The recruiting function is one that if often misunderstood and as a result, treated with a vendor-like attitude rather than a business partnership. Let’s be real here, very few recruiters would say working with the hiring manager is the favorite part of their job.
The Business Dictoinary defines a recruiter as, “An individual who works to fill job openings in businesses or organizations. Recruiters will work from resumes or by actively soliciting individuals qualified for positions. A recruiter's job includes reviewing candidate's job experiences, negotiating salaries, and placing candidates in agreeable employment positions. Recruiters typically receive a fee from the hiring employers.”
It’s likely nobody would argue with this definition; however, is this really all a recruiter does? I guess it depends on the type of recruitment operating model. In an RPO operating model, this definition only describes a small piece of the roadmap towards success.
We have all heard the saying, “You are only as good as your last placement.” I disagree with this. If you have developed an open and consultative relationship with your hiring manager where you are providing real expertise, then your value will be seen even in times when the search for that great candidate takes a while. Even more importantly for you, is that you are less likely to have non-producing tasks on your plate like chasing down feedback from the hiring manager. You are less likely to have rework when a candidate is lost because the process is moving too slowly. And you are less likely to spend time finding more candidates because a low ball offer was made. You will have placed yourself in a position where you can spend more time finding great talent and less time managing the process.
4 Ways to Transform Yourself from Recruiter to Trusted Adviser
- Be an expert in the recruiting field – Subscribe to recruitment blogs and LinkedIn groups and read what is being said. Become proficient with a market analysis tool such as Wanted Analytics and use it. By doing this, you have the knowledge and data to be honest when requirements are unrealistic. Discuss the market data (first know the market data) and encourage must haves, nice-to-haves, and deal-breakers. Don’t waste time hunting for a candidate that does not exist. Advise on the job posting look, feel and language. Know what their competitor’s job postings look like. Research the unemployment rate in the geographic and functional areas. Know what constitutes a competitive salary and communicate this information to the hiring manager.
- Ask Questions - Invest time in learning their business and their function by asking them questions about both and be interested in the answers. Be fascinated with what is happening with your hiring manager’s business or functions. Care about what keeps them up at night. This will open the door to little gold nuggets of information for you – in a way the hiring manager will truly enjoy. Even the busiest person loves to answer a question about something important to them such as their business or functional area. Invest the time in understanding their business and you’ll have a business partnership relationship in the making and probably have refined your search parameters in the process.
- Agree on process – Determine mutually agreed upon expectations around submittals, feedback, interviews, and offer timelines together with your hiring manager. Define what the hiring manager’s definition of success looks like. Understand priorities but set expectations. Outline the hiring manager’s actions and timing. Explain the importance behind this. Discuss the importance of the candidate experience and interviews. The process does not allow room for last minute cancellations with the candidate. Explain how this impacts the movement of the requisition and what that means to their company brand. Most importantly, hold the hiring manager accountable to the process.
- Set communication expectations – Get a commitment on what timely feedback means and hold them to it. “Mr. Hiring Manager, you may recall we discussed during the strategy call that you would commit to providing me feedback on submittals within 48 hours. How can I help you meet that commitment?” Ask for more interview feedback than “not a fit” and listen. Use the feedback to alter your search. Deliver weekly updates showing your networking and search efforts. No news is bad news in this case. When a hiring manager doesn’t see any resumes, he assumes nothing is happening with his opening. Discuss the importance of transparent communication. Many hiring managers are seeking out their own talent through their network. Let them know you can manage these candidates and the importance of that consistent process/candidate experience. Set the communication expectation that they will be transparent with you on all recruitment activities.
Simply put, finding great candidates is not enough of a strategy to create a successful recruitment business partnership. You won’t improve a relationship simply by delivering great hires. Start thinking of yourself as a trusted advisor and business partner to your hiring managers this very second. Don’t look back. Your hiring managers may have more business experience, or more education or a bigger title, but I say “who cares?” because the one thing they don’t have is your expertise and skill in recruiting. They need you to be their recruitment consultant! They may not realize and acknowledge that just yet, but they will!
This blog was written by Robin Shartzer. Over the past 14 years Robin has worked in a variety of talent acquisition environments from agency recruitment to corporate recruitment and is currently an Operations Manager with Yoh’s RPO Division. Robin’s passion in recruitment is process improvement and driving results through analysis of metrics and sharing of best practices with her team and peers. She also believes personal accountability and tenacity is at the core of every success. Robin holds a B.S. in Psychology from University of Louisville and a M.A. in Leadership from The Ohio State University. Outside of work Robin is active with community volunteering in Louisville, KY and carting her 2 teenagers to and from numerous activities that keep her and her husband young.