Truly great recruiters go above and beyond just hitting their numbers — they use powerful but underrated recruiter skills that merge the science of finding the right candidates with the art of attracting and engaging the best talent.
In this round table session, host Sean Rehder and four longtime recruiting professionals in Checkster’s Recruiting Insights Community recounted their favorite recruiter skills that raise a recruiter’s professional chops to a higher level.
Top Recruiter Skills That Punch Up Your Game
Sales Acumen: Tyler Byrd of West Monroe Partners focused on transferring time-tested sales and marketing skills to the recruiting space. Any recruiter, regardless of agency or corporate background, can benefit from learning how to sell people on the opportunity to work for your company.
- Know your candidate: Align their profile with the job requirements to ensure they would benefit from a good opportunity.
- Sell them on the opportunity: Continue the sales pitch throughout the entire recruiting and interview process, making sure you’re hitting on the areas that maybe that candidate is frustrated about in their current position.
- Be ready to negotiate: Most candidates negotiate for more even if the initial offer is in line with what they said they were looking for. (You’ll see this in the sales cycle as well.)
- Close the deal: Follow up to make sure the candidate signs on the dotted line (or DocuSigns with a click) to accept the offer.
Account Management: For Ed Frankel of Omnicon Health Group, working the best practices around account management builds strong and efficient relationships with hiring teams.
- Don’t be the black hole: Use good account management strategies. Overcommunicate and be transparent — but not too much, otherwise you’ll never get anything else done. In short, be accountable.
- Spot and share trends: Information is power. Alerting hiring managers to emerging trends can keep them at the forefront of a competitive job market.
- Share the bad news: Use recruiting timeline data and candidate feedback to explain the critical drop-out points. Are interviews not being scheduled quickly enough? Is the hiring team sending mixed messages vis-à-vis the job descriptions/title? Are you targeting the wrong candidates? Repair the process with data as your guide.
Smart Tracking: Leslie Newton of Redfin noted that keeping good records on talent and following up periodically has a positive impact on both offer acceptance and the likelihood that applicants will return for a better-fit job later on.
- Fill your pipeline sooner than later: Engage the candidates now so that when you have an opening, you're ready to go.
- Track the most promising talent: Use an ATS if you have one and a spreadsheet if you don’t to track the candidates’ main goals, skills and interests, etc. Plus, set a follow-up date to move to the next step.
- Go informal: If hiring is on hold or you don’t have a req the talent is suitable for right now, introduce the hiring managers to the candidate and encourage them to stay in touch through informal conversations/engagements so both sides are ready to move if a job does arise.
Strategic Thinking: Pay attention to the picture, advised Yvonne Ngundam of PVH Corp.
- Be strategic with hard-to-fill reqs: Address the challenges up front by knowing what the candidates value, where they can be found, and how they want to be engaged. For example, your marketing message to an SVP of diversity candidate should focus on the job’s role as a business partner in the organization. And, if you’re recruiting for specialties such as IT, go to industry workshops, conferences, and hackathons to meet potential candidates and to understand their industry better.
- Build your case: When you face a hiring challenge, work with the hiring manager from the beginning. For example, ask whether the compensation budget matches the current market rate for that job. Use your data to highlight concerns that need to be addressed.
- Learn from your successes: Look back and be mindful about which strategies worked and which didn’t, so that you can replicate that in the future or scale it up.
Get more details by watching the video.
What Additional Recruiting Skills Should You Build Right Now?
- Friday is Plan Day: Sean noted that many recruiters spend more time at the end of the week recapping their activities for their managers than strategically planning for the following week. On Friday, plan so that you can hit the ground running on Monday morning with both big-picture and specific activity targets.
- Steer the process: Ed advised using brief reports (2 pages max) to outline where the process might be going off the rails. Then, in meetings with your hiring team, stay in control of the conversation by checking in about what recruiting targets originally were agreed on, what you’re seeing during the process, and whether the plan has changed or should change.
- Strategic recaps: Leslie recommended looking ahead to see what roadblocks are visible or are likely to develop and whether the team needs to pivot accordingly to reach strategic goals.
Leverage Technology by utilizing the best digital reference check tool:
The best recruiters know that automation will allow them to work smarter, not harder. Checkster’s Reference Insights Tool will help you do just that: automate your outdated reference checking process and step into the digital age. A reference check takes less than two minutes to start, which means you can put this step earlier in your process, allowing you to spot the most promising talent and get to them first. Give Reference Insights a try for free here.
One final note, especially during these challenging economic times: Empathy is one of your recruiting superpowers for building relationships with valuable talent. Sean urged recruiters to talk with the runners up about what additional skills/experience they’ll need to make it in that industry. In short, don’t just fill your reqs — help your candidates fulfill their dreams.