Understanding the Importance of the Recruitment Process
Conducting a carefully carried out recruitment process is essential to the success of any placement in any sector.
It goes without saying that it reflects the level of our professionalism and the dedication we give.
In my book “The Art of Recruitment,” I discussed that the process of recruitment should consist of several stages. These must be followed properly as it is the most effective way to finding and matching the right candidate for the job.
Why is it important to source applicants first?
In finding the best person for the job, it is important for a recruitment consultant to attract interested and qualified applicants. In order to do that, you must maximize the use of different venues and channels to advertise the position that's available.
Some make calls to colleagues and networks, while others put an ad up in a widely circulated daily. In letting the vacancy be known, you must also properly outline what the company's needs are, bearing in mind that the advertisement should be able to draw a potential placement.
It is important to do this process right because it will help the recruitment consultant eliminate applicants, who may interested but are not necessarily qualified for the job.
The proper sourcing of applicants should help save you time, energy and other resources.
Why is it important to screen applicants?
Crucial to the whole recruitment process is the screening of applicants. This is initially done by asking candidates to submit their CV. If they appear qualified, a telephone pre-screen is undertaken.
Screening of applicants can be the most arduous task, especially if the recruitment consultant has to go through thousands of applications.
Despite being time-consuming, it is important that you go through this process because you have to validate the credentials on the candidate's resume.
The tests pre-screen is also a good method for determining what the candidates are like, what potential they exhibit, what they can possibly contribute and accomplish to the company hiring.
Most of all, the process of screening will determine if the candidate is competent and the right fit for the position.
Why is the selection process important?
After going through weeks of interviews with candidates, the hardest part for the recruitment consultant is not yet over. You are tasked to do the final selection.
I hope that all throughout the process, you have been taking notes during the interviews and cross-checking the data gathered with that of the company's requirements and the candidate's CV. You can then come up with a proper evaluation of the candidates so that decision-makers will be able to refer to these easily.
This is perhaps the most important part of the recruitment process because the right decision of who to hire will benefit all parties concerned. It will ensure that the right fit is achieved – benefitting your reputation in the marketplace in which you recruit.
Take time to follow all the steps in the recruitment process, every time you recruit.
For the past 3 months, I have been working with a labour-hire business improving their performance. That is, re-engineering the business; attracting top performers; managing them and building the revenue streams.
This particular business had not really grown for over 12 months and the revenue was only just covering the costs - no real profit. The MD was tired of the day to day slog of running a business and wanted to go off and do other things.
I saw potential, however much needed to change. Here's what I did to improve the business. In fact, I increased the hours (and revenue) by 80% in 3 short months. A great achievement in a declining market.
Take a look at my checklist for success:
Are the right people on the right seats on the right bus? This was my first assessment. A hard one to make and there were casualties. To grow the business, I needed smart, driven people whom I could stretch to achieve the results needed.
Make them accountable. Next part of my process was to introduce KPI's for everyone in the business. I wanted to know if there were any skill gaps, who was lazy and who didn't want to play the game my way. I must stay the majority got on board - in fact there was only one long standing individual who didn't. This person had some power in the business as she was related to a major client; never a good thing in my view.
Give them clear direction and expectations. I found that I spent many one on one's re-iterating these so that the individuals could move forward. Every team member was given a new, clear job description. The old ones were full of "competencies required" and had very little about day to day activities and expectations.
Lead from the front. During my time in the business, I sat on the consulting floor - listening and watching. This helped me understand the dynamics of the team. Who the team players were and which members were "protecting their patch". I answered the phone; pre-screened candidates; did reference checks and refined each and every process.
Get excited about the results. Every time hours increased by 1000; I gave them a lunch. We made a fuss every step of the way. Essential to keep everyone motivated.
Make perm placements! This business had not had a perm placement focus and I knew this would have immediate impact on the bottom line. I have never seen it work when casual consultants are expected to also fill perm roles so I sought out a perm recruiter for the team.
Here's what I learned from the experience:
Expect that not everyone will get on board with the change. Have a contingency plan. Decide as early as possible who needs to be involved with the strategy and deliver it to the key players. That way they can influence those below them.
Keep delivering the vision. When things get tough, excitement rather than dread will be evident.
Keep energy levels up. I noticed the energy in the office change when one individual arrived and change again when that person left. I had to work hard to combat this.
