Posted on 18/05/2017 by Rebecca Ramsden
Last month I celebrated my 9 year anniversary with Entrée Recruitment. I was overwhelmed by the response from my work mates, candidates and clients both past and present congratulating me on what I see as ‘just doing my job’. When I started at Entrée Recruitment, I already had a few years experience in the field. I vividly remember my first day feeling like a nervous kid on the first day of school. I felt like I didn’t know anything and had to learn everything from scratch. Now, nine years on, I’ve reflected on what I’ve learned, the mistakes I’ve made (there have been many) and what I believe has helped me through this time.
A mistake that I made early on was to mimic my previous manager’s communication style. She was confident and direct. Someone who would never shy away from a tough conversation or a client negotiation. I remember needing to discuss with a candidate their reasons for going against our agreement and leaving a temporary assignment. I was nervous about approaching this and observed a difficult conversation my manager had had in the past. I got on the phone to my candidate nervous as anything and blurted out a script I had prepared in my Manager's style, using words and a tone that was so foreign to me. Guess what happened? The candidate was offended, the result that I was hoping for didn’t eventuate, she yelled at me, and hung up then quickly rang back to complain to my manager. I felt horrible. However, what I learned from this was to create my own way of communicating and to think about the end goal and what I want to achieve by having a discussion. Be comfortable with what you are going to say and how you are going to deliver it, be true to your own personality and communication style and you will feel more confident and end up with a better result when having tricky conversations.
As a Recruiter it’s easy to get caught up in making the monthly budget, hitting the KPI’s and finding time to screen hundreds of applications as quickly as possible while still making sales calls to clients. Remember that our business is people and without them we wouldn’t have a job. Looking for work has a huge impact on an individual’s life. As Recruiters, we are in the position where our recommendations can change the course of someone’s life. Yes it sounds dramatic but don’t underestimate the impact that you may have on others. A job impacts so many elements of life: family relationships, self esteem, lifestyle, financial stress and overall happiness. Having a candidate sitting in front of you selling their skills and themselves for a job is one thing, but having an understanding of how this job will impact their life is another. You can’t get everyone a job, but you can make the interactions you have with them help in some way, offer advice on their resume, provide tips on what to include in a cover letter, and suggest ways to best communicate areas they may be shying away from in interview. I.e., "Why did you leave your last position?"
Work with urgency
A quick game is a good game, whether it’s a client desperately needing staff to help them through a busy period or a candidate waiting to hear back from a job interview. Time is of the essence. It doesn’t take long for a client to go to another agency if a request for staff isn’t actioned. Good candidates are hard to find and won’t be happy waiting a week to get an update on a role. Or they may well have found a new one by the time you get back to them. I find the best time to update candidates is first thing in the morning. The amount of calls that I achieve prior to 8.30am is often a sign of how productive my day is going to be. No news is still an update to the candidate and it keeps them in the loop as to what is happening.
You win some, you lose some
Not every client is going to build an instant rapport with you. Everyone has a different individual working style and it’s impossible to ‘click’ with everyone. Work with the clients who respect you and value you as an expert in your field and walk away from the ones who don’t. Don’t waste your time trying to work with a client who doesn’t understand the value of what you can bring to their business. A Recruiter’s role is to sell the benefits of a business to a candidate and it is impossible to do this if you know that the business isn’t going to hold up their end of the bargain. It’s okay to walk away!
This is a great way to approach life, not just work. Be 100% present in every situation. When meeting face to face with a candidate it’s easy for the mind to be running overtime. You’ve just put down the phone from a client wanting 3 temps to start tomorrow, that reference check that you’ve been chasing for days called back while you were on another call, and you’ve got the entire day in back to back interviews. Give the person who is in front of you the time and headspace that they deserve, focusing on what they have to say. Listen and engage in that moment as though they are the most important person in the world. The same theory can be applied to just about any situation: a client meeting, coffee with a friend, staff meeting at work... Be present! You’ll find it’s not only effective but also will help you retain information better and build relationships.
Recruitment requires long hours, on-going pressure, and dealing with the most intangible product in the market (people). You may even say that recruitment years are pretty much equal to dog years! It is by far the hardest and yet the most rewarding job that I have ever had and I wouldn’t have it any other way. These five tips have helped me go forward and succeed in my role and I hope they help you too.