Keeping it real. Six tactics for hard-core recruiters in 2012

No doubt you have been overwhelmed with high-level forecasts from wise recruiting soothsayers about 2012 being the year of mobile recruiting, the critical importance of building talent communities, the rise of employer branding… and many other trends that, truthfully, you hardly understand and definitely have little control over.

These people are smart, and much of what they say is spot on. But a lot is total hogwash too, no more than a distraction, and certainly most of it, you personally, cannot act on.

So what about the desk recruiter? The person doing the day-to-day slog? What resolutions can you make, today, that will equip you for a better year. Indeed, a better career?

Here are mine.

Fire lots of clients …now.

That’s right. Your eyes do not deceive. 2011 was truly the year of the tyre-kicker. At Firebrand we were overwhelmed with clients ‘testing’ the market, using multiple recruiters on the same brief, comparing our talent with internal candidates, withdrawing jobs at the last minute, even rescinding on offers.

2012 is the year to sort out these serial time-wasters and fire them. Don’t forget, you can choose who you do not work with. You have to prioritise your clients, and triage your job orders. Work on only those where the client is committed to working with you. Indeed you want a laser-like focus on clients who give you a return. The rest? Coach them on ways to work together. Give them another chance. Then kill off those bikers!

Spend less time on social media.

What? This is blasphemy! Spend less time? Who is this dinosaur? Well, I may be a dinosaur, but I am a dinosaur with 10,000 twitter followers, a blog read by 5,000 plus people every week, a busy Facebook page,  and many thousands of LinkedIn contacts.

So I know two things about Social Media.
i) the benefits
ii) how much time it wastes.
And you need to learn from this. Of course social media is a critical channel for recruiters. If you have not developed a social media profile yet, then get going. But don’t confuse the much touted mantra from the ‘experts’ that is ‘all about engagement,’ with banal banter and time-wasting that will lead to nothing. Don’t con yourself. Use social media wisely, with focus, with intent, with a plan …… and with a limit on how much time it sucks up. While we are on this topic, spend less time on your computer.

Spend more time on the oldest social networking tool we have – the telephone.

Yes, I know, seriously old-school. Yet it is a fact that recruiting is still about influencing, connecting, persuading, negotiating, listening, selling and closing. And if you think email or social media can do those things better than face-to-face or telephone contact…you are… how shall I word this? Ah yes! Dumb as mud.

Focus on $ productive activities.

There are so many distractions these days. So easy for a recruiter to ‘be busy’. On social media. On research. On admin. Your goal for 2012 is to spend as many hours as possible on dollar-productive activities. And those are the activities that lead to an invoice. And typically they are the ‘contact’ activities. Talking to, and meeting, with talent. Talking to, and meeting, clients and prospects. They are the money-moments. Again don’t fool yourself. A ‘busy day’ without lots of these activities, is not a dollar-day.

Increase innovation and time on talent acquisition.

Remember, not everyone is looking for a job, but everyone is available to change jobs. 2012 is the year for you to actually do something about tapping into the passive 90%. The future of recruitment is that everyone is a candidate -  all the time. And it is up to us to convert them into active candidates, not wait for them to come to us.

Focus only on things you have control over.

I am sick of hearing and talking about the shaky economy, fickle clients, the situation in Europe, the stock market gyrations, elections in the US, the talent shortage, what the Chinese may do with the currency. I mean seriously, can YOU do anything about those things? Of course not, so don’t waste your energy and denude your motivation with this stuff. Focus on what you can impact and control.

And mostly, those are the things I have outlined in this blog.

Wishing you all a fantastic 2012.


Views: 14403

Comment by Gerry Crispin on January 23, 2012 at 9:38am

Nice list. This advice is as relevant for Corporate Recruiters as it is for 3rd party. Even the first one "Fire clients..." would be a major win if Staffing leaders made the case that recruiting for poor managers is not in the firms best interest, destroys the employment brand, demotivates recruiters, churns employees and rewards behavior that eventually impacts corp. performance. It takes guts (and I have stories about the consequences if your boss doesn't have your back) but it is a winner. 

Comment by Sunil Kumar on September 4, 2012 at 1:23am

Good Read Greg.

Comment by Greg Savage on September 4, 2012 at 1:30am

Thanks Sunil...


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