At the Devine Group, we are fascinated by the ever-changing nature of work and jobs. Our founder, Dr. Donald Devine, built the “engine” behind our tools based on a deep analysis of different work situations over many years. Today, we continue the study of specific job positions and analyze how they evolve over time.
The role of a recruiter, for instance, has grown at a rapid pace. Years ago, recruiters were viewed as “administrators of the hiring process” whereas now they are considered “strategic consultants to their clients.” The recruiter job role continues to evolve, and the two main competencies that are connected to this job continue to grow in importance. Consider the characteristics of these key competencies, and why they are so critical:
- Technical Competency— We all know the role that social media has played across all businesses and industries, and recruiting is no exception. One of the newer responsibilities of recruiters is finding and connecting to passive candidates. Experts estimate that around 80% of workers will consider a new job opportunity “if it comes their way.” The ability to reach this large pool of highly desirable candidates takes creativity, drive and assertiveness. Recruiters must be able to craft the right message and broadcast it through the right channels. Compiling a network of co-workers and contacts is important, as is the need to find new networks via technology.
Virtual recruiting is on the rise, so recruiters must be able to effectively utilize online tools to present a positive, professional image of their company. Some organizations take it a step further and facilitate their screening process completely virtually (i.e., remote recruiters handle the initial screening, the first (and sometimes, second) interview via video, conference call, or with the candidate recording his or her responses to specific questions). This new approach can be efficient and effective, but organizations run the risk of leaving a poor first impression if not executed well. Success is in the hands of the recruiter.
- Sales Competency— The Devine Group has a great track record of helping sales forces work effectively, to the extent that we have our own proprietary model for evaluating and fostering sales competencies. One of the top five competencies for an effective sales leader is Control and Close, wherein a candidate displays “a desire to naturally steer the sales process and move it toward a decision. Tendency to lead rather than follow.” In our framework, this competency includes the following key behaviors: Assertiveness, Competitive Style, Conflict Management, Decisiveness, and Influence.
Don’t think recruiters have to work on these behaviors every day? Think about…
- Getting that phenomenal passive candidate to give you 15 minutes of his time to consider your great new job opportunity.
- Steering that talented sales exec away from the job in her hometown to one across the country at your wonderful organization.
- Knowing when to pull the plug on a hiring cycle that doesn’t appear to be working out, even knowing you’ll lose your commission as a result.
- Working that final salary package to delight your very talented candidate and her very happy hiring manager.
A strong recruiter can market and sell organizations, jobs and people. He or she is able to overcome objections and move the hiring process to closure with speed and professionalism. The ability to negotiate deals and lead discussions toward compromise are extremely important skills that will become even more critical as it becomes harder to find and attract top talent.
The changes I’ve seen happening in the recruiting profession are supported by Erin Tanner, the Blue Ash Division Director of Office Team, a specialized staffing firm and division of Robert Half. Tanner emphasized the importance of soft skills. Recruiters, for example, need to have robust communication skills so they can get to know each candidate and understand his or her needs. “A recruiter’s success may depend on their ability to be a good listener, draw out a quiet candidate and, at the same time, understand their client’s business,” she said.
As the recruiting field continues to evolve with advances in technology, the significance of tech knowledge and social media expertise should not be diminished. It’s essential for recruiters to communicate effectively across a number of channels—in person or via phone, email and even video. Client needs are often urgent, so working effectively under pressure is key, Tanner said. Bottom line: a successful recruiter in today’s fast-paced hiring market is someone who has a strong work ethic and can handle a high volume of responsibility.
What is your experience with and opinion on key competencies for today’s recruiters? Whether you are a recruiter yourself, partner with them, or manage folks in this very important role, I hope you will share your insights. Please connect to this discussion on my LinkedIn page to weigh in!