Recently, I have been looking at where I gain the most value during my time recruiting. Is it behind a phone and computer making calls to 'potential candidates' and headhunting them out of their organizations or is there some different way of doing the same thing. As recruiters, we all have limited amount of time, too many job orders to fill and not enough qualified candidates. We always battle with our clients on arranging interview times as they seem to always conflict with vacation times and other time commitments that our clients find more important.
I find recruiters almost always potentially 'hesitant' on presenting a 'mediocre candidate' to a client with the risk of the candidate jeopardizing their major account. I always hear from recruiters, "Well.. this candidate is good, but not good enough as Company XYZ is a very good 'exclusive' client of mine" (Im sure the company XYZ is a very good 'exclusive' client to 500 other recruiters as well! - remember exclusivity is a myth!)
What I found during my years of experience in recruiting is that I get the MOST value for my time not by sitting behind a computer and a phone but getting myself off my chair, outside and driving to meet my clients and candidates personally. Not only do you form a better relationship by meeting in person your client (better yet - sharing a lunch together), you also understand the client and candidate in a more intimate way. You start to understand the corporate politics inside the organization and the REAL reason why the candidate wants to leave (or why the client wants to hire). Meeting a hiring manager or a potential candidate is critically important in the recruiting process. There is only so much a recruiter can do over the phone and only so much information that the recruiter can gather.
I like to look at the offices, tour the shop floor and meet the key individuals involved in the hiring process. By visiting the client, you get to feel your client's pain points and you get a very good understanding of why they want to hire. You can see their expression on their face, their body language and more importantly, if they really need you or not.
Meeting people brings a very different element into recruiting. As a recruiter, you feel like part of the company - (I was once called by my customer a company representative) promoting the company and providing the company with some good advertising. The company then depends upon you and your evaluation of the potential candidate and treats the recruiter as a trusted resource (or an extension of their human resource department). After meeting the candidate, I normally like to write detailed reports about my potential candidates to my customers regarding 4 main factors: relevant work experience, personality, compensation and reason for leaving. I know my customer appreciates the amount of work I have done with each and every candidate on a consistent basis and by doing this, it leaves the customer wanting to meet my potential candidate for that particular 'Plant Management' or 'Sales rep' job.
More importantly, meeting potential candidates and clients in person not only builds a strong relationship with each other, but also it is a very good source of referrals to other people in their very own niche industry. These referrals are the contacts that you want as they are already working but passively looking for change. The referrals can be to other customers as well in order to pick up new job orders.
In conclusion, I ask - where is the best value for your time spent as a recruiter? Sitting behind a desk with a computer and a phone or on the road driving around, setting up and meeting all potential candidates and clients. For me, I prefer the latter. I get more value and more production in this way. I find it more rewarding as well.