Debunking Recruiting Secrets : The Match Game

This is the final post in the series I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. To start from the beginning you’ll want to go HERE. We’ve talked about  great client relationships and mastering real talent.  This week we’ll talk about the third and final key to being a great recruiter. In my opinion that is making the match between the client  and the candidate. This is where the game gets serious. Now there is money involved. Sometimes a lot of it.

Many would argue this is the most difficult part of the recruiting process because to consistently make placements, you have to match great talent to great clients. but you must also determine if the two are a good cultural fit. I’m still of the opinion that building client relationships is most important, but if you don’t provide them with good matches, you certainly won’t have it.

A quick search on “finding cultural fit” and you will know why this final skill is important. Organizations spend a ton of time trying to figure out who will make a good cultural fit. The bottom line is that candidates who are both qualified and a good cultural fit are less likely to fall-off or turn-over. Remember, we are looking for clients that call on us again and again. Fall-off is not good for a recruiter’s reputation. So how do great recruiters determine if they have a good fit?

1. They Understand Their Client’s Culture.

This is another place where having great client relationships are crucial to a recruiter’s success. The key communicator for culture is going to be the person that supervises the role you are trying to fill. While few will admit to this, many companies have multiple cultures contained under one organization. The best judge of a fit for their team is the supervisor. If your contact at the company is not the person who decides whether or not this person is a fit for their team, you will need to make arrangements to have a conversation that includes that person about cultural fit.

I know that this will be tough in some scenarios. If your contact for example is an HR rep, you are going to need to convince this company representative that “team fit” as I like to refer to it in those circumstances is different than their corporate culture. Assure them of the benefits this will bring to their organization. Do they really want to waste time on candidates who just meet the basic qualifications, or do they want to find the best candidate? The candidate that will be a strong fit for the position, the team, and an asset to the organization is what you will find if you can screen for it up front. If you think there will be objection to you speaking with the position supervisor, try requesting a meeting with all the three of you.

2.They Understand What Motivates Their Candidate.

Great recruiters do a thorough job of screening the candidates they plan to work with. It is important when you do so, to diagnose the candidate’s “pain” in their current position. Knowing this will help you to clearly determine what would motivate them to make a move to another position. Understanding what is important to your candidate is critical in recruiting even if they don’t pay you. They are your product. Their talent represents yours. When you take the time to identify great talent AND understand what motivates them,  identifying a cultural match will be much easier.

3. They Go With Their Gut

I’ve said that there is no secret to being a great recruiter, but there might be one. It’s that little thing called instinct. Great recruiters are able to make a reasonable assessment as to whether or not their candidate is a good “fit” for the client based on the facts they’ve learned and  a “gut feeling”. They might not be able to put it in to words but they just know that their client is going to love this candidate as much as they do. It is that little something extra.

Beyond these key items, a lot of good follow up with both candidate and client is required to make the placement. I don’t want to make light of how important that is, because even the mediocre recruiter knows that beyond the match, the work is far from over. You must coordinate interviews, evaluate feedback, negotiate an acceptable salary and benefit package between the two parties, etc. That, however is a whole other blog series of its own.

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

 

 

 

 

 

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Debunking Recruiter Secrets : Become a Master of Talent

This week I continue with debunking recruiter secrets, which we’ve already determined, aren’t really secrets at all. To catch up on the series, start with the first post here. Last week, I debunked the secret to great client relationships. This week I want to talk about how you identify, qualify, and maintain contact with a database of exceptional talent, or simply put how you become a master of talent.

Becoming a master of talent is no easy task, friends. It takes hard work, due diligence, and a lot of discipline. Let’s break this up into three areas:

Identifying Top Talent

The first thing I learned as a recruiter was how to source candidates. You have to gather names, you have to get past gate-keepers, you have to have no fear when it comes to cold-calling in to where they work. Chances are you learned about all of these your first week as a recruiter. Sourcing is only the first step. You can identify a ton of candidates and only find five that really have talent, right? So next, you’ll need to qualify.

Qualify Talent

Let me first say that there is a difference between being a qualified candidate and being qualified talent. Don’t confuse the two. Just because you have identified someone that meets the job order’s basic qualifications does not mean you have found talent. Sorry. I wish it were that easy. While a candidate may technically “qualify” for a position,  are you willing to put your name and reputation behind this individual? Anyone can produce resumes that qualify for a position, but a great recruiter knows real talent, and they know how to manage that talent for a client. How do you know you have marketable talent?