All in all it was a great experience and reconfirmed in my mind that recruitment is recruitment is recruitment. Some do it well, others do it very badly. I hope the business that I helped can continue on with the growth that I set in place.
With many people looking for jobs while the recruitment industry is experiencing a decrease in recruitment consultants, those who remain have to cover more ground and do more work than usual. There may be new players on board, but these recruiters have yet to learn the ropes.
It's fair to say, based on my experience of being in this industry for more than two decades, that many of these new recruiters will make mistakes that could cost the integrity of their company.
If you're thinking of joining recruitment, or are new to the industry, then keep these things in mind and avoid the mistakes early on:
1. Disregarding the basics
There is a proper way to undertake the process of recruitment. You learn better by breaking down each of the tasks and then practicing this until you have perfected it.
For example, most arrangements start out with that first phone call between the recruiter and the candidate or the client. If you are not prepared for it, then the process immediately breaks down.
To be sure that this won't happen, have a script on hand when you have to contact someone. It should detail how you should open and close the calls. Use this each time you have to talk, until you won't have to use the script anymore. Do the same with other tasks you have to accomplish, because practicing is part of learning to become good at what you do.
2. Not getting enough training.
Some agencies do give proper training to newbies in recruitment, but there are other companies that delay this until the recruiter is absorbed into a more permanent status.
Give yourself an edge over the rest by self-educating and enlisting in trainings, even as these are not company initiated. Read about your industry, observe how old players are carrying out the process and if possible, find a mentor among them.
3. Not giving value to both clients and candidates.
While clients are important to the business, you also have to give the candidates the same kind of treatment. Taking their calls or replying to their emails should be given priority, too. How they are treated reflect the way you do your business overall.
4. Being too quick to offer discounts.
In the 80s, giving a rate discount was hardly done because the recruitment process was a lot more manual. The service expected from a recruiter was almost personal.
These days, however, technology has made it possible for phone calls, meetings and even interviews to be more streamlined, faster and taking place anywhere, that some recruiters may think it would help them remain competitive by offering clients discounted rates even as they know their service is top-notch.
Don't sell yourself short. Give a rate you can be comfortable carrying on because it will be difficult to charge full price once you offer discounts.
5. Dwelling on the negative.
You will make mistakes as you go along, but in this business, it seems that those who achieve success are those that see the valuable lessons behind those mistakes. See good opportunities in every situation. Stay in the positive and remain optimistic despite the odds.
Being a recruitment consultant is a never-ending process. This is the reason why I wrote The Art of Recruitment, to guide recruitment consultants in their field. Why not invest in yourself? You can download an e-book on this site.
Great listening skills are essential in an industry such as recruitment. Our jobs are about listening and filtering information and then acting on that information.
Processing what the other person says involves skills that steer the flow of the conversation, which establishes how two people interact. Knowing how to listen well help you gain the trust of the other person, whether they are a candidate or a client.
In the process, this helps you in negotiation, persuasion and closing new businesses. As a recruitment consultant, how do you develop this skill?
Use verbal and non-verbal ways to convey your full attention. A nod, a gesture, a smile or speaking out in agreement, such as saying "yes" or "aha", are just some communication skills you can use to let the other person know you're giving them your full attention when they are talking.
This is your way of telling that you understand what the other person is trying to say and that you're processing the information being relayed to you. This is also how you give feedback.
Being attentive shows in the way you conduct yourself when you're in front of the other person so be aware of your posture and make sure that you're not sending out the wrong vibes. When that person is aware that you are giving your full attention, it makes them feel valued, thus instantly creating a sense of trust and respect. Important in our business of persuading people to trust us.
Recognize the feelings that the other person conveys but do not interrupt them as they talk. It is important to focus on the person to fully understand what they are saying.
As a recruitment consultant, it is tempting to interrupt your clients because you are eager to close a deal. Resist that temptation and make sure you understand what your clients’ needs are.
Good listening skills require that you listen without bias. Do not also assume anything nor conclude something without validating it.
If you become biased, you risk making decisions based on that bias rather than the truth.
Practice empathy but set aside any judgment to accomplish what you set out to do.
Ask good questions.
Asking questions, like listening, is an art. If you ask the right questions, you are almost always sure to get good answers, too.
