Recruiter Self-Help: How to Add Value for Your Clients and Yourself

Focusing on transparency, credibility and relationship-building will make you better.
Oct 17, 2019
Alex Z
Alex Zalewski
Vice President
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If you spend too much time on Linkedin, like a lot of us in the HR/Talent Acquisition space, you’ll read more than a handful of posts about a general frustration with the process of searching for a new job. Much of that frustration is directed towards recruiters - since we are the ones that job seekers interact with the most in the hiring process. That applies to recruiters working internally for companies or externally (third party search or staffing firms). 

All of us in this business have to face it: it's easy for recruiters to get a bad reputation by not following-up, being transparent, and just not listening to candidates. Some recruiters may be aware of the things they do, and some may not. But how do you assess if you're a good recruiter, and what can you do? 

What You Can Do 

First, let’s start with what you can do to improve the hiring process :

  1. Be invested - Candidates want someone who’s invested in them, their future, and their success. Be that person. 
  2. Have a personal touch - You’re building relationships, and in this industry, relationships are everything. When you’re working with someone, you’re focused on that person and the long-term. Make sure you're actively listening to them to help find the right match.
  3. Set expectations - Be clear and realistic about what the hiring process looks like, but also what the market looks like and what candidates can realistically expect. 
  4. Be transparent - Transparency is key to building trust. If you don’t know how long something is going to take, let candidates know. It’s easy to say, “I might not have something this week.” Check-in consistently.  And even when there is nothing to update them on, that’s the update: there is no update.
  5. Be credible - You want to avoid being transactional. Changing jobs is a major decision - a good recruiter knows that and will help the job seeker navigate the process. Don't treat it as a business deal, remember this is where someone will be spending a large portion of their waking hours. You need to ensure all parties are happy. 

What You Can Do to Work on Yourself

First, work hard to learn what you don’t understand. I wish there was an easy button to getting good at this - but there isn’t. You have to put effort in. Spend time learning about companies and your industry as a whole. Job seekers will listen to you when you have market knowledge.

Work on self-awareness. Are you being transparent enough? Credible enough? Are you setting expectations? You have to check-in with yourself just as you check-in with candidates and hiring managers.

Learn how to sift through what someone is telling you and focus on being able to read what they’re verbalizing and what they’re saying between the lines. Part of this is listening. It also involves asking more follow up questions. For example, “Walk me through it.”

Bring the right level of enthusiasm and positivity to the job. You’re the last line of defense and the face of the process.

Stay informed by taking the time to learn about the job seeker’s motivations. Why are they looking? What don’t they like about their current job? What are they looking for in a new role? This will help you avoid being too transactional. It will also help you make better matches

And show the candidates and hiring managers that you’re a person, too. Make the connection. Be yourself - be real.

What You Can Learn to Be Better Prepared

Enhance what you’re doing as you work on yourself by learning as much as possible and being prepared.

Be inquisitive. Talk to people at all levels in the industry. Ask the right questions about subject matter and needs. You may not be an expert from day one, but you can become one over time.

Learn the data. If a candidate has particularly lofty salary numbers in mind, or a hiring manager has unreasonable expectations, data will help. And the more hard data you have, the more it helps you be that expert.

Connect with other recruiters. You can’t help everyone, but you can make connections for hard-to-fill roles. You can also refer candidates that don’t fit any of your current openings. This goes to relationship-building. Making connections with others in your field will absolutely pay dividends. 

Research everything connected to what you do: the industry, companies, competitors, and trends. Be willing to put in the work to try to understand companies and their needs.

Get organized - develop a system that works for you and helps you track everything. Everyone has different techniques and one size does not fit all. So ask yourself what can you design that will allow you to complete everything that can be completed and not let anything or anyone slip through the cracks. Lack of follow up often happens because of poor organizational skills. Close the loop with everyone!

In the end, relationships are the biggest thing, and your job, our job, is to focus on those relationships. A great reputation—and a lot more success—will follow.

Final Thoughts

Can you be self-aware enough to be the best recruiter you can be? Because if you can, it will benefit you, the candidates, and hiring managers you work with and the field as a whole. 

What does that mean though? It means...

Assessing the most effective ways to be more transparent for both candidates and hiring managers. 

Focusing on how best to define expectations for the hiring and recruiting process.

Learning how to build credible personal relationships and maintain them.

And determining how to build a system that works for you and allows you to complete your work.

Alex Z
Alex Zalewski
Vice President

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