There are 2 main things that I use to qualify my candidates:

  • CAN I SELL THIS PERSON TO ANY CLIENT?
  • CAN I SELL THIS CANDIDATE ON A BETTER OPPORTUNITY?

When it comes to selling a candidate, I still create a “FAB” chart. Features, Achievements, Benefits. Features are the things they have to have, degrees, experience, etc. Achievements the things that will differentiate them from the crowd. Awards, examples of revenue generation, or cost savings. Finally, the big “B”. The benefits. How can all the features and achievements this individual has benefit your client? The A and the B are what will separate a great recruiter’s candidates. If I have a strong FAB chart for a client, I can probably sell them. If I can add in items that are a “plus” like good cultural fit, action-oriented, confidence, integrity, leadership qualities, intelligence, or born communicator, I know I have real talent.

Maintain Candidate Contact

The second qualifier, “Can I sell this candidate on a better opportunity?” is also our 3rd objective in identifying if we have the kind of talent that a great recruiter works with.

Let’s face it, no matter how qualified the candidate is, if they are not willing to work with a recruiter to explore a more exciting opportunity they are just not worth your time. You have to be able to produce your product after all. Nothing is worse than selling your client on an incredible, talented, candidate that you cannot produce for an interview! That will do nothing for maintaining your relationship with the client and will frustrate you both.

You must ensure this person is willing to explore opportunities up front. Look at these type of things: Do they call you back? Do they express pain of any kind in their current role? Are they looking for more responsibility than is available in their current position? Do they call you back? Are they motivated by more money? Do they want to relocate? Do they call you back?

You get the idea. They must be willing to maintain a relationship with you. If they aren’t, you cannot depend on this person to drop what they are doing and go meet one of your clients. Being able to present talent that WILL, differentiates the mediocre recruiter from a great one. To keep great relationships with your candidates, take a look back at last week’s post about maintaining client relationships. The same skills apply. Only present them with opportunities they will care about, don’t lie, consistently show them great opportunities, and be a partner not a peon.

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.ree. If there is a particular area you are interested in, let me know in the comments section below.

 

 

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De-bunking Recruiter Secrets: Client Relationships

If you missed last week’s post, be sure to read it first HERE.  If you have read it, you know that I came clean and told you that there really are no secrets to great recruiting. The real secret is just following through on the standards of recruiting that we all know exist. Everyone knows  what you are supposed to do to be a successful recruiter. Actually living them in your day to day business is what is key. I promised to drill down on the Big 3 assumed “secrets” last week. This week I elaborate on client relationships.

For some reason, building great client relationships seems to stand out (at least in teams that I’ve personally worked with) as a trait of really successful recruiters. In my experience those that “get it” are much more likely to be big billers and respected in the industry. After all, the client, or employer, is your customer in recruiting. They pay you, not the candidate. Without “owning the client” you can never fully own your placements or your desk.

Finding clients in the first place is a post that warrants it’s own blog series. People design entire training programs on that topic. I will definitely have a blog about that in the future, but in my opinion, getting a job order, or obtaining the client for a first placement is not the hard part. It’s keeping that client and securing a relationship with the employer for multiple placements that is is the true value to you in great recruiting. The best search consultants I know do not have a lot of clients. They have a few clients that they place candidates with, over, and over again.

Here are 4 ways to build better client relationships as a recruiter:

1. Only Present Great Candidates.

Great recruiters only present great candidates. They aren’t just good, they aren’t just qualified, they are great. They are the candidates that go way beyond meeting basic qualifications. We’ll talk more about this topic next week. These are candidates that have that something extra that demonstrates they will be a great employee no matter who they work for. A great recruiter does not offer a “mediocre” product.

2.Don’t Lie.

Just don’t do it. There is no reason to ever lie to your client. As Mark Twain said, ” If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Don’t tell them you have a background that you don’t really have. Don’t say you have a candidate that meets the criteria they are asking for if you don’t really have one yet. Don’t embellish things to make yourself look better or give the client any reason to question your credibility.

