You know those chatty people? The one who goes beyond the polite pleasantries of "hello how are you" in the grocery line but actual has a conversation about one of the random stimuli that a grocery store is full of, from your outfit to the apples you're buying? Yeah, that's me. I am exceptionally chatty. I actually like conversations, unlike most of you who are just rushing from task to task. I like getting to know people and learning about their perspectives on their job, the world and sometimes just the band on my t-shirt. I may not always agree but I always learn something.
That's why our companies make their learning and development budgets - so we can go have conversations and learn something in the context of (hopefully) smart people who can push us to test our beliefs and do something better than we've done before. After attending many of these recruiting conferences and meeting a lot of great people, I've had the opportunity over the last year to take my own ideas to the stage to talk about the principles I think more recruiters should know about. And with that, I've talked to some really smart people who have challenged and applied some of my ideas. I appreciate both perspectives because in reality, I'm more of a scientist than a do-er. I'm the person who actually has time to look at the data and come up with ideas because I'm not doing it every day. I get to watch the best in action and pull all of those ideas into my head for these best practice-type posts like the one I'm writing right now.
Now this post in particular was inspired by a conversation with one of those people I've met along the way - Fiona. She called me last week and simply asked: what do you think makes an exceptional recruiter? Here's what I came up with off the top of my head:
- Subject Matter Expertise: If you recruit developers and you don't know your Java from your C++, it's time to start reading. You need to know the key acronyms that are specific to your candidates work. No, I don't think you need to know how to code, but you do need to speak their language so you don't sound like an idiot and burn bridges before you even have time to build one.
- Set Expectations: A great recruiter takes the time to explain the recruiting process upfront, especially the timelines. See, most candidates have no idea how recruiting works, who the decision maker is or who they should and should not talk to in the recruiting process. This applies to everyone in the hiring process including hiring managers.
- Regular Updates: A great recruiter over communicates and realizes it's rude to ghost (aka abandon) your candidates for weeks at a time, expecting them to just sit around and wait. No news is news to someone who really wants your job and you are responsible for delivering it.
- Understands Communities: Exceptional recruiters really understand the value of their network and they find ways to nurture it, whether that be running a selective talent community to help their candidates network or sending gifts during the holidays. The exceptional recruiter goes above and beyond to make sure that the people they work with know how valuable they are. They know that connections are the currency that determine a recruiter's worth.
- Do Not Send Job E-mails: Exceptional recruiters have caught on that generic blasts of jobs, ranging from USPS temp worker to CTO, don't work when it comes to reaching top talent. Rather than this "one e-mail fits all approach," an exceptional recruiter sends personalized e-mails about the things that the candidate might want to hear about. They try to grab attention instead of being part of the noise by being a helpful expert instead of a spamming annoyance.
- They Read: A best-in-class recruiter is always looking for new strategies and reading the latest ideas. Exceptional recruiters will seek out 1 new idea at least once a week, if not once a day, just to become better at their practice. (If you need ideas to find these stories, you're already on a great site for that. You can also check out RecruitingDaily.com or RecruitingTools.com.) Make it easy on yourself and sign up for their RSS feeds so you can get the information sent directly to your inbox, folder it and read them all once a week.
So what would you add? What do you think makes an exceptional recruiter?