Six Critical Skills All Recruiters Need
Over the past twenty years we have added layer after layer of technology to the recruitment process. We have advanced, Internet-based social media techniques, sophisticated sourcing methods, artificial intelligence, bots, insights about candidates from social media profiles, and complex interviewing processes aided with technology. But we achieve about the same results as recruiters did in pre-technology times. When we look at recruiting statistics, we see that time to present, time to fill, cost per hire, and other figures remain about the same as they were decades ago.
How has the technology helped? Is our productivity better? Are our candidates of higher quality? Do candidates have a better experience than they did twenty years ago?
If the results of the Cande Awards and other surveys are to be believed, candidates are not very happy with the recruitment process. Many hiring managers, as well, express dismay over the quality of recruiters and the time it takes to fill positions. Even recruiters are frustrated and struggle to please increasingly hard to please hiring managers and candidates.
So, what is wrong?
It comes down largely to a lack of fundamental recruiting skills that are more powerful and useful than the technology. We are a generation of techies and have come to rely so much on tools, apps, and the Internet that we feel other ways are old-fashioned or not as effective.
These are the six skills.
Skill #1: Knowing who and what skills you are looking for and having a good relationship with the hiring manager
Recruiter’s often lack deep knowledge and understanding of the positions they are filling. Understanding the position is time consuming and requires a good relationship with both the hiring managers and the work team.
Managers may characterize a position in a way that is contrary to what he really wants or needs. Team members may have very different ideas about a position than the manager. A respected recruiter can engage in a discussion, influence and know for certain that the skills he is looking for are the right ones.
This is a skill that requires the ability to influence as well as a relationship that is based on respect and mutual understanding. Technology cannot help here.
Skill #2: Being curious, always in discovery mode for talent, and figuring out what the essential characteristics are that successful candidates have.
Finding the right talent is much an art as it is science. Headhunters and top recruiters often relate stories of how they found the perfect candidate sitting next to them on an airplane or at a social gathering. These people have the ability to engage in casual conversation, connect with all types of people, and keep them engaged over time. They are curious and always on the lookout for people what might, at some point, fit into a position they are filling.
Skill #3: Being a good listener and asking the right questions of any serious candidate.
When you think you’ve found the right candidate, the recruiting process is just beginning. In fact, the hardest part is unfolding. The top recruiter will be able to engage the candidate in conversation that brings out not only skills, but also apprehensions, fears, likes, needs, and much more. How these get woven into the ultimate offer will mean the difference between success and failure. Being able to ask appropriate and useful questions is also as much as art as a science. There are entire courses on how to ask precise and powerful questions.
Technology really doesn’t add anything to this
Skill #4: The ability to influence and negotiate with both hiring managers and candidates
Negotiation is a skill that most of us are not very good at, but one that can make you successful.
Step one in good negotiation is to have dome research before the start of the process. Know your facts, have data ready to present, and practice it before someone to see where the holes are. The second step is to be able to use this data is explain why you are proposing a course of action or a decision. The third step is to listen carefully to objections, have already thought about as many of them as you can and have some answers ready. And finally, be willing compromise and reach a win-win solution. Negotiating isn’t about winning. It is about finding the best mutually agreeable solution.
Skill #5: Skilled at putting together an offer that entices and overcomes objections
Creating the right offer package and presenting it in an appropriate time and way is another step to success. Ideally you have listened carefully to the candidate and run a trial version of the offer by him and the manager. You’ve noted any issues or objections and discussed them with the manager or compensation and made adjustments. Or at least you have a strategy about how you will convey any differences in expectations to the candidate.
Technology can prepare basic offers and offer some insights, but it still takes a recruiter and a hiring manager to cobble together the final offer.
Skill #6: Following up on the chosen candidate to make sure s/he shows up.
Many candidates simply do not show up on their start date or continue to interview after they have accepted an offer in the hope of getting something better.
Experience has shown that staying touch with them after acceptance is important. Both the recruiter and the hiring manger need to send an email, a personalized card, or a letter to the candidate immediately after acceptance. It is even better to follow up a week or so later with another email or phone call to check-in and see what issues, if any, have come up.
If you sharpen these six skills, rely less on the tools and their promises, you will be a much more successful recruiter.
Here are the skills other experts and practitioners think will prevail. What are your thoughts?
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