- It all comes back to Networking. The single most important thing for a recruiter to do is to network. Do this every day, and not just on social media sites. Take time out of your day to call people who have an interesting or impressive background. Even if you don’t have anything for them. You may one day have the perfect position for them or they may have referrals for you for your current openings. After the first call, follow up. Stay in touch. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the current hottest position you are working on and be very near-sighted but wouldn’t you rather get a new position and know right away of a few people you can call? I know I would.
- Find a Mentor. When I first started recruiting, I was lucky to sit next to one of the best recruiters I've ever known. And she was happy to help! I listened to her on the phone and adapted some of her techniques for asking certain questions or leaving voice mails or even delivering the bad news that they weren’t chosen. She answered so many of my questions that I’m surprised that she didn't ask for a new seat.
- You can recruit anyone. Don’t get too wrapped up in the technology or skill set. If you have never heard of the technology, do a quick search online to make sure you know what you’re looking for. But the best way to really learn about a new skill that you don’t quite understand is to ask the candidates you're calling. Who better? They live the technology every day and if they can explain it to you in a way that you understand, it will also ensure that they are truly an expert.
- Get on the phone! Those first few calls can be a little scary. You aren’t confident that you will know what to say or how to answer their questions. At first, you may want to make a document with all of the important information you should gather from each candidate you speak with (what they’re looking for, what they did and why they left their last few positions, pay history, commute, etc) so you don’t miss anything. As with most careers, the best way to learn is by doing. Remember that if someone is looking for a job, they will be happy to hear from a recruiter. Don’t spend too long analyzing a resume because you aren’t sure if they’re a fit, call them! Ask them! They will tell you if they have the skills to do the job or not. Pick up the phone!
- There is no one right way. One thing that I learned from my mentors is that everyone has to know their own personality and will have a different way of recruiting. Don’t script it because you will end up sounding practiced and impersonal. When leaving a voicemail for example, ask yourself why you are calling this candidate. Do they have a skill set that you have a job for? A certification that is really impressive? You see that they just ended a position and want to find out what they are looking for? Whatever it is, use that in your voice mail in your own voice. Be genuine and be yourself.
- Follow up. The number one complaint I hear about recruiters is that they call and tell candidates about this awesome new position, get them excited about it, tell them they’re submitting their resume and are never heard from again. I’m going to be honest and admit that I have also been guilty of this. It’s a huge mistake and a lesson I had to learn quickly. Make it a point to call the candidate and tell them as soon as you have any updates. Even if you haven’t heard anything and especially if the position was cancelled or they were disqualified. It can just be a call at the end of the week to tell them that you haven’t heard. They will appreciate the follow up regardless of if it's good, bad or no news. Remember that this is networking, people!
- Don’t take it personally. In this industry there are going to highs and lows. There are going to be days or even weeks where you are on top of the world; you are finding the best candidates for the positions and you are putting people to work. It’s an amazing feeling! But there are also going to be times where you can’t seem to find anyone for the positions you have, your consultant leaves your contract for a permanent job or the client ends your consultant early. Don’t take any of it personally. Remember why you are in the business of recruiting and that your job is to put people to work and in the process help your clients fill a need. If someone takes a permanent job, that’s great! If they really aren’t the right match for the position and the client isn’t happy, there is someone else out there who can fill that position and it’s likely that the current consultant isn’t happy either. You are in the business of people and people can change their minds. Just move forward and do what you can.
- Keep Learning. If there’s one thing you can expect in the recruiting industry, it’s that things will change. Don’t ever assume that you know everything or that your way is the best way. You will have to change your style as the world changes (for example, the growing shift to social media) and you need to be able to adapt accordingly. Read articles and blogs about recruiting, the job market in general and the technologies you’re recruiting for on a regular basis. Don’t ever stop being hungry for knowledge because the market is always changing and job seekers are changing with it. Some sites that I like to check regularly are booleanblackbelt.com, ere.net, recruitingblogs.com and inc.com.
Recruiting is an extremely rewarding and challenging career. And as a new recruiter, it can be overwhelming. If you keep these tips in mind, hopefully they will help you to stand out from the rest and be more of a partner to your candidates and clients alike.