3. Consistently Deliver.

One of the biggest mistakes recruiters make with clients is over-promising and under-delivering. They promise the hiring manager they can have a candidate for them by Friday before they have even began a search. They take on job orders that are impossible to fill. They say they will call and they don’t. Sure, you want to please your client, but pleasing them in the short term and disappointing them in the long term will not build a good relationship. The ability to consistently deliver on  your promises is essential in recruiting. If you set a deadline, be sure you can meet it. If you don’t lie in the first place this becomes easier.  If you consistently deliver, they will feel obliged to do the same and that will build a strong business relationship. Trust me on this one, it’s a biggie.

4. Be a Partner not a Peon

To expand upon the 3 items above, let me explain the biggest key to keeping great client relationships. Great recruiters are partners because they have great candidates, they don’t lie and they consistently deliver. When you submit a candidate that is just ok, you risk your reputation to find great talent. When you lie you risk your integrity. When you agree to work on job orders that are impossible to fill, if you are a contingent recruiter, this essentially means you are agreeing to work for nothing. Would you consider a candidate that told you they didn’t care how much someone paid them or if they were paid at all? Ultimately you are compromising your respect. Would you respect someone that had a mediocre product, lied, made promises they couldn’t keep? Instead, demonstrate your value as a partner in their hiring process! Push back when you need to. If a client knows you consistently have exceptional talent, and are always honest, they will not question why you can’t spend your time on an impossible job order. They will listen to your advice. They will understand that you have other clients that are competing with them for your time. Never be afraid to back away from a proposal that makes bad business sense for you. That only makes you a more valued partner to them. It will earn you respect which is key to any relationship.

What other skills do you find are key to keeping great client relationships? Tell me about them in the comment section below.

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360. – See more at: http://rekrutr.com/blog/#sthash.5I5IKwBM.dpuf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Secrets to Building a Great Recruiting Desk

Please pardon this week’s title. I used the word “secrets” to get your attention. The truth is that there is really no big mystery to great recruiting. There is not some book of secrets for the industry. There are 3 core skills that separate mediocre recruiters from great recruiters, though. Ask a recruiter for their secrets and chances are what they tell you will not seem like such a big secret. It is probably something everyone knows about but just doesn’t use. The bottom line is that if you want to be a great recruiter, you simply must be able to do the following three things well, and there is no secret about that!

ONE: A great recruiter must maintain strong professional relationships with employers/hiring managers that are willing to trust you to deliver candidates that are not only qualified for the position they need to fill, but ones that consistently stand out from the crowd. You know the ones that meet  their criteria and then some. Candidates that they immediately want to hire.

TWO: A great recruiter must be able to identify, qualify, and maintain contact with a database of exceptionally gifted talent that are willing to consider new job opportunities that might be even better than the one they are currently happy in.

THREE: Finally, a great recruiter must understand and embrace the process of matching the prior two groups. A recruiter that can match the right employer with the right passive candidate creating a win-win situation for both will never be without a job. There will always be a need for this type of recruiter.

So how exactly do you deliver on all three of these when any one of the three could be a job of its own? It is not easy. It will require a lot more than working 8 to 5 Monday through Friday in the beginning.  But, it is still not a secret. If you are succeeding at even one of the areas and are up to learning more about another, stay tuned. Over the next three weeks, I will be digging in to each of these three areas individually then wrapping up with how you can learn to be successful at all three. If there is a particular area you are interested in, let me know in the comments section below.

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

 

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90 is Real. The Real Issue of An Aging Workforce.

Were you one of the 11.3 million that tuned in to see Jimmy Fallon‘s premier as host of The Tonight Show this week? I’m already a Fallon fan, so I thought it was terrific. I mean, the U-2 roof-top performance, the Rutgers Drum line, Will Smith and at least 10 other stars paying up their bets on one show? Wow.  That was one of the best late-night shows I’ve caught in a while.

So what does The Tonight Show have to do with recruiting? Let’s face it, people like me find something to do with employment, jobs, or the recruiting industry in just about everything they see and do. Geek hazard I suppose. I planned to write on recruiting new talent to replace the aging workforce this week, and then Will Smith helped me change gears. Here’s how:

Will Smith‘s appearance was as awesome as would be expected but when he spoke about having his 45th birthday in September it really got my attention. “I’m 45 right now, ” he said. With the state of modern medicine—90, we’re all probably gonna hit 90… 90’s like a real thing now… 90 is real.” Whoa. That was like an epiphany for me. My wheels start turning. I repeat what he said aloud to my husband, who says it as well.”90 is REAL.”

