There are a lot of things we can do as recruiters to make ourselves look like fools. Most of them deal with the way we communicate with candidates and the hiring managers we support. Many of the communication mistakes we make also are from our lack of experience, as you rarely see senior-level recruiters make as many communication mistakes as newer recruiters!
These are 3 of the biggest mistakes we make:
1. You lack understanding of the function you are recruiting for, and that lack of understanding comes across to both candidates and hiring managers in a way that makes you look foolish.
Part of this is a lack of understanding and part of it is your unwillingness to try and understand. What I find is if you’re reaching out and trying to understand the function you are recruiting for, those hiring managers will have much more respect for you. No one expects you to come in knowing what your business does by function, but they do expect you’ll dig in and find out.
2. You act like you know how to do the job you are recruiting for and that makes you look foolish.
Unless you did the job, you don’t know how to do the job. I’ve worked with Nurses and Engineers who have become recruiters, and they clearly knew how to do the job and did the job. But just because you know some buzzwords doesn’t mean you know the job. There are too many recruiters out there acting like they are experts in a job they never did, and they look foolish!
3. You don’t use the medium candidates or hiring managers want to communicate in and it makes you foolish.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen a recruiter force a candidate and/or a hiring manager to only communicate in a way they wanted to communicate. A candidate wants to connect via text, but you only want to use email. A hiring manager would prefer email, but you are forcing them into the ATS, etc. While neither the candidate nor the hiring manager will necessarily see you as foolish, you are foolish because you are missing an opportunity to make more connections and deeper connections by having a willingness to communicate across multiple mediums.
Here’s the thing, all of these are super easy fixes!
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to show interest in the functions you support, to ask questions, to get invited to team meetings, etc. The functions you support are actually waiting for you to get involved. They want you involved.
Instead of acting like you know everything, try acting like you know nothing to a candidate! It seems counterintuitive. “Well, if I act like I know nothing then they’ll think I’m an idiot!” No, they actually won’t. They don’t expect you to know anything about what they do, but when you act like you do by asking questions a hiring manager gave you that you don’t understand, well, it’s a back look. Just once try asking a question and then asking the candidate to explain it to you because you don’t really understand. You’re new to this position and trying to learn. Candidates are masters at teaching you what you don’t know!
Stop trying to use your positional power to get others to do things your way. The best recruiters on the planet have developed processes that allow them to work in a variety of ways depending on the needs of the candidates and the hiring managers. It’s a process run through data points, not steps. I need to gather certain things and as long I can get those things, the steps don’t really matter!