You know the score: Recruiters that are mince don’t last long and recruiters that are average plod along, but it’s those who are steamrolling ahead that you’ve got your eye on. It’s a bit strange - everyone comes in at the same time, works the same hours and you all get along reasonably well.
So what exactly makes the difference between an ace recruiter and an average one? As clients wind down towards the end of the year, this is the perfect time to reflect on what works, and what needs to be prioritised for the last quarter – so you know which recruiters are your stars and why! And if you're wondering how to get more of them in your agency - have a read of our eBook!
Understand their expertise
This might be a surprise to some, but the top recruiters are very self-aware. That means also knowing their own limitations, as well as strengths. No top-performing recruiter will jump at the occasion of suddenly sourcing candidates from a completely new niche – they realize what they’re best at, develop in-depth knowledge of their chosen market, and work relentlessly within that market. Have you ever interviewed a recruiter who said they can work with any industry? Yes, that’s a lie. Being good at everything loosely translates to being good at nothing.
Do you know what’s another thing to observe that will tell you everything you need to know? Teamwork. So watch the way your team works together - are your recruiters not afraid to ask for help? If one of them is better at contract work, and another is killing it at the perm desk, do they communicate with one another or try to do it all? It’s no secret that working a dual desk is a massive challenge – and more often than not, it’s losing the agency money and resources instead of making it.
Understand the market
This ties in with my previous point – a great recruiter knows everything there is to know about their market or niche. They research, talk to experts, educate themselves – but keep it specific. Why? Because they understand that in-depth knowledge of the industry is more valued than brief knowledge of a few different ones. This also means that they realize they can never know everything – there is no stopping when it comes to recruitment learning. The market is always changing and shifting, so they have to be prepared for those shifts, anticipate them, and be reactive. Stagnancy is the worst possible quality a recruiter could possess.
They’re persuasive, but don’t try to sell
There’s a huge difference between persuasion and selling. A seller will only focus on pushing the product and describing its amazing features, whilst a person that’s persuasive will understand the importance of the customer experience. They’re not talking about all the perks of the product – they’re listening to their customers’ needs and finding solutions. They add value with their in-depth product and industry knowledge, showing they’re the experts in their field and can be trusted. Most importantly, they know they are not able to sell to everyone – so they don’t try to.
With top recruiters, you never doubt they have their client’s and the candidate’s best interest in mind. They won’t try to force their hand with lies, so you won’t hear them talking about how the candidate is a perfect fit for the role if he clearly isn’t, or that the role can be hybrid working when it’s actually fully on-site. Finding a perfect match for the role they’re recruiting for is more important than simply filling the role – the top recruiter knows that the right fit will stay and progress within the company, whilst the wrong one will leave quickly, showing the recruiter’s lack of experience and putting their reputation in question. A win for the client and the candidate is also a win for them – and they eat, sleep, and breathe that mantra.
They’re constantly learning
Learning is not just about industry knowledge – it’s also about bettering your techniques, upgrading the tools you use, and adapting your technology to current times (and the client/niche!). Technology is designed to make life easier. So recruiters who are embracing this are automatically moving ahead. Having a good software solution and making full use of it is crucial for the best recruiters. You’ll find that recruiters who are embedded in old-school methods will be battling with excessive admin, repetitive tasks, and significantly more human error. So inadvertently those who are not only rolling with the changes but are actually pushing forwards will see the highest success rates. Making the processes easier and more advanced makes you look more reliable and knowledgeable amongst your clients – and your competitors. So look for recruiters who don’t shy away from new solutions and have a strong social media presence!
Wendy McDougall is Chief Fish of Firefish Software. In her spare time, you'll find her playing squash or feeding her inner geek with the latest technology!