Last month I had the opportunity to take part in a training course given to our recruitment consultants. Whilst not a consultant myself, I found the experience to be both fascinating and highly valuable. It covered everything from questioning techniques to the psychology of negotiation and it really helped me to appreciate exactly what a consultant at Newman Stewart encounters every day.
The course was both informative and interactive, with a combination of written material, discussions and role-plays (something I was personally a little nervous about). Whilst some aspects of the training were less applicable for an administrator, there were many elements which I have found extremely helpful, from what to look for in a CV and advert writing, through to calling potential candidates when headhunting.
There’s always more to an iceberg beneath the surface:
From a purely administrative point of view, a large part of my knowledge about the day of a recruiter came from emails asking me to organise an interview and add things to diaries. Whilst I knew plenty of hard-work went on behind the scenes, I did not quite appreciate the full extent of exactly what our recruitment consultants do. Take, for example, an internal interview. Simply sitting in front of a candidate and asking them a few questions about their career barely touches the surface of conducting an interview. Consciously questioning someone using different techniques takes a great deal of skill. As does observing minute changes in body language, facial expression and tone. An interview over the phone, or a conversation with a client over the phone, is completely different to a face-to-face meeting.
Before the interview, I was aware of my part of the process: I send a confirmation email (sometimes having arranged the time for the interview to take place as well), add the event to the diary and print out the CV for the consultant. After the interview I scan the interview notes and add them to the candidates file on our database. But again, there is more to this process than meets the eye. The consultant has to find candidates for the role, get in contact and ascertain interest, conduct the interview, write up notes, compare candidates to the brief, sell the candidate to the client or decide that they are not suitable, and then theres the external interview process!
How can I help?
Other than appreciate the time constraints consultants encounter, knowing the process involved in recruitment has been extremely useful with regards to administration. Its helped me appreciate the importance of keeping track of the roles the consultants are working on, meaning I can provide more support and lessen the administrative work the consultants might be doing. For example, I can help with searches for a role, provide a consultant with CVs and book those candidates in for interviews. By keeping track of candidates who have recently been interviewed I can ensure the shortlists for roles are kept up to date, making it easier for consultants to provide information to their clients. Keeping an up-to-date database means that consultants can search for appropriate candidates from our own sources, rather than relying solely on job-boards when looking for active candidates.
Who’s afraid of the big bad phone?
I will admit there are some aspects to the training course I was initially slightly less eager to experience. Namely role-playing. Despite acting a lot at University and being a founding member of an improvisation society whilst there, I cant say I am particularly adept at improvising, nor am I confident acting in front of people I work with. But as it turns out its less about acting and more about demonstrating how you approach a given situation. And it was extremely helpful. I may not be a recruiter, but there are aspects of my job that rely on me picking up a phone and calling people, usually people to whom I have never spoken. That said, I can quite openly admit to suffering from phone phobia. Not very useful in an administrator.
By role playing every possible scenario I would encounter during a particular phone conversation, I was able to analyse what it was that I was afraid of, what I was doing well and what I could do better. And it was surprisingly easy to do in front of my colleagues, Id even say it was helpful to do with them there as they were able to provide feedback. Since the training I have made a lot more calls and even thrown myself into it. Im still a bit nervous, but measurably better at it. So despite the training sessions being for the consultants, from a non-consulting point of view I can easily say that my knowledge about recruitment as a whole, about our company, and about my role within it are vastly improved.
My message from this, other than to appreciate the value of role-playing within training, is that training is invaluable. If a training course is led well, as this one clearly was, it can teach not only those it is initially geared towards, but also those supporting them.
Jenny Lewis is an administrator for Newman Stewart