The Best Advice for Recruiters: Insights from the Experts

Hiring. Jobseeking. Recruiting. Interviewing. It’s enough to send a cold chill down the spine of even the bravest among us.

It can be scary, time-consuming, frustrating, and feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall.

As a recruiter, you’ve got to find the perfect candidate hidden amongst the dozens, hundreds, or thousands of applicants. What if you make the wrong choice?

Thankfully, both seeking and hiring have been made faster, easier, and less headache-inducing with modern services, platforms, and tools (shameless plug alert: like Teamable!).

But that doesn’t mean you do nothing. Faster, not necessarily fast. Easier, not necessarily easy. Modern recruiters still have to be tech savvy, personable, and diversify their approach if they want to be successful:

Whether they know it or not, today’s organizations live and die by their recruiting. Companies rely on their employees’ specialized skillsets and networks to drive their business and they rely on their recruiters ability to attract and hire the best talent.

To win in today’s competitive recruiting landscape requires a mastery of strategies and tactics new and old. We turned to leading industry experts to find out:

  1. What’s the best advice you can give to recruiters these days?
  2. What are some traits or qualities that make a recruiter successful?

Being the thoughtful influencers that they are, they got back to us with some very insightful responses.

Time to pick their brains.

William Tincup, RecruitingDaily

Tincup is the President and CEO over at RecruitingDaily – an online media resource and database for the recruiting world – in addition to sitting on the Board of Advisors for well over a dozen recruitment and HR startups including SmartRecruiters, Talent Ninjas, Engagedly, and Hirepool. Tincup is also a writer, teacher, speaker, consultant, investor, and co-host of the DriveThruHR Show radio program.

Question #1

“Meet candidates where they are…if that means texting them, do it. If that means commenting on their Instas, do it. Let go of the way you’d like to do it and be nimble enough to adapt to the changing world of candidates. We live in a candidate driven world, they have ALL the power. ALL. So, play the game playa.

Secondly, fucking tell the truth. The best recruiters are brutally honest with candidates. If the candidate asks them ‘will my boss be a dick?’ and they know for sure that the boss is indeed a dick…they don’t sugar coat the answer. They tell the truth. Candidates demand the truth and if you’d like to be a recruiter for more than a few quarters, you’ll tell them the truth…even if it means they don’t go forward in the process.

Thirdly, be able to answer the ‘what’s next’ question that candidates are asking these days.  Recruiters have never been traditionally great at internal mobility / career pathing conversations but…the candidates are demanding that they know what is after the position they’re filling today. It’s a massive change for recruiters but, again, the great recruiters will adapt and be able to answer the ‘what’s next’ question with ease and grace.”

Question #2

“History favors the bold. So, be bold. Do right by the candidate and fear no man.”

Craig Fisher, Allegis Global Solutions

Fisher is Head of Marketing, Employer Branding SME at Allegis Global Solutions, the multinational managed services provider and recruitment process outsourcing partner operating in more than 60 countries. Author of Inbound Recruiting and an in-demand keynote speaker, Fisher is an industry influencer and frequently profiled in top newspapers, magazines, and websites.

Question #1

“Be someone people want to connect with. If you go in with just asking people to apply to your job or refer someone, that feels like spam. Have more to offer than that. Be a great source of industry information and job search knowledge. Share that content (it doesn’t have to be original content) on social channels on a regular basis. I use a 5:1 give to ask ratio. Be helpful most of the time and occasionally ask for applications or referrals and you’ll be well served.”

Question #2

“Patience and perseverance. Take the time to research your prospects and clients very thoroughly so that when you do talk to them or message them they feel you understand their needs. Don’t be in such a hurry that you aren’t gracious and polite. Some deals will happen after years of good networking with a client or candidate. That said, keep you pipeline so full that those deals are constantly happening. Use the phone!”

Torin Ellis, RIP the Resume

Published author of Rip the Resume, diversity strategist, maverick recruiter, radio contributor, and the driving force behind his branded company (“a better recruiting experience”), Ellis shares his insight and opinions on LinkedIn, Twitter, and The Karen Hunter Show.

Question #1

“There is nothing more powerful than the conversation. No technology can replace the human element that most recruiters value. We, the best of us, leverage tools in a way that complements our conversation/discovery process. We also focus heavily on conveying actionable and useful information so that prospects, candidates, and applicants are able to make the best decision at the appropriate stage in the process. Communication is vital.”

Question #2

“Authenticity. Empathy. Integrity. My formula for most instances is potential minus interference equals results (P-I=R). Live by that.”

