The Elements of a Successful Recruiting Career

It all began almost 9 years ago.  In 2003 at the end of that year just coming into the final leg of my final 2 years journey in college and looking at options in the future, I looked to an incredible option that opened it's doors by taking on an internship for an ADT Security Alarms Dealership - Rhino Security Services. I had made the decision to explore HR and found it to be to my liking - never realizing that this would open vast doors along the way.


When I began this interesting journey I talked the owner who had found me on Craigslist to let me entertain an option for an internship with them to take on their recruiting/staffing options and to explore how this might be done.


I was paid an entry level wage of $8.00/hr - $2 less than what I had made in retail at Whole Foods, and shortly then on January 1st of 2004 ventured into my journey with a new growth opportunity.  I learned a great deal about business in a small business setting including what it meant to wear multiple hats although I never strayed from the HR function that I found myself owning.


And so it began like this my foray into the realm of recruiting:

>Staffing 100% commission sales roles.

>Knocking on doors to sell security systems to make some extra cash.

>Reviewing the organizations compensation requirements and doing compensation analysis.

>Reviewing benefits and making recommendations.


My journey in that realm took me to college campuses - community colleges, public universities, and other environments.  Career fairs, internet hunting, a primer on boolean and job boards, researching on the open web, and trying to coax others to join our company with a very small carrot indeed.  100% commission was not very appealing to some.


And so I learned and then gained several other roles along the path including eventually a PHR, graduating from College with an HR Bachelors Degree, networking and joining my on campus professional association, and landed my first big internship at Applied Materials where I took on a wide variety of HR projects gaining a real world view of how HR works in a larger organization.  That lasted from May until November 2004.  Then I joined a Staffing Agency where I worked for 1.5 years honing further skills.


I then wound up in a non-profit where I did HR Generalist duties, and that lead to 4 years of HR Consulting environments and other options including other Staffing endeavors.  After that for 2.5 years returned to staffing again with an agency side environment - NetPolarity.  And then took my current post with ADP - so I went from ADT to ADP in the span of 9 years.  There must be something to be said of that - it all began with AD and now you add the end letter - go figure - a sign I guess?


It's been quite a journey and now taking AIRS training provided through ADP I couldn't be happier and more healthy in my career journey.


There have been moments where I thought about the HR Generalist career path but my career while giving me well rounded HR experience - it was always the staffing side that always found me irregardless of where I wound up.


It has caused me to reflect on what has been for the most part a very compelling and healthy/prosperous career.


There is no doubt that a few elements come to mind that I thought about and wanted to share about a successful staffing/recruiting career - whether you be an Account Manager, Staffing Manager, Executive over the Staffing Function, a HR Practioner whose realm falls into staffing, a Recruiter, Sourcer, or other HR professional key things do come to the forefront of what makes for a successful staffing juggernaut, a recruiting/sourcing powerhouse, and lends to characteristics that may be needed in the recruiting function of the future.  Here are those thoughts in no particular order nor greater than any other element - let's just call these the staffing elements that are characteristics I have observed for successful recruiting outcomes whether your carrot is big or not, these seem to be the powerful elements that open the doors, find the talent and nail the recruiting/staffing puzzle to maximum success:


1.  Determination - This comes to mind first and foremost especially when one is in the moments of the tough requirements that need every ounce of energy and grit to go from point A to B.  It requires a constant push to look to the end goal and find any way to get there.

2.  Recalibration - the ability to change mid-stream and have enough flexibility to swallow one's pride and see the changes necessary to get to the hire.

3. Masterful Sourcing - whether in the throes of a search or in the beginning of a search or end - being able to fish in the right pond, and know how and when to engage talent by knowing the keywords, having that new boolean search, or the brilliant analysis to hone and drill down to the key components of a job description and match it with laser accurate results - this is ever changing and trully dynamic - sourcing is and can be an ongoing science that you use constantly to find new talent and anticipate the need before you need it.

