One thing that many years in the recruitment industry has taught me, is that actually in the big scheme of things we know comparatively little. Yes of course we know our industry, our marketplace and even our industry sector very well, but anyone who professes to know much more than that is, quite frankly, stretching the truth a little!
There is more to know about the recruitment industry are than any of us involved in it can ever hope to learn – social recruiting has shown us how recruiting methods can change so fast - but that is the joy of the job! There is always more to learn, more to discover and there is certainly more knowledge to absorb whether it be product knowledge, industry sector knowledge or the latest social media tool (of which I am sure there will be many!). Someone once said, “the more you know the less you understand” and that is so true - it keeps us on our toes and constantly searching out a greater understanding of everything involved in recruitment.
You could define experience as years spent in a particular job or trade, but this on its own does not then guarantee expertise? Too many people in our industry make that assumption!
It never ceases to amaze me that someone can do a job and for many years and ultimately not progress at all – I know that many of you will have come across these ‘lifers’ who have have been in their jobs or companies for twenty or thirty years and who are still turning out are poor quality work. One would have thought that they would improve just by default being in business for a period of time and doing the job day in day out, but unfortunately (and very disappointingly) this doesn't appear to be the case with some people.
To truly succeed in the recruitment industry, with a huge responsibility towards our candidates and clients alike, recruiters need to be looking constantly for improvement, inspiration, the taking on board of new ideas and knowledge and learning about sector and industry information. Recruiters don’t have to reinvent the wheel they just need to make sure that they have it revolving in the right way.
You don't have to be the world's best recruiter to really stand out (unfortunately) - in fact those who are perceived as the best recruiters are sadly few and far between. There is however one common denominator that that every recruiter should be working to; every recruiter owes it to their candidates and their clients to become the best recruiter they possibly can.
It would be great to think that one day everybody that wants to use a recruitment agency or recruiter would be guaranteed to come out feeling that they had great service, they've been well dealt with and they feel confident that the recruiter will strive to do what is best for that candidate or client alike.
The trouble is that for our sector this is a long way off!!
Recession aside, it's still too tempting for some recruiters to stay firmly entrenched in their comfort zones, never venture outside their office and still not go out and develop their network and information base. There are still many recruiters at companies that just sit there in their office on a desk with a phone and a computer doing a poor job. Many look no further than just earning a living and don't worry about the quality of the work they are putting out into the business world.
Light at the end of the tunnel!! Hooray!
At the other end of the scale there are recruiters who show immense expertise after an initial period of time in the business, and they prove that it's possible to have a natural affinity for recruiting and dealing with clients dealing with the candidates. This affinity combined with strong vision, creativity and ideas make these recruiters a pleasure to work with. However whilst their work may show great skill the recruiter won't yet have a real depth of knowledge - they have the expertise but the detailed industry or sector knowledge takes many more years to get, and there is no substitute for this. This takes time.
In between these two ends of the scale there are many recruiters who have spent numerous years learning the trade and constantly striving to increase their skill and knowledge levels. They recognise that this in ongoing and will continue to try and improve.
So experience and expertise do complement each other, and to be truly proficient at recruitment it must go hand-in-hand. But then factor in the naturally talented recruiters – have they developed lengthy experience and expertise? Often they haven’t, they seem to have a natural affinity for developing and managing people relationships at all levels.
Many recruitment companies shy away from these types of individuals, but in the social media friendly society, they are probably some of the most important people in the next generation of recruiters we are now seeing in our industry.
But whether it is expertise, experience or talent, one thing is a nailed-on certainty - you never stop learning in recruitment. You never stop seeing surprises – we are in a business where our product has a mind of its own and can answer back. The unexpected will always happen!
[Originally posted on my blog, Sirona Says