Tips for New and Seasoned Recruiters
I've written before about the pros and cons of freelance work, and working in the recruitment industry can definitely have similarities to the world of freelancing. Being a successful recruiter involves resourcing clients. New and seasoned recruiters alike source clients from job boards, find out who is currently hiring from companies who specialise in providing this information, and then contact the relevant hiring personnel.
Whether you're a job seeker who is thinking about entering the recruitment industry, or a seasoned recruiter with repeat clients, there are a variety of tips that will help you gain, and retain, a client base:
Understand Who You Work For
As a recruiter, you work for the hiring employer. The hiring employer who hires you to find appropriate candidates for a position they're trying to fill is the person who is going to pay your fee, decide whether to recommend your services to business colleagues, and ultimately fire or rehire you. As such, even though the majority of your face to face time is going to be with candidates, it is not the candidates who influence your client base. It is your client who influences your client base and helps you pay the bills. Often, recruiters find themselves obsessing over top candidates so much that they neglect their actual employer. Yes, it is very important to find the best candidates for your hiring employer, but you must balance this with a realization that the candidates are not the most important element of your work. You can have twenty fabulous candidates, but if you have a poor history of maintaining solid relationships with hiring employers, you will have limited success in the competitive world of recruitment.
Ruthless Application Filter
When you post a job as a recruiter, do not be surprised to find that you will probably receive hundreds of applications. When you are filtering applications that come in for a particular job role, you need to be absolutely ruthless. It's tempting to provide your hiring employer with a wide range of candidates to choose from. This methods is based on the presumption that quantity equates to quality, and you might think that the more you provide, the greater chance of one of them being hired. But at this point, you need to think back to the point above: understand who you work for. Your hiring employer is not going to enjoy interviewing twenty candidates, when all you really need is one excellent one. This is why your application filter should be absolutely ruthless when you're sifting through a mountain of applications. In a pile of two hundred applications, you should set aside no more than twenty applications. These will be the twenty people you contact to conduct a preliminary interview with yourself (less would be even better, actually). This face to face contact will help you further refine your application filter: appearances, attitudes, poor answers to standard questions, and general vibes will all help determine what candidates make the cut to send on to the bonafide hiring interview. If you have ten candidates and you are unsure about three, only send seven. Use your discernment.
At first glance, this point seems to contradict the first. However, valuing candidates doesn't mean you value them above all else. Any candidates you are impressed with should be perceived as highly valuable assets that will help you stay on top as a recruiter. As such, you should make them feel like their needs are important too. Yes, the hiring manager is the one who pays you, but every time you have interaction with a candidate you should be thinking about finding future candidates too. This means that your demeanor and personality can make a lasting impression on any candidate you talk to on the phone or bring in for an interview. If you just rush through questions and rarely look up when conducting an interview, the candidate will feel like they're just another item on your to-do list. Do you think this candidate will tell their friends positive things about you? No. Therefore, always conduct yourself in a friendly and open manner, and act like you genuinely care about each candidate's career path. This way, you will leave a lasting impression, and be able to source more candidates in the future.
These three tips will help you in your bid to become a truly successful recruiter who can maintain a competitive angle in a fast-paced job. The key to successful recruitment is to manage your interactions effectively, and maintain a balance between your responsibility to hiring employers and potential candidates. If you can negotiate this complexity effectively, you are much more likely to maintain a steady client base, and attract new ones in the process.
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