Smith went on to say, “So, I was thinking ‘This is halftime.’ Right? So, when you come out for the third quarter, in any sporting event the third quarter’s an important quarter. That’s not the time when you start relaxing and you start chilling. You gotta go get it in the third quarter.” Well, YEAH. He’s right. Forty-five is definitely the time to bring it! By 50 you are just getting in to your career groove.  So why in the world is turning 50 scary to the unemployed?

In the past, 50 meant winding down the last 15 years until retirement.  If living until 90 is a real thing, is retirement really feasible at 65? Retirement requires some pretty significant financial security. I can assure you, based on my current situation I will likely be working until at least 80! Those in exceptional wealth like Will Smith probably could retire then, but will they want to? Doubtful.

Teresa Ghilarducci, is a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research. She wrote an article in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times in 2012 that sums up my concern. She wrote, “To maintain living standards into old age we need roughly 20 times our annual income in financial wealth. If you earn $100,000 at retirement, you need about $2 million beyond what you will receive from Social Security. If you have an income-producing partner and a paid-off house, you need less. This number is startling in light of the stone-cold fact that most people aged 50 to 64 have nothing or next to nothing in retirement accounts and thus will rely solely on Social Security.”

So if we assume that the general population will need 20 times their annual income to comfortably retire at 65-70, is the aging population really such a big concern? Do we really need to start bringing in the “Millenials” to replace the “Baby Boomers” and those die-hard workers from “The Silent Generation” ?  I think one could argue the answer to that is no.

I bet there are definitely some members of that millenial generation that would agree with me. After all, what about all the jobs we told them were going to be out there waiting for them as college graduates? Are they really there? An even bigger concern might be the unemployed in the 50 plus age demographic. Why is is so hard for a person with 20 plus years of impeccable job experience finding it difficult to find a job at 60 when the economy left them job less due to downsizing.

Beyond the issues above, I am specifically worried about companies that will choose not to adapt their current healthcare programs to manage safety and health concerns for older workers that refuse to retire. An aging workforce internally will require attention to schedule flexibility, wellness programs, ergonomic job accommodations and safety checks to determine whether safety procedures are being followed correctly.

Smart employers will consider the needs of aging workers, both to aid retention, and to create an environment that is inclusive, but how many will actually be prepared for this? I suspect the number is low. Ultimately a workforce with blended generations will likely be the ideal but how easy will that transition be? Are recruitment teams prepared to identify excellent candidates from any age demographic and are employers prepared to ensure that there is a fair and consistent process for screening that ensures this?

I found one article on Business Insurance that noted a survey of 522 employers. The survey reported 85% of respondents said they are very or somewhat concerned about an aging workforce. With that said, 64% of the respondents said they had NOT designed their absence and disability management programs around those concerns.

While I don’t have any data to back it up, it is my opinion that employers are much more focused on how they will recruit new talent, not on keeping the aging talent that will hit retirement age, much less providing an aging-friendly workplace that will encourage employment of those that may be nearing retirement age with no intent to actually retire. It will be interesting to see what happens when they don’t see the turn-over from retirement that was expected. It is a prime landscape for under-the-rug age discrimination, and the younger age group is not really protected.

What challenges will an aging workforce without the means to retire do you foresee? Do you have examples of individuals over 50 already struggling to find employment opportunities at all? I’m very interested in this topic and plan to devote another blog to the topic. Sound off below and tell me your thoughts on the subject!

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

 

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Recruiting the Recruiter: Why Candidates With Multiple Personalities Fit

One of the things I love about my job is the opportunity I have to talk with recruiters all over the country about how they source great talent. Yes. I’m a sourcing geek. Guilty as charged. I just eat it up. I love to hear these “artists” tell me about their craft.

 Sure, I’m on a sales call, and I do want to tell them about what our site does, but I also want to know what they’re already doing. Are they using anything new and innovative with their standard sourcing methods?

My recruiter conversations, much like the conversations you have with your clients, help me determine if I can be of help in finding candidates for hard-to-fill positions. I find that even the best recruiters have jobs that really challenge them from time to time. Those positions tend to be our specialty because they need to get a lot of exposure.

