Recruiters… how do you get better?

I was sitting on a beach in glorious sunshine in Phuket this time 2 days ago… Absolutely no relevance to today’s post… I just wanted to brag. Hi ho back to reality…

So I’ve been thinking… while I was sitting on a beach in glorious sunshine in Phuket… how do you make recruiters better? Simple question, but is the answer as easy?
train1We expect so much from recruiters… an ability to develop new business, to understand and communicate a value proposition, to source and engage new talent, to be a market expert, to be heard above all the noise going on around them, to stand out from their competition, to be a master negotiator, to be a social media expert, a therapist, a magician and a great team player. The role of recruiter has developed so much over the past 5 years that it is a completely different beast to what it was back ‘in the day’.

Haven’t given you any answers yet have I? Stick with me…I’m still building…

And not only has the role changed… the way we do business is completely different. Your online footprint and way you master it, hooking the passive candidate, managing the process, being commercially savvy, managing your ever-shrinking time… I could go on and on.

I was at a new client meeting a couple of weeks back. This was a brand that was very successful 10 years ago, and they are looking to rebuild. The owner has brought in a business efficiency expert to manage the show and they told me they are serious about winning market share…

‘Craig, we are meeting with a number of Rec2Recs to see who can help us on our journey.’ Mr Smooth informed me. ‘We want to attract the best talent who will hit the ground running.’

‘I understand.’ I was responded. ‘And can you tell me a little about your employee value proposition?’ Blank faces. ‘I mean, why would the best talent want to join you?’

‘W… we… well.’ Stammered Mr Smooth. ‘Well… we have a very well recognised brand. And we will pay overs on base salary…’

‘Anything else?’ I probed.

Mr Smooth turned to Mr Crunchy and shrugged. ‘What do you mean?’ he asked.

‘Well, with all due respect.’ I replied. ‘You told me earlier that you have lost most of your entrenched clients over the years… And paying overs on base salary generally attracts the lazy talent as opposed to the top talent. So, what I’m asking is what are you offering for a top consultant to leave a role where they have existing relationships with clients and candidates to join you? What is your plan in relation to commission structure, support tools, but most importantly – career and professional development?’

The meeting went downhill from there… and they really didn’t get it. Mr Smooth was a little aggrieved that I questioned his business and that people wouldn’t want to join simply because he was a big name in the industry… once… and Mr Crunchy just kept asking me questions about measurement matrixes… or is it matrix… or matri… I’m bad with plurals… and is it still best practice to belt our 100 telemarketing calls a day… he was a numbers man our Mr Crunchy…

train2Point is whether you are firmly entrenched in your current role, or thinking about a new one, it is vitally important that you look at what your employer is offering to support your growth and competitiveness…

What training do you have access to? After all… you are being asked to drive the business forward… to be a professional, a marketer, a brand ambassador, an expert, a deliverer, a finisher and a bloody fantastic recruiter. You can’t do all that without a clear training and development program to support you…

If you don’t have one, ask for one. If the answer is no, look for an employer who will give you one… simple.

And for those looking for a great introduction into what is going on in the way of development and learning for recruitment consultants in our industry check out the RCSA Consultant PEARL forum. You don’t need to be a member to attend and you will have access to the most progressive and thought leadering… I made that word up… professionals in the market. It’s a start. And then keep learning… keep developing and keep recruiting.

Craig Watson


3 thoughts on “Recruiters… how do you get better?

  1. Abigail Stevens on Reply

    Well said Craig. Training and development is absolutely essential in recruitment (as with any industry). How can we expect our people to get better if we do not provide them with the tools. Training is money very well invested and reaps the rewards for all.

  2. Sylvain on Reply

    Always funny situations…
    The outcome is not about how we, recruiters become better, but I’d like to share an anecdote.
    I am contacted by a Private Equity Fund who recently lost one of their key Director. She is unique in the market: first she is a she in a very alpha-male industry, then she is not French in a very… French industry, with so many personal qualities that make her special that I can tell that she is unique in the market.
    I explain to the newly appointed CEO of the PE fund (an apparatchik from public administration) that they have to think out-of-the-box because the person they want to replace is unique.
    He told me:
    “it would be great if it could be a woman” (ok with that)
    “what about a foreigner ?” (more complicated but ok)
    “maybe late 30s…” (the leaving Director was 39)
    As far as I know, they are still searching… and the firm was sold!

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