I get this question a lot and there are a lot of different thoughts on the “right” answer. Hiring a new recruiter or partnering with a new recruiting agency is a critical business decision. Recruiters are often the first point of contact to represent your company. People are typically a company’s greatest asset, so the first impression is important.
Below are some key considerations in hiring a recruiter and picking a good recruiting partner:
Does the recruiter resonate with you and your company culture?
Recruiters are an extension of your HR department, which should be the driving entity of your people-oriented strategies. In such, a recruiter should possess values, techniques, and communication skills that are in line with your corporate values, culture expectations, and communication practices.
Does the recruiter listen well?
Most recruiters are talkers; heavy talkers. That is ok! However, a good recruiter knows when to shut up and listen. Recruiting is about more than making sure a candidate has the required skills. Recruiting is about finding the right candidate, from a skills perspective, cultural perspective, and long-term career perspective. If a recruiter talks too much and does not really listen to what a candidate’s goals are, or what a hiring manager’s goals are, they may find the “Perfect Wrong” candidate. Listening, in my opinion, is one of the most essential skills of any recruiter.
Is the recruiter resilient?
This is so important. Recruiting is full of rejection, opinion, marketing, selling, and waiting. As a recruiter, it is realistic to communicate with hundreds of candidates who tell you no. This can be exhausting. A good recruiter can push through the rejection, stay optimistic, and not let the challenges of the role bring them down. A recruiter with a beat-up or negative attitude will not be effective and won’t likely set the great first impression for your company.
Is the recruiter comfortable on the phone?
Being able to build relationships is a key part of being a successful recruiter. This does not happen via email alone. A good recruiter needs to be comfortable talking to people, in-person and on the phone. If a recruiter is intimidated to pick up the phone, they may find the role painful and be better suited for a different role.
Does a good recruiter need experience?
This question definitely gets mixed answers. However, I personally don’t think experience is a deal breaker under certain conditions. Having experience can make the learning curve quicker, but recruiting is really about personality. Every company’s recruiting processes are different and sometimes hiring an experienced recruiter comes with a laundry list of undesired habits to break. If you have the time to train someone, I would take a candidate with the right personality over one with more experience any day. If you don’t have the time to train, experience is really your best option, but be selective. I have learned firsthand that breaking habits can be really hard for experienced recruiters!
Does the recruiter understand your industry?
Many recruiters specialize in a specific field or industry. If you need immediate results, hiring or partnering with a recruiter who has experience in your niche can be valuable. If you have some time to train and allow a recruiter to build a network of candidates, having industry experience is not essential. However, it is essential that the recruiter posses the personality traits and aptitude to mesh well with candidates in your particular industry, whether they have experience or not. Good recruiters can relate to their clients and candidates.
Does a recruiter need to be creative?
Creativity is not something most employers look for in a recruiter, but it is certainly valuable. At a minimum, a recruiter needs to be resourceful. If you can find one who is creative, they will likely excel in recruiting for hard-to-find positions; as long as you LET them be creative!
There are certainly many other characteristics of a good recruiter, such as follow up skills, but this should serve as a good starting point if you are looking to add to your team or partner with an outside firm. Just keep in mind that recruiting is all about people connecting with people. So, picking the right person who can connect and build rapport with the right people is really the deal maker/breaker.