Something you may find interesting is the position most recruiting firms tell me they find is their hardest to fill. It’s not a clinical neuropsychologist, or a chemical genetics engineer with statistics experience in Tupelo, Mississippi. It is usually a recruiter for their own firm! I have some thoughts about this I’d like to share today. I’ve spent several years of my career recruiting new recruiters for my own teams.

Did you know that something like 80% of new hire recruiters don’t make it? I think that is a pretty conservative number. Here’s why; the recruitment profession is one that requires two completely different personality types in one person! If you are a great recruiter, chances are you have a split personality. Better yet, multiple personalities! O.K. The terms “split personality” or “multiple personality” might not be completely accurate.  What I am saying is that a recruiter does not fit in to one personality type. There are no cookie cutters in this business, right? I think we can all agree that a recruiter will need a core set of skills that goes beyond the traits of one personality type. They must be willing and able to wear a lot of different hats, and wear them well; with style even!

How would you describe the traits of a great recruiter?  I would say to be a great recruiter you need the confidence of a sales manager with the instincts of a police detective. You need to be somewhat of a Type-A administrative professional but have the empathy of a social worker. Oh yeah, and you could really benefit from being as tech savvy as the IT guy with the financial smarts of your accountant. Would you agree?

In my opinion, a truly talented recruiter will need a little bit of the behavioral traits of many roles. That can make advertising a position for a recruiter tough. There is a lot to cover as far as requirements. Here is an example that I use:

  •  Exceptional work ethic and leadership skills to manage your work as if it were your own business.
  • Impeccable written and verbal communication skills.
  • Talent in the art of persuasion or the ability to motivate an individual to be open to new ideas.
  • Self-discipline to maintain the highest standards in business ethics and professional values. (In recruiting your reputation is EVERYTHING.)
  •  The ability to aggressively seek self-improvement, and use initiative to implement and adapt to new technologies. (Recruiting is always evolving.)
  • Recruiters must be independent and adaptive thinkers capable of making rapid decision in unfamiliar and ambiguous environments.
  • The ability to employ instinct to determine intangible criteria, and subtle indications of corporate “fit”.
  • High standards, organizational skills and effective time management are critical competencies for recruiters.
  • Empathy to put yourself in the place of the client you are serving and the candidate you will present. You must be able to understand the pain to achieve a win/win solution.
  • Exceptional ability to deploy logical thinking, cost analysis and value to negotiate deals and maintain profitability.

So how DO you find a candidate with all of these qualities?

The same way you find anyone for a hard-to-fill position. You turn over a lot of rocks! You must expand your vision. They will likely have been exposed to a variety of work situations. Once you do, you’ll see common denominators. For example; this person will likely have demonstrated a phenomenal work ethic in more than one industry. That industry might be retail, it might be food service, and it might be one you know very little about. It’s not about where they worked necessarily, it is about what they did in that role.

Another key is to realize that you can’t assume that your next great recruiter hire will be looking for a recruiting position. You have to expand your scope. Consider this particularly when you are writing an ad for the job. You will need to advertise this. A great recruiter will probably not just come knocking at your door because they heard the job was cool. For example. I typically would recommend using a basic job title with location to our job posters. But when you are recruiting a recruiter, you may want to get creative with this. I think my first recruiter ad said something to the effect of,  ”Are you willing to work hard enough to earn a 6 figure income?”

Keep your target in mind when you create your job ad.  You want to attract those that have good work ethic. They are probably motivated by making money but want the satisfaction at the end of the day that they helped someone or achieved something for the greater good.  How would you sell your own role to someone you know doesn’t understand it? What do you love about your job? What is difficult about it? Why is it worth it?

Once you have a great ad, I recommend you use a job distribution site like ours, REKRUTR, in addition to any sourcing tools you currently use. Without going in to a big sales pitch here, it is hands down the most affordable and easiest way to get exposure for a hard-to-fill position. Remember, what you are trying to do is to get as many people to view the position’s criteria. Whether they are a recruiter or not, you want them to think about who they know who they know with these traits and who they can share the position with. If you are not sure about how to say it, feel free to use some of bullets I listed above.

