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What is the Most Valuable Skill You Can Possess as a Recruiter?


Working in recruitment is tough. What does it take in order to survive in this volatile industry we call our own? And most importantly, what skills do we need to thrive? In an effort to find out, we decided to ask you guys – our friends and followers on LinkedIn. This is what you told us:

1. The ability to listen.

70787233The ability to listen was cited as the most important skill you can possess as a recruiter. Why? Well, without it, you’ll find it very tough to be successful in your role. Only through listening can you truly understand what both your client and your candidates need. And only when we understand what both our clients and our candidates need can we attempt to start finding it for them.

You need to understand what it is the client needs from the candidate they are seeking – what is the problem they are looking to solve by hiring this person. You need to understand why a candidate is looking for a new role, what’s driving them to seek new employment.

By listening we should get to the root of what people actually need rather than what they tell you they think want. For example, a candidate could say they want a bigger salary, but what’s really driving that desire for a bigger salary is the fact that they’re about to have another baby and they have another mouth to feed. Therefore, things like paternity leave may be more important to them.

80% of all communication is non-verbal, so listen to what’s being said, how it’s being said, as well as what’s not being said. As the saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth, use them in correct proportions.

2. Empathy

18024460As recruiters we deal with people day in, day out. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative to our success that we understand what makes different types of people tick and that we know how to treat them as humans, not numbered candidates. The second we start treating our candidates like numbers or cogs in a machine we’ve failed. It is our responsibility to ensure a great candidate experience for any and all people who apply to work with our company or our client.

Ford are a great example of a company who understand the importance of empathy. According to Vivian Giang, every quarter of every year, a batch of new engineer hires discover that their first tasks are to learn what it’s like being an expectant mother and an elderly person. Strapped into weighted suits, auto engineers are instructed to get into a car, put on their seatbelt, adjust their mirrors, turn on audio controls, change the radio and experience all the challenges and physical limitations that pregnant and elderly drivers do on a regular basis. Why? Because Ford has realised that the best way for them (and any business) to truly understand how customers interact with their products is to empathise with them.

Try putting yourself through the application process at your own company. Is it smooth? Is it user friendly? Is it too lengthy? Is there enough information for candidates? A common mistake many recruiters make is thinking or assuming their candidate experience is good without actually putting themselves in the candidate’s shoes in the application process, or not continually reviewing their candidate experience in order to optimise it.

In our blog, ‘4 Things You’re Doing Wring with Your Candidate Experience‘, we detail four application process faux pas that your company/agency may be making and how you can rectify them. They include:

1. Vague/Redundant Information about the Job

2. A Long, Arduous Application Process

3. Failure To Communicate/Be Transparent

4. Not Optimising for Mobile

3. How to deliver constructive feedback.

56348132Let’s face it, a large part of what we do is telling people they haven’t got the job. It’s a sad fact, but it doesn’t have to be a negative. Great recruiters know that providing unsuccessful candidates with useful feedback is one of the best ways to boost your employer brand.

It makes a huge difference. If people feel like you care and that they can take something positive away from the experience it takes any negativity surrounding not getting the job away. They are much more likely to recommend your company and your products to their friends and family and to encourage them to apply for roles in your company.

In our blog, ‘How to Reject a Job Applicant (Without Making an Enemy!)’, we discuss a number of ways you can leave the candidate you’re rejecting with the best possible impression of your company. They include:

1. Letting the candidate know as soon as you do.
Like most normal humans, candidates seek closure so that they can move on. Ultimately, you want each applicant to leave the recruitment process with a positive view of your organisation. And simple, timely communication will go a long way to achieving this.

2. Getting straight to the point.
There’s no point in beating around the bush. Tell them why they didn’t get the role and why the person who did, got it instead. If their resume lacked the kind of work experience you considered a prerequisite and another candidate was better experienced, tell them. If you repositioned the role after discovering the right candidate had other desirable skills, tell them. If you tested them in a necessary skill and they came up short, tell them. Or if they’re just not a good fit for the role at this time, tell them.

3. Personalisation.
Nothing says we really don’t care more than a general greeting like Dear sir/madam on a rejection letter/email. And the last thing you want your candidate to feel at this stage, is that they’ve just received a bog standard rejection message. So be sure to include their name, the position, maybe even the time of the interview, and possibly compliment them or mention something you spoke about on the day.

4. Ending on a positive note.
Aim to get a smile at the end of the communication, not a frown. People will always remember the most intense emotion they felt about something and the last emotion they felt about something. So ask yourself, How can I create a warm fuzzy feeling? For brands that could mean giving the candidate a voucher to use in store or a ticket to the opening night of a product launch.

4. Honesty.

625They say it’s the best policy, and that sentiment couldn’t be more true when it comes to recruitment. Candidates value transparency. This was proven to be the case when Glassdoor compiled a list of the Best Companies to Interview For in 2016. For the vast majority of candidates who had interviewed for each of the top 10 companies on the list, transparency was one of the top traits a company can possess.

According to Neil Patel, “the reason why transparency is so appealing is largely due to cultural trends and human behaviour. We like people who are transparent, so it makes sense that we like companies who are transparent, too. It’s not about some new ‘hack’ or ‘technique.’ It’s about being a real person, a real leader, and a real company.”

Today’s candidates have unprecedented access to information about your organisation and as a result they demand transparency — and the more up front you are with that information, the better they will respond. Research shows that well-informed candidates are 35% less likely to be dissatisfied with their experience, which can help your business attract and retain top talent.

