Hiring great recruiters onto your own team is always a much tougher challenge than it is hiring for your clients. And it’s only going to get tougher: There are a whole load of new skills we need to hire for nowadays that we didn’t need to think about before, and finding recruiters who tick all the boxes can feel like hunting for a unicorn, never mind a purple squirrel!
Whilst the next generation of recruiters are already tech-savvy and marketing-conscious, we still need them to be good at picking up the phone and be able to walk into a room full of people and network without getting anxious.
And if that’s not enough, we also want to find trust, staying power and loyalty in every new recruiter we hire. We’re investing in them and want them to invest in us too – not just walk away when the going gets tough.
So what’s the best strategy for ensuring you’re always hiring futureproof recruiters who will boost team productivity and build on your positive reputation rather than slow down (and cost) your business?
Here are a few pointers to consider…
Look for futureproof qualities
The skills and qualities needed to be an outstanding recruiter are pretty different from how they were five or ten years ago. This is because as our relationship with technology has progressed, client and candidate needs have changed and the whole recruitment landscape has evolved to reflect this.
With this in mind, we need to be looking beyond the usual criteria we’ve been using for years when hiring new recruiters and think more about the qualities that demonstrate resilience and adaptability – as these kinds of qualities will be key when futureproofing your team and your agency as a whole.
Whilst it might be tempting to stick to hiring those recruiters who already have a solid reputation for being top billers, remember that just because they've achieved results in the past this is no guarantee they'll be a top biller for your company – and they could do a lot of damage to your business trying if they are not a strong culture fit.
Don’t run in to a short-term fix !
Just because you’ve got a tonne of jobs to fill this week, don’t just jump into hiring the first hopeful candidate that crosses your path! Trying to solve a short-term capacity issue this way will just create a long-term problem that you’ll have to deal with later.
Take your time and do your background checks to make sure you’re getting it right. Rushing through the hiring process like this can easily result in a dodgy hire which can be crippling for your business - particularly if they’re in and out the door again in a matter of months, or even weeks!
Take your time choosing the right person for the job and apply the same critical methods you would do if you were working an retainer for your best client. Otherwise, you’re doing your business a disservice and also your clients as a disservice too, as you’re implying they don’t need the best recruiters possible to work for them either.
Have a plan to keep them on track
Research has shown that a clear personal development opportunity is the easiest way to pull in a passive candidate from their current role and into a new role – and recruiters are no different.
Gone are the days where you could operate as an agency with a ‘sink or swim’ way of doing things and still pull in the best recruiters the industry has to offer. High-flyers in this industry want solid reassurance that a move to you will be a good investment for their career, otherwise you’ll struggle to convince them – particularly since their current agency is likely to be doing everything they can to retain them right now (if they’re any good!).
If you can show that you have a well thought-out and presented development plan and can demonstrate how you will support each new recruiter with the strong processes you have in place, this will convince them that a move to you is worth the risk.
Nail your training
One of the easiest mistakes to make when hiring a new recruiter is to assume once they’re in the door, that’s the job done. By this point, you’re probably thinking they already know the job well so they don’t need any more from you, right? Wrong! Getting great recruiters through the door is only half the battle.
Even if you’ve hired a seasoned senior recruitment consultant onto the team, you still need to make sure they’re trained to do business the way you want them to do business and fully understand the processes and systems you have in place. You’ve made your processes the way they are for a reason, and you need to make sure every new recruiter you bring in knows how to follow them.
Subconscious bad habits can be picked up by even the highest-performing top billers – in fact, top billers are normally the worst for bringing bad habits along with them and they’re also the hardest to train.
So practice what you preach to your clients – develop a water-tight onboarding program will ensure you have a much better retainment level with your new recruiters, will keep them around for longer, and most importantly of all - stops you losing them two months later to your competitors.
Use the recruiter conversion rate calculator below to identify the best performing recruiters currently on your team (spoiler alert: they're not always your top billers!).
Katie once headed up the Firefish blog and marketing team. She now works as a freelance copywriter and continues to contribute to our award-winning blog.