The irony won’t be lost on the seasoned recruiters among us when I say that the sector holds a fairly meagre success rate for hiring amongst ourselves. If you work in an agency with a lower onboarding success rate, you might also notice a culture developing where existing team members almost expect new starters to fail. It goes without saying that this kind of unwelcoming environment will only contribute to drop-offs.
Most of us know that high turnover in recruitment is not uncommon; that said, it’s a costly exercise both financially and in terms of time so if we can mitigate the failures it would be significantly better for business. Where it can take up to three months for many consultants to start making strides, that’s three months wasted if consultants are not giving the tools they need to succeed.
These are my tips for improving the hiring and onboarding process for trainee recruitment consultants:
1. Manage expectations from the start
If you’re looking for someone who’ll hit the phones and observe strict KPIs, make that very clear in the interview process. Of course you can woo them with success stories, earning potential and incentivised trips abroad, but they must be aware of the journey involved to get there. In doing so, you’ll alleviate any misunderstanding in the first couple of months (which are usually the toughest on new consultants) when they realise the true extent of what is expected of them to succeed in the role. Do not oversell to candidates just to fill a seat – it will be a huge mistake.
2. Secure buy-in from your team
You’ll probably have a great team in place already. Get them involved and excited about their new team-mate ahead of time, rather than spring them with a new person the day before they start. I’d recommend inviting a couple of team members into the interviews so that all parties are happy and know what to expect in terms of culture fit. It will also give your new hire a chance to ask any questions of the team that they might not have been comfortable asking you.
Don’t assign your new recruiter a desk and a training manual, and simply expect them to ‘get it’. Investing in a robust training schedule for all new hires will pay massive dividends in the long run. Having a strong training plan in place will mean you’re giving your rookie the best possible chance of success. You might consider splitting the training load among the team so that the new person shadows new business visits, interviews and phone calls, alongside undergoing a comprehensive training programme. In doing so, they’ll also pick up the different approaches to the job, giving them the confidence to forge their own style that works best for them.
4. Assign a mentor
It’s essential that your new employee has someone available to them for questions. Chances are they’ll have plenty. Yes, we’re all busy, but ensuring someone can catch minor mistakes before they become reputation-damaging for the business is critical.
5. Allow room for failure
Don’t make the mistake of expecting perfection from Day One. The experienced recruiters among us will know that sometimes the best learning stems from making slip-ups. If they do make reckless decisions, give them immediate feedback so that bad habits are nipped in the bud. I’d advise giving your rookie a degree of independence, while safe in the knowledge that their mentor is available should any issues get out of hand. It also sends a supportive message to them without feeling like micro-management.
About the author: David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, one of London’s leading secretarial/administrative recruitment agencies. David founded Tiger in 2001 and has written extensively in the press and wider media advising both employers and job seekers on best recruitment practice.