4. Masterful Closing Skills - needed when you must negotiate with a candidate, or manager and the education needed to give just the right carrot, and use the right closing argument to sway even the most skeptical to your way of thinking - this masterful closing skill is a recruiters main sales moment - it is solution selling and providing the candidate and hiring manager with the necessary information and not to mention education that may be needed to "close the deal."

5.  Good Follow-up skills - now and in the future - follow-up is a must for every recruiter - to follow-up with each candidate to ensure that they have all details they need, all necessary players are kept moving along the staffing path - it is the masterful follow-up and tact that make the difference.

6.  Detail Orientation - we have all heard that the devil is in the details - so true for staffing, one must listen and take notes and provide a variety of details and coordinate details with a wide variety of players.  It requires a special person to get the details right and pull all the peices of the puzzle together when negotiating, securing and preparing an offer.

7.  Good Human Relations skills - the ability to make others always feel important even when they aren't a fit or just providing the updates individuals need. 

8.  Candidate Experience - the ability to help each candidate feel important and treated well - the ability to provide sage advice and assistance and keep the candidates engaged every step of the way - the greatest recruiter is one who can take someone who may not now be a fit and create "raving fans" that will refer anyone your way at any time.

9.  Strong Networking Skills - with more social networking avenues, online channels, job boards, tools and other means never before realized it is networking that takes the heart of the matter.  Being able to network well and keep the ball going is a key skill.

10.  Comfort with Ambiguity - never has there been a profession more ambiguous than ours.  Change is always occuring which creates a need for the ability to adapt quickly when an ambiguous circumstance appears.

11.  Career Coach and Career Advocation - the ability to help others when needed to coach on interviewing skills, resume skills, or helping managers just be more nice and interview more succinctly - it is the recruiter and owner of the staffing process who may at times be called upon to share advice to candidates and hiring managers on how to best conduct a search on both sides of the desk.

12.  Genuineness - the ability of a recruiter to care well for each candidate and to see right to the heart of their intent - being oneself, and being genuine is one trait that is very powerful.

13.  Good phone skills - necessary and needed - recruiting is a contact sport.

14.  Candidate and Hiring Manager Control - the ability to control, and see what the needs are and in so doing keep everyone on track.  Controlling candidate communications and maintaining time management are key skills.

15.  Time Management - the most important skills a recruiter can garner is the ability to manage time.  This in and of itself is as important and powerful of anything.  The ability to manage the clock and keep all balls up in the air while still maintaining a good schedule is an important skill.


Just some thoughts - but they serve to show what it takes to get our jobs done in an ever volatile and changing world.


Staffing & Recruiting are especially fulfilling when the culmination of one's efforts bring hiring manager and new hire together in a match making process that makes American Idol look like child's play.  Across every sector of business there is nothing as incredible and life changing as the staffing fill/staffing placement.


It signifies the greatest success, and to do so again, and again, and again, and again is akin to climbing Mount Everest.


A staffing fill and staffing placement are manna to every staffing professionals soul.  When that tough Hiring Manager is finally pleased, and they hire someone you have recommended that is when the culmination of hard work and effort appear with greatest satisfaction.


The elements above all are interdependent, and staffing is a cause and affect relationship.


Manna to our souls?  Absolutely.  A great place to work and be in 2013.

Views: 1134

Comment by Michele St.Laurent on January 7, 2013 at 9:25am

Great list!  I'd add being ethical and honest.  It's a small world, that gets smaller and smaller every day.  Do the right thing every time.  Your clients, candidates and hiring managers will be happy - which will positively affect you and your reputation.


Comment by Michael Honer on January 7, 2013 at 9:32am

Had no idea Saint-hood and being a Recruiter had so much in common?? Your mirror is definitely kind and it's nice to know that one can become so knowledgeable and masterful in a relatively short time. Good job.

Comment by Sue Orr on January 7, 2013 at 9:37am

Your list of 15 elements is excellent.  I definitely agree.  I also agree with Michele about being ethical and honest.

Comment by Mike Rasmussen on January 8, 2013 at 8:48pm

Agreed - I had an old manager who said "Do the right thing" and make that your mantra and it will follow that good outcomes will come to be and come to pass.


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