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Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


How-To, The Business of Recruiting

Getting Back to Basics


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Recruiting is the kind of career that can be as big (or as small) as you want to make it. It’s not the kind of job you can major in at college — it’s either in you, or it isn’t. You are a student of the game – you pursue your own education, you supply your own resources, you discipline yourself to get things done each and every day. You are in an honorable profession – you find people jobs.

So what happens when you get complacent?

Complacency is what happens when the mundane activities of every day start becoming so routine that you don’t even think about them. You come in, sit down at your desk, and mindlessly start going about your day. The passion isn’t there any more. It’s like a scene right out of Office Space.

Recently, Tamera Legler, Director of Training with Robert Half International, provided some words of wisdom to a room full of recruiters attending a Northwest Recruiters Association luncheon. Legler oversees field training for Robert Half International in the Central and Western Professional Services divisions. During her presentation, she stressed the importance of productivity versus busy-ness when it comes to recruiting. Recruiting is a simple job, but it’s not easy. It has the capacity to be mentally exhausting. People are a tough business to be in.

The good news about recruiting is this — it is a ‘fundamentals’ type of business. One of the best ways to get past complacency, past the mental exhaustion, is to return to the basics — the fundamentals of the recruiting profession.

Legler outlined six very simple items that, when paid attention to, will get you back to the basics of recruiting and help clear your mind to get you back on track:

  1. Prepare. Legler says that the most common mistake recruiters make that causes them to fail is lack of planning. In Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog!, he discusses the importance of planning, and that the best thing to do is to get the most difficult task done first thing in the morning. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
  2. Set goals and limits. What is it on a daily basis that makes you brilliant at what you do? The people who achieve the most have an idea in their mind of where they want to go, and they have it written down. With your goals in mind and written down, it’s easier to discipline yourself on a daily basis to follow your plan.
  3. Listen. Complacent recruiters will tend to start hearing each candidate talk the same way. Are you listening to small indications that would send up red flags that your candidates may not either accept the job or stay in it for long? Consciously think about listening to your candidates (and your clients!). Be present when you are on the phone with them and learn what they are looking for to make sure it matches with what you need, and vice versa.
  4. Communicate. Clear communication is the barrier to getting the deal closed at the end. This means saying exactly what you mean. Be blunt. People appreciate when you communicate effectively with them and don’t sugar-coat things.
  5. Know when to push pause. Call a time-out when things need to be regrouped. Are you moving too fast? Do you want to fill the position too badly? Don’t just keep pressing forward because you need to meet deadlines or because it’s what you typically do. Take a moment to find the bottleneck, and return to the previous four steps to take care of it. Then move forward and keep everyone moving in the proper direction.
  6. Close the deal. If you did the first five things, then the deal is already closed. Recruiting and negotiation do not begin at the end of the recruiting process. You are the one orchestrating the dance with the candidates – this is in your control. With every communication with both clients and candidates, ‘check in’ with them to make sure nothing has changed. If you do this, by the time you reach this step, your placement has already happened.

You are as efficient as you choose to be on a daily basis. By returning to some basics in this business, you can keep yourself moving in the right direction to find all the success you want.

Amybeth Hale began her career in recruiting working for Jon Bartos as the sole researcher for his award-winning MRI-affiliated executive search firm in Cincinnati. She then served as the Manager of Internet Research for SearchPath International out of Cleveland, OH. She previously was editor of The Fordyce Letter and FordyceLetter.com. She's returned to her first love, sourcing, and now works for Microsoft. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.
  • Mgeo

    Great recap!

  • http://twitter.com/starbucksjobs jer

    love this! thx ;-)

    ~jer

  • Janet

    Clear and concise! Thanks for the summary.

    –Janet