As you listen to what the other person is saying, it is good to confirm what you have heard and make clarifications once in a while by asking questions. Clarify, confirm and paraphrase with questions to avoid a communication breakdown or keep the conversation right on track.
The most useful and powerful questions to ask are open questions that draw longer answers. As much as possible, do not ask questions that are answerable by yes or no. Start your questions with what, why or how. You can also paraphrase your questions in a way that would encourage the other person to share his opinions.
Listening is a practiced skill – so start practicing today!
It’s a new year and you must be all wondering what is likely to happen in the recruitment industry this year. The good news is that Australia continues to register steady economic growth, which means the economic gains will translate into our industry. Having said that, I predict that it won’t be an easy year for the industry.
So what are the trends that we should watch out for? Here are some of them:
1. Social media
Social media will continue to be big this year. If you are not yet present in any popular social media, you may be missing out on the benefits. LinkedIn is always a great way to look for potential applicants while Twitter is a great tool to follow authoritative sources and get updates about the industry (My Twitter account is @GaynorLowndes).
You can also use Facebook to subscribe to industry experts or connect with clients. Don’t be afraid to use these channels because they will play a big part in accessing talent and clients in the future.
2. Growth industries
Some sectors are likely to grow faster than others. These are healthcare, mining and resources, education, and technology services. Manufacturing, tourism and construction are showing signs of sluggishness moving into 2013. If you are recruiting into these sectors, then start thinking about possible emerging opportunities within the growth sectors. If you recruit into one of the slowing sectors, start planning for the slow down.
3. More talent supply than demand in some sectors
Because some sectors may be struggling this year, expect that there will be job cuts and some companies might implement a hiring freeze. This means that more Australians may be looking for new jobs within the same industries, especially the light industrial sectors. Get better at screening your applicants quickly and ensuring that they have a positive experience with your firm to maximize your networks.
4. Increase in flexible working arrangements.
We have seen in the past few years many organizations moving to more flexible working arrangements. This trend is set to continue in 2013. Indeed, some of the recruitment firms I work with have embraced job shares and RDO’s as rewards for good work.
5. More Generation Y as business leaders.
As members of Generation Y grow older, it is likely that more of them would assume leadership positions. This means that recruitment consultants should provide counsel to businesses on how to prepare the organization for the new generation evolving into leaders or helping HR departments in planning career paths for them.
6. Retaining top talent.
This will be an ongoing challenge for many organizations as the mobility of Gen Y continues to threaten the stability of teams and organizations. Organizations will need to ensure that they have robust retention strategies in place to counteract this trend. They will also need to embrace older workers who statistically are far more stable than their younger counterparts.
It is important that recruitment consultants stay informed of their clients’ industries and businesses. It will help you understand what’s going on and what your clients could possibly need from you.
Remember to work fewer clients and work them better. Really take the time to understand their staffing challenges and add value by providing innovative solutions and the best talent in the marketplace.
Business development is a big part of being a recruitment consultant. You regularly need to meet with clients, understand what their needs are, and develop new relationships.
Suffice it to say building strong relationships is essential in the life of a recruitment consultant. Here are some tips on how to cultivate solid relationships:
1. Meet your client in person.
Sometimes a business relationships starts with a phone call or an email. If they are located near you, set up a meeting so you can know the face behind the email address. You can visit their office or meet them over coffee. Very important when you are attempting to influence a candidate to take a job with them!
If your clients are located in another state, arrange for a video conference. But if you get the chance to travel to the same city, do drop by for a short meeting.
2. Remember them during important milestones.
The company may have received an industry award or your client has just been promoted. Take the time to send congratulatory messages or send a token. Use the chance to update each other.
You can set up specific keywords in Google Alert so that you are alerted for any media coverage. Make sure you also add clients in your LinkedIn account so that you can keep track of professional changes.
You may feel the need to impress clients and ramble on with what you can offer them. It’s never acceptable to do that. It’s important to listen to what they say in order to identify what they need and then provide an appropriate solution.
4. Be proactive.
Check up on your clients periodically. You can email them with links to resources that may interest them. These may range from industry news to professional leads to personal interests. You can do this once a week just to keep in touch.
Clients appreciate it when you get in touch with them without making any sales pitch. It gives them the impression that you are truly building a relationship and are not just after making money.
