The recruitment landscape has changed significantly over the past decade.
Back in the day, a recruiter was pretty much defined by the strength of their little black book. The guardians of talent, almost anyone with a network could wrangle their way to success. Locked away, their secrets closely guarded, these little black books could make or break a recruitment agency. In all, the emphasis was much more on who you knew, not about what you knew.
That’s not to say recruitment was easy – far from it. Recruiters way back when had no complex sorting algorithms to help them find top talent. Instead, you’d be expected to read through hundreds of pages, hundreds of index cards, to find exactly who you had in mind. A foreign concept today, with all the technologies out there designed to make finding, sorting and sending candidates much easier.
Recruiters today have had to develop a range of new skills and qualities though, to adapt to the evolving recruitment industry.
Here’s the top ten.
- Sense of Urgency
The hiring landscape is much more competitive today than it was a decade ago. With hundreds of thousands of new companies springing up every year, and many companies seeing exponential growth, the demand for talent is sky-high.
In tandem with skill shortages in critical industries – digital being the key example – recruiters need to have a refined sense of urgency if they don’t want to be left in the dust.
Dr. John Sullivan estimates that a missing out on a coveted purple squirrel can cost a business over $1M, and with the US recruitment industry growing year on year, competition to secure that top candidate is fiercer than it ever has been before.
Recruiters who are content to rub along at their own pace will soon die out. Instead, recruiters in 2015 must be willing to go the extra mile, whether that means making an important call at 11pm or conducting a meeting on a Sunday. If you don’t, you can be sure your competitors will.
- World-class Sales Ability
It’s widely acknowledged that we’re in the midst of a candidate-driven recruitment market at the moment. What this means, practically speaking, is that candidates are more in-demand. Top candidates are likely to have multiple job opportunities on the table at any one time, and are approached regularly by headhunters. A massive 49% of job offers were turned down for a competing offer last year, according to MRI Network.
At the same time, candidate demands are changing. A simple salary raise and a better job title are not enough anymore, with salary decreasing as a candidate priority by almost 7% worldwide this year.
Instead, candidates are often looking for roles that fulfil them, that support their professional development, and allow them a work-life balance.
Recruiters need to become better at sales if they want their opportunity to stand out. The art of persuasion is critical. Recruiters need to be better listeners, in order to understand the diverse motivations of each candidate, so they can better sell the opportunity.
Selling on salary has never been best recruitment practice, but today more than ever recruiters must have more strings to their bow.
- Marketing Savvy
The age of the candidate-driven market heralds the age in which recruiters must work harder to attract candidates. Recruitment can no longer afford to be reactive, and must instead embrace proactivity.
To put it bluntly, recruitment is a marketing activity. Recruiters must work harder to raise awareness with passive candidates, in order to secure wins with active candidates further down the line.
This means social media. It means blogging. It means employer brand. A strong employer brand can actually cut cost-per-hire by 50% and reduce turnover by 28% – so it’s a no brainer.
It also means focussing on the candidate experience. If a candidate has a bad experience, either of the recruitment agency or of the brand, the damage is done – they could well take to social media and spread the word. The result? Huge long-term impact on your hiring effectiveness.
- Copywriting Skills
The world of copywriting might seem alien to the world of recruitment, but they’re much more closely aligned than you’d think.
Writing is everywhere in recruitment and the importance of crafting compelling copy has never been more important. In a competitive landscape, the recruiter who can write a killer LinkedIn InMail or cold mailshot is the one who wins business.
A thoughtful, well-developed, on-brand social media post can make the difference between a candidate applying to you or a competitor. Recruiters can’t afford to ignore the benefits of good copy.
Where marketers often have the luxury of an entire department at their fingertips, recruiters can’t just drop a line to the in-house copywriter when they need something writing – so they must learn how to do it themselves.
- Exceptional Time Management
Time-management has always been important to recruitment, but with the role expanding in scope it’s more crucial than ever.
Being able to effectively balance the demands of running a highly successful recruitment desk means knowing what to do, and what to delegate. It means knowing what to prioritise, and what to stick on the back of the list.
The better a recruiter manages their day, the more time they have to spend on revenue-generating activities. That hour spent faffing about formatting a resume? It might not seem like much, but it stops you investing time in the things that actually matter.
The best recruiters are always looking for ways to streamline the administrative side of recruitment, so they can spend more time making placements. Recruiteze helps you do just that – check out our solutions. You’ll love our free recruiting software.
- Desire to Embrace Change
The recruitment industry is literally evolving at one hundred miles an hour. There are new tools and innovations being developed on an almost daily basis, and each of them offers a potential competitive edge.
Most people are naturally resistant to change. It’s common to want to stick with what works, but the recruiters who aren’t willing to try new things risk missing out on an opportunity.
Recruiters need to be early adopters. They need to be proactive about trying new tools, trying new ways of working. Recruiters today need to be hungry to be better, never to rest on their laurels.
Recruiters today have unprecedented access to data and analytics. Just like marketing, recruitment has become a completely measurable, trackable industry – and recruiters should be taking advantage of that.
It’s not enough to assume something works. It’s not enough that something does work. Instead, recruiters need to be ceaselessly evaluative. That desire – to make something better, to hone your strategy constantly, to refine your daily activity – is how recruiters can set themselves apart.
What happened to those little black books? They morphed into online databases, and then they morphed into LinkedIn… where they’re not so secret anymore.
LinkedIn is an incredible tool, but it also means access to talent has become universal. Once the recruiters’ USP, everyone and his brother can now conduct a basic LinkedIn search and pull up millions of potential candidates.
That’s not to say recruiters are defunct – far from it – but that they have to have more to offer than a network. So what can recruiters offer that hiring managers don’t have? Expert knowledge of the recruitment industry.
Recruiters must position themselves as experts. They must adopt a consultative, advisory role with the clients they work with, because wham, bam, placement ma’am is no longer enough. Recruiters should be able to talk intelligently to their clients about hiring trends, and influence recruitment decision-making from a strategic perspective.
- Relationship Nurturers
Recruitment has fundamentally shifted from being reactive to proactive. One of the big impacts of this is that recruiters must develop a passive candidate pipeline instead of relying on active sourcing methods alone. 72% of talent acquisition leaders in the US say passive recruitment is a major priority for them – so recruiters need to brush up their skills.
When a hiring manager delivers a brief, recruiters must know exactly who’s on the market, who’s suitable and who might be interested. Listen to any great modern recruiter on the phone (yes, the phone! Please don’t hide behind email) and they can pitch the best candidates for the role off the top of their head.
With the talent market being so tight, the time it would take to source a candidate for an active role from scratch is unfeasible. Instead, recruiters should be able to call candidates with whom they already have a relationship and pitch the opportunity to these warm prospects.
For recruiters, this means being able to build and nurture relationships with passive candidates. It means changing focus, being ‘softer’ in approach, looking for ways to add value and develop the relationship on a long-term basis.
- Process Gurus
Cumulatively, the changes in the recruitment market have meant that speed is critical. The hiring process itself needs to be agile, quick and responsive, or recruiters risk losing out on talent. In fact, studies suggest that employers have 95% less time to make hiring decisions than they did 18-months ago, as the candidate-availability cycle drops from 2-3 weeks to only 24 hours.
With cost-per-hire increasing, losing talent because of slow process is mistake you can’t afford to make. It’s completely avoidable – and a great recruiter knows how to grease the machine to get things done.
Recruiters need to know the business of recruitment absolutely inside out if they’re going to make it as lean and mean as possible.
The recruitment landscape is unrecognisable today from a decade ago, and recruiters need to be versatile and multi-talented to navigate it. While the personal qualities it takes to be a great recruiter are much the same – determination and perseverance, for example – the list of required technical skills is growing.
Recruiters who want to build a successful career must add more value, be more efficient, and have a greater depth of knowledge than their ancestors ever had to.