Tuesday May 8, 2012

So, You Want to Be a Recruiter? Lessons Learned From Top Recruiters

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Maybe you've thought about getting into recruiting, and now would be a good time considering the demand for recruiters is at its highest levels in four years, according to an April 2012 report by Wanted Analytics. While the U.S. unemployment rate is hovering around 8%, hiring managers are struggling to find the right people and are turning to recruiters to find the most qualified candidates.

But the role is full of misconceptions. To give new recruiters a leg up, I spoke to some experienced recruiters to learn about the mistakes they made and what insights they'd share with new recruiters in the field.

  1. Recruiting Doesn't Only Happen Behind a Computer While recruiters can use the Internet as their primary tool for finding candidates, using it exclusively could limit their access to a more diverse pool of candidates.

    Jonathan Weems, a technical recruiter who's been in the field for five years, says his biggest mistake as a new recruiter was assuming he could always find the best candidates online. He stresses that new recruiters need to network offline just as much.

    "Also talk to employees within your own company, find out where they came from, and start building relationships internally," says Weems.

  2. Use Multiple Tools to Find Candidates New recruiters sometimes fall into the trap of relying entirely on one or two tools--and using them in the same way--simply because they're familiar with them or have seen some good results.

    If recruiters are consistently achieving great results with a particular tool, like Monster or LinkedIn Recruiter, by all means they should continue using them. But failing to leverage other tools, could cause recruiters to miss out on a larger pool of candidates.

  3. Don't Just Watch the Internet, Use It According to a survey by Jobvite, 89% of companies said they would recruit in social networks in 2011, and 55% would spend more on social recruiting. While companies are beefing up their social recruiting efforts, some could argue that recruiting has always been very social.

    "The best people who are [recruiting] online were probably pretty good at it when social recruiting wasn't really an issue," says Lance Haun, editor of SourceCon and community director for ERE.net. "They're naturally social and they're trying to have conversations with people. It's just an extension of what they're doing in real life."

    Even though recruiting apps can automate daunting tasks like posting jobs to multiple social networks, recruiters who don't actively engage with job seekers are failing to take full advantage of those platforms.

    "Successful recruiters don't watch the Internet and social networks--they use them as tools to do more of what they do best: talking to people," says Miles Jennings, CEO of Recruiter.com.

  • Understand the Position You're Recruiting For Experienced recruiters say that finding candidates with the right credentials and experience isn't always the hardest part about recruiting--it's understanding the job that needs to be filled and the business requirements for that position.

    For example, without any experience as an engineer or insurance claims processor, it can be tricky to know what to seek out in candidates for those positions. Beyond identifying relevant keywords to hunt for in candidate resumes, recruiters need to understand the business and what the hiring manager is really seeking in a candidate.

    Recruiters can start by engaging with professionals in the field they're hiring for to learn as much as they can about the profession. The things you learn will give you a better understanding of the kind of candidate you should look for.

    What other tips, challenges, or misconceptions should they know about?

    Jennifer King is an HR Analyst for Software Advice, a company that reviews and compares HR and recruiting software. She writes about technology, trends, and best practices in human resources. Read the full article on her HR Blog: http://blog.softwareadvice.com/articles/hr/so-you-want-to-be-a-recruiter-1050312/