5. Encourage honest feedback.
Business development is not just developing new clients but also cultivating current relationships. Ask for feedback on how you are doing as a recruiter so that you can continuously improve yourself. Taking their pulse regularly allows you to make adjustments, if necessary.
6. Be honest.
It is also essential that you are honest and provide honest feedback, too. If a client asks you something and you don’t know the answer, be honest about it. If a client asks you for a service that you currently do not offer, tell him so.
But don’t stop at that. Be proactive and provide alternatives. You can do your research to answer your client’s question or customize your services to address your client’s needs.
It takes time and effort to build and cultivate relationships. It can be challenging but it is very rewarding.
What do you do to build solid relationships? Share it here.
The life of a recruitment consultant is not an easy one. There are days when everything seems to go smoothly but there are times when you just have too many things on your plate and you don’t know where to start.
Even the best of us can get caught with too much work and it’s important that we keep a level head and stay focused. Here are some time management tips that you need to remember:
1. Plan your day.
You might say that this is a no-brainer but you’ll be surprised by how many recruitment consultants do not list down what they need to do. As a result, they get swamped with little tasks and do not really accomplish anything substantial.
Start the day by writing down what are the jobs to be done. Then prioritize which items are of high priority and which ones are not. Interviews, client meetings, and filling jobs/shortlisting are likely to be on top of the list while administrative tasks like answering emails, filing papers may be of low priority.
Finish as many high-priority tasks as possible before you work on other items.
2. Take mini-breaks.
Make sure you take mini-breaks so you don’t get stressed out quickly. For every two hours that you spend working, take 10 to 15 minutes away from your computer. You can go to the bathroom to freshen up, get a glass of water, stretch your legs, or take a short walk.
Mini-breaks are beneficial because it gives you a change of pace and allows your mind to relax and recharge. Medical experts also recommend mini-breaks away from the computer to avoid eye strain.
3. Learn to say no.
When things are really busy and you can’t afford to waste any time, you must learn to say no. This means declining invitations to unscheduled meetings, putting a Don’t Disturb sign in your door, forwarding your calls to voice mail, or logging off from your instant messaging.
You not only waste valuable time with these interruptions, you also lose your momentum.
4. Use available tools.
Tools are valuable because it can save you a lot of time and effort. If you work with other recruitment consultants, you can use Microsoft Office tools to collaborate and communicate. You can also use your instant messaging or your mobile phone if you need immediate feedback from a co-worker or your boss. There are also websites that allow you to send large and multiple files in just one click.
Check which tools are available for you and use them wisely. They can significantly help you in your work.
5. Take your time.
This sounds like I’m being contradicting but hear me out. It’s better to take your time to ensure that you do your job well. Don’t rush a job just because you want to finish it right away. The most important thing is that you give enough time and quality to recruitment.
After all, if you do things sloppily, you would just spend more time correcting it. As the old adage goes, do it right the first time.
Managing your time is essential so that you stay focused with what you need to do. With enough preparation and presence of mind, no task is insurmountable.
Following on from my last blog, once the reflection part of the process is done, it’s time to set some goals for 2013!
What do you want to achieve in 2013? Write it in a paragraph in present tense as if has already occurred. “I am excited by what I have achieved in 2013. I am earning $XXX, have made XX placements during the year of which XX were exclusive clients. I feel very satisfied with my results and my team leader has acknowledged publicly what a great year I have had.”
Based on your results from last year, identify what has to change in order to get you there. Do you need to build stronger client relationships? Do you need to source better quality talent? Do you need to change your key performance indicators to get a better result? Set some goals based on the result you seek.
Ask yourself “What can I offer that my competitors don’t? What is my differentiator to the recruitment market?” It could be as simple as being an Accredited Recruitment Professional or perhaps you are a specialist in your particular market. Write down what you believe your differentiator to be and tell your clients and candidates. Remind them of why they choose to work with you rather than your competitors.
Assess what development you need in order to reach your goals. What do you need to commit to in order to build your skill level? Perhaps you need a refresher in headhunting techniques or to do some research on how to use twitter and other such tools effectively or maybe engaging a coach will help you achieve the results you want. Invest in your own development to stay ahead of your competitors.
Be pro-active and meet with your manager to discuss your findings. Brainstorm ways that your organization can become more flexible to client needs. Go with a list of training you would like to undertake in 2013 and present your case for why it will make you a better performing recruiter. Discuss your key performance indicators and whether or not they need to change to assist your performance.
