Recruitment is getting more and more sophisticated as we continue to blend experience and know-how with the latest technology to source candidates better and make great placements.
There's still one area of recruitment we're still not great at though - hiring our own new recruiters!
Why are recruiters so bad at hiring other recruiters?
Good recruiter hires have been notoriously hard to consistently source for a number of reasons:
1. There's few specific qualifications
Recruiters come from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds, and while there are some recognised qualifications, they’re not widespread enough for us to use them.
This means it's difficult to search for candidates based on educational experience and target the people with the right skills to do the job.
2. It’s different to hiring for sales
Whilst selling is a part of an agency recruiter's job, they also need to be able to see beyond a simple sale, and understand the importance of developing longer term relationships between themselves, clients, and candidates.
Finding people that can juggle all of these things at the same time isn't easy, and it's certainly tough to assess whether they have these skills at interview stage.
3. The best recruiters often find recruitment by accident
Our own Chief Fish Wendy only found herself in recruitment when she applied for an entry level IT/technology role and was invited to join the recruitment agency that sourced her instead. Within 5 years she was their top biller!
Hiring recruiters has always been a pot luck, with candidates being ‘given a shot’ in a way that any self-respecting recruiter wouldn’t dream of doing when sourcing for a client. Modern systems and the rise of social media mean that we don’t have to work on these loose assumptions any more. We should recruit for ourselves like we do for our clients!
4. We don't learn from our past mistakes
Before you can know where you're going, It’s important to know where you’re coming from. In the past, recruiters would look at a potential recruiter and consider the following:
- Are they personable, do they say they like to meet people?
- Do they seem to be money motivated?
- Do they say they have access to a niche?
And then, the final (and for many recruiters, key) feature:
- Do they have that ‘black magic’ which will make them successful?
Every recruiter is looking for a different ‘black magic’ quality. Some people don’t want university graduates because they’re ‘too soft’, others will want graduates from specific degrees that teach what they see as a necessary trait. It’s entirely speculative and, for most agencies, this method doesn't work as there’s no way to guarantee consistent success.
How to recruit right-fit recruiters
If you take a step back and make a few simple changes, you can quickly increase the quality of the recruiters you hire. Here's how...
1. Don't rush the recruitment process
Take. Your. Time. A client wouldn’t want you to rush your selection and throw someone into a role because you ‘think they have potential’.
Apply the same critical methods to the hiring of your own talent that you do to your clients. If you don’t, you’re not only doing your business a disservice, you’re doing the clients that work with them a disservice.
Many of the important claims a recruiter makes can now be crosschecked online. If someone says they have loads of connections, check it on LinkedIn. If they say they have niche connections in a specific sector, ask them to show you those connections online.
Do they claim to be really involved in a community? Go and see if you can spot them on different forums and groups.
TIP: Recruiters should have at least 500 contacts on LinkedIn. If an applicant has fewer than that, how are they going to consistently source great candidates and new business?
2. Give the applicants a real taste of recruitment
A lot of people walk into the world of recruitment without a clear idea of what it really entails and this can cause problems later down the line. Set up an interview situation for them and see how much information they can get, simulate a phone call with a potential client, or simply have them write a job ad and explain how they’d promote it.
This a great way to find out how a candidate performs in a given situation, while also showing them the nuts and bolts of recruiting. This way, candidates who haven’t properly thought it through can pass on the role now, rather than six months in.
Matching old school techniques with new technology has already done wonders for recruitment. The next big step is turning those techniques inwards on your own hiring practices. You'll produce better recruiters, who are better suited to the niches they work in. In turn, they will make better placements and build stronger relationships. So start hiring properly today; your clients, candidates, and business partners will thank you.