Facebook’s super “business recruiter” Sarah Clifford was kind enough to introduce me to recruiting trainer expert Jenna Luthy recently (and thanks to Uber’s talent branding star Andrew Levy for hooking me up with Sarah!).
Jenna trains recruiters for some of the best companies in Silicon Valley and I asked her to share some of her learnings about what makes a great recruiter. She summed it up in the 5 points below:
5 Behaviors of Great Recruiters
Recruiting continues to gain popularity as a profession due to the demand in rapidly growing technology companies and the war for talent. In my professional experience with facilitating trainings to recruiters, since most of them do not attend college to become a recruiter and there is such low barrier to entry in our industry, there can be a huge skills gap between a good versus great recruiter. If you throw a junior recruiter into a fast paced environment who hasn’t had proper mentorship or training, real problems can happen. It’s kind of like expecting someone to know how to fish without taking the time to teach them how. In order for great recruiters to be created, they must first be trained by other great recruiters.
If you want to go from being a good to great recruiter, here are the top things that you should know.
1) They source and source hard.
If you had to select only one key ingredient to the hiring process, passive candidate sourcing would absolutely be it from my perspective. Your sourcing strategy will be different depending on the varying roles you recruit for, however one thing remains constant: you must go beyond only LinkedIn. Utilize x-ray search, your professional network and referring amongst fellow recruiters, attend meetup groups, and contact conference speakers since they are clear subject matter experts in their domain. Lastly, any sourcing expert knows that having the right tool belt is important. Browser extensions ranging from email finders to other new products on the market are critical to be successful.
2) They can manage their hiring managers and use metrics to drive conversations.
When it comes to interacting with hiring managers, it is important to act like a business partner. While many of them have been building teams for years, it is likely that some of them occasionally let hiring fall low priority and in the past may have treated recruiters more like order takers than partners. It is usually pretty simple to uncover that you’ve got a rogue hiring manager on your hands: they no-show recruiting meetings, they miss interviews that they accept to their calendars, and after months of interviewing, you find out that they have someone starting tomorrow who they found “on their own” and IT hasn’t been updated yet…
When you start to speak to your hiring managers with numbers and patterns, they tend to respond in a much more favorable way (especially if they are somewhat technical).
“We’ve had several onsite interviews, many phone screens, but still haven’t found a candidate for the Web Developer role.”
“We’ve had 10 onsite interviews, 25 phone screens, and no offers for the Web Developer role.”
The second more detailed recap allows for further conversation as to where the interview process is falling short of assessing skill set. One can assume that since 10 candidates made it past the phone screen stage, the onsite interview is either too hard or the hiring manager needs to be more picky at phone screen stage. This also takes accountability off of the recruiter alone and turns it into much more of a partnership type of conversation, versus a recruiting progress report. Both parties must collaborate or it doesn’t work.
3) They aren’t afraid to go out on a limb and try new things.
The recruiters who really are able to make a lasting impact in their organizations are the ones who push the status quo. Perhaps this means implementing long overdue changes with an old school hiring manager or it includes implementing an employer branding or diversity initiative. Innovative companies who want to take their talent game to the next level must take intelligent risks and implement new initiatives where they can.
4) They are networking ninjas.
Just as any good salesperson or marketer will continue to nurture prospects, recruiters should do the exact same thing. The more often you check in and build a longterm relationship by doing things like sending follow-up emails, relevant articles or events, and anything else of interest to your audience, the better you will position yourself against the competition you are up against. Your candidates are your long term book of business and will always be around regardless of what company you are recruiting for.
5) They are always looking for new ways to improve.
Recruiting is a field that is changing everyday due to a variety of factors such as technology, industry growth, new available recruiting tools, and most importantly, recruiting’s importance to an organization’s success overall. Staying up to date on industry trends by joining a local recruiting association, having a mentor, reading online recruiting blogs, and/or attending relevant conferences are all great ingredients to being a knowledgeable recruiting business partner and great recruiter.
Jenna Luthy is the Founder of DNA Talent, a recruiting consulting firm based in San Francisco, CA that specializes in training Talent Acquisition and high-growth companies on hiring best practices related to Sourcing, Talent Branding, Diversity Hiring, Interviewing, and more. She also is the Co-Founder of the Silicon Valley Recruiters Association.