So, how can you create a more transparent hiring process? Robyn Showers from, outlined three ways you can be more transparent today:

1. Be transparent about expectations.
Do managers at your company encourage or frown upon remote work? Do people leave by “beer o’clock” on Friday, or do they tend to stick around until late? Will employees be expected to be available to answer emails on nights and weekends? There aren’t necessarily any wrong answers to these questions — but it’s important to be honest up front about what it’s really like to work at your company. You’ll make new hires feel more secure and prevent turnover down the line.

2. Be transparent about goals.
Where does your company see itself in 5 years? How about 50? Communicate clearly what the company’s true mission is and what that looks like over the course of the company’s lifetime or a person’s career.

3. Be transparent about people.
Most people leave jobs because of problems with coworkers rather than the work itself — so it pays to spend a little extra time up front to make sure you’ve found the right fit. For example, Brazen frequently hold company-wide hiring events using our online networking platform where anyone at the company can jump in to interview prospective candidates. This serves a dual purpose: everyone at Brazen is given a stake in the hiring process, and potential hires are able to interact firsthand with the people they’ll be working with most closely. As a result, the company claim to have a close-knit team and a low turnover rate.

5. Persistence

62602977They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and great recruiters know that no job was ever filled off the back of one InMail/phone call alone. The recruitment process is just that – a process. It takes time. It takes many steps to convert a potential candidate into a fully fledged employee. To be successful you need to relish that journey and understand how to affect it positively at every stage.

In our blog, ‘How to: Successfully Influence Candidates at EVERY Stage of their Decision-Making Process’, we discuss the candidate “Consideration Loop” and how you can affect it with your employer branding efforts at every stage to get the best candidates over the line. Read it for a full explanation of how you can do everything in your power to become the “top of mind” employer in top talents’ mind.

6. Resilience.

70788287Many external factors beyond our control affect our industry directly. Education, politics, demographics… they all play a part in the amount of jobs needing to be filled and the amount of people available to fill them. To succeed, we need to be ready to change how we do things and ready to develop and adopt to new strategies for how to attract and find the best talent.

The best way to do so is by staying on top of what’s going on in both your industry and the industries that you recruit for. Make it your business to read up on what’s happening within those industries including; new technologies that are emerging and how other companies are using those new technologies. Ask questions on relevant forums, join Twitter conversations, and generally try to keep yourself in the loop.

Bottom line: never get comfortable. As Executive Vice President of Global Learning & Leadership Development at 2logical, David Naylor says, “Staying in your comfort zone is a surefire way to swim the sea of mediocrity. Experiment, try new things. Recognise that some will work out and some won’t, and that us how it is supposed to be. Embrace that fact.” “Take the time to reflect and ask, ‘What’s working?’ and ‘What’s not working’ is critical. Get in the habit of asking these questions every day.” Constantly seek new ways to solve old problems and improve yourself and your abilities.

7. The ability to recognise potential.

2970316-59911333A great recruiter is able to see the traits in people that will make them great. Yes, to other people they may seem not as suitable as others, but you know that with the right training/mentoring they will be just what your client needs. This skill is particularly important for graduate and in-house recruiters to possess. Graduates are talented but inexperienced individuals. You should be able to recognise the traits in them that will make them right your your company. In-house recruiters need to have a strong understanding of your company’s needs and culture to be able to recognise the best candidates for it. How that person will slot into the organisation and what they can bring to it. How that person can help advance the company.

In her blog, ‘5 Signs That a Job Applicant Has a Lot of Potential’, Vivian Giang lists the top five traits you should look for when weeding through stack of resumes for your next hire:

1. They know what you need, and they show that in their application
If the candidate wants the job you have on offer — and they’re serious about it — they should have taken the time to research a few things about you, the requirements of the job and what you need from them. This research should be reflected in their application.

2. They admit their weakness, but are also able to turn those weaknesses into opportunities
One of the most telling indicators of success, according to Wharton professor Adam Grant in his new book Originals, is the willingness to admit to your potential weaknesses and the ability to explain how you can turn them into opportunities. Candidates with great potential should be able to be upfront about the qualifications they don’t meet, yet at the same time, explain how they can do the job regardless.

3. They know how to stand out with unconventional application methods
Candidates with serious potential know that to stand out from the competition, they need to break a few rules, whether that’s sending recruiters edible resumes or ones that are 15-pages long on SlideShare.

4. They make it clear who they are from the get-go
When people are upfront and honest about who they are early on and their skills match what you need, there’s often serious talent there. Consider this: Direct candidates make it clear who they are from the beginning, you know exactly who you’re dealing with and, as a result you don’t waste your time on someone who’s not interested.

4. They show authenticity
Finding talent willing to be authentic with you from the beginning is a hard task to accomplish. But what does authenticity look like? Giang tells us it looks something like this:

In 1942, a young man name Patrick Hitler had recently arrived in the U.S. after fleeing from Germany and wanted to enlist in the U.S. military. As you can guess, he was denied permission based on the fact that his uncle was Adolph Hitler. Nonetheless, the young, new American was determined, so he wrote a sincere letter to President Roosevelt that read, “I am the nephew and only descendant of the ill-famed Chancellor and Leader of Germany who today so despotically seeks to enslave the free and Christian peoples of the globe.” He went on to say that he wanted to repay the “great debt my mother and I owe to the United States” and “see active combat as soon as possible and thereby be accepted by my friends and comrades as one of them in this great struggle for liberty.” He was eventually cleared by the FBI’s director, J. Edgar Hoover, to serve and did so in the U.S. Navy as a medic.

(RELATED: The Personality Types of Highly Successful People (Infographic))

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