10 things the best recruiters do

Every day, recruiters around the world are connecting companies with the best job seekers on the market. They’re constantly scouring their network, writing ads, interviewing people, negotiating salaries and making offers on behalf of clients. While being a recruiter is often recognised as one of the most satisfying jobs and offers a great work/life balance, these hiring professionals are not always acknowledged for their hard work.

A lot of occupations have their own day. There’s Administrative Professionals Day, National School Nurse Day in the US… there’s even Talk Like a Pirate Day. So it’s about time there’s an International Recruiters Day. In honour of this well-deserved holiday on April 4th, here are the top 10 things leading recruiters do.

  1. Really listen
  2. Be honest
  3. Keep an open mind
  4. Offer a positive candidate experience
  5. Maintain communication
  6. Be resilient  
  7. Flex those sales skills
  8. Recruit on the go
  9. Juggle several things at once
  10. Set goals

Really listen

Having solid communication skills are the first key to success when working with people and that’s what recruiting is – it’s a people business. Recruiters can talk your ear off but being able to *really* listen to a client can mean the difference between filling a job order and losing to a competitor who better understands the needs of the role. Ask questions (there’s no such thing as a dumb one) and repeat things back to make sure what you’re hearing is correct.

Spend time getting to know your clients. Understand the culture of the organisation and the team as well as the management style and expectations of the hiring manager. Little nuances in communication may be missed over the phone, so face-to-face meetings with all your clients is essential. Take the time to understand their needs and always read between the lines – often what is not said is as important as what *is* said. Learn to read body language so that you are able to fully understand what is being communicated to you.

By the same token, spend time getting to know your candidates. Get to know their aspirations and fears. The more you understand not only what they CAN do, but what they WILL do (their work preferences) and also the best cultural FIT for any business they interview at, the better for you as a recruitment consultant.

Be honest

It’s not just candidates who need to be coached for interviews. Sometimes clients have to be educated about the job market. If you get an order for a software developer with five years experience but the salary is geared toward someone just starting their career, let your client know. It might be a bit awkward, but tell them their expectations are not realistic and discuss solutions to meet their needs. Telling the truth is a great business practice.

Prep your candidate so they know what to expect, the type of interview they will be attending, whether it is to be one on one, a panel interview, sequential interview, video interview, case study assessment, psychometric assessment, skills test. Help them to PREPARE for success.

Keep an open mind

Don’t judge a book by its cover. The best recruiters don’t limit their evaluation of an applicant based solely on their resume – they can read between the lines. They also understand that just because someone looks unqualified on paper, it doesn’t mean they should be disqualified immediately. Soft skills can sometimes make up for a lack of experience.

Offer a positive candidate experience

As a career coach and former recruiter, I have noticed what works well for candidates and what doesn’t when it comes to recruitment. One of the biggest frustrations that my career transition clients express is that many recruitment consultants don’t answer their calls, and don’t follow up after an application has been submitted or after a job interview.

A candidate is a potential future client so each and every candidate must be treated with equal respect and care.

There’s a lot of evidence for why candidate care is important and recruitment experts like Greg Savage have argued that a positive experience is a recruiter responsibility. The impression you give influences that job seeker’s network and their reach could extend further than you think. Good word-of-mouth marketing can win you more star candidates, referrals, and placements.

Maintain communication

Needs change; clients and candidates sometimes re-evaluate what they’re looking for. Maybe a client put in a job order for a junior receptionist but realized in the interview process that they need someone with advanced skills. Perhaps a fantastic candidate you met last week is suddenly no longer on the market because they got a job offer while your client was considering their resume. Keeping on top of the latest developments can help you avoid going back to square one. Letting candidates know why they didn’t get a job can teach them a valuable lesson and help them land the next one, meaning they can still be a placement in the future.

Speak to your candidate before the interview to help put them at ease and to let them know you are there for them. Encourage them to make contact to debrief after their interviews.

Follow up with your clients and your candidates. Always keep your candidates in the loop whether they need to wait, they are progressing, they aren’t successful or if there are changes to the job specifications or expectations. Open and regular communications is business etiquette and will augur well for you in the future.

After a candidate is placed, and for those who are not placed, set up a system so that you will follow up with them every so often to know that you are thinking of them. This will help to develop strong relationships for the future and often result in new assignments and opportunities for you.

Be resilient

Nobody’s perfect, fall-offs happen. But being able to jump back onto the horse is what separates top-earners from average recruiters who give up. Be accountable if one of your placements doesn’t work out and stay positive – you’ll find someone who is an even better fit. Having a strong candidate pipeline can get you out of a bind in a snap.

Flex those sales skills

It’s kind of like going to the gym. A good salesperson has a routine that works for them and the same can be said for a good recruiter. Practice with one of your colleagues if you’re feeling rusty or want to up your game. To really get a leg up, study your market/industry and have an area of expertise.

Build your own Personal Brand as a recruitment consultant. As LinkedIn is the top professional networking platform, make sure that your own brand as a top recruiter is obvious. Share posts on LinkedIn that EDUCATE and ADD VALUE to not only your candidates, but also to your clients. Your clients will love you if you help them to position themselves as Employers of Choice through the valuable education that you provide in your posts and articles.

Post an article on LinkedIn that helps your candidates to understand the best way to work with you, as a recruitment consultant. They will thank you for it! Educate them on how things work as a recruiter so that they learn the process and feel supported through your thought leadership and generosity of spirit.

Recruit on the go

More candidates than ever are using their smartphones to apply for jobs, so why are you still recruiting from a desktop computer? Having a mobile ATS like JobAdder to screen candidates and move them through the process no matter where you are is kind of like having an ace up your sleeve. Welcome to the future!

Juggle several things at once

A lot can be said about time management and multitasking in any industry, but they’re especially crucial in recruiting. Hiring the right candidate can take weeks, if not months sometimes. It’s important to keep your eye on the ball but be able to work on other projects at the same time.

Listen, learn, encourage, support, and communicate, communicate, communicate.

Set goals

Filling a job order (especially a challenging one) can be incredibly rewarding. But it’s important to keep pushing for greatness! Drilling into data can reveal insights to help you come with a game plan to make more placements. PowerAdder is an amazing tool that identifies lost opportunities to make sure you keep hitting your targets.

Help us celebrate International Recruiters Day on April 4th!

If you’re in Sydney, join us at Ryan’s Bar and we’ll shout you a beer and a slice of pizza. Hope to see you there!

Learn the 3 Secrets to Personal Branding for Career Success in this FREE Masterclass!

Jane Jackson

Jane Jackson

Author bio: Jane Jackson is a Career Management Coach, author of Navigating Career Crossroads (#1 Amazon bestseller) and host of YOUR CAREER Podcast. Jane is a specialist in career development and career transition coaching and is on a mission to make career guidance accessible to all who need it globally.

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