I’m often asked to help coach an in-house recruiting team to get better results. From what to measure, how to find, pitch and close better candidates to presenting a more compelling brand image.
There’s no mystery around what it takes to be a highly effective recruiter, I’m happy to share all of our industry secrets. Because in the end, it’s far easier to talk about how we work, than it is to walk the talk.
Being great at recruiting is more about being great at, and loving business, than it is about being a ‘people’ person, um, whatever that is.
Here you go:
-A Macro View on Trends & Industries
Being very knowledgeable and well read on the macro trends impacting the global economy, the workforce, trends impacting industries, and impacting market segments is absolutely critical to being a highly successful recruiter. What industries are challenged, which are collapsing and why, what’s next, how government policies are trending and what their ramifications are to macro-economics.
I read the Wall Street Journal daily, I’m not embarrassed to say I like the paper version, I love to scribble notes and highlight interesting tidbits. Additionally, I subscribe to a large number of news feeds–feeds on all my clients and their competition. I follow companies, journalists and bloggers on Twitter and Facebook. And, I keep up with world trends via the NYTimes, LA Times, CNN and the like.
When I led a corporate Competitive Insights group, one of the best sources of market intelligence was in job descriptions—who’s hiring & what they are hiring for. STill is. Subscribing to news feeds on new roles, coupled with a monthly peek into your 50 or so bellwether companies that you follow, often provides great insight into where to hunt for talent, and where investment is happening.
An executive recruiter can’t spend enough time soaking all this in, but I’d set the minimum target at an hour a day, every day.
-Ability to Translate the Macro to the Micro
Having a handle on ‘what’s going on’, to differentiate yourself as a talent scout, it’s important to translate trends into market insight and communications. For example, if you pay attention to where VC funding is going, how effectively those companies are hiring (speed and quality), supply chain issues, market share, business fundamentals, that would give you a great deal of insight into which companies to decline as clients, and where to go for talent either immediately or as you build your network and talent pipeline.
All good marketers tell a compelling story. And all successful recruiters are marketers. The best talent is pretty aggressive about probing on any role—P&L info, funding details, competition, differentiation. You don’t need an MBA, though it helps, but you need to be bulletproof in your pitch. And when the prospective talent “double clicks” down into the detail, you absolutely have to be able to go toe to toe with them.
We’ve moved to a world of distractions—and our messages are not getting through to people. Finding the perfect balance of bugging people just enough without going over the edge and starting to look like a stalker is key. Today, a couple of messages just isn’t going to cut it as your potential next hire reads your message at the stop light and immediately forgets about you.
Just like Wordle, you might get lucky in one guess but “Post and Pray” is no longer effective in a world where the best are approached and are not shopping job boards.
-Deeply Knowing Your Stuff
Whether it’s the ability to understand the software stack, if you are doing software roles or being deep in performance marketing metrics and what a real ‘lifestyle’ brand is about, if you are hunting for marketing people, to having a eye for design for creative roles, to having a deep understanding of food products and where they are trending if you are in that space. If you don’t know how to process and analyze a candidate’s skills, forget about ever being great in search. You’ll get lucky from time to time but you’ll never be really good.
-All the Process Stuff
Being good at cold calling, interviewing, having listening skills, being both aggressive and social, developing the ‘litmus test’ question for each role, intensity, motivation…. all of the mechanics of the job are important as well.
And you thought all you had to do was be a good key word searcher and know some Boolean search techniques.