Oliver Ryan, Lab 8 Ventures

With past experiences that include two years as Director of Recruitment for Twitter, Director of People for 23andMe, and Talent Acquisition Manager for Gap, Ryan knows a thing or two about the topic of HR and recruiting. His latest endeavor is Lab 8 Ventures, offering project-based recruitment for high growth companies like Instagram, Hampton Creek Foods, and Leap Motion.

Question #1

“Do not lose sight of the human element in recruiting. Finding a job is often an emotional process for people, so being considerate, honest and responsive can go a long way.”

Question #2

“Being resourceful, honest, timely/responsive, and being able to listen more than you talk.”

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

Hogan is the founder and CEO of Red Branch Media, a full-service marketing agency specializing in HR, talent acquisition, and recruiting technology. When she’s not busy running her empire, Hogan speaks and writes (for platforms that include Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and the Red Branch blog) on a wide variety of topics, all while serving as CMO and sitting as a board member for iRevü by Engagiant.

Question #1

“At Red Branch, hiring and recruiting is a step-by-step process that allows me to add a personal touch to each communication with my candidates. In the first few stages, I’m looking at resumes and considering where the individual will fit and then scheduling phone screenings. From there, we invite the candidate into the office to meet the team. This happens, if the scheduling allows, within 1 to 3 weeks of receiving a resume. If at any point the candidate doesn’t seem to be a fit, there’s no hesitation to say so. Leaving a candidate in limbo for fear of giving a little rejection hurts their ability to find the right job and my ability to sleep at night.”

Question #2

“As busy as a recruiter’s job can be, the best quality recruiters must maintain is consistency in communication. Not only is the step-by-step approach in recruiting helpful to keep candidates in the know of where they stand, but this builds an organized system and polished employer brand.”

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Career Trend

As the CEO and President at Career TrendBarrett-Poindexter is a master resume writer and personal marketing communications specialist. At Career Trend, she puts ‘your value into words’ and understands what recruiters do (and should) look for on executive documents.

Question #1

“Recruiters sometimes focus too narrowly on their preference (or their specific client company’s preference) for candidates’ resumes and then tout it as the best practice. Resume strategies vary widely and taking an absolute stand on the ‘one best way’ can be confusing — and limiting — for careerists and job seekers. Many paths exist to creating a compelling career story that will sell the candidate’s value, so I think it’s important to encourage candidates to market themselves in a distinctive way vs. following strict rules that create me-too digital documents.”

Question #2

“Reaching out to and being responsive to the candidate following an interview or series of interviews when the interview process has either stalled or stopped altogether. Confirming where the candidate stands and/or providing specific feedback as to why the candidate wasn’t selected is crucial, and those recruiters who are diligent with such follow-up elevate their reputation among careerists.”

Erin Wilson, Hirepool

Hirepool is on a mission to empower jobseekers, and Wilson is its co-founder and Talent Engineer. Beyond that, he currently serves as advisor to both Orzo – a talent mobility solution – and Teamable – the world’s leading employee referral hiring platform. You can read more of Wilson’s opinions on the Hirepool blog.

Question #1

“The #1 piece of advice I give to recruiters is to be patient with their desire to get stuff done. As a recruiter, you listen to candidates all day, and are especially aware of ways to improve a broken hiring process. I’ve seen countless recruiters start their new role and immediately try to fix the process all around them in order to improve the candidate experience, so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, if you try do this more than simply focus on getting a few key hires you’re often met with resistance and can quickly lose the attention and respect of the hiring teams. Focus on helping alleviate their pain first, then start working on the long-term value adds.

Earn some street cred by helping them fill their immediate need or two and then use that experience and those relationship building moments to implement an enhanced candidate experience in due time.”

Question #2

“Empathetic. Responsive. Data-driven. Business savvy. Design-oriented.”

What’s the Takeaway?

Recruiting has gone through a  power shift from companies to employees. Your recruiting process has to be candidate-centric, communicative, and transparent or you’ll find yourself losing the battle for top-talent.

Work to make the recruitment process quick, painless, and pleasant, even for the candidates you don’t proceed with. Jobseekers don’t expect it to be over tomorrow, but they won’t stick around forever. 60% have dropped out of consideration because it was taking too long, and 27% would actively discourage others from applying after a bad recruitment experience.

Be approachable, do your homework, and keep them in the loop…for both good and bad news. They’ll appreciate your candidness even if they don’t get the job, and that can lead to relationships and opportunities down the road.

Find top-notch candidates where they are spending their time: online, digital platforms, apps, and mobile. Being a successful 21st century recruiter doesn’t require learning a whole new game, but it does require updating your tactics and approaches.

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