One final suggestion. Remove the process of elimination as your first task for screening. Instead, go in to this with a goal to interview 10 possible good fits. More, if you have the time for it. Be open to candidates that might not be currently working as a recruiter. One of the greatest recruiters I ever hired was working in catering for a large hotel chain, another was a teacher and several top earners came from retail backgrounds. Two of them did not have a college degree. Look for resumes that demonstrate the candidate might still be searching for the right career path. Even if they have bounced around a bit, do they have a consistent record of moving up the career ladder? Were they promoted to a management role from an entry level position or early in their career? Did they get performance awards? You obviously don’t want someone that has had unexplained gaps in their employment, but be willing to hear the circumstances.

I hope this will help you find more great recruiters. Please share with me your thoughts or challenges in finding great recruiting talent. What do you look for? Sound off below!

Amy McDonald works in an executive role with several employment websites including REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy also participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

 

 

 

 

 

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Recruiters: Own the Silence In Your Conversations

This morning I relished in a few moments of  that sweet silence that those of you who are parents will relate to. It’s that time before the children are awake when I can sip my coffee and consider my agenda. Sometimes I do some non-essential reading. Before I was a parent, it was the time in the morning when I arrived before the rest of the bull pen in my busy office. As a person that truly thrives on chaos, a busy work environment and fast paced lifestyle, that particular silence is golden for me. It is a time that I feel like I own. I can do whatever I want with my mind. I can reflect, re-charge or just embrace my thoughts. That’s not the type of silence I want to talk about today.

During my silence this morning, I read a great article on ERE.net from Nancy Parks. Park’s article outlines the No. 1 Error that Experienced Recruiters Make. I’ll let you check her post out for yourself, because it should be read in its entirety, but I want to specifically share my thoughts on her #4 “Watch Out!” point which is :  ”Allowing for Enough Silence”. As Park writes, not allowing for enough silence in daily conversations can happen when an experienced recruiter “goes into auto-pilot and simply drive processes forward without even pausing to take a breath.” What she’s discussing is one of my least favorite silent times, the uncomfortable silence that happens when you are using good listening skills!

“Waiting for the silence” is one of the most powerful business communication skills. I was introduced to this idea early in my career and it is an essential part of good listening that allows you to take leadership in a conversation. If you are an extrovert like me, and most recruiters are, the act of waiting for that moment of silence after you ask a question is excruciating! We are results driven! Don’t you just want to answer the question for them if you get “the silence”? It happens with candidates, and it happens with clients. If you happen to be speaking to another extrovert they are probably uncomfortable as well, and that is O.K.

Here’s what I mean: Let’s look at an old school example of a candidate conversation. Suppose you are interviewing a candidate that was highly recommended. When you finally see his resume, he looked so good “on paper” that you start deciding what you will spend next month’s commission check on.

You get him on the phone and you say something like, ” If I had an opportunity to share with you from your company’s competitor that would offer you a higher wage and more advancement in your career, would you be interested in hearing more?”

Do you completely stop talking and wait for the full answer? If he gives you a quick answer, we are assuming it is yes, do you ask why? We always ask why if the answer is no, but if they say yes, do you charge straight to the sell? Shouldn’t you find out more? Try to force yourself to wait several seconds, until you feel a little uncomfortable, and give them an opportunity to answer. This establishes your respect for their time and puts you as the leading participant in the conversation.

Even the most introverted person will have an opportunity to gather their thoughts and decide how they want to communicate to you. If they are unable to take this opportunity of silence, you will have some interview coaching to do before you present this candidate to your client.Chances are, the person you offer the silence of the floor to will  appreciate the opportunity to share their pain and feel compelled to end the silence with his or her thoughts.

A wonderful mentor of mine once likened this process of determining needs in recruiting to a doctor listening to a patient. What doctor gives a diagnosis before they hear what is wrong? I really liked that analogy. It’s that silence that helps you really hear the person you are talking with, too. It’s still an uncomfortable silence for me, but one I choose to own because it forces me to really pay attention. It also helps me feel as if I have control even when I’m not talking, and to Nancy Parks’ point, it helps me to really listen to the prospect’s wants and needs instead of just trying to drive the process forward.

As painful as it may be, that moment of silence is crucial to good listening. In my opinion it can be the key to having a really good inquiry in any business conversation. I have also found, it gives the perception that YOU own the call. You are in control. When you can force yourself to ask a question and then STOP and wait for the answer instead of plowing in to your pitch, you may be surprised at how much information you will receive. Try to own this silence on your calls this week and let me know how it works for you in the comments below.

