train recruiters

How to train recruiters to make the most of tech tools

Ryan Shiba
16 Sep
Reading time: 8 minutes
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Struggling to train recruiters in your recruitment agency on new tech tools and features? There’s a number of initiatives you can implement to help them make the most of their tech.

But first, what’s the core barrier that slows recruiters down when adopting new technologies? 

The biggest roadblock for recruiters when it comes to tech training is fear; fear about struggling to learn a new system and fear of messing up the data or database.

Repetitive action combats that fear and boosts your recruiters’ comfort level. Obviously, we’re more comfortable with things that we’re familiar with, so it’s all about building familiarity with processes and implementing active learning.

As the Head of Learning for JobAdder, I’m passionate about education and empowering recruiters across the globe to make the most of the tech at their disposal.

Below, I’ve outlined the initiatives you can implement at your recruitment agency to train recruiters effectively when it comes to tech platforms and tools. 

Train recruiters with active learning

In a traditional training format, you see a passive mindset and our minds tend to wander. We don’t necessarily internalize it if we’re simply watching something or typing notes down word for word.

With software training, you can improve overall comfort by getting the user to complete the action or to do the actions themselves. With our JobAdder training programs, they know that they can always cancel out or hit “just training” at the end of it and not make any changes to their database.

I think that’s really important. A lot of times issues come from fear of the unknown when people are unsure of what to expect. I think the biggest focus is gaining familiarity, helping your recruiters gain an understanding of what to expect from their tech and understanding the flow of the process and how it works. This breeds comfort, which in turn breeds success.  

It’s task-oriented learning where people tend to learn best. Often when it comes to software, you’ll get something to read or you’re asked to look at the big picture. However, when you break it down into specific tasks, I think people become less fearful of it.

You want to keep the user’s cognitive load down and keep them focused on specific tasks. It needs to be timely, so it’s delivered in the moment of need, and it needs to be something that’s a daily task now, not a daily task in two months’ time.

The training also needs to solve a specific problem. If you’re not solving a specific problem, it’s going to be harder to retain that information. It needs to showcase small successes with the completion of small specific tasks, like creating a job, and then repeat these until comfort and familiarity is built. 

Construct your learning and train recruiters how they need to be trained 

It’s taking small steps and getting users comfortable with things they’re already familiar with. Like every recruiter, for example, will likely be familiar with creating job orders, and if they’re not then we start there. Not to get too nerdy, but in learning, we call this a constructivist approach or constructivism.

Basically what constructivism means is that we’re starting at a point where the user has a common understanding, that there’s something they already know, and then we’re building on top of that. So the user is already familiar with the process of creating job orders within whatever system they’re using or have used. Then the idea is how do we layer how to do that in JobAdder on top of their existing knowledge. 

Perhaps your recruiters have never submitted candidates online before, right? Maybe they’ve always used email. Starting with something like that would be a bit trickier because you’re introducing two things. You’re introducing new concepts and new technology. 

I think it’s easiest if you start with something where the concept is already there and then the technology matches that and you can build and construct from there. That would be the simplest piece of advice that I would give to recruitment agencies, you need to start with a specific plan and identify.

Build a culture of learning and train recruiters in your recruitment agency

Building confidence and empowerment are at the core of a successful learning and development program. 

For us, our users’ primary motivation when learning how to use JobAdder is not to use the platform better, it’s to be a better recruiter.  

It’s about focusing on the specific tasks that they need for their day-to-day roles. From a behavioural perspective, as you’re introducing new tasks and behaviours, they’ll build on top of the original behaviours and work their way through that recruitment workflow. 

It’s about empowerment. It’s about learning to be less fearful and it’s learning to be so from our own perspectives. It’s okay not to know, you don’t have to remember everything because we help guide you along. Our certifications have a “just training” option for this very reason. It’s that confidence of knowing that they won’t screw anything up, but also tying that back to something they already know.

The training also needs to meet their expectations around flow, so they create a job and then they expect to post a job ad next. So the learning needs to match what their expected behaviour is. Then their minds are going to be more willing and more accepting to learn it.

You want to promote confidence around that and set a culture of empowered learning where it’s ok to make mistakes and learn. No matter what the training itself is like, if the expectation is that any type of mishap or failure is not accepted, then it’s not going to be effective. You need to set that expectation going in that it’s alright to learn and that they’ll be guided through it. It’s really empowering for the user and the learner because you learn when you’re comfortable.

Explore your tech to make the most of it

Another issue we see a lot is that recruitment agencies and their recruiters aren’t making the most of their tech, either they don’t know what features they can use or they forget to utilise them on a daily basis.

We send out a survey each week to users who have completed a course for the first time during that week. And we’ll get comments, like, “I’ve been using JobAdder for a while now and I learned lots of new tips and tricks by doing the training”. That’s why we’re promoting user certifications because ultimately they’re going to discover and uncover different ways of using JobAdder.

They may think they’re doing something in the most efficient way possible, so they don’t even perhaps recognise that they have a problem or that they could be more efficient until they’re shown in the certification program. Our training courses that are built into JobAdder are really designed to be timely and completed as you do your job, helping expand the knowledge and width of the system for our users.

Particularly with seasoned users, we’re often creatures of habit. Unless we give them a very clear reason and a very clear value proposition as to what is most important or how this is going to improve their life, then it’s not going to be something that they adopt. Any tech training you implement at your agency needs to position this at its core. 

The more people we can drive through online certification and online training at their own time at their own pace is really important, empowering them to focus on that when they’re ready and open to learning. Nobody wants to learn when we’ve got a thousand other things going on. You need to put it in their hands and let the learners decide when they want to learn. 

Also, I’ve always been a fan of inter-team sharing. You might have a certain person on your team that is using the system really well or using a particular aspect of that system very well. That training and information should be trickled down to other people on the team, which is going to be a hundred times more valuable than a formal training session. Internal knowledge sharing is really important and identifying champions who can lead that sharing of ideas and processes is crucial. This empowers your employees, puts them in the driver’s seat, builds trust and encourages them to put that extra effort into the tech training. 

As mentioned earlier, it’s about building that culture of learning and a culture of sharing. It’s a growth mindset culture that reinforces the idea that we can change and grow. I think it’s really important that we take that mindset into anything we do. 

If you want to learn more about learning and how to train recruiters in your handy tech tools, check out our one-pager here.

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