings and descriptions needs to be carefully considered; they need to be presented in a candidate centric manner: industry jargon and arbitrary ‘perfect candidate’ profiles (that companies then base all hiring decisions on) need to be phased out.
As a result, the importance of community interaction is growing. The growing genre of talent community hiring is making candidate-recruiter dialogue a necessity. Recruitment is losing some of its transactional feel in the name of “candidate experience,” and recruiters are developing pre-need relationships with candidates, sizing them up for future roles.
Great recruiters also know exactly how important it is to track performance, but realize that the old standards of time-to-fill and cost-per-hire are losing relevance. Instead, to calculate the true ROI, they’re focusing on tackling lost opportunities. Reducing the average 97 percent bounce rate from companies’ careers sites and tracking the sources that provide the best inbound applicants are the first steps, and marketing style technology offers the capability to help.
The final takeaway…
Most important, the best recruiters are reactive. The only intrinsic quality that separates the very best is the confidence to adapt to developing trends and leverage any tactics that can help them stay one step ahead, and attract and hire the best talent.