Why You Should Never Lose Your Identity When Recruiting

EREConf14_footerWhat makes a recruiter stand out: It’s a culmination of their personal experiences, intellect, intuition, and what made them who they are today. I call this experiencing rites of passage. Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Recruiting is not a transaction. The military teaches that attention to detail is critical in all actions performed. This is where the wheat is separated for the chaff. If a seasoned recruiter doesn’t see a full, professional representation on a resume — it speaks a lot of the candidate. If the skill set is essential, maybe it is a matter of spending some time with the candidate to educate them on the importance of a well-defined resume.

When you’re in the people business, it’s all about understanding an organization’s needs and improving the return on human capital. Statistics reflect that the best hires are typically referrals. There are obviously a number of reasons why, but one is that an existing employee can comprehend a person’s motivational fit and drivers to the point that they’re confident the candidate will be interested and contribute to the results. Recruiters can do this with both internal and external candidates.

The same thing goes for establishing relationships with people and understanding the ‘who’ vs. throwing resumes at the wall. Acting as a service-oriented partner, many recruiters could create a lasting pipeline by offering their candidates something more than a job prospect. I’ve spent many years offering free resume writing services to veterans. It is humbling to be able to provide such a public service and very rewarding. Who do you think those veterans will remember when they land their role? The person who helped them along the way. It all comes back around.

When a new opening comes across a seasoned recruiter’s desk, they are typically the first to reach out to candidates they have in their pipeline which match more than just the specifications outlined in the requirements. They understand if the individual would likely want to work in the client’s industry, their willingness to work either onsite or remotely, and the incentives it would take to lure such talent to an opportunity.

It is more than just talking to a candidate. It’s about how your gut feels about him/her. A gut feel is a well-honed attribute of a top-producing, seasoned recruiter. Seasoned recruiters (something I’ll talk more about in San Diego) know where to spend their time; talking to professionals at all levels which will yield a future return. This isn’t just stuffing one’s pipeline with only the A-players in the marketplace; it’s knowing that when you have a good one — hold onto them. Stay in touch, keep ongoing communications going out to them, and express an interest in doing more than padding your personal pocketbook.

Our identity is created through a combination of our personal values, beliefs, and attitudes. All of the experiences we’ve had contribute to our sense of who we are and our view of people and the world around us. As a recruiter, one is tasked with adopting the professional values of their respective industry, yet an identity is still important. What sets recruiters apart are their personal and professional identities — not losing sight of values one holds in high regard, interpreting behaviors, and leaning on past experiences to gauge interest further. If a recruiter doesn’t truly believe in a candidate, it could mean they are willing to just take a gamble and hope for the best. Those types of recruiters don’t last long in a competitive business. Successful recruiters can discern if trends or behaviors reflect a solid performer and whether or not to invest more effort in supporting their candidacy.

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One thing I have heard repeatedly during my career is: a recruiter being labeled as a “pimp.” Why is such a derogatory term associated with such a highly skilled profession? It’s the recruiters who are looking for a quick hit, the first submittal, and the ones which give all the seasoned recruiters a bad name.

There are many tools out there which reel in talent for a recruiter nowadays, tools which didn’t exist when there was just a database and/or rolodex and a phone. Creating a virtual pipeline of quality candidates has never been easier. So, why is it that this negative connotation still exists? There are still impostors in our midst. A seasoned recruiter will quickly assess who they’re dealing with, based mainly on mistakes or incidents which occurred in the past. They will know when they hear certain terminology that it’s just cat fishing. They know when a third party firm is not legitimately representing a candidate. They know that their name is on the line if the candidate doesn’t work out for an extended period of time. This is the difference: experience and know-how.

It only takes one time for this seasoned recruiter to be burned before the future path is altered. That is not something you can teach but something which is achieved.

Corrie Waarum is the director of recruiting for Healogics. Based in Florida, it's the nation's largest provider of advanced wound care services.

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