It was the first lesson I learned on the first day of my recruiting career, "recruit the relationship, not the role." As intuitive as the sentiment seemed when I first heard it, it appears that far too often the recruiting industry seems to lose sight of this profoundly important concept.
The people we interact with on a daily basis should not be treated simply as cogs in a well-oiled machine; if they are treated as such, we run the risk of minimizing the importance our respective industries place on our consultants and ultimately the importance our clients place on us being able to find these so-called cogs.
It's easy to become desensitized to the individual that is behind the resume. It is even easier to place too much value on the number of keywords that appear in a LinkedIn profile. However, there is no substitute for the rapport you build with a consultant throughout the recruiting lifecycle.
As a recruiter you will experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, if not through the course of your work week, then through the course of your workday; it is all too inevitable in this industry. There is no better example of this than finding a bonafide rock star that, for one reason or another, doesn’t make sense for your client.
At this moment what do you do? Cut bait? After all, your to-do list isn’t getting any shorter and a twenty-minute networking call that has no guarantee of yielding results isn’t going to cross anything off your list.
Are you willing to take that chance? Even if a consultant doesn’t check off all the necessary boxes aren’t they worth a call? After all, there will be other clients, other requirements and most importantly, whatever the reason was, the consultant caught your eye.
3 Easy Steps to Effectively Recruit the Relationship:
1. Pick up the Phone
We live in an information and social media age that, in many ways, has made our jobs as recruiters easier, but has also put us at risk of being inefficient. The World Wide Web can be a cacophony of noise and the best way to sift through that racket is to pick up the phone.
Job boards, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter all have their place and we can use these tools to differentiate ourselves within our profession, but they can’t build rapport as capably and effectively as talking to your consultants.
In the end, a happy client and consultant is the win-win result that we are all looking for and it all begins with the phone. As speaking on the phone becomes more and more of an ancient old strategy, your ability to still get through to your consultants will only enhance the recruitment process. Knowing your people means you know how they can and, maybe more importantly, cannot help your client.
2. Trust Your Gut
Nobody will confuse a recruiter of being able to perform the work that we are recruiting for. But, what we ought to do is learn as much about the industries that we recruit within, become experts on the capabilities of our consultants and have a profound knowledge of what our clients needs are, regardless of how broad or specific they may be.
We should strive to gain enough confidence to trust our instincts and, when we can, this should empower us. Ultimately, we are the ones that have put the time and energy into understanding our field(s). We have the stories of success and failure that we can draw on. We know our clients and the work culture that exists within their walls and we know which consultants have the greatest chance of success.
If all of this means that we are in tune with our consultants, clients, and industry then we should be recruiting proactively and not reactively; we should always be building relationships with qualified professionals even when there isn’t a role to present them to.
3. Maintain the Relationship
When you are recruiting the relationship and not just the role, you must always maintain a long-term approach. The relationships you cultivate with your consultants are not transactional and they certainly don't end when you place them in an engagement.
In my opinion, your ability to maintain your relationships is the single best indicator of success within this industry. If you've done everything you can to recruit those individuals that can be key contributors to your company and the vertical within which you exist, one success story inevitably leads to the next.
I'm not sure how many of us grew up with dreams of being recruiters, yet we are lucky enough to have found ourselves here. I’d like to think that we arrived at this place because we enjoy being in the business of people and our most valuable commodity is the relationships that we have forged.
If you are a program or project manager, IT consultant, let's connect. I can provide insight into what hiring managers are looking for. We look forward to building a relationship with you in your current or next career role.