While the business of recruiting has changed dramatically over the past five years, the nuts and bolts of the career has not and will not change. Recruiters are responsible for facilitating one of the single most important functions within a company – talent acquisition. The use of the Internet as a sourcing/marketing medium, the growth and improvement of applicant tracking software, electronic resume submission, and on-line pre-qualification tools have all significantly changed the practices by which we manage our recruiting processes. The growth of the economy and the need to hire significant number of hard to find talent has caused the recruiting function to finally rise to the level of importance where it should always have been and where it should always stay – as a mission critical function. In many companies it is now viewed as much a marketing role as a Human Resource function. These are all wonderful changes for the industry and for careers in recruiting. However, the bottom line responsibility has not changed. The goal remains to find and hire the best talent within budget, in the shortest period of time, which will in turn result in lower turnover. Achieving this goal successfully and consistently requires essential skills that will not change with any amount of technology. The recruiter must:
- Understand the business and its goals. This is not merely about knowing the products or services provided by the company but about what it’s going to take to move the company to the next level.
- Understand what personality characteristics will lead to success in both the company culture and the culture of the department in which the candidate is being hired to work.
- Understand and be able to articulate verbally the skill sets and deliverables required for success in each position for which he/she is recruiting.
- Know how to build relationships with candidates and hiring managers. There are two sets of clients for the recruiter – the candidates to whom the positions are being marketed and the hiring managers to whom the candidates are being marketed. The best recruiter has the skills to develop, cultivate, and manage both sets of relationships.
- Know how to interview. Interviewing is as much an art as it is a science. The best recruiters know how to extract the essential information from candidates: skills, experiences, accomplishments, motivations, and needs. They also know how to determine if the candidate is a match for their company. Additionally, they know how to take this information and use it as a negotiating tool further down in the recruiting process.
- Know how to be expedient without being hasty. Quick candidate turn around time is essential to the recruiting process for several reasons. First, the candidates are not interviewing in a vacuum and typically they are evaluating more than one opportunity at a time. The quicker you move the candidate through your process and make a decision, the higher the likelihood that you will make a hire. Second, every day a position is left open, the company is falling behind on meeting its goals – open positions affect the bottom line. However, making hasty decisions without thoroughly screening the candidate, (having them interview with both the hiring manager and peers) and not assuring that the fit is right will lead to poor hiring decisions and ultimately high turnover.
- Be enthusiastic. When the recruiter is excited about the company, its products and its people, it is easy to motivate a candidate to seriously evaluate an opportunity.
- Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up… Candidates need regular follow-up. Let them know when you’ve received their resume, let them know that you want to set up a telephone interview, let them know what is happening every step of the way. The better the follow-up, the stronger impression you make on the candidate and the higher the likelihood that you will make the hire. Hiring managers need regular follow-up as well. For many of them recruiting and interviewing is not their first love and while high on their priority list, it falls lower on their actual completed list. Constant contact with the hiring managers will motivate them to move quickly on presented candidates.
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To summarize, while the tools and technological advances have supported and improved many of the recruiting tasks, the actual recruiting skills and deliverables have not changed nor are they going to change anytime soon. The best way to build and maintain these skills is through practice, mentoring, training, and reading industry publications – all available to any recruiter.