The recruitment industry is dynamic and challenging and the keys to your success lie in your ability to reflect, analyse, and change. Set aside an hour or two to undertake the exercises described above and you will be set for success in 2013.
2012 was an interesting year to say the least. For most agencies, it started off strong then everyone got a bit nervous in the second half of the year, culminating in some redundancies and uncertainty in the industry. So what does 2013 have in store for us?
The end of a year is always a good time to reflect on what has happened and look forward to a brighter, better future.
My prediction is that the industry must become more flexible if it is to prosper. We must look at how we can package our services to provide the client with exactly what he/she requires rather than offering a “one size fits all” solution. We must become better at sourcing talent and we must also stop allowing clients to multi-list and move into a more honest, relationship based rather than a transactional recruitment model with our clients. No wonder we have the turnover in our industry that we do. Speed has become the way to do business for the last few years – clients list a job, we do a quick database search and submit any resumes that look remotely suitable because if we don’t, maybe our competitor will and we lose the fee.
I believe that your success moving forward will be in direct proportion to how successfully you build your networks. Spending time building your client and candidate networks will be one of the keys to success. Tools such as social networking will become more mainstream in sourcing clients and candidates in the next year or two.
Success will mean working with fewer clients, taking time to search for the “right” candidate and getting a better quality result. Those that know me and my team and have attended any of our training know that I believe very strongly in exclusive and retained business AND headhunting techniques to locate the talent required. I believe that these will be the two key skills that successful recruiters will need to build over the next few years.
Reflect on 2012
Review your jobs listed –
How many were listed
What percentage were contingent?
What percentage were exclusive or retained?
How many did you fill?
Of those you didn’t fill, reflect on why not. Could you have managed the process better? Could you have developed a stronger relationship? Could you have asked for exclusivity? Was the job “real?”
What was your average fee/margin? (was it what you expected?)
What were your key performance indicators for the year and how did they impact on your results?
Were you happy with your result?
If not, what could you have done differently to get a different result?
Review your client and prospect lists. Firstly, allocate your portion of the database into the following categories:
a)Client companies – those that you (or your company) has placed candidates with in the last 12 months.
b)Prospective companies – those companies that are currently in your sales funnel and you are actively working on.
c)Source companies – those companies that you are actively sourcing candidates from.
Be ruthless with your prospects. Will you make higher levels of profit placing into or sourcing from that company? Many of us believe that organizations that list lots of jobs with us are potential gold clients. However, if you are one of ten recruiters briefed and there appears no opportunity for exclusivity, then the opportunity cost in working the jobs may be too high. Perhaps this company would be a more profitable source of candidates.
Once this is done, you are ready to start setting some goals for 2013. We'll cover this part of the process next week.
We are almost at the end of 2012. Time to make some decisions about 2013.
Recently, I have been encouraging many of my clients to prepare business plans for their businesses and desks for 2013. Here is a quick way to formulate a plan for success in 2013.
Reflect on what went well during 2012 and more importantly what didn't go well. If you could be the recruiter/business owner you want to be, what would need to change? Where are your current skill gaps? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What is the vision for your business/desk for 2013? Put another way, if we were doing this exercise at the end of 2013, what we would be discussing? What do you want to have achieved in 2013?
3. Map your market
Where are the emerging opportunities for your desk/business in 2013?
Research, talk to your clients and candidates for this information.
Do your metrics. Establish the following:
Jobs in: Placements
Placements: fall offs/credits
Send outs: client/candidate interviews
Average placement fee
Peaks and troughs for your desk/business during the year
Once you have these numbers, use them to forecast your performance for 2013, taking into account the peaks and troughs in your sector.
How many jobs do you need to fill per month to reach your revenue target?
How many client/candidate interviews do you need to set up per month to reach your placement ratio?
4. Create the plan
Prepare the plan for 2013, month by month.
Create a spreadsheet with the numbers on it and then back up the numbers with a month by month plan.
Set out Objectives for the month and actions that you will undertake to get you to the objective.
Remember that it's all very well to create a beautiful plan but if you don't look at it, it's been a complete waste of time. This plan is your blueprint for success, it is a working document so review it weekly to keep you on track.
Need help? Contact me personally to book a high impact coaching session to complete your business plan.