By, Cari Desiderio
For the past 18 months of my career I’ve been having a blast doing a deep dive into a function of the HR body of knowledge. Talent Acquisition. It’s probably one of the most appreciated pieces of our field in terms of customer appreciation, when done well. And probably the most painful piece of our field when not done well. As my job coach told me once, they (internal leaders and customers) won’t believe anything you tell them as HR practitioner if you cannot fill their empty seats! I didn’t believe this seemingly silly statement until I had my first crack at hard core make it or break it recruitment demands in 2009. We had a mega staff up and without this successfully accomplished (in a few short months) a big government demonstration in the healthcare division I was at would have not been operational. I don’t know that any of my work on talent development, employee relations, retention and engagement or other critical projects would have been quite as supported had my team not filled those jobs in New York. Recruiting gained us a positive reputation.
Of course, being a curious person I am not one to camp out in one function of our field without beginning to do what I just do. Study it. Try to write the success formula. Apply a little HRD and try to write the competency model for the field. Before I went as deep into this field as I am now, I honestly did not realize how much of the job had nothing to do with finding candidates. Now that I’m neck deep in this field, I find myself drawing from my sales training in college more than any HR master’s program or SPHR prep class. Because recruiting done well is really sales and project management I’m learning.
I’d love to get the input of my fellow talent acquisition community members on this blog. Here’s my short list of what competencies I think make the top seven list for recruiters.
- Tenacity. A good recruiter is stubborn. Most of the candidates surfaced may not get hired. That’s OK. A good recruiter keeps digging for gold. When hiring managers say no to the first three rounds, a good recruiter won’t give us. Stubborn tenacity to win until the position is filled.
- Network Build. This is really all about relationship skills. One of my best recruiters told me one time that her great hires take about a year to woo. A year to woo seemed long to me when I first heard this. But the principle here is that a good recruiter builds a funnel. Grooms the funnel. Keeps up with good leads. And when the time is right a person from that network becomes a hire.
- Salesmanship. This is both inside and outside the organization. On the outside, the good recruiter needs to reel in good leads. Sell the company. Sell the role. From tone of voice to knowledge and generation of enthusiasm about the company, it’s the whole sales package. And internally the recruiter needs to get the hiring manager interested in the candidate. Never provide a resume without a nice profile/summary of attributes to showcase the candidate. Now this doesn’t mean embellishment. Truth still stands. We need to weed out the unimpressive. But presentation matters.
- Project Management. This is an interesting one. On the one hand, this is basic organization to keep track of the funnel and leads and present at the right time. But on a larger scale, this is about leading the hiring manager through the process. A good job scope discussion. Adequate touch points. Driving the hiring team to respond to resume submissions, have timely interviews, and make fast decisions to keep good leads interested. Really there is a lot of project management skill and a good recruiter has the organization and confidence and skill to lead this indirect management of the team members involved in hiring.
- Market Intelligence. Plain and simple. Know thy market. Know the going salary for a position. Know how to write an appropriate job description that both grabs attention and showcases the job as the market expects it to be showcased. Be able to guide the hiring manager and team to understand what they get for the dollars spent.
- Sourcing Skill. Good recruiters are up on the latest technology and methods of sourcing. We can call this looking under every rock or finding a needle in a haystack. Technology and sourcing method change just about every year, sometimes much quicker. Recruiters can stay up on this via networking with other recruiters, using online education forums via ERE.net, SHRM.com, CEB and more.
- Behavioral / KSA Assessment Accuracy. This is a big credibility maker or breaker. A good recruiter can do a solid screening of fit for job, culture, team, etc. Typically this is a blend of skills assessment questions and certainly many behavioral and situational questions to get at deeper levels of competency.
By, Cari Desiderio