What’s It Take To Be A Winning Recruiter Today?

The workforce is constantly changing. The economic conditions and demographics have changed significantly in the past 10 years. I had dinner with some recruiting gurus a few days ago where we were discussing how vast and profound the changes are in the expectations and habits of the new workers. We have seen candidates that don’t show up for interviews, who demand incredible salaries, who ask and demand rather than listen and accept. And, we can’t find candidates who have the experience or the skills we are looking for, and who will work under conditions they have not negotiated. And we see this because the economic conditions and demographics are changing the marketplace. I have covered these changes in previous columns, so I won’t restate it all here. Any of us who are engaged in the daily business of getting people to work for us or for someone else, know what I am talking about. Here a few tips on what a “new age” recruiter should be aware of and the skills and attitudes they must possess to be a real winner.

  1. You must be able to use the Internet and other electronic communication tools (video conferencing, email, etc.) well and every day. But, while I know lots of recruiters who are whiz-bangs on the Internet, not all of them are successful. It takes more than the Internet to make a “new age” recruiter. The Internet is an indispensable tool, like a hammer to a carpenter, but it doesn’t replace skill and understanding.
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  3. You must take a global perspective on the candidate pool. While your employer may not want to relocate people, finding them and having their names, numbers and email id’s will increase your chances of hiring the right person. I have found many times that an employer WILL relocate the right candidate. Finding them is harder than selling them. The world today is mobile and many people will move themselves for the right opportunity, rightly presented.
  4. Be creative in putting together a package that is a win for both the employer and the employee. Sometimes the global candidate can work virtually via computer and telephone. Sometimes the job may have to be rethought to meet the skills that are available now. Rethinking, challenging paradigms, and stressing a different solution are now an important part of your job. Don’t just fill requisitions.
  5. Know the latest trends in the industry you recruit for and know the latest trends in compensation and benefits. You have to work on both fronts – educating the employer and the employee about what is possible and what can work. While negotiating skills have always been important in the recruiting process, today they are so vital that I place them over almost all the other skills. If you can’t sell, negotiate, and motivate, you will not be successful.
  6. Be an educator and add real value to the staffing process. Candidates who feel that you have helped them understand the employer and who have learned from you about interviewing or resume writing or whatever, will be loyal followers. They will come back to you when they are ready to move on and you can cultivate the relationships that are critical to long term success. Professional external recruiters have done this for a long time. Now it’s time for internal recruiters to become better at this, as well.
  7. Be a steward of the future. Know that you are putting people into positions that are often new and untried. Be honest and help them understand how these jobs fit into a bigger picture of where the world of work is heading. Be honest in that even you may not know.

The fast talking, “promise-them-anything but close the deal” recruiters are not my favorite people. They are also not successful in the long run. Build a solid relationship with your candidates, help them build their future with your help, and put technology into the proper perspective – it’s a tool, a powerful tool, but it is NOT a replacement for a person who understands the motivations and needs of other people. I look at the best recruiters as stewards of many people’s futures. This takes a special kind of person.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.


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