The Key to Recruiter Success: Multi-Tasking
The Critical success Skill
Farina is back in the office after working from home for almost two years. She is not happy with this, but she is trying to make the best of it. She is feeling swamped with her workload and the need to commute. Her day is crazy. Here is what she has to say.
“I get in by 7:30 am, before anyone else, to avoid the traffic and get a good parking spot. I had gotten so used to working from home, that I had forgotten the stress of commuting.
I grab a coffee, scan my emails, and quickly read through the dozen new resumes that have come in. At the same time, I also notice that two managers have opened job requisitions, and I need to discuss those with them. Before ten o’clock, I have set up appointments with both managers for the end of the day. It would have been so much faster to have Zoom calls, but it seems that those days are fading. I have also scanned through the resumes and have decided to telephone screen one of them. I called and left a message.
Meanwhile, my boss has called a short meeting for 11:30 am, and I have a lunch meeting with an agency vendor doing a critical search for us. I need to post a few open positions and find the time to search for a critical role. Maybe I can squeeze that in later on today. I have in-person candidate interviews from 1:30 pm until 3:30 pm (sure wish I could do these virtually). At 4:00 pm, I have to meet one of the hiring managers to discuss the new positions and then meet with the next one at 4:30 pm. Maybe by 5:00 pm, I’ll have a minute to investigate a potential vendor. My husband calls at 5:00 pm to see when I’m getting home. Neither he nor my children are used to me being back in the office. Right now, it looks like not before 7:00 pm because I have to update a few candidates on their status and clean up a dozen little odds and ends. I may also have to take a call from China regarding a position I am filling there. And, first thing tomorrow morning, I have to start looking for candidates for the new positions, which look like bears to fill!”
Farina is representative of many recruiters these days. They are juggling many activities at once, have less staff to rely on, and are dealing with back-to-the-office requirements and shattered home life.
I have been thinking a lot about the most useful skills for today’s recruiter. Certainly, salesmanship, technical and market knowledge, and communication are at the top of the list.
But first on it has to be the ability to multi-task.
The ability to multi-task differentiates the best recruiters from those who move serially through tasks and get flustered when asked to do more than one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is the ability to juggle many different things simultaneously, to “go with the flow,” and accept the inevitable forces of change. I doubt any recruiter can be successful without this ability.
Here are some challenges that only those who can multi-task can conquer effectively.
Sourcing Is a Bear
It is harder than ever to find the talent we need, given the pandemic, changing work attitudes, fewer skilled people in the job market, and increased demand. There is a mismatch between the skills hiring managers believe are (or should be) available and what recruiters find when they start to look. Candidates report increasing frustration with the level of customer service they receive and wonder what kind of super-person actually got that job that sounded so perfect for their skills and experience.
The recruiter’s ability to build talent communities, source quickly and well, communicate openly with candidates, influence hiring managers, and provide impeccable customer service is the hallmark of the best.
Value Propositions and Branding are Essential
We are a brand-conscious society, and many candidates are attracted to organizations with high public visibility. Firms with positive reputations and strong name recognition seldom have trouble selling themselves to candidates. Look at Microsoft, Starbucks, or Google. They may have difficulty finding great candidates, but they have much less trouble convincing them to accept an offer.
Unfortunately, only 100 or so organizations fall into the positive reputation, strong name recognition category on a global basis. The rest of us have to get better and better at building niche brands and determining our value proposition to candidates. Then we have to tell our story in a convincing and fun way.
Being able to know and sell the value propositions of various positions seamlessly to candidates, as well as to keep both the hiring authority and the candidate in the loop and informed, are key skills that require both flexibility and multi-tasking skill.
Free Agency is a Fact
Whether forced upon a person or voluntarily entered into, free agency (contacting, consulting, working part-time, and “temping”) is a reality. Many people simply don’t want 40-hour-per-week jobs as regular/permanent employees, especially younger workers. Many have decided that job security is an illusion, and working for yourself is the only way to be secure.
Many will enter and leave the workforce many times over their careers and serve in many ways. The agile recruiter and understanding hiring manager will find that a mix of regular, temporary, and contractual employees will serve them better and offer them the flexibility they need to deal with good and bad economic situations.
A great employment department will understand the new work ecosystem and lead this agility movement.
Technology already dominates recruiting and the only way to multi-task is to let technology help. Applicant tracking systems, screening software, CRM systems, email, job boards, blogs, social networks, and career sites are all part of the technology equation. If the recruiter is not technically agile and informed, she cannot be successful in the long run. Great recruiters understand and leverage technology and learn how to make it do what they want.
Virtual, Global Recruiting
While many firms require everyone to return to the office, many positions remain virtual. The need to source globally is a challenge for many recruiters who are used to only recruiting within their own country and only for positions where people work at a facility.
They waste time struggling to figure out an approach and get things underway. Both recruiting and human resources need to adjust policies to accommodate a hybrid workforce. Management may often see a slow response as incompetence or a lack of motivation. So it is as important to figure out how to take on a new challenge, as it is to manage the perception of your function within the organization.
Agile recruiters will easily deal across time zones, be culturally competent and manage the communication process with skill.
I think we all can see that the ability to multi-task, be adaptable, and carry a positive attitude are critical success factors for any recruiter.
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