What makes a recruiter great? Is it her use of state-of-the-art technology? Is it his efficient process? Those can be factors, but what matters most is what’s at the core – the innate ability to connect with people. Recruiting is about relationships, after all.
There’s a theory that says recruiters are best when they’re like salespeople. I think they’re best when they’re more like a therapist. They need to listen. Build trust. Create long-term relationships. Connect the dots and dispense advice. That doesn’t sound like a car salesman to me. That sounds more like a therapist.
So, how do you use your therapist DNA to be successful in recruiting? Here are 5 areas to prioritize in your relationship-building:
1) Your Team
An obvious place to start. In any industry, having a good relationship with your co-workers is important, but as recruiters, we often rely on each other to pitch in and help. Know a good candidate for a co-worker’s requisition? Pass along the referral. Does your team need an extra hand interviewing a host of candidates this week? Make time for them. Have a moment of down time? Grab a sandwich and get to know them. Remember, there will be a time when you need their help too and that goodwill and camaraderie goes a long way towards hitting your numbers.
2) The Community
Depending on your recruiting needs and industry, your community may be your local geography or a wider online network (it really should be both). Local community partners are always important for hiring events, brand awareness and spreading the word that you’re hiring. Your online networks (LinkedIn, Talent Network, coding sites like GitHub, etc.) put a wealth of candidates at your fingertips. Build and cultivate those relationships and when a need arises, you’ll know exactly where to look.
Sadly, there tends to be tension between Marketing and HR/Talent Acquisition in many organizations and that’s exactly what you don’t want. Marketing should be your best friend and can offer support in a multitude of areas. Looking for some press coverage for your event or hiring needs? How about new collaterals/ads? Maybe an integrated social campaign? Use those relationship-building skills of yours and get to know your marketing folks. Take them out for coffee and discuss what their day looks like. Send them a congratulatory note when one of their campaigns is successful. You know, be a good friend.
4) Managers & C -Suite
For the sake of space, I’m lumping Hiring Managers and the C-Suite Execs into one category (even though we know they’re really not). However, the approach is the same. It’s usually about education. Educate yourself on what, exactly, your hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. Then, in turn, educate them on your process and set expectations. Same goes for your Executives. Many don’t have the slightest idea what goes into your day-to-day recruiting efforts, so take the time to show them. And always be prepared to discuss your numbers.
Last, and most certainly not least, are your candidates. There are two aspects here to consider:
- Cultivating a pipeline
- Closing the right prospect.
To cultivate a pipeline, see No. 2 above (community). Now, closing the right prospect is uniquely personal, but typically involves leaning on those sales skills mentioned earlier. What tends to work incredibly well is finding out – early on – what is important to your candidate and then address how you’re providing that with this opportunity. A lot of recruiters can get a little too “salesy” in this phase, but that works in some industries. In others… not so much. You have to find your own way here and balance the softer relationship skills with the harder sales skills. But, remember, the candidate experience is paramount so when in doubt, lean more towards the relationship side. Because if you have to push too hard to close the job, you don’t have the right candidate.
By nature, recruiters are closer to therapists than sales people. Eighty percent of the job revolves around building relationships and trust. That ability is usually innate, but when in doubt, just be a good friend and a genuine person and let that guide you.
Author: With a unique career path that includes experience in Marketing, Communications, Social Media and Recruitment Strategy, Adam Glassman is on a mission to transform Talent Acquisition. Connect with him on LinkedIn to join the effort.
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