To all recruiters out there: you want to attract highly qualified people for your business? And they should like to work for you? Here's what you have to do!
When I led one of the oldest recruitment companies in the world it was at a time when the recruitment industry was in flux. It was a highly competitive time where there were fewer jobs and a surplus of candidates for placement. But, as inevitably happens, economies recover and recruiters can often find themselves in the reverse; a surplus of roles and too few high quality candidates. That’s why a great recruiter is someone who knows how to do the same consistent things in good and bad times to remain successful.
So, how do you know you are a great recruiter? Well, you need these five core skills:
#1 Listen More Than Talk
It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with a candidate or a client the temptation is that we talk more than we listen. In doing so we miss vital things that might be said when it comes to either someone’s work history or experience or some specific traits that an employer may be looking for. Now, there is nothing wrong with spending time talking about your recruitment and placement process – but when you start talking too much off point then you run the risk of having to go back to people and ask them to repeat themselves. Always, always, listen more than talk.
#2 Understanding Your Client & Their Markets / Industry
A lot of recruitment firms are heading down the path of industry specialization which can be a good thing. But, in order to be a specialist in something you need to understand the subject or the sector. All too often a recruiter will head into a client meeting without understand much about their business or what they are planning to do. In doing so you miss the chance to identify potential future opportunities as that business grows that you can add into your pipeline. A great recruiter will spend some time every day and read news or stories about the market they are operating in or take time to read through the website of a client they are planning to visit. Remember, the more you know something about someone the better the chance they will buy what you are selling. When it comes to candidates the same is true. If you are working largely in the IT sector then make sure you understand the technical jargon or when it comes to Government make sure you know the difference between policy analyst and policy makers. A lazy recruiter wings it while a successful recruiter knows it.
#3 Build Relationships Not Quick Sales
Relationship building is a fundamental skill for all successful sales people and recruiters. But, what you need to understand is the difference between a relationship and the sale. By building a relationship with a client or a candidate you are building elements of trust and, as I said before, if you know something about someone then your chances of success are good. But, if you build a relationship with someone where you know something about them and they know something about you then it leads to the hidden art of the long term sale – its always harder to say no to buying something when there is that two way relationship. A sale is nothing more than that and more often than not you will only ever get a single sale if you don’t build that important relationship. So, a successful recruiter invests time in understanding the client / candidate and they also know that it leads to a pipeline of ongoing sales and not just one or two. Finally, if a contact leaves and heads to another employer then it is highly likely that relationship will move as well.
#4 The Importance Of Target Driven Outcomes: Manage Expectations
A great recruiter knows that talking fluff with a client around deliverables will always lead to a loss. Clients and candidates like to work to deadlines because there will always be something that motivates them. In the case of a client they may need someone by the end of the day or week or month because if they don’t then productivity in their business could be impacted. Candidates like target driven outcomes because they also have things happening in their own world that need to be covered off. The key is not so much in ensuring the targets or deadlines being set are achieved its ensuring that you cover off the expectations of the client or candidate from the very beginning. Never leave things floating in the wind.
#5 Building Your Brand And Maintaining It
In order to build a trust relationship between yourself and your clients / candidates they need to trust that you know what you are talking about. In actual fact you can build that trust while also building your brand. If you have been working in the recruitment industry for a while then write short impactful blogs about your experiences and lessons clients and candidates can learn from those lessons. What this does is build credibility into the relationship by showcasing that experience. You fast become not only a source of information and knowledge, but a trusted one. Building your brand is always important because at the end of the day while your employer will always be supportive they also want you to succeed and move up the ladder. The more quality brands a recruitment company has then the more successful the business itself will become.
If you understand those five traits then you will be a successful recruiter because they are also inherent to entrepreneurs and many small business owners. At the end of the day it’s about the simple things; listen more than talk, understand your client, research your client, build relationships, set expectations and meet your targets and build your brand to a point of trusted advisor.
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