Thinking outside the box isn’t just a cliché, it’s an essential tactic that you need to practice every day if you want to stand out from the crowd as one of the best recruiters in your industry.
I use this term a lot when I’m talking to recruiters, and more than a few times I’ve been asked: “But what do you actually mean by this?” or “How do I go about thinking outside the box?”.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share some ways you can start practising out-the-box thinking and make this part of your core behaviours as a recruiter…
Challenge the status quo
Just because we’ve always done something, doesn’t necessarily mean it works. For example, cold calling has been extremely unpopular with candidates and clients for years, but loads of recruiters are still targeted on them every day!
Challenging the norm regularly can help you come up with awesome ideas - so make a point of regularly asking ‘but why do we do this?’ and test out alternatives.
When you’re developing a strategy that challenges a norm in recruitment, the most important thing you need to consider is what you want the outcome to be. Too often, we try out great ideas without thinking about what we want to achieve from them. What’s the point in shaking things up just to get the exact same results as before?
Avoid following the crowd
If you’re following the crowd, you can be sure that you and your competitors are doing the exact same things day in, day out. And I can tell you now that playing it safe in this way doesn’t bring you great candidates.
This is one of the biggest problems in recruitment today – if you’re doing the same things as your competitors, you’ll also be making the same mistakes and looking at the exact same candidates.
You need to mix up your strategy to stand out in your market as an industry expert if and get noticed. And the best way to discover new tactics that no one in your industry is using yet is to look for inspiration outside of the recruitment industry. Which takes me to my next point…
Educate yourself externally
Learning from within the recruitment community is important – and it’s also essential for keeping your finger on the pulse. But it’s what you learn from the business world external to recruitment that will really impact how you work.
Listen to relevant podcasts, read books that inspire you and connect with online influencers from outside your industry. Knowledge is key in recruitment and we need to try anything we can do to keep ourselves ahead of the game.
If you look at the top success stories from other industries (like Apple or Facebook), you’ll find the people behind them always had the drive to learn and never thought they knew everything there was to know .
You need to consistently look to the big players – the Amazons and the Ubers – to see what you can learn from them and recruitify it. There are changes that’ve been happening for years in the consumer market that are only now starting to hit the recruitment industry. As Wendy dives into in this eBook, it’s the agencies that saw these changes coming who’ll remain futureproof in our competitive market.
So set aside 30 minutes every day for self-development - just think of it as a daily workout that’ll keep you in shape for the day ahead.
Exercise your creativity
Creativity is so precious to us as humans – it’s the one thing the robots will never take from us! Flexing your creativity regularly is a behaviour that will bleed into your work if you practice it regularly enough.
Recruitment has had many innovations over the years, but the emergence of video in our industry has really opened up a new world of creativity.
Think of ways you can captivate your audience using video and don’t be afraid to experiment trying out new things with it. This will help you stand out from other recruiters, build new business relationships and ultimately, make you more placements.
Alan is the Associate Director of Growth at Firefish. An agency recruiter in a former life, he loves helping recruiters find ways to recruit smarter.