Some great recruiters are born, but others can be made … and we all have opportunities to improve. If you are looking for ways to become better at your profession, I say, “Kudos to you!”
But, where to start?
With more than 11 million search results on Google for “how to be a better recruiter,” you could troll the web, gathering tips and advice. You could sign up for an advanced Boolean course or Internet recruiter certification. Though at the end of the day, arguably, the best ways to improve as a recruiter are to: learn from your mistakes, keep practicing your craft, and learn from someone within recruiting whom you admire.
LEARN FROM THE BEST, THEN FIND YOUR STYLE
Is there a recruiter inside your organization that rocks? Have you met a third-party recruiter that gets it? Job shadowing, talking shop, learning from others, and mentor-mentee relationships aren’t just for entry-level employees. If you are hoping to “be all that you can be” in recruiting, I recommend learning from the best.
I was lucky. Recruiting found me. Back in 1999, I was a recent Liberal Arts grad with zero business acumen. A friend referred me to a recruiting firm. And, that’s when the stars aligned. The owner of the recruiting firm hired me as a receptionist. After a few months, she trained me to become a recruiter … and it was a perfect match.
WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A TOP PERFORMING RECRUITER
- Intellectual Curiosity. A good recruiter asks many questions and gathers as much information as possible, from both clients (hiring managers) and candidates … they take pride in making the best matches,” advises Holly Metz, my first boss and the person who taught me how to be a successful recruiter. “Lazy recruiters will just do quick phone screens and send any candidate on interviews.”
- Know Your Stuff. If you want to be successful in recruiting, you have to know your product. This means studying the job and requirements, knowing the company and culture, understanding the benefits and career path, and having some insight into the hiring manager. Candidates will want to know all about the opportunity that you’re offering. If you stumble … you’re toast.
- Good at Courting. A recruiter is often the first and main point of contact throughout the hiring process. Therefore, make it a good experience. “We get it … as a recruiter you have a bazillion candidates in pipeline. Whether they are hired or not, candidates can and will spread the word via many different means. Don’t let any candidate feel as if they don’t matter,” states Lauren Hiegel, a corporate recruiter at Groupon in Chicago.
- Genuine and Approachable. If you don’t like handshakes, talking on the phone or attending events, then reconsider your career path. Top recruiters are in the business of meeting people, communicating with hiring managers or clients, making matches and closing deals.
- Sense of Urgency. Rockstar recruiters get sh*t done! Period.
- Sales Savvy. At their core, recruiters are sales pros. “Your job is to get people on the phone to engage them, assess fit and sell them on an opportunity,” says Matt Duren, a technical recruiter at Tenable Network Security. Whether in a corporate or agency setting, recruiters should Always Be Closing if they want to stay in recruiting.
OTHER RECRUITING SKILLS TO DEVELOP
I can think of a whole host of other skills necessary to be a top recruiter: highly organized, solid work ethic, effective communicator, strong presentation skills, excellent follow up, and of course — sourcing. When you work in recruiting, you have to wear many hats.
No one is requiring perfection, but recruiting is a tough job! You have to be willing to put in long hours and work hard. Top recruiters don’t clock in and out, dawdle or take 3 hour lunch breaks. They are always thinking, doing, networking, talking and striving to be better.
How else do we rock out?
What else does it take to be a rockstar recruiter? Do you have meaningful advice for improving in the art and science or recruiting? If so, share it below.
Article by Shannon Smedstad
Shannon Smedstad spends her days leading HR social media and employment branding at GEICO and has more than 14 years of recruiting experience. In 2013, she was named a Talent Warrior by Glassdoor.com for social recruiting leadership and innovation. Outside of the daily grind, Shannon is a work@home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, traveling and her morning coffee. You can connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. (Opinions are her own and not those of her company.)
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