Amy McDonald is the President and CEO at REKRUTR.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360

 

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10 Career Questions for Reflection Before 2014


At the end of every year, I take some time to reflect on what the previous year has brought to my career. It’s a good practice and it really motivates me toward setting some work-related resolutions for the new year. It also helps me to stay aware of how my career impacts my personal life. I spend a great deal of time working, and it is a passion in my life, but I don’t want it to define me. I am also a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, an aunt.

If you’ve never blocked out some time specifically for reflecting on your career and how it impacts your life, I highly recommend you try it this year. Make it an official task by putting it on a calendar. I also recommend that you spend the time in a relaxing environment where you are personally comfortable. Don’t just jot down a few things in the last minutes before you leave for the day. Avoid any stress-filled location. Find a place where you can be alone with your quiet reflections  for about 30 minutes. I prefer a nice leather recliner with a hot cup of tea near, and a note-pad with a good pen.  I’ve thought about recording my thoughts just to avoid having to look for the paper, but I like something I can see on a regular basis.

Here are some questions that can get your reflecting started:

1. Were you happy in your current position and do you share your employer’s vision for the future of your role? If this answer is no, what have you done about that in the last year?

2. Have you allowed your career to consume too much of your personal time? o you have a good work/life balance?

3. Were you a person that improved company morale or one who brought it down?

4. Did you initiate new ideas this year embracing the spirit of innovation or did you simply put your time in?

5. Did you meet corporate goals this year?

6. Were you willing to participate on special projects or did you avoid them whenever possible?

7. Does your skill-set match the position you are in? If your answer to this is no, are you willing to learn the skills necessary to be successful?

8. What training have you taken advantage of this year? Were there missed training opportunities that could have improved your results?

9. Did you have accomplishments you can use to leverage my advancement opportunities?

10. Was the stress from your position easily managed this year?If the answer is no, what could have been done on your own part to mitigate this stress?

Ultimately, this reflection upon 2013 may prompt you to make changes in 2014 or, at the very least, change or re-direct your goals. Your changes may be minor, or they may be life-changing. The key is to be honest with yourself about what is expected by you and by your employer. If  you are not meeting their expectations or your own, you have some work to do in order to be happy in your career.

This process of career reflection always helps me take accountability for my career and my circumstance. Is this something you are already doing? If so, how does your process differ from mine? Would you recommend it to others?

Amy McDonald is the President and CEO at REKRUTR.com and ResumeSpider.com. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

 

 

Posted in Business Consulting, Candidate Prep, Passive Candidates, Time Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smart Recruiters Set Smart Goals

As a recruitment professional, setting goals, especially in anticipation of a new year, is an important part of achieving your long term vision. If you haven’t started planning for 2014, it is time to get busy!

Besides the self confidence you build each time you attain a predetermined goal, just the act of putting down your goals in writing will help you to organize your time and focus your resources in ways that improve your business. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing tangible results in what sometimes can seem like a daily grind of phone calls, emails and meetings.

Think Big

One mistake I’ve seen a lot of recruiters make is only planning for daily goals. They quickly jot down how many calls, send-outs, placements, etc. that they will have each day and they feel they have a plan. While those are important, and I talk more about those below, it is important to capture the big picture of your recruiting career before you begin.

Where do you see yourself a year from today; five years; or ten? What rewards will successful completion of smaller goals allow you to obtain? Will your company exceed 5 year projections? Will your staff grow in size? Will you have a new office? Maybe, your company wins an award. What type of things will this mean for your personal life? Could you buy a new home, or maybe a better car? Will you be promoted to partner? Keep all of these long term goals in your sight everyday.  I like to use a white board in my office for this. I often draw pictures or stick notes or photos of things I would like to see happen as a long term vision. Long term goals give you motivation to accomplish the daily, weekly, and monthly goals you will set.

Once you have a long term vision in mind, it is time to begin to narrow that down in to goals for the year, month, day. It’s used frequently, but I like to stick to the basics when it comes to goal planning. You’ve likely seen it before, but here is a refresher.

Use S-M-A-R-T Goals:

 

Specific- Write down the goals and keep them where you can easily access them.

Measurable – Be sure that each goal is something you can actually measure. Stay away from broad ideas like, “Next year I will find better candidates.” If you can’t quantify it, you can’t really measure your success. Instead your goal might be ” I will have a 50% increase in send outs in 2014.”

Attainable – Make sure the goals you set are actually achievable.  Once achieved, you can always raise the bar. The satisfaction of achieving a goal you set is extremely valuable in the self confidence it builds. If you are constantly chasing goals you can’t meet, you defeat the purpose of having them in the first place.

Realistic – I recommend that you focus on realistic performance goals relevant only to your role.  If you are a manager, have your team members set goals for themselves and then you can make sure they are in line with what you find acceptable. There is much more accountability when each team member plays a part in the planning process. When you create broad organizational goals only, you risk being demotivated by others that are not achieving the standards you set.

Time-bound – Each goal should be time bound and something that you can track. Calls, send-outs, various levels of interviews, new clients, new candidates; anything you can track, you can build a goal for. Write down specific dates that each goal will be accomplished by. I encourage you to write out your goal with time in a sentence. ” I will increase my new hire average to 6 per week by January 31, 2014.”

Whatever your role, or line of business, setting goals is an excellent way to stay focused in your business and motivated about what is relevant. Then, you have the self confidence to achieve what you want out of life and leave the irrelevant, day to day frustrations at the door. Do you have a formal process for setting goals each year? How does your goal planning differ from what I’ve discussed? Comment below.

Amy McDonald is the President and CEO at REKRUTR. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

 

 

 

 

 

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In Appreciation of Those Working on Thanksgiving

 

Wouldn’t it be cool if for just a few days out of each year, we could really just hit “pause” and everyone take a day off? I mean everyone; on the same day. Can you imagine it? You probably wouldn’t want to. Think beyond Walmart being closed. How about no gas stations, no hotels or restaurants open? No police or fire rescue available. No hospitals?

Obviously, that is not happening any time soon. I feel pretty thankful that I have the opportunity to take some time off on most legal holidays because, for me, it has not always been that way. There was many a Thanksgiving dinner I missed in my 20′s and 30;s because I was scheduled to work. Many of those family members I would have spent that time with are now gone.I’ll admit,  I really hated working any holiday back then.

If you are one of the many that must work today, let me be the first to thank you. Whatever it is that you are doing, you surely must support something that keeps this crazy world we live in going.

This year, my schedule is pretty flexible. I am working “a little” by choice but from the comfort of my own sofa. Earlier this week,  I asked a few friends that were working on Thanksgiving how they felt about it. Did it bother them? Was it as bad as I remember? Surprisingly, most said no. A few even liked it. Here’s why:

They Adapt

One of my friends is a divorced mom. She’s off on holidays, but her new husband, a correctional officer, has to work. She told me that her family adapts. They make the best of the situation by just moving the event up a day. An added benefit in these years  that it gives her kids time to spend with their dad’s side of the family.

They Make Extra Money

My cousin who works in a local factory told me that he actually volunteers for holiday work. Why? Because he gets paid 8 hours holiday pay plus time and a half! “The bottom line is that working on Thanksgiving means more gifts under my family’s tree for Christmas and it is worth it!” I 1was particularly fond of his reasoning!

They Celebrate With Their Work Family

Several people that told me they would be working today were those that worked in healthcare or public service positions. These folks seem to take working in holidays in stride and understand that it is just part of the career they chose. They celebrate with those they work with or to serve either at work (carry-ins,etc.) or after their shift. “It doesn’t really feel like a sacrifice to work on a holiday when you are saving someones life, caring for a sick child, or fighting a fire.

They Avoid the Travel Hassle

Travel around the holidays can be chaotic. I have a friend from high school that used to work a few holidays every year from home. She’s not working this year, but she said she never really minded work on the holidays because she had a remote position so she was still at home. She worked her business into the turkey cook time and was still able to watch the parade on T.V.  ”Sometimes I liked the excuse of working Thanksgiving,” she told me, “…it got us out of traveling if we didn’t feel like it!”

I was impressed by everyone’s positive sentiments about working the holidays. It put a fresh perspective on it for me. I’m thankful I don’t have to work on Thanksgiving, but I sure do appreciate all of you that do!

Amy McDonald is the President and CEO at REKRUTR. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

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