Thursday, 7 November 2013

Old School Recruiter

There's a lot of talk in the industry at the moment about old-school recruitment versus newer methods and whether the original ways of doing things still have relevance in a digitally obsessed age. Here is a closer look at the challenges and opportunities that exist when blending the old with the new.

How Recruiters Used To Work
Before the days of job boards, recruiters would be forced to work for their hires, hunting for the right candidate and gathering applications from hot recruitment prospects. They would call the hiring manager and discuss the available position and work hard to establish the requirements of the job, the culture of the organisation, competitors, how the individual within the role would fit and contribute to the team, the salary and so forth.

The old-school recruiter would be working hard to ascertain what sort of person the hiring manager was at the same time, understanding their personality, their winning streaks, the things that stress them, their working style and communication preferences, for example. They would then start to hunt for the right candidate, using their extensive networks to find ideal fits and speaking to people to ask for leads. They would research the competition, the market as a whole and start cold-calling when necessary. They would not wait to see who turned up, but rather would keep calling and searching to ensure that they found the right candidate.

The old-school recruiter would usually have a database of contacts and future possible candidates. He or she would naturally have an excellent memory for past interviewees, applicants and conversational partners and be ready to mentally mine that data for potential fits. His or her mind would always be ticking over with possible connections to make, conversations to have and new business to follow up on.

How Recruiters Work Now
Today there is undeniably an emphasis on social media and networking. Recruiters are expected to have a presence - and maximise it - on a variety of platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. This is undeniably an important element of the role today and can be a challenging one, particularly when you are aspiring to be an excellent social networker. Fully leveraging these channels means understanding your objectives in using social media for recruitment, following trends, engaging meaningfully with your followers and converting online engagements to offline business.

However, some recruiters simply rely on social media to engage and jobs boards to find candidates. They post a position and then wait to sift through hundreds of CVs. There is far more to recruitment than simply being a desk-bound digital administrator and the danger is that new recruiters fail to learn and mirror the 'traditional' skills needed to excel in their roles. At worst, recruiters risk becoming CV senders unless they take concerted action to focus on their core recruitment competencies and use technology in the way it should be used - as a value-adding enabler of traditional recruitment activities rather than a replacement for them.

The Importance of Training
The fact is that the basics of recruitment still exist. In many ways, the main activities of traditional recruitment are now more important that ever. Recruiters today can easily get side-tracked into scanning CVs, rather than actively seeking out the perfect candidate. However, good training programmes can ensure that tomorrow's generation of recruiters has the right blend of old-fashioned skills and a superb grip on digital engagement methods to ensure their career success. Equally, schemes such as mentoring and coaching within recruitment agencies and consultancies allow both experienced recruiters and new hires to learn from each other. They can blend their varied experiences, knowledge and ideas for a mutually beneficial outcome.

As with so many things in modern life, the traditional fundamentals of the recruitment industry still hold true. We need to challenge ourselves to do the difficult things, such as getting out there physically to develop contacts and networks, have conversations, make cold calls and constantly generate that healthy business pipeline. Of course, that doesn't mean forgoing technology. Indeed, the most successful recruiters of today will generally embrace it and blend it with their offline methods and core recruitment competencies. Technology is a great enabler but not a replacement for skills and experience. Today's star recruiters will use social networking and jobs boards where necessary but be constantly emphasising face-to-face personal interactions in the real world. They will spend valuable time with their hiring managers, search for raw talent, collect CVs and business cards and constantly have an